Democratic Party | Gavin Newsom | Gay Marriage | San Francisco

Gavin Newsom on Gay Marriage and Spineless Democrats

Newsom_1San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom let his opinion be known about certain members of his party and their positions on same-sex marriage in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine:

"I tell all of my fellow Democrats this is not going to go away. As long as we allow this to be dangled in front of us because of our unwillingness to say publicly what so many of us are saying privately, it will haunt the Democratic party. And it will be used as a wedge issue just as it is being dangled in front of congressional candidates in the November election.

Not every Democrat in Washington agrees with gay marriage. But I will make the case — based on some strong evidence — that an overwhelming majority do. But they just can’t say it. And that is a limitation that is causing more damage than the issue. Because, again, it shows a weakness of character.

This is really one of the great final civil rights struggles, and again I say to my colleagues in the Democratic party: Why are you a Democrat if you can’t stand on a fundamental construct that has always distinguished our party. That we didn’t sit around. We advanced the issues of equality. We engaged the American people head on."

You go!

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  1. He makes me proud to have him as our mayor.

    Posted by: David | Jul 13, 2006 4:34:33 PM

  2. I'll second that, David. If only we had more Democrats who weren't afraid of their on opinions.

    Posted by: Kyle Childress | Jul 13, 2006 4:47:25 PM

  3. That last paragraph should be read to every democrat. Gavin is absolutely correct. This truly is the time for dems to step up to the plate!

    Posted by: Ladd | Jul 13, 2006 4:57:07 PM

  4. Amen!

    Posted by: Timothy | Jul 13, 2006 4:57:36 PM

  5. Contrary to the "Rolling Stone" figure, nearly 4000 couples got married during the "Winter of Love" (a few more got licenses but never registered the marriage itself). But, in any case, hats off to them for the interview. If he lives long enough (he got some 1400 death threats during that period) and isn't burned out by politics generally, and SF/CA politics specifically (fuck Supervisor Chris Daly and not in the good way), I predict Gavin Newsom will be President some day. I've attended two very different--1 very large, 1 more intimate--events where he spoke, and not only is he eloquent and naturally good with people and, yes, sexy as Hell, he beams charisma! Add to that huge balls, in the moral sense, as exhibited by his comments above, and he could be more of a JFK than JFK ever really was. Three cheers to those planning on picketing CA. Sen. Barbara Boxer who has stated flatly that she opposes gay marriage, and I'll give a thousand dollars to anyone who can prove they knocked Barney Frank on his flabby fat ass the next time he publicly flames Newsom.

    Posted by: Tagg | Jul 13, 2006 4:57:43 PM

  6. I love my mayor!

    Posted by: Roy | Jul 13, 2006 5:15:03 PM

  7. I am going to gush a little here, so be warned. My partner and I were one of the 4000 couples that were married. We were married on the second day (Friday the 13th) at something like 8:45 in the evening after staning in one line or another for four hours. I have to say that it was one of the best days of my life. While being able to marry was very special; the specialness did not come close to ending there. The atmosphere of those 4+ hours was what made it incredibly special. There were thousands of folks all pulling together for a great reason. It was, in a word, magical. It restored my faith in people and reminded me just how great this country can be. I owe all of that to the Mayor, and I will forever be indebted to him.

    Posted by: Kyle Childress | Jul 13, 2006 5:24:21 PM

  8. Gush away, Kyle, you and your partner, and all of those thousands of other couples, and everyone at City Hall (except for the Nazis In the Name of Jesus), deserve it. And, yes, Gavin Newsom, whatever else he does in life, will always deserve a place of Honor. While I loathe much Andrew Sullivan says and does, he gets a great deal dead on in the following: "Having attended (a gay marriage ceremony) last year and basically bawled through the whole thing, I know. It is life-altering; it is ennobling; it's experientially more intense than anything most gay people have ever experienced. It heals emotional wounds many gay people don't even know we bear. And that's why some want to keep it from us. They want to keep us from those feelings of being one with our own families; they want to keep us outside the society we grew up in; they want to deny us the love and support heterosexuals take for granted. Marriage humanizes gay people and shows us in the context of love and commitment, rather than merely sex. This corrodes the far right's attempt to portray us as 'subhuman' or 'objectively disordered' or 'sinners'. That's why they are so adamant on keeping us as second class citizens."

    Posted by: Tagg | Jul 13, 2006 5:33:47 PM

  9. LOVE HIM.

    My partner and I are both in our late 40s, and are convinced (based on polls showing a lack of homophobia in most young people) that same-sex marriage will eventually be a federally acknowledged right.

    My problem is that it irritates me that we can't just fast-forward to when everybody "gets it." I want to say to homophobes, "Remember how everyone said that non-white people were inferior and shouldn't be able to vote, and how everyone said women were inferior and shouldn't be allowed to vote, and how everyone said interracial marriage needed to be illegal? And remember how everyone finally wised up and realized those ideas were bullshit? That's what's happening now, and can we just please skip ahead on the DVD to the part where you get it?". My partner, on the other hand, thinks that people are pushing too hard, too fast, and that it's allowing Republicans to use it as a wedge issue and costing us elections. He thinks that if we just allow things to take their natural course, same-sex marriage will be legal in 25 or 30 years.

    My problem is I just don't want to wait that long. And maybe that's a problem.


    Posted by: JOE 2 | Jul 13, 2006 5:37:17 PM

  10. Would that we had people like him here in Indiana. We have Evan Bayh, but the constituency here is so afraid that their wives will find out that they suck cock during their lunch hour at one of the two bathhouses here in Indy. And, it's no secret in the community that Richard Lugar in years past was caught in flagrante a few times. If only people would just do what is morally and ethically right. The world would certainly be a more peaceful place!
    Congratulations to you Kyle-- many years of prosperity to both of you!

    Posted by: John | Jul 13, 2006 5:39:20 PM

  11. I heard Newsom makes these same comments on "Hardball" back in March and know he was on Anderson Cooper last month with the same message. If only the Democrats would listen to him. Unfortunately, having a spine to stand up against the Republicans seems to be something the Democrats are short on.

    Posted by: EricW | Jul 13, 2006 5:46:23 PM

  12. I'm a gay man who's in a committed relationship with a wonderful man here in Dallas, Texas. I've visited San Francisco several times on both professional business and personal pleasure. We can only wish that we could have such incredible political representation as you do with Gavin Newsome. He is such a maverick and visionary regarding human (gay) rights that everyone in your beautiful city should be very thankful for his leadership. Our own local political leaders represent only conservative or big money interests.

    Posted by: Rick | Jul 13, 2006 6:02:44 PM

  13. A dream ticket for 2008: Rus Feingold for President, Gavin Newsome for Vice President. IF only...

    Posted by: Michael Wautier | Jul 13, 2006 6:13:37 PM

  14. To Joe2: At the end of the Selma to Montgomery march in the 60s, on the steps of the Alabama capitol Martin Luther King assured the marchers that while they might not win tomorrow, they would most certainly win because "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

    All we can do is to do all we can do to bend it.

    Posted by: Kyle Childress | Jul 13, 2006 6:21:18 PM

  15. Unfortunately I think a lot of the voting Democrats can be just as homophobic as Republicans, especially when they're convinced by the media that "gay marriage vs. moral values" cost them the 2004 election. Below is part of a comment from the NYTimes's Opinionator Blog, posted by "rbprtman" on 7/12/06:

    "I believe that all people should have equal protection under the law and that includes benefits, health insurance, etc. However, I do believe that gay people should be sensitive to the fact that not all of us agree with their choice of lifestyle and many of us feel as though its being crammed down our throats. I dont care if you’re gay but you can’t make me approve of it. The question I would like to see asked is why do so many gay people feel they have to identify theirselves by their sexuality?"

    The sheer ignorance of his comment is staggering, yet he felt strong enough about his feelings to comment on the Times site. It staggers me becase I can't begin to imagine how I would ever be able to see eye-to-eye with such a person, let alone build an alliance.

    And yet, Joe 2, I still think that we have to keep going on both fronts: Keep educating people like rbprtman and the next generations, but also keep working for equal rights, because it is a moral issue. It shows genuine moral strength to fight for what is right, even when it isn't easy, and even when people say that waiting 50 years later just might make it easier. This is exactly the reason I think Gavin Newsom is such an electrifying figure, because his civil disobedience feels courageous to us. It feels empowering and it feels right.

    Posted by: GBM | Jul 13, 2006 6:32:19 PM

  16. If half the politicians in this country had the courage that Gavin Newsom does, we'd be in a much better spot today. Gavin for President!

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 13, 2006 7:05:35 PM

  17. Newsom’s comments illustrate the futility of waiting for the Democrats and Republicans to grant us equal citizenship
    rights, even on a uncomplicated question like falling in love and getting married.
    The cults and politicians who oppose same sex marriage don’t do it simply because they’re howling bigots consumed by
    obsessive hatreds. There are other reasons intimately linked to traditional ways to making and keeping wealth for the rich.
    American social laws, which are sanctioned by the pious hypocrites in the cults, are crafted to insure the orderly
    transfer of the wealth gobbled up by the rich to their litters. Unwilling to give us the meager benefits heteros get from
    marriage, they also fear chaos if the inheritance rules are changed.
    Both parties exist to toady to the rich (or to help the politicians become rich themselves.) They have never, as
    Newsome misstates, been leaders of social struggles, but just the opposite. Especially the Democrats, who fought
    emancipation, suffrage, unions, civil rights, and who escalated the war in Vietnam until 55.000 young American
    soldiers were dead, nearly half a million wounded, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese murdered by napalm, artillery, and in countless My Lais. The Democrats
    always adjusts to militant movements, trying to co-opt them as voters by making minor concessions, but they never
    initiate them or fight for them.
    Finally there is an alternative in the trade union sponsored and organized Labor Party, which is up and running candidates. Our best bet is to abandon the twin parties of homophobia to build and support the Labor Party. It’s founded on
    principles that embrace diversity and encourage our struggle to unshackle ourselves.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Jul 13, 2006 7:14:33 PM

  18. ***But they just can’t say it. And that is a limitation that is causing more damage than the issue. Because, again, it shows a weakness of character.***

    it's like they just had chemotherapy, but don't know they're ill. distractions such as these playout as well as a video game and are equally as disruptive as well as evasive. don't know you have cancer because you CAN'T understand what societal malaise would lead to your cancer. and it has nothing to do with bedroom sheets or squatting!! perverts.

    Posted by: ricardo | Jul 13, 2006 8:14:54 PM

  19. Kyle and GBM -

    Thanks to both of you. I feel the same way.

    I do understand my partner's point of view, especially as it pertains to same-sex marriage supporters who make it the only issue of importance when considering political candidates. I do know individuals who have said that since neither of the people up for a particular office support same-sex marriage, they'll just stay home and not vote. What's the point? You're going to be stuck with one of them anyway, so you might as well pick the one who AT LEAST takes more favorable positions regarding environmental issues, educational issues, health care issues, whatever.

    Still, I disagree with my partner - and I agree with you, GBM - about same-sex marriage being the issue that cost us the 2004 election. I believe that several things cost us that election (same-sex marriage having little or no significance), and that by far the most important is the fact that the Republicans literally stole it (as they did in 2000). For anyone who hasn't seen it, Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s excellent and exhaustively researched article in Rolling Stone, "Was The 2004 Election Stolen?", readable at

    leaves no doubt that that's exactly what happened.

    It blows my mind that the majority of the American public seems to be feverishly concerned with whose penis is currently being inserted into Jennifer Aniston's vagina, and seems to be utterly disinterested in the fact that present-day America resembles George Orwell's "1984," or the USSR circa 1970, far more than it resembles a government of, by, and for the people, with a free and responsible press.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Jul 13, 2006 8:37:10 PM

  20. Some of you guys are so unserious that it's funny! Do you just sit at home all day talking to your stuffed animal collections or something? "Gavin Newsome for president!", "vote for the labor party", "resembles George Orwell's 1984, or the USSR circa 1970"! Ha Ha. Where do you come up with this stuff?? Yeah, the Democratic Party will really make lots of inroads with this kind of talk... Ugh.

    Posted by: Anon | Jul 13, 2006 11:59:58 PM

  21. Gavin Newsom is one of the most courageous people I know of. Russ Feingold too. Simple as that. Gives me hope...

    Posted by: kyan | Jul 14, 2006 12:53:48 AM

  22. Gee, "Anon," I guess you meant to say "so SERIOUS that it's funny." For the record, I don't own any stuffed animals, I doubt that Gavin "Newsome" [sic] could be elected President even if he were running, which he isn't, and I'm not a fan of voting for third-party candidates. As for where I came up with my "stuff," um, I took a look at the world we all live in. I'm SO sorry that I take civil rights and our political system seriously, and that I give a shit about what happens to this country.

    I've spent plenty of time in my life engaging in witty banter about meaningless bullshit, and guess what? Sometimes I still do! In fact, I hope I'll still be engaging in witty banter about meaningless bullshit and laughing at fart jokes when I'm on my deathbed. I guess I just figured that a discussion thread about a civil rights issue and the integrity of politicians wasn't the appropriate FORUM for that.

    BTW, thanks for all of your thoughtful contributions regarding same-sex marriage rights and Gavin Newsom's remarks! You rock!


    Posted by: JOE 2 | Jul 14, 2006 12:59:38 AM

  23. Just ignore Anon. There's a user on here using different names (I won't list them as they are begging for an argument but they know who they are) who loves stirring the pot. Obviously they have too much time between masturbating and critiquing blogs. Sad...

    Posted by: Cory | Jul 14, 2006 1:39:08 AM

  24. Gavin has got vision and balls. He's young now but in twenty years he will be ready for primetime. In the meantime, he can continue to re-make San Francisco into a great city.

    Posted by: thisjoeinsf | Jul 14, 2006 2:17:43 AM

  25. Right on, Bill Perdue... somebody's got to say it. The Democratic Party is completely useless. Middle-of-the-road compromising isn't going to fly anymore when it comes to the continuing servitude the two parties have to the richest among us, AND the sad lack of advancement on hugely important issues, gay rights being only one.

    A third party is a real, viable, and plausible option. People have just got to quit hoping, praying, and crossing fingers that "one day" the Deomcratic Party will change.

    A more compelling alternative to U.S. Republicanism (aside from Republican Lite) is what these guys have failed to provide, and that's why they keep losing elections.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jul 14, 2006 2:20:58 AM

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