2011, A Banner Year for LGBT Rights

Olson_boiesProp 8: Early this year, the Ninth Circuit certified a question of state standing law to the California Supreme Court. Some in our community used words like "punted" or "avoided," but the court was really being thorough, ensuring no legitimate rationale for undermining its ultimate merits decision. California's highest court eventually determined that ProtectMarriage, the citizen proponents of Prop 8, have standing under state law to step into the shoes of the state to defend Prop 8 on appeal. As I argued here, that decision was expected, but based on faulty reasoning. But, the decision put Perry back on the fast track to a decision on the merits. Shortly after the California Supreme Court made its decision, the Ninth Circuit saw briefing and heard argument on the appeal of the grant of the motion to release the videotapes of the original Perry trial and on the appeal of the denial of the motion to vacate the original lower court decision because Judge Vaughn Walker is gay and was in a long-term same-sex relationship at the time of trial. I argued here that affirming the latter was a slam dunk, while affirming the former was unlikely.

Still, look how far we have come: The Prop 8 litigation — thanks to the American Foundation of Equal Rights (AFER), its legal team run by Ted Olson and David Boies — gave us the first federal court decision declaring gay judges can be impartial on gay rights cases, and it gave us a federal court's declaration that no evidence exists to suggest that natural procreation was ever a purpose of marriage, that no rational reason exist for keeping gays and lesbians out of the institution of marriage, and that marriage discrimination is an example of state action that classifies individuals on the basis on sexual orientation, which merits heightened scrutiny. And, let us not forget that Perry gave us a forum to say that marriage discrimination is unconstitutional.

We have to ask ourselves what — or whom — helped create these successes. The answer is clear: AFER, Ted Olson, and David Boies, and the recognition that the courtroom is our friend. Remember, certain gay activists initially balked at the involvement of the conservative Mr. Olsen, worried for an intrusion onto their turf. I dare them to voice those concerns today. Plus, had we not taken the litigation path, our rights would be at the mercy of the misleading advertisements in a popular vote and the flaky whims of a pliable voting population.

Gay-marriage-nyMarriage Equality in New York: On June 24, the New York State legislature sent Governor Andrew Cuomo a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the Empire State. The law took effect one month later, making New York the largest state by far to allow our community entry into the institution of marriage. The methodical legislative strategy culminated in endless meetings with several Republican state senators to tip the balance for marriage equality in the upper chamber. And, despite a few Republicans who used the back door meetings to push their own agenda — and despite the anti-gay vitriol that spewed from Ruben Diaz — the bill passed.

Who brought us here? Governor Cuomo was one of 2011's strongest gay allies. Right up there with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo's unique blend of moderation, effectiveness, and strong advocacy skills almost made marriage equality a foregone conclusion. But, it was the years of work by Alan Van Capelle and the Empire State Pride Agenda setting the groundwork for marriage equality, and Brian Ellner and an effective advocacy campaign from the Human Rights Campaign and New Yorkers United for Marriage that kept the pressure on. What distinguishes the New York advocacy effort from the impossibly territorial and unfocused effort to put Prop 8 on the ballot in California was the unity and cooperation of the former. In California, Equality California, which botched the 2008 Prop 8 effort, has fallen apart, and it's not known whether newcomer "Love, Honor, Cherish" has the experience, the money, the respect, or the skills to do what Mr. Ellner and the marriage coalition did in New York.

Dadt"Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Though the Repeal Act was passed in 2010, the law was signed away this summer and brushed aside in September. Sure, Elaine Donnelly is still apoplectic and various organizations with the word "Family" in their names are still obsessed with sexuality. But, the United States military is not only functioning, it is thriving: The Marine Corps is recruiting at gay pride events, lesbians are getting the first kisses when their ships return home, all branches are re-admitting previously discharged gay service members, and harassing incidents have been exceedingly rare.

This year marked the end of the odious law, but it means more than that. To suggest that who you are makes you incapable of serving your country is the height of hate and un-American. The recognition that gays can serve openly also means that if we allow gay soldiers to fight and die, how can we not allow them to marry the ones they love, or extend benefits to those loved ones, or allow them to marry on base chapels, or grant their families access to Tricare, and so on. the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" means a lot.

So, it is worth once again asking: how did we get here? DADT was repealed by a Democratic Congress, with significant support from a Democratic president. And, while there were Republican senators and representatives who voted in favor of repeal, this bill would have never come to the floor had their party controlled even one house of Congress. Repeal was a striking statement from our Democratic allies in comparison to our conservative opponents, but not a very brave one: Repeal was supported by upward of 70 percent of the American public. Still, the DADT saga showed us who has our interests at heart: Senators Levin and Lieberman took the lead, but Senators Gillibrand, Feinstein, Schumer, Reid, and a host of others made this vote about morality and fairness than anything else. It showed that Senate Republicans want nothing to do with gay equality when, as stated by Senator Collins, it means going too fast. It showed that John McCain is a mercurial, excitable man set in his ancient ways, that Scott Brown thinks being a "moderate" means doing everything half-heartedly, and, as evidenced by the hearings to propose complicating roadblocks to repeal, that House Republicans are dominated by those men and women who feel a calling to do anything in their power to stop the progress of gay equality.

DADT was also repealed in the context of dual political and legal strategy. Log Cabin Republicans v. United States scared the Pentagon and institutionalists that if the legislative repeal process fell apart, a California federal judge was going to abolish the ban on a dime, throwing the methodical military into alleged upheaval. The Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network lobbied hard, but the Human Rights Campaign was late to the party. Together, a united political lobbying effort and a well-reasoned legal argument made the Repeal Act possible.

WindsorDOMA: In February, 2011, President Obama took his greatest step to date in support of gay rights when he and Attorney General Holder issued a letter to Speaker Boehner declaring it Administration policy that sexual orientation discrimination merits heightened scrutiny and that, as such, the Administration will no longer defend DOMA, the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," that declared opposite-sex marriage the only possible marriage under federal law. This means quite a bit for the ongoing DOMA challenges — Gill, Petersen, Windsor, and others — because the executive's position is always given high regard, but it means more than that: President Obama is the first president to make it official government policy that anti-gay discrimination is antithetical to American principles of equality and due process. And, for those in the lawyerly biz, we know the importance of heightened scrutiny. Without it, a state actor can pick any reason out of a hat to discriminate against us; now, he has to pass a much higher hurdle. Already, this policy has resulted in various courts, including the Los Angeles bankruptcy court, to declare DOMA unconstitutional.

How did we get here? Thanks to President Obama and his lawyers and advisers. The lawyers who advised President Clinton, including some oddly prominent ones poking at President Obama from the sidelines, consistently advised caution on gay rights. Chastened from the gays in the military fiasco, they proposed DADT as a supposed compromise and told Mr. Clinton to stay away from gay issues. Then-Senator Clinton, when she ran for the Democratic nomination, did the same. President Obama may still be "evolving" on the issue of marriage, but his support for gay equality has been full-throated.

President Obama voiced support for marriage equality in New York, has sent letters of congratulations to married same-sex couples, and allowed his cabinet secretaries to voice unmitigated support for same-sex marriage. President Obama is indeed evolving, and history will prove that it was a good idea to trust a man who has done so much on our behalf.

ClintonForeign Policy and Immigration: At the direction of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently made it clear to the world that the United States believed that human rights are gay rights, and gay rights are human rights, and those countries that deny either are no friends of Washington. While the memorandum connected to the speech was light on details — admittedly, all United Nations documents are light on details — Secretary Clinton's speech had extraordinary rhetorical value.

Also at President Obama's direction, the Administration has basically put an end to the deportations of the legally married foreign national spouses of same-sex American citizens.

Extension of Federal Benefits: President Obama extended various federal benefits to gay couples through executive order, but even more important than that, Lambda Legal secured victories for gay federal employees seeking federal benefits.

There have been other developments — some good, some bad — but before we get bogged down in minutiae, the pattern is pretty clear. We owe 2011's progress to President Obama, the incomparable Ted Olson and David Boies and the AFER team, and the legal strategies they all employed. President Obama knew that more progress could be made through heightened scrutiny than anything else, and AFER knew that putting Prop 8 back on the ballot would make marriage rights nothing more than a ping pong ball.

We have more to do in 2012 — DOMA must be declared unonstitutional by the federal courts and we must pass employment non-discrimination — but, as we get closer to the precipice of the 2012 election, our victories in 2011 remind us who our allies are, that our advocates need to unite, and that President Obama has done more for our community than anyone likely imagined realistically possible.

***

Ari Ezra Waldman is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. After practicing in New York for five years and clerking at a federal appellate court in Washington, D.C., Ari is now on the faculty at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. His research focuses on gay rights and the First Amendment. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.

Follow Ari on Twitter at @ariezrawaldman.

Comments

  1. jason says

    Ari Ezra Waldman is exaggerating Obama’s achievements. Obama, in fact, has done little or nothing to further the cause of gay rights this year. I can’t think of one legislative achievement. Keep in mind that DADT was reluctantly repealed in 2010, not 2011.

    Keep your political nonsense to yourself, Ari. We in the broader community are fed up with Obama’s lies and distortions. Obama panders to us when he needs our votes and/or our money but then fails to deliver.

    I’d much rather for Mitt Romney than Obama next year. And that is exactly what I intend to do.

  2. david says

    When a male petty officer kisses another male petty officer, that’s progress. I’m still waiting. Probably will never happen. Certainly the liberal media won’t gush over it in the same way it did over the females.

  3. CDA says

    @Jason –

    Obama is not a member of the legislature. He is the executive. It might be worth bearing that in mind when assessing his efficacy.

    Also – I’m not sure which broader gay community you’re referring to, but based on your preference for Romney, I’m not sure you’re really part of it. You certainly don’t speak for me.

    Is Obama’s silly “evolution” equivocation on marriage infuriating? Yes, but anyone familiar with the agony caused by DOMA deportations, lack of HIV/AIDS funding and services, or the murder, rape and torture awaiting many LGBT people in our world will recognize heroism and compassion in Obama’s actions as president.

    Talk about lies and distortions. You need to get some perspective.

  4. ChristopherM says

    I hardly think President Obama has been a fierce advocate. It took the pressure of advocates to make these achievements possible. That said, he has been better for us than any president in history, and any petulant fool like Jason above who wants to vote for someone like Mittens will get what they deserve…utterly less than nothing.

  5. Artie says

    @ Jason,

    Romney is being loyal to the Christian Right. He wants to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing same-sex marriage. He’s mentioned the idea of bringing back DADT. Think about that kind of hate and demonizing coming out of the White House. Do you even care about the effects of a president who supports that kind of hate? I don’t think you’d want to be a gay high school student under those circumstances. Or a serviceman in the armed forces. But then, why should you care? Gay kids die. Servicemen’s careers go down the tubes because of Romney’s new DADT. You laugh.

  6. Nanuq says

    Also at President Obama’s direction, the Administration has basically put an end to the deportations of the legally married foreign national spouses of same-sex American citizens.

    Not so. Here in LGBT-rights-leading Vermont, the US Immigration “service” is trying to boot out the Japanese wife of an American woman. The Story is AP via the Burlington Free Press (mainstream daily): http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011111221015

    Sweeping statements do not a reality make in everyday life.

  7. George M says

    Thanks Mr Pres, you have made our lives better. You have fought harder that any republican including Romney. The majority of us in the “broader” community stand with you and you will win the majority of the “gay” votes because you deserve it. What the “broader” community is not buying is Romney’s bull sh– around gay rights. But he will have the backing of gay republicans. Good article very true

  8. jason says

    I agree that the President is not a legislator but he does have the privilege of the bully pulpit. He has been remarkably lacking in his use of the bully pulpit to push for gay rights causes. He’s been big on tokenistic gestures and promising comments but that’s about it. There’s nothing substantial there.

    Obama is like the Christmas present you get with all the shiny paper and fancy ribbons. You eagerly unwrap it in the expectation of getting a lovely gift, only to find a souvenir boomerang.

  9. Ari says

    @jason: you are totally welcome to bring your opinion to the discussion, but i spent 2000 words supporting my conclusions. i see no evidence in support of your conclusions. you just say the president has not done stuff. well, HOW has he not used the bully pulpit — even though he used a big one at the UN; HOW has he made only token gestures — I think heightened scrutiny, not defending DOMA are just two very concrete and meaningful gestures. I respect your views, but, with all due respect, I do not yet value your contribution to the discussion.

  10. jason says

    Ari,

    How about fixing gay rights in the US first? President Obama was elected by the people of the US, not the world. He gained our votes on the basis that he was going to be a fierce advocate for gay rights in the US. His advocacy is more like a damp squib, as time attests.

    Keep in mind that the President has the ability to issue executive orders. What has he done in the way of gay rights when it comes to executive orders? I can’t see anything of substance.

    While I admire the passion of your political shilling for Obama, it’s not going to swim with the broader gay community.

  11. jdb says

    “since Alexander the Great ruled the known world.”

    But he didn’t. He didn’t rule China, Southeast Asia, Korea, sub-Saharan Africa, Northern and Western Europe, and neither of the Americas. All of these areas were populated and thus known.

    I know you probably didn’t think much about that throw-away line, but its a product of a very limited (and limiting) perspective on world history that stems from an overly pro-Greek/Roman bias in many older history texts. Its also mildly demeaning of those groups that fall outside of the “known world.” The Chinese, for example, gave us paper, which has lasted longer than Alexander’s empire. For that matter, the nation of China has existed continuously as an independent nation for much longer than Greece or Macedonia or Rome ever did/have.

  12. CDA says

    Jason:

    An executive order is one of many powers afforded to Presidents, but so is an instruction to the DoJ, and yet you don’t give Obama any credit for his command not to enforce DOMA. Why is that?

    Also, which specific rights are you referring to that we currently don’t enjoy that Obama has the ability to grant via Executive Order?

    You really want gay rights “fixed”? Do you really think that one person – even a POTUS – can do such a thing in less than one 4 year term? Do you think your man Romney is going to do that?

    I’m so sick of the priorities of the mainstream gay community in the US. I used to share them, and I still think they’re important, but if you really want to understand what is really important to LGBT people and what we should be focusing our clout/efforts on, you should spend your time volunteering with LGBT groups and see how bad it really gets.

    The most vulnerable among us are not the people who have to settle for civil unions in Rhode Island or who can’t use their preferred gender bathroom in Pennsylvania. They’re the people who didn’t know about asylum and missed the 1 year deadline, and will be deported back to a place where gays are lynched and HIV care is horrible; they’re the African man who gets beaten and lit on fire in broad daylight for being gay; they’re the lesbian who gets raped until she “understands” how a “real man” feels; they’re the people who are homeless, with drug problems and HIV before the age of 18. If you read Ari’s article, he cites that Obama has stood up for LGBT people around the world and at home. America has the bully pulpit for the world, and Obama and Hillary are using it to far more productive ends than to achieve the civil reforms that we all desire domestically.

  13. jason says

    CDA,

    You cite a number of pity-worthy incidents. Yes, they concern me. But it is not Obama’s domain to be ruling for the world. The world did not elect him.

    Obama is President of the UNITED STATES. His promises leading up to the vote were unequivocal: I will be a fierce advocate for your rights, he thundered. Well, he’s been in power over 3 years and all I’ve seen is the occasional glimmer through the clouds.

    Glimmer doesn’t count for much, you know.

  14. George M says

    I did a comment but don’t know where it went…
    Jason you really think the majority of gay voters are going to vote for the right? Really do you think that?

    Obama is not perfect by any means, but for me hes the one we need. Romney will do nothing for gay rights, as time goes on he will do more work for the religious right. The religious right is ramping up and will be out in force next year, you think any moderate republicans will win? Or stand with us on gay issues?

    Just because he is not in people’s face does not mean he’s not with us. Every little bit helps, appointing gay people, changing policies, including us and inviting gay bloggers to the white house to hand him his ass matters. For me it’s better to keep what we know, Romney will never be what you think he will be.

    I get the dems had both houses last year but every little thing needed 60 votes, little to NO help from the right. The tea part hates us, they own the speaker and today when he caved proved it. Obama couldn’t work for a tax cut on the richest people, the republicans would stop him.

    Your guy signed a marriage pledge, wtf! Have you read it? Obama may not like gay marriage but he would not stop you from having it. Your guy wants to ban all state gay marriages. He’s not perfect I know that we All know that but against Romney please.

    You do what’s right for you but I think you see the world very differently. Executive orders run the risk of being over turned by the next anti gay republican president. Romney would do it in a heart beat, he wants religious votes and he’ll need them. I truly believe the majority of gay voters will see through Romney’s bull, that’s all it is. I don’t get it
    Here’s to everyone getting what they want for Christmas!!!!!’

  15. Fodolodo says

    I was initially very unhappy with the Olson/Boies challenge to Prop. 8, and nothing has changed since then that has made me change my mind. Indeed, the one thing that made have made a difference — the chance that the standing issue might have insulated Judge Walker’s ruling from appellate review — has largely been nullified by the California Supreme Court.

    The fact that the case was first heard before a sympathetic federal judge, who then issued a strongly favorable decision, is irrelevant to its long-term prospects. What counts is the final decision, not the initial one, and with the standing question removed, that will probably be the US Supreme Court. While its prospects look better there than in 2009, given improved polling numbers and some high-profile victories, they still don’t look too favorable.

    Perry v. Brown is here to stay. Given that, it’s important to try as hard as possible to help it succeed, and so it’s entirely appropriate for LGBT legal rights organizations to have dropped their criticism and lent what aid they could. But that tactical consideration doesn’t nullify the legitimacy of the concerns the critics had, concerns that have not lost their force.

  16. CDA says

    Jason –

    I realize your point re: putative responsibilities, but I don’t find it especially compelling. I don’t think you’d argue that Obama has no power to change the things I mentioned… to wit, he might have more power than anyone else in the world.

    I see that my argument from empathy doesn’t sway you, but I don’t think you’re arguing that he shouldn’t advance international LGBT rights, just that all/most domestic issues should take precedence over all/most international ones, regardless of gravity. That’s a matter of opinion, and I will save my arguments about queer politics for another time.

    As domestic issues go, I would say that I think your expectations for what Obama could have done are unreasonable. I still have not seen you mention anything that a president can or should do (and that he didn’t do) that would qualify as “fierce.” I think you’re underestimating the amount of political capital Obama had, how little of it he derived from a small gay donor/voting base, and the massively high cost to benefit ratio of advancing gay rights with an intractable (and lately mixed) legislature in the face of myriad other problems that people outside of this board care more about.

    In truth I have rarely been satisfied with Obama’s record on domestic issues, but I think he has done much with little and indisputably more than every other president combined (as is detailed extensively above).

  17. George M says

    After what you said Jason “fierce advocate” I guess that’s what it comes down to, people in the gay community will have to decide if it’s been enough.

  18. Ken says

    Litigation more successful than activism? Spoken like a true lawyer. But the two biggest accomplishments of the year, marriage in New York and the DADT repeal came about primarily through activism and not litigation. Meanwhile Prop 8 continues to slog it’s way through the courts with no end in sight. If we had just done another vote we could probably marry in California today.

  19. Ken says

    On Obama: Better late than never. Yes, in 2011 he has finally acted like a fierce advocate. But I can’t forget that the first two years of his Presidency were a huge missed opportunity. We had a large Democratic majority in Congress that could have passed a lot of the things he is now advocating for. But with the current Congress nothing will actually get done.

  20. Lance says

    You wrote an article on why 2011 may have been the best year for LGBTs since ancient times and you didn’t bother to include examples outside the United States?

    How about the Social Democratic party of Germany pushing for marriage equality as one of its most important promises for the upcoming elections and to ending discrimination in adoption laws? David Cameron’s ultimatum to anti-LGBT countries that need financial aid? Elio Di Rupo becoming prime minister of Belgium?

    All of these are fantastic deeds and I’m sure there are plenty of others too that showcase that this year’s grandeur is not endemic to the U.S.

  21. George M says

    Ken
    True the dems had large numbers but not enough. The filibuster was more popular then the president. The dems had blue dogs, independent Joe and NO help from republican to get over the 60 votes needed. We had more then enough in the house but not in the senate.
    It’s not fair to say he had a bullet proof majority.

    It won’t be better with a republican president. He never said it would happen in 4 years or one term. Winning in states is So important and we need to continue, we don’t need a president working against us waiting to sign a ban on gay marriage. The republicans are trying to do away with marriage in NH, in michigan republicans are trying to over ride town anti gay discriminations laws, the voters approved it by 60% and they want them gone. In iowa they still want to end marriage. It will hurt having someone like Romney in the white house. Obama is not perfect but he is Way better then what we could get

  22. Brian in Texas says

    @ Jason

    That is fine is you have conservative views; but keep in mind you are encouraging other gays to vote for a man who says we should not be allowed to merry, we shouldn’t be able to serve openly in the military, and who belongs to a church whose members would disown and or torture a family member for being gay.

  23. jason says

    Brian in Texas,

    Mitt Romney doesn’t hold those views. He’s more gay-friendly than Obama.

    I think what sealed it for me was the female-female kiss that received wide publicity yesterday in San Diego outside the Navy facility. Liberals would not have allowed it if it were two men. That sealed it for me.

  24. George M says

    I should have read your comment better
    He’s more gay friendly? Can you explain that? How do you know 2 guys can’t kiss? Or is it more of your thing with women?

  25. jason says

    I’m simply pointing out that the Navy kiss between the two women yesterday would not have gone ahead if it were two men. Even if it had, the liberal media would not have gushed over it in the same way. It’s amazing that you dunderhead gay men can’t see this. You are happy to accept being treated like second-class citizens by liberals. Amazing, absolutely amazing.

    I simply cite this liberal double standard in the Navy and the media because it confirmed my feelings about liberals: they are liars and frauds.

    I’ll be casting my vote for the Republican candidate next year because I am disgusted with the dishonesty of liberals and I’m also disgusted with the gay community for accepting this dishonesty. Oh, and Mitt isn’t a bad guy, either.

  26. George M says

    Few questions for you
    Didn’t you say in another article that the navy said no men kissing? Where is that?

    Jason you don’t have to be a part of the community do your own thing the community understands the difference between dems and republicans.

    What has your side done to Not make us 2nd class citizen?

    You said mitt is more gay friendly how??

    Do you do anything to better the community?

    Have you ever left your home state? When they pass anti gay laws does it bother you?

    Vote for a republican because of the media… That’s your right.

  27. Michael Bedwell says

    Aw, did Uncle Mikey hurt poor Little Ari’s feelings….so he had to delete my comment? Thin skin much?

    Here’s a quote for you from a President who actually HAD balls: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

  28. Dev says

    Please stop feeding the troll. Jason doesn’t even make sense to an adult. He keeps posting fabrications repeatedly without backing anything up with facts and frankly, his reasoning doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t even acknowledge questions about his statements, he just goes on and on and on about the same things.

    He firmly believes in supporting someone who will work ACTIVELY to strip you of rights, rather than support someone whom he views as not doing enough to EARN you your rights. Perfect example: Supporting Romney, who would outlaw gay marriage and gay sex given the chance, instead of Obama, whom he thinks hasn’t done enough on gay rights aside from supporting DADT repeal and the upcoming legal takedown of DOMA. Oh, and why wouldn’t you vote for Romney? HE’S A NICE GUY!

    This sums up all of Jason’s posts: “I CAN’T HAVE EVERYTHING I WANT SO I’LL JUST KILL MYSELF! WAAAAA!!!” It’s very irritating, but alas it is a fact of life on the internet that you have to live with trolls. Still, you would think someone who could string words into sentences would have AT LEAST the maturity and intellect of a ten-year-old.

  29. jason says

    Dev,

    I don’t really care about you. You’re irrelevant.

    I’ve simply pointed out the facts about Obama’s failure of gay advocacy. He’s been a dismal President.

  30. Ari says

    @bedwell: your decision to refer to someone u disagree with as “little” is pretty immature and unhelpful. I don’t even know how to delete a comment and if you look at my posts, I have never shied away from a post that disagrees with me. If u have something constructive to contribute, I urge you to do so. If all you have is name calling, then, well, feel free to leave the kitchen yourself.

  31. oliver says

    Ari, thanks for a great review of the past couple of years. between the current crop of carnies the GOP has up on offer, and Obama, I still choose Obama any day of the week.
    Happy Holidays, everyone!

  32. Artie says

    @ Bedwell,

    Funny that you should use a Harry Truman quote. You failed to explain to me before why it was OK for racial integration in the armed forces to go nowhere for three years following Truman’s order to desegregate the armed forces. You made me some vague mention of “various reasons,” all of which you found reasonable. In comparison with what is, in your opinion, the inexcusable two years and eight months it took Obama.

    Next up, a quote from your comment: “Aw, did Uncle Mikey hurt poor Little Ari’s feelings.”

    Let me put this kindly. This is not an example of persuasive writing. Also, Sparky, I think it’s the moderators who delete comments, if ever, not the authors of the posts. By the way, are you still dressing up like Joan Crawford? (Actually, Hillary Clinton pretending to be Joan Crawford as she brings the Joint Chiefs of Staff to heel with a snap of her fingers.

  33. Artie says

    @ Jason,

    “Mitt Romney doesn’t hold those views. He’s more gay-friendly than Obama.”

    If the above statement isn’t the mark of a troll, I don’t know what is.

    “I think what sealed it for me was the female-female kiss that received wide publicity yesterday in San Diego outside the Navy facility. Liberals would not have allowed it if it were two men. That sealed it for me.”

    Not just a troll, but a blithering idiot into the bargain. Jason, those sailors won that kiss in a raffle, which means their selection was pure chance. There is no conspiracy at work here. You’re becoming performance art, except that it’s kind of sick. This is your vision: Romney runs around the country as president championing the federal ban on same-sex marriages that he wants by demonizing gay people. (Remember that he gladly signed Maggie Gallagher’s anti-equality pledge.) After that, Romney gives gay servicemen in the armed forces a hard time or worse.

    How do you think gay high school kids feel about the president of their country telling everyone that they should rewrite the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of disrespecting them? Gay high school kids die, gay servicemen get kicked because of the new DADT, and you laugh. Do you have any thoughts about the potential victims of your candidate other than laughing at them?

  34. Chris says

    Jason — you are going to vote for Romney who doesn’t support ENDA, fully supports DOMA, would push for a constitutional amendment to bar you yourself from marriage. You are an ignorant piece of excrement – or a Romney concern troll – same thing.

  35. says

    “President Obama has not only done more for our community than any president in history, but has indeed been the “fierce advocate” he promised to be . . .”

    Ari Ezra Waldman, thy name be Aunt Thank-You-Ma’am! Thy game be licking the arses of crumb-throwing politicians. Thou makest me sick!

  36. Paul R says

    I honestly don’t understand why anyone responds to Jason. He’s simply desperate for attention and will say anything to get it. There is absolutely no point in responding to anything he writes.

    And the notion that Andy, Ari, or anyone else deletes comments is silly, paranoid, and reeks of misplaced self-importance. Even the occasional posts advertising products or websites don’t get deleted.

  37. Kevin_BGFH says

    “President Obama knew that more progress could be made through heightened scrutiny than anything else…”

    That’s absolutely correct, and I don’t think a lot of people grasp quite how monumental that is. If the courts concur, it’s a game changer. It will impact every single LGB(and possibly T) issue in a positive way.

  38. Kevin_BGFH says

    @Jason – There is absolutely no way that Romney can hold a candle to Obama on LGBT issues.

    (1) He dragged his heels on implementing court-ordered same sex marriage in Massachusetts, in invoked an obscure, never-before-used, early 1900s law to prevent out-of-staters from marrying in Massachusetts. (The law, intended to block interracial marriages between people from the south, was never actually used before Romney used it against LGBTs. It was repealed after Romney left office.)

    (2) He opposes both same sex marriages and civil unions, and has announced his support for a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT banning same sex marriage. He signed the National Organization for Marriage’s pledge to support a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage.

    (3) He opposed repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    Please name one single LGBT issue where Romney is better than Obama, or even as good. You may have other non-LGBT issues that are more important to you, and that’s valid, but it’s a complete lie to suggest that he’s in any way better than Obama on LGBT issues, or that his policies would be anything other than overtly hostile to LGBTs.

  39. Ianto S. says

    @jason, so concerned about liberals “lying” somehow manages to ignore veteran flip-flopper Mitt’s many lies to all sorts of constituencies, including Mitt Romney’s lies to the gay residents of Massachusetts — where he once claimed he would be more “gay friendly than Ted Kennedy” but eventually went on to oppose gay equality every chance he got, once elected.

    Typical hypocritical conservative BS.

    Mitt Romney, if elected President, will not do a thing to advance gay equality, and will actively work to reverse what gains we’ve made. Nobody who cares even a little bit about gay equality can cast a vote for Romney, if they truly are *serious* about gay equality.

  40. terence says

    Forgive me, but I find your complains on his supposed ‘lack of actions’ or ‘damp squib advocacy’ as being incredibly thankless. All of us here in the Middle and Southeast Asia (excluding Thailand) have little next to no rights whatsoever. We can’t even dream for it, and even a mere, vague protection for our rights seem like a massive shower of gold for us.

    Please shut up.

Leave A Reply