Bill Clinton Makes Surprise Appearance at LGBT Benefit

Arndt_clinton

Amazing Race winner and friend of Towleroad Chip Arndt sent us a photo from last weekend’s National Gay and Lesbian Task Force fundraiser in Miami honoring NAACP Chair Julian Bond, which raised over $270,000. Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance at the benefit after hosts, one of whom was Arndt, realized the former Pres was in the area making stops at rallies for Gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis and Lt. Governor candidate Darryl Jones.

The dinner was organized by over 100 local volunteers, along with executive director Matt Foreman, and DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias.

Clinton arrived 15 minutes before the dinner portion of the event was to begin and mingled for 45 minutes, long enough to greet plenty of the benefit’s attendees as well as his friend Julian Bond.

Since winning the Amazing Race with his then partner Reichen Lehmkuhl, Arndt has become active in South Florida politics where he continues his work in a variety LGBT causes. He is president of the Freedom Democrats, the Miami-Dade LGBT Democratic Caucus.

Comments

  1. Dan says

    I must confess that I am confused. Clinton signed into law arguably the most prejudicial piece of legislation against gays and lesbians (DOMA), and yet he goes to these events. Is this some sort of penance? If he had acted to limit marriage for any other minority, I suspect he would know better than to show his face. Why do we embrace him? (And Hilary, for that matter.)

  2. Andrew says

    Dan-agreed. Mr. Arndt’s ex Reichen has written an entire book about his turmoil under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Yes, Mr. Clinton did a lot of good things for gays, that piece of legislation was junk.

  3. jimmyboyo says

    Chip is the one who should have recieved an award from HRC…not reichen

    Hillary has compromised on our rights way too much.

    Retired 4 star General Wesley Clark on the other hand

    -supports gay couples having the same rights as straight couples (2003)
    – supports equal opurtunity in the millitary for gays unlike clinton’s don’t ask don’t tell compromise (2003)

    Hillar is too polarizing…will drive out the repub base like no other candidate. Hillary will comrpomise on our rights to get power. Hillary has not yet repudated the Iraq war….will be like bush 1of 2 poeple who think iraq was a good thing.

    Support retired 4 star General Wesley Clark in the dem primaries. He supports the gay community

  4. Rick says

    Hey Andy,

    I was one of the volunteers for this event and got to “meet and greet” the VIP’s when they arrived for cocktails. Ten minutes before Clinton arrived, one of the organizers whispered to me, “You’re about to get a surprise in a few minutes”. I had no idea, but suspected Rosie O’Donnell. Imagine my surprise when Bill Clinton showed up. What an awesome experience!

  5. DC8stretch says

    RE: Dan’s comment. As I understand it, although prejudicial, “don’t ask, don’t tell” was a small step forward for gays in the military. Clinton should be commended for even addressing the elephant in the room- and he used his political capital to do so as the first issue of his first term.

  6. Ryan says

    Looks like Chip is the real winner in the outcome of his relationship with Reichen. While one chases personal fame, the other chases the gay cause.

    Bravo, Chip!

  7. patrick nyc says

    Clinton thought that he’d push through the ‘Don’t ask’ after misreading the hatred the GOP had for his win when he tried to open the ranks to gays. He cut and ran as soon as the heat was turned up on his miscalculation. He and Hillary are the perfect example of the career politicion. They will say or do what ever it takes to get and stay in office.

    That said I’m voting for them over anyone in the GOP. For the first time in years I’m happy to be voting for someone who I agree with on all levels for a major office, Elliot Spitzer, for the Governors office here in NY. Too often it is the lessor of two evils. I hope he proves to be the man I spoke to years ago at the Garden Party fundraiser for the Gay and Lesbian Center.

  8. Leland says

    How do so many cocksuckingroach Repugs have time to rerun, yet again, their tired, half-truths about Clinton. Shouldn’t you be out helping your Massas trick, block, intimidate, threaten potential voters not yet brainwashed to keep them in power?

    Whatever he failed to do, and I have never denied there was a lot, Clinton remains the most gay-affirmative, gay supportive President we’ve ever had, and he never, repeat NEVER proposed ripping us out of the US Constitution. He never, NEVER used antigay bigotry or homohysteria on the campaign trail, as Bush repeatedly has, including at EVERY campaign stop he’s made in the past three weeks.

    By your standard of only judging people by cherry-picked parts of their past, all the voter obstruction and lies and legal chicanery and behind the scenes manipulation of the Supreme Court by the Repugs in 2000 would still not have put Bush in office because he wouldn’t have even been on the ballot, having been rejected by the GOP as an AWOL alcoholic/cocaine addict married to a woman guilty of vehicular manslaughter.

    So, in the vernacular of the peasantry, shut the fuck up. No one’s buying your propaganda anymore.

  9. JP says

    Yes, nothing better demonstrates the hollow chocolate gym bunny that Reichen is than contrasting what he chose to do with his mini-fame from Amazing Race and what Arndt chose to do. Having read Reichen’s book, it’s obvious that it’s just another vanity project. He cries a lot and uses every opportunity, real and imagined, to paint himself a martyr, including spending nearly two pages whining about having to work in a college dishwashing room while in high school and how unfair it was that he was fired after falsely being accused of kissing an “ugly” fellow female employee. He even admits that some things he describes as happening to him actually happened to others, and the only seriously traumatic incident–an attempted suicide by another Air Force Academy cadet–he never takes responsibility for having essentially caused by his own failure to warn him, as he had others, about an imminent mini gay witch hunt.

    And, oh yeah, he never even thanks Arndt without whom he would likely never have risen beyond a Bacardi Boy to get the chance to write the book, however bad or good, in the first place.

  10. PSMike says

    I don’t totally agree with Patrick NYC, but he’s the only one so far who knows his stuff. Clinton made gay rights (specifically in the military) one of his VERY first issues, and it was arguably the beginning of the rabid demonization by the Christian Right. The Repubs picked up on gays in the military and his ‘woman’ problems and raised the flag of morality. Clinton sacrificed more for gay rights than most of us would ever understand, and certainly more than any of us will ever do. For all the comments of ‘slick Willy’ it was an amazingly unslick move so early in his Presidency. He got ZERO support from the Dems and finally had to back away to salvage anything. We lost Health Care, the Congress, and potentially so much more because he did the unthinkable. He put his electoral capital on the line within weeks of his election for us. and he lost.
    Bill Clinton is many things less than perfect(MANY!!), but on this one issue he deserves our respect.

  11. sam says

    dc8stretch: I was in the Army when DADT was implemented and it most certainly was NOT a small step forward for gays in the military. It was a giant step back. The military leadership was royally pissed that Clinton was trying to force gays on them and we came under intense scrutiny, much greater than before. Suddenly, every commander wanted to start an investigation into anyone who wasn’t overtly hetero. Gay soldiers had to either go deeper in the closet or get out. Unmarried female solders were branded as either sluts or dykes, with sluts preferable. Millions in tax dollars have been spent and countless military careers have been ruined by this bankrupt law.
    I believe that Clinton was trying to help us and screwed it up totally. I believe that, on balance, he did more for us than any other president, but that’s not saying much. DADT was and is a disaster.

  12. Leland says

    Here’s a good timeline of the antigay industry put together by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a part of their study of hate groups. http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=522

    They don’t include the ripple effect firing of thousands of gays across the country generated by the anti “sexual perversions” Executive Order of, no, not Bill Clinton, but REPUBLICAN President Eisenhower in the 50s, and it only goes through 2004, and we know how much worse it’s gotten since driven by, no, not Bill Clinton or even Hillary but REPUBLICANS like Tina-addict, male prostitute regular, and college gay orgy fantasizer the very Reverend Ted Haggart. Dan, JE, Wilma. Feel free to submit your counter history showing how many times Republicans have come to our aid and defense.

    “The Thirty Years War”
    A timeline of the anti-gay movement

    1977
    Born-again singer Anita Bryant campaigns to overturn an anti-discrimination law protecting gay men and lesbians in Dade County, Fla. Inspired by her victory, Bryant founds the first national anti-gay group, Save Our Children, drawing unprecedented attention to gay issues and motivating gay groups to organize in response.
    James Dobson, author of 1969 pro-spanking book Dare To Discipline, founds Focus on the Family in Arcadia, Calif. Focus will move to Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1991, become America’s wealthiest fundamentalist ministry, and spearhead the campaign against gay marriage.

    1978
    Gay activist Harvey Milk, elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, is assassinated on Nov. 27 (along with Mayor George Moscone) by right-wing religious zealot Dan White, a former city supervisor who had resigned in protest after the board passed a gay-rights ordinance.
    John Birch Society trainer and “family activist” Tim LaHaye publishes The Unhappy Gays (later retitled What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality). Calling gay people “militant, organized” and “vile,” LaHaye anticipates anti-gay arguments to come.
    California State Sen. John Briggs floats a ballot initiative allowing local school boards to ban gay teachers. “One third of San Francisco teachers are homosexual,” Briggs says. “I assume most of them are seducing young boys in toilets.” The initiative is defeated, but the campaign inspires anti-gay crusaders like the Rev. Lou Sheldon, who will found the Traditional Values Coalition in 1981.

    1979
    The Rev. Jerry Falwell founds the Moral Majority, a national effort to stimulate the fundamentalist vote and elect Christian Right candidates. Early fundraising appeals include a “Declaration of War” on homosexuality.

    1980
    Paul Cameron, former psychology instructor at University of Nebraska, begins publishing pseudo-scientific pamphlets “proving” that gay people commit more serial murders, molest more children, and intentionally spread diseases. Expelled from the American Psychological Association in 1983 for ethics violations, Cameron will continue to produce bogus “studies” widely cited by anti-gay groups.

    1981
    Moral Majority allies in Congress propose the Family Protection Act, which would bar giving federal funds to “any organization that suggests that homosexuality can be an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” Despite President Reagan’s endorsement, the bill is defeated.
    The Council for National Policy, a highly secretive club of America’s most powerful far-right religious activists, begins meeting quarterly at undisclosed locations. Among the members will be R.J. Rushdoony, who calls for death penalty for homosexuals, and anti-gay crusaders James Dobson, Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly. George W. Bush will meet with the Council during his first campaign for president.

    1982
    The U.S. Department of Defense issues a policy stating that homosexuality is “incompatible” with military service. Almost 17,000 gay soldiers will be discharged during the 1980s, though a 1989 Defense Department study will find gay recruits “just as good or better” than heterosexuals.

    1983
    Pat Buchanan, communications director for President Ronald Reagan, calls AIDS, first identified in 1981, “nature’s revenge on gay men.”

    1984
    The Coalition on Revival is founded to promote “Christian government” in the U.S. and to agree on theological tenets — including anti-gay principles — that fundamentalists can rally around. Board members include Tim LaHaye, D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries and Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. Founder Jay Grimstead later tells The Advocate, “Homosexuality makes God vomit.”

    1985
    Addressing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Paul Cameron uses the AIDS crisis to suggest that “the extermination of homosexuals” might become necessary. The following year, Colorado’s Summit Ministries will publish Special Report: AIDS. Co-authored by Cameron, the popular pamphlet blames gay men for the epidemic and calls for a national crackdown on homosexuals.

    1986
    At the first Congressional hearings on anti-gay violence, Kathleen Sarris of Indianapolis tells of being stalked and assaulted by a “Christian soldier” who held her at gunpoint, beat and raped her for three hours, explaining that “he was acting for God; that what he was doing to me was God’s revenge on me because I was a ‘queer’ and getting rid of me would save children.”
    Anti-gay groups cheer the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick holding that state anti-sodomy statutes are constitutional. Four years later, Justice Lewis Powell, the swing vote, will tell New York University law students, “I probably made a mistake in that one.”

    1987
    Boston’s Gay Community News publishes a satire of anti-gay propaganda, beginning: “Tremble, Hetero Swine! We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lives. We will raise vast private armies … to defeat … the family unit.” Anti-gay groups seize on the article as proof of a “secret homosexual agenda.”
    ]
    1988
    After a ferocious campaign by the fundamentalist Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA), Oregon voters overturn their governor’s executive order banning anti-gay discrimination in state hiring. Led by anti-gay crusader Lon Mabon, OCA claims “promiscuous sodomite activists” have called for “the closing of all churches that oppose them and the total destruction of the family.”

    1989
    U.S. Rep. William Dannemeyer (R-Calif.) publishes a landmark anti-gay tome, Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America. Calling lesbians and gay men “the ultimate enemy,” Dannemeyer accuses straight people of “surrendering to this growing army without a shot,” and predicts gay rights will “plunge our people, and indeed the entire West, into a dark night of the soul that could last hundreds of years.”

    1990
    University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney founds Promise Keepers, which holds all-male stadium revivals promoting “traditional masculinity” throughout the 1990s. McCartney calls homosexuals “a group of people who don’t reproduce, yet want to be compared with people who do reproduce,” and says, “Homosexuality is an abomination of Almighty God.”

    1991
    Pat Robertson founds the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), run by Christian Right attorney Jay Sekulow. ACLJ will be instrumental in fighting gay marriage, calling it a cancerous “perversion” that “directly attacks the family, which is the most vital cell in society.”

    1992
    Colorado voters approve Amendment 2, overturning municipal laws protecting lesbians and gay men from discrimination. One of the organizers, Tony Marco, hones a “special rights” argument, claiming that gay people are inordinately wealthy and politically powerful, and neither need nor deserve the rights they “demand.”
    “The Gay Agenda,” 20-minute video featuring racy scenes filmed at gay-pride marches, is released by Ty and Jeannette Beeson of the Antelope Valley Springs of Life church in Lancaster, Calif. Aired by Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club,” it will become one of the most widely viewed pieces of anti-gay propaganda.
    At the Republican National Convention in Houston, Pat Buchanan famously declares in a prime time speech, “There is a culture war going on in our country for the soul of America.” Cheering audience members wave signs reading “Family Rights Forever, ‘Gay’ Rights Never.”

    1993
    The battle over gay marriage is ignited when the Hawaii Supreme Court rules that denying same-sex couples marriage licenses violates “basic human rights” guaranteed in the state constitution — unless the state legislature can show a “compelling reason” to prevent gay marriage. Anti-gay groups begin a campaign to “defend marriage,” with legal challenges led by ACLJ’s Jay Sekulow.
    President Clinton’s proposal to lift the ban on openly gay military personnel sends anti-gay activists into action, shutting down phone lines to Congress with hundreds of thousands of calls in protest. “Honestly,” asks D. James Kennedy in a fundraising letter for Coral Ridge Ministries, “would you want your son, daughter, or grandchild sharing a shower, foxhole, or blood with a homosexual?”
    The Cobb County (Ga.) Commission passes a resolution calling homosexuality “incompatible with the standards to which this community subscribes.” Organizer Gordon Wysong declares, “We should blame them for every social problem in America.” Cobb County will be dropped as a host for 1996 Atlanta Olympic events because of its anti-gay stance.

    1994
    More than 40 fundamentalist groups, led by Focus on the Family, hold a summit in Colorado to coordinate a “special rights” argument to oppose gay rights. This strategy is also promoted by the Traditional Values Coalition’s “Gay Rights, Special Rights,” a 40-minute video claiming gay rights will erode the civil rights of African Americans.

    1995
    The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, by fundamentalist activists Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, claims gays weren’t victimized in the Holocaust, but instead helped mastermind the extermination of Jews (see story, p. 18). Repudiated by credible historians, the book is nevertheless praised by the Family Research Council and sold by several anti-gay organizations.

    1996
    The National Pro-Family Forum, dedicated to “one man-one woman” marriage, holds its first secret meeting in a Memphis church cellar with representatives from more than 20 major anti-gay groups. Before the end of the year, forum members successfully push the Defense of Marriage Act, a symbolic measure defining marriage as between a man and a woman, through Congress.
    The Southern Baptist Convention announces a boycott of Disney parks and products because the company gives insurance benefits to partners of gay workers and allows “Gay Days” at its theme parks. “Beware of the Magic Kingdom,” Focus on the Family advises parents. Gay Day protests become a staple of the anti-gay movement.
    In Romer v. Evans, the U.S. Supreme Court rules Colorado’s Amendment 2 (see 1992) unconstitutional by a 6-3 vote. The ruling puts an end to 20 years of state and local ballot initiatives aimed at stripping gays of anti-discrimination protections, leaving same-sex marriage as the main issue for anti-gay organizers.

    1997
    Ellen DeGeneres’ character on the TV sitcom “Ellen” comes out as a lesbian, initiating protests and boycotts of sponsors led by Donald Wildmon and Jerry Falwell, who calls the actor “Ellen Degenerate.”

    1998
    A coalition of fundamentalist groups led by Coral Ridge Ministries sponsors “Truth in Love,” a million-dollar advertising campaign promoting “ex-gay ministries,” which use discredited psychological methods to “cure” gay people. One day before a second round of “Truth in Love” ads is released, gay college student Matthew Shepard dies after being savagely beaten and left tied to a fence in Wyoming. The murder spurs a national debate about the connection between anti-gay rhetoric and hate crimes.
    In a TV interview, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) compares gay people to alcoholics and “kleptomaniacs,” earning praise from anti-gay activists. “Leaders willing to be set apart and stand solidly in the truth are rare in today’s permissive culture,” says James Dobson.

    1999
    Vermont Democratic Gov. Howard Dean signs a law sanctioning same-sex civil unions, entitling gay couples to marital rights and benefits. Anti-gay leader Gary Bauer calls it “an unmitigated disaster” that is “worse than terrorism.”

    2000
    “Teletubbies” cartoon character Tinky Winky is “outed” as gay in a “Parents’ Alert” in Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Journal, which asserts, “He is purple — the gay-pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle — the gay-pride symbol.”
    The U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the Boy Scouts of America can continue to ban gay scoutmasters. Anti-gay activists like Robert Knight of the Family Research Council use the scouting controversy to revive anti-gay “child molester” propaganda. After CBS morning-show host Bryant Gumbel interviews Knight, he is heard on air commenting, “What a fucking idiot.” Anti-gay groups label CBS the “Christian Bashing System” and lobby unsuccessfully for Gumbel’s firing.

    2001
    On “The 700 Club” two days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Jerry Falwell blames the tragedy on “the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle.” Host Pat Robertson responds: “Well, I totally concur.”

    2002
    The Rev. Michael Bray, a convicted abortion clinic bomber and leading advocate of murdering abortion doctors, praises Saudi Arabia for beheading three gay men on New Year’s Day. “Let us give thanks,” Bray proclaims. “Let us welcome these tools of purification. Open the borders! Bring in some agents of cleansing.”

    2003
    Alan Sears, head of the Alliance Defense Fund, co-authors The Homosexual Agenda, a book that asserts gay activists’ ultimate goal is “silencing” conservative Christians. Sears also accuses cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants of being gay.
    The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples have a right to marry. In the Washington Dispatch, legendary fundamentalist organizer Paul Weyrich declares marriage “The Final Frontier for Civilization as We Know It.”
    The U.S. Supreme Court overturns state anti-sodomy statutes in Lawrence v. Texas, ruling that gay people are entitled to “an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.” Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia complains that “the court has largely signed onto the so-called homosexual agenda.”

    2004
    Constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage pass by wide margins in all 11 states, including Ohio and Oregon. Anti-gay groups meet in Washington, D.C., to plan for 10 more state initiatives in 2005.
    James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Action organizes “Mayday for Marriage” rallies in six major cities to promote anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives in 11 states. An estimated 150,000 turn out for Oct. 15 protest in Washington, D.C., where Dobson declares, “[E]verything we care about is on the line. It’s now or never.”
    San Francisco officials begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in February, with a handful of other U.S. municipalities following suit. Later that month, President George W. Bush announces his support for a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution.

    Intelligence Report
    Spring 2005

  13. peterparker says

    PSMike is correct that Clinton stuck his neck out for our community in a BIG way by attempting to force the military to accept gays and lesbians. And I truly believe he thought ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ would improve the lives of queers in the service. And don’t forget that Clinton was the first sitting President of the United States of America to ever meet in the Oval Office with a GLBT group. That act was a gigantic symbol that the GLBT community deserves respect from the leadership of this country. As for Defense of Marriage Act, I have *no idea* what he was thinking when he signed that…it went counter to every single thing he’d done up until that time.

  14. patrick nyc says

    Well said SAM. I have many friends in the military and I hear the horror stories they go through. I would have loved to serve my country in the military or the police or fire department, but that was not an option for a gay man in the late 70’s. Clinton did not mean to open a hornets nest and the GOP is far more to blame, but open the nest he did.

    Thanks PSMIKE, once again, for the complement on my thoughts, and that is all they are, thoughts. Not right or wrong, and I too do not always totally agree with them, but feel the need to voice them. I hope all are voting, for the love of our country and this world. 😉

  15. rob adams says

    Help celebrate the Democratic national victory :: This weekend make a point of attending a fundamentalist church service and spread the joy and truth of a inclusive-tolerant-democracy.

    Help the fundamentalists rejoin an America society being rebuilt without hate.

    rob@egoz.org

  16. LightningLad says

    Clinton may have felt forced to compromise his principles when he authorized the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, but nobody was holding a gun to his head in 1996 when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. Of course, it was an election year so Clinton did what he did out of political expediency. Then he had the chutzpah to go begging for money hat in hand at HRC fundraisers later that year and during his second term in office.

    I don’t know which is worse, a Republican President who openly advocates for anti-gay Constitutional amendments, or a Democratic President who takes our money with one hand while signing our rights away with the other.

    That said, I voted for Clinton in 1996 despite the fact that I disagreed with him about DOMA because I agreed with him about many more non-gay issues that I thought were important.

    And if you voted for Clinton in ’96 for the same reason despite your misgivings about his signing DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” just remember that the next time you choose to criticize a gay person for voting Republican because maybe they disagree with a Republican candidate’s position on gay issues but agree with them on other issues they consider more important.

    Some people aren’t single issue voters.

  17. Leland says

    Respect your not being “a single issue voter,” Lightninglad, for, believe it or not, neither am I.

    However, there is absolutely NO equivalency between what Clinton did and what Bush is advocating. DOMA, while preventing the Federal government from recognizing same gender unions, left that right open to individual states. It only said that one state did not have to recognize within their own borders unions legally permitted in any other state.

    Bush is advocating an amendment to the US Constitution which, if passed and ratified, would override ANY law in ANY state that recognized same sex unions of ANY kind. In other words, it would outlaw gay marriages currently legal in Massachusetts. It would outlaw domestic partner/civil union recognition in California, Hawaii, Maine, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

    AND prevent any future legislation recognizing gay unions in ANY way in ANY state.

    Think of it this way: Clinton wrongly amputated and arm and a leg. Bush would kill the patient entirely.

  18. Anon says

    It was Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat, that spearheaded the DADT legislation thru Congress as a compromise against a more severe restriction that he and many others, both D and R wanted at the time at the behest of military brass and former brass. Support for banning gays was bipartisan and DADT was a halfway measure by Clinton to save himself politically after vainly and half-heartedly trying to end the ban entirely. Clinton was forced by his gay staffers and the press into taking a position on gays in the military only days into his first term who thought mistakenly he could end the ban by presidential fiat. He didn’t even have a cabinet in place and it was the politics of cabinet member selection that sank the whole thing in the end. Having been burnt once, he never took up the subject again.

    The Christian Right has not made much progress over the years, despite their efforts. Bans on gay marriage are a pain in the ass, but we couldn’t get married in most states anyway, so this is just like banning trips to Mars or something. The progress made over the last 30 years has been enormous and by far the biggest setback was AIDS, something that conservatives love but for which there is scant evidence they can take credit for. Progress seems to be accelerating, as seen in mainstream movies and TV shows, company benefit plans and the like. The right wing wanted to use gays to create a wedge issue for coalition building, but they’ve been losing ground for years really. If you want lists of fortune 500 companies that give partner benefits to gay employees, etc. and cities with anti-discrimination and hate laws protecting gays it would be much longer than the list of accomplishments of the religious right.

  19. Leland says

    Sorry, Anon, I’m sure you mean well but your analysis and comparisons are full of holes. To say that the religious right has been losing ground is, with all due respect, simply nonsense. Gay advances in an area such as corporate job protection is to be celebrated, but they do not outweigh the deep and broad advances of the American Taliban in other areas. There’s a huge difference between no law being on the books in, e.g., Tennessee permitting gay marriage and one being enacted specifically forbidding gay marriage. State after state, those are HUGE losses. In fact, the opposite has been used against us repeatedly, hence the need in place after place to add gays as a protected class to laws. All of that is directly attributable to the “religious right,” as well as the explicit ban on gays adopting in some states. See the timeline above.

  20. LightningLad says

    “Clinton wrongly amputated an arm and a leg.”

    You make it sound like Clinton accidentally signed DOMA into law when in fact it was a strategic political calculation done to inoculate himself against the issue in the Presidential election and deprive the Republicans of a campaign issue. This was Clinton’s patented strategy of “triangulation” in dealing with the Republican Congress – co-opt and/or neutralize their issues, and gay people got used by him even as he continued to take our money.

    I’m not going to get into a pissing match over which is/would be worse, DOMA or a Constitutional amendment. In either case, we’re talking about playing games with gay people’s civil rights for political gain.

    The record shows that Bush may have advocated for a anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment but he never signed anything into law. Bill Clinton’s signature is on not one but two pieces of anti-gay legislation. That’s two pieces more than any Republican President has ever signed. And now he has the chutzpah to waltz into HRC fundraisers and the Gays fall all over themselves to suck his dick.

    When are the Gays going to get some self-respect and dignity?

  21. Anon says

    Well, Leland, I think the best you can hope for in your argument is that the country has become more polarized, with “blue” areas much more gay friendly than they used to be and “red” areas worse than they used to be. Since most population growth over the last 30 years has been in “red” areas, one might argue that overall the situation has gotten worse, but as long as there are gay Republican staffers on capitol hill (ha!) legislation to have us rounded up and shot will be tabled indefinitely.

  22. Leland says

    Lightninglad, raise the visor of your Clinton Pathological Haters Club baseball cap and even you might see that you have no piss at all, only vinegar, when it comes to contrasting the major FACTUAL differences between the damage done by DOMA and the damage FMA would do, just as the REPUBLICAN, Bush endorsed, state constitutional amendments have done. You WANT to believe they’re equal to DOMA and so, like Mary and her God/Jesus/Bible ranting yesterday, you just keep repeating your fantasy, thus insulting your own intelligence.

    That also limits your ability to see that there is more than one interpretation of my “wrongly amputated.” I did not mean he did it by accident; I meant it was ethically wrong of him to do it.

    Your comment “Bush may have advocated for a anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment but he never signed anything into law” is embarrassingly asinine, repeat ASSinine! That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t. And, given that it is simply the converse of the patented Repug logical shell game that’s been played here before re Schwarzenegger signing more pro-gay bills than any Democratic governor [the argument is mute because he’s been given more to sign], one might think you’ve signed up for advanced classes in Repug Speak.

    And while I can no more judge you than myself for not having the time to read every post in every string, including this one, as I mentioned above, and it wasn’t “legislation,” per se, but a Republican President DID sign an antigay Executive Order that devastated thousands of lives, which, again, BTW, Clinton reversed with his own order that George’s appointee is refusing to recognize. And Bush justifies killing thousands in Iraq in the name of extending to survivors there the liberty and justice enjoyed by ALL Americans.

    And, Anon, while I don’t expect us to be rounded up and shot in any foreseeable future, the presence of gay Repug Kapos on Kaptial Hill wouldn’t be likely to prevent it

  23. LightningLad says

    Leland,

    I’ve been reading your comments on this blog long enough to know that if someone dares to disagree with you, you become screechy and shrill and attempt to cut them down through personal attacks.

    You undercut your own arguments this way and prove yourself to be nothing but a gaseous assbag.

  24. LightningLad says

    Leland verbally bashes me in order to distract people from realizing that he doesn’t address the main point in my post:

    No one held a gun to Clinton’s head and forced him to sign DOMA. Leland’s bringing up the hypothetical that a Constitutional amendment “would have” been signed by Bush and “would have” been far worse than DOMA is not the point here. The point is that Clinton sacrificed us at the altar of political expediency to deprive the Republicans of a campaign issue while he ran for re-election and then continued to ask gay people for campaign donations, which he still does to this day.

    No amount of hypotheticals about what Bush wouldacoulda done if a Constitutional amendment passed negates this point and is irrelevent to the argument at hand, and brought up simply because Leland has no other good counterargument.

  25. ricardo says

    hello andy…
    i haven’t visited in awhile….and these comments are hilarious….saw hillary in a few pride parades in new york — novel, yet, wondering about the connection to “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the other hypocritical realm of developing ignorance based in denial…yet, having visited different groups or centers in urban areas, as well as attempts to receive relevant (not trumped up) newsletters, i have to say i was immensely disappointed or surprised at the lack of vision in moving beyond singular topics of concern. there have been far too many charades — in retrospect — and far too much credit given where it certainly wasn’t due. cute picture of bill….over the past few years, people screech about incidents similar to the recent scandal in colorado springs….not the most beautiful person, yet, with the increasing khakification of whatever diverse aspect of queer culture remains….it certainly has been neither inspiring nor ultimately uplifting. actually, i find it rather embarrassing as principles or foundations are flushed when so many other things should be.

    ciao….still love your site….but, nature has been beautiful beyond the blah blah blah that stems from dissipating substance.

  26. Leland says

    “You wouldn’t be able to do these awful things to me if I weren’t still in this chair.” “But ja AAH, Blanche, ya AAH in that chair!” Lightning, don’t blame me for implying you’re an idiot by pointing out your idiocy. But I’ll play your child’s game just long enough to challenge you to do a Towleroad site search and document just once where I have insisted, claimed, implied, hinted, murmured under my breath blah blah blah that anyone held a gun to Clinton’s head re DOMA. But that’s a straw man argument in any case. It falls within the rhetorical sophistication of, “If someone asked you to jump off a cliff would you do it?”

    On the other hand, you have never explained why Bush isn’t worse by explicitly campaigning against gay rights as recently as yesterday, nor given one example, date, time, place where Clinton did anything remotely comparable.

    And, back at you: I’m familiar enough with your cult to know that the only way you can attempt to defend Bush is to attack Clinton or someone else, and the only way you can attempt to defend your ignorance and/or purposeful and selective misstatement of the facts is to whine about real or imagined ad hominems, and, further, misrepresent my approach. Out of a hundred posts, I rarely use an ad hominem without accompanying facts. At the same time, I have repeatedly made clear that I won’t play the Above All Else Be Polite game, nor let someone else determine how I express myself. The only person who has a right to do the latter, at least in this venue, is Andy Towle.

    Now, before you embarrass yourself any further, please detour off Towleroad to Google and enter “United States Constitution.” After reading and rereading until you grasp its “trumps all” reality, and the significance, the shamelessness of Bush & Company repeatedly exploiting it for their own political gain relative, then come back. I take as seriously as anything in my life the attempt of anyone to take me and those I love and those I’ll never meet out of that precious document. Your facile diminishing of that earns you my opprobrium. Sue me.

  27. LightningLad says

    “Defend Bush”? Where did I “defend Bush”? Please quote the exact sentence I wrote in which I explicitly “defend Bush.”

    What’s that? Can’t find it? Yeah, cause I didn’t write it.

    I guess since I’ve shown you’re full of nothing but hot air, you have to resort to making things up and saying I said things I didn’t say.

    I don’t have to explain why Clinton is “worse than Bush” in some kind of hypothetical matchup between two people who both have endorsed legislation that restricts the rights of our community. My comments were confined to Clinton’s actions and Clinton’s actions alone, since that was who the original article was about. Since you obviously can’t defend what Clinton did, you attempt the stage magician’s trick of distracting the audience’s attention elsewhere.

    Clinton bitchslapped our community and asked us to pay for the pleasure. Maybe you bottom boys enjoy that kind of thing but I don’t.

    Now take your meds and get a job so you have something productive to do other than post on the Internets all day.

  28. Tagg says

    Good Lord in Heaven! Whatever he does in bed, there’s apparently no bottom to Reichen’s ego or an end to the bizarre echo chamber that even straight media have become in relation to any and everything he says:

    “Lehmkuhl says Harris was ‘lanced’
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    WASHINGTON — Doogie Howser wasn’t outed, he was “lanced.” That’s a new term to describe celebrities who have been forced to reveal they’re gay, said Reichen Lehmkuhl, boyfriend of ‘N Sync star Lance Bass. “It’s to be outed by someone in the public media and to a celebrity, and Neil Patrick Harris, I understand, has been `lanced,'” Lehmkuhl told AP Radio News in a recent interview. The term was coined, he said, after Bass revealed earlier this year that he is gay. “They’re calling it a `lancing.’ It’s to be `lanced,'” Lehmkuhl said of Harris….”

    I just threw up a little into my mouth. What next? Daily press briefings on his bowel movements?

  29. mark m says

    ^^ Said the guy who has posted half a dozen retorts on this thread.

    Sorry Lightning, but I’m no Bill Lover and I can even see how lopsided your arguments are concerning who has “bitchslapped” our community. No fucking way it was Bill Clinton.

    Now, I have to get back to my job.

  30. RB says

    The Clintons, NEITHER OF THEM, are on our side! He was pandering to the community in an effort to cover her flip flop comment on “evolving”! It is all about politics from now on. He wants back in the white house and she is his ticket. It sickens me how two people can be so shallow. I now know why she never left him as they are just alike and deserve one another. DADT did more harm to the gay community than any other policy in the history of the military! She is just as wrong for us as he is!!!

  31. Leland says

    And I was trying SO hard to play nice, RB, and then you have to go and broad brush the Clintons with your hate again. Beneath a person of your intelligence. And your “more harm…than any other policy” demonstrates only a passing familiarity with the facts about the treatment of gays by the military across the decades before DADT came along.

  32. says

    You are right Clinton did not bitch slap us, he stabbed us in the back. I would rather face an enemy who cofronts head on, not someone who pretends to be for us but secretly is also an enemy. I don’t need any more snake oil.

  33. Leland says

    “but secretly is also an enemy”???? Sorry, Hephaestion, and all the keepers of the White Gloves & Elevated Pinky Flame: what a godawful, toy-box-for-a-brain thing to say. Please tell me you aren’t allowed to operate machinery, including driving a vehicle; aren’t allowed around impressionable children; serve food; dress yourself; or own a weapon….

  34. RB says

    Sorry Leland, but that is how I see it. They are not on our side; the Clintons. In regards to “the treatment of gays by the military across the decades before DADT came along” how many gays were discharged from the military after DADT as oposed to before? Basically, because of DADT, the military can NOW monitor Towleroad for gay activity. The numbers are what they are. We are being “hunted down” because of DADT and it has caused more discharges from the military than ever before. You think I am crazy for being a repub and I think you are crazy for placing our future in the Clintons. I am willing to at least hope I am wrong but are you?

  35. mark m says

    RB, I have had issues with the Clintons in the past but I just can’t agree with you that Clinton did more harm to gays than help. Bush has done ZERO for us, and more to demonize us. As for the comment someone made about preferring an enemy who openly hates… I disagree. I don’t give a shit what someone thinks of me in private. They better treat me with respect to my face.

  36. says

    Mark I agree to my face you treat me with respect. The point I was making was I would rather Know who I was fighting than having someone do it from the shadows.
    Leland I guess I am stupid cause I have no Idea what the hell you are talking about, “white gloves” and such. Yes I dress in me jumpers adding a shoulder holstered glock while I take snacks to the kids I drive on the school bus.
    It’s a small yellow bus but we have room for you and an extra helmet.

  37. Leland says

    Come on, RB, focus! You claim the numbers are significantly higher post DADT so the burden of proof is on you to document them. I have read them, but can’t reliably recall the comparison so I’m open to your proof [which, of course, in any case is no DEFENSE of DADT]. What I do remember reading recently, which surprised me a great deal, and would apparently surprise you, too. The MAJORITY of gay discharges since DADT have been the result of people volunteering they were gay to get out. Not hunted down. Not outed by someone else. Not from one of Reichen’s calendars with the pages stuck together accidentally falling out of their duffel bags.

    I don’t recall if there was any discussion of whether the percentage has increased since Bush starting using American soldiers for cannon fodder in Iraq, but that must play a role to some degree. If I find the article again, I’ll forward to you. Again, that in no way justifies the abuse of those who wanted to stay [or enlist openly] but I tend to believe that enough of the truth is on our side that we don’t need to inflate numbers, whether it be of gay discharges or our percentage of the population.

    As for “placing our future in the Clintons,” there is nothing I said to justify your saying that.

  38. RB says

    But since the policy went into effect in 1994, the number of discharges has climbed: 597 in 1994, 722 in 1995, 850 in 1996, and 997 in 1997, according to the latest Pentagon statistics.

    “That’s a highly significant number,” said Michelle Benecke of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “Nine hundred ninety-seven discharges under the gay policy would be the highest rate of gay discharges since 1986, and the highest number of discharges since 1989.”

    The U.S. armed forces discharged 742 gay service members last year, 2005, an average of about two per day, according to new data from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
    SLDN spokesperson Steve Ralls said the tally, confirmed by the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, represents a loss of 386 from the Army, 88 from the Air Force, 177 Navy personnel, 75 Marines and 16 from the Coast Guard.

    Those numbers are up 11 percent from 2004, when 668 personnel were discharged. Since the military began discharging gays in 1994 under the policy, more than 11,000 men and women have been removed from the military.

    I could continue, but I think the increasing numbers speak for themselves.

  39. PSMike says

    So, RB the numbers have increased dramatically since the gay-baiters are in power? Once again you prove everyone else’s point. A Republican White House, a far-right Sec. of Defense, and a rt-wing Republican party controlling Congress mirror your time arguments. During this same period the constant use of gays and lesbians as propaganda tools for the recruitment coffers of the most corrupt government/industrial coalition in the modern era has helped to make us a MUCH more visible target. DESPITE this, our own visibility has grown exponentially since 1994. As I said earlier, Clinton is not perfect, but even using his name to create a cover for this administration is laughable. With any luck, the Dems will ignore Pelosi’s call and just send Jr, Cheney, et al over to the Hague to be tried for war crimes. Maybe we can make it a multiple hanging party w/ Saddam.

  40. RB says

    Ok, Psmike, I will bite…Actually, the “numbers” have decreased during the last few years as we are at war! DO YOUR HOMEWORK PLEASE! Actually, gays are needed at a time of war and the number of gays discharged since the war, and under repub control, have decreased as they are needed. I deliberately left that out of my post thinking that no one would call me on it as it is obvious. Either way, I did my homework….DID YOU?

  41. PSMike says

    Honey, I knew that too. I knew that your points are selective. I knew that you manipulate figures to make your case, not to tell the truth. I assumed you learned that at your Fox school of lies and manipulations. I know that your comment above disputes the comments prior to that. I know that your version of doing your homework means starting with a viewpoint and only promoting the ‘facts’ that support your viewpoint. I know that I won’t win in an argument with you because you know you’re right and won’t rest until I admit to your grandiosity. I know that virtually every single stance that the neo-cons have taken over the last 10 years has ben based on greed and malice, has been proven to be wrong, and should be punishable up to and including death for their contribution to the murder of hundreds of thousands in the Middle East. I know that I’m frankly tired of even putting up with monsters like you who want to ‘debate’ the undebatable, simply to continue the joy you felt as ‘someone’ during your years on the high school debate team. I know that this country would be better off without the two of us talking the bullshit that we pass off as knowledge. I know that I’m done arguing for today. I know that you won’t be.

  42. RB says

    I did not realize we were “arguing”. I presented facts and you, well, presented opinion, absent “FACTS”. I am glad that you have defined me as a “monster” as I have done nothing to you, nor do you know me. But that is ok. I expected nothing less. And again, an argument requires your ability to piss me off. Since I do not know you, nor do I care to, the chances of that are slim.

    Take care

    RB

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