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04/19/2007


Democrats Add Marriage Equality To Party Platform

250px-Claudia_J_KennedyThe Democratic National Committee platform group met in Detroit yesterday to hammer out their party's platform -- a 50-page document that'll be formally endorsed next month at the Democratic National Convention.

In a meeting led by Newark mayor Cory Booker and Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, and attended by approximately 120 party leaders from across the country (and, in a few cases, from beyond), Democrats created a platform that called for, among other things, renewed commitments to fossil fuel efficiency and continued efforts to combat nuclear proliferation. Nothing much controversial made the platform -- as Detroit News notes, the platform doesn't endorse The DREAM Act, and it "sidesteps" arguments about the role of Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the platform does call for the end of DOMA, for marriage equality, and for the word "family," when it appears in immigration reform, to refer to all kinds of families.

From the Washington Blade:

Cory-Booker-300x232Language on marriage equality — which is being included in the Democratic Party platform for the first time — was accepted without amendment and without significant discussion.

Among the committee members who delivered remarks was Scott Dibble, a gay state senator from Minnesota, who said he’s “extremely pleased” with the marriage equality plank, saying the language “should be taken as an affirmation on something that we all value and cherish, and that is what marriage means and that marriage really matters.”

Said Mayor Booker:

We must stand as Democrats. We must stand for the middle class. We must stand for equality and inclusion and whether you are a single mother here in Detroit, whether you or a gay man in San Francisco, whether you are a blue collar worker in Newark, New Jersey, this is the party for you.


Homophobic Pastor Defends Right To Hold Church In A Public School; Claims He's Been Bullied: VIDEO

Hakimian
The right-wing blogosphere is going slowly batty over the plight of Pastor Jack Hakimian of Miami's Impact Miami Church. Impact is a sort of theologically generic Protestant outfit, where Hakimian, a former gang member, is given to saying things like:

... there is an aggressive approach by … gay theologians that says the Bible never spoke about homosexuality in a way that contemporary Christians understand it. It’s all over — it’s on YouTube, its on CNN, and its on 60 Minutes. They are not just saying, ‘accept us’ — and I believe we should protect, and not bully, and treat all people with dignity and respect. But they are going beyond and above to change the very meaning of Scripture.

No one thus far has questioned Pastor Hakimian's right to say such things. However, Impact is currently located on property rented to the church by the Miami-Dade School District -- located, in fact, on the campus of North Miami High School -- and the school district now plans to evict them. From the appalling rag called New American:

... the school district’s superintendent, Alberto Carvalho, responded to the sermons with a statement that Hakimian’s take on homosexuality “appears to be contrary to school board policy as well as the basic principles of humanity.” Carvalho told ABC television news affiliate local10.com that he had asked “for immediate legal review to seek the termination” of the church’s lease contract with the school district. “I am making this decision not on the basis of policy or politics, but as a rejection of prejudice and intolerance,” claimed Carvalho.

A spokesman for the district followed up Carvalho’s comments, saying that the school board and superintendent had reviewed the “allegations” against the pastor and found his words “disturbing and appalling."

Liberty Counsel's gotten involved, writing the district a letter opining that eviction would constitute a breach of Impact's 1st Amendment rights:

The nondiscrimination and antibullying policies of the Miami-Dade School Board are not applicable to the situation at hand. Pastor Hakimian and the church have violated no law or policy. The district cannot discriminate on the basis of his Biblically sound viewpoint. Any attempt by the school board to modify, change, or revoke the lease agreement would be unconstitutional.

“The district must respect the First Amendment rights of Pastor Hakimian and the church,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Pastor Hakimian, who seems to have excellent PR instincts, has turned Carvahlo's charges on their head, claiming that he, Hakimian, is the victim of intolerance and bullying, and publicly demanding an apology. See him do it AFTER THE JUMP (and note his fascinating pronunciation of the word "tyranny") ...

Continue reading "Homophobic Pastor Defends Right To Hold Church In A Public School; Claims He's Been Bullied: VIDEO" »


Boston Mayor: Chick-fil-A, Move Along

MayorMeninoThis week, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy said that the United States' gradual embrace of marriage equality is tantamount to "inviting God's judgment on our nation." In so saying, Cathy invited the judgment of Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino (pictured at right). From the Boston Herald:

[Mayor Menino] is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.

“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

Chick-fil-A has long been linked with conservative causes, though seldom so controversially. This week's remarks accomplished what the company's previous Muslim-firings and gay-bashings couldn't, sparking enough backlash to evince a promise from Chick-fil-A execs to stay out of the culture wars from now on. Distinctly odd behavior for a company whose stated purpose isn't to make a profit, but rather "to glorify God." What will God make of Chick-filA's sudden meekness? Maybe Cathy et. al. aren't so pious. Maybe they just don't like gays.   

 


Gary Bauer: Gays Cause Murder

GaryBauerBlackandWhiteOmnipresent anti-gay noisemaker Gary Bauer explained this week on his podcast exactly why there's so much violent crime in Chicago's poorer African American communities. The culprits? Poverty, hopelessness, and ineffective public education.

Just kidding. The culprits are Democrats and gays. RightWingWatch has helpfully transcribed the relevant bits (while kindly tidying up Mr. Bauer's grammar):

I'd like to go to Chicago for a second. I about fell out of my chair watching a recent CBS interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He was lamenting the values, or lack of values, of Chicago's gang culture, as nearly three hundred people have been killed in Chicago this year, many of them little kids. That's higher casualties than we're suffering in Afghanistan. Here's what Mayor Rahm Emanuel said:

"It is about values. As I said then [referring to when a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed last month], who raised you? How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them."

Well, thanks for speaking up Mr. Mayor, you're asking the right questions, but sadly you can't come up with the right answers. Certainly these kids aren't getting their values from their fathers because they don't have fathers in their households. For the past fifty years, Rahm Emanuel's party, the Democratic Party, has made it comfortable for many women to not have husbands in the home. Now Obama and the Democrats have embraced the radical idea of men marrying other men! How is that going to help the black family?

(It could help many black families -- LGBT ones -- by publicly honoring their commitments. And it might make black mothers and fathers less worried about their LGBT kids. And it might make black kids less worried about their LGBT parents. And so on. But never mind.)

Mr. Bauer also took the opportunity to ridicule Mayor Rahm Emanuel for serving in the Clinton White House during the Lewinsky affair -- and so, although it is old news, it may be worth remembering that Mr. Bauer's own presidential campaign, in 1999, was partially derailed by the departure from Mr. Bauer's service of several staffers disgusted over their (married) candidate's apparent improprieties with a young, blond female staffer. 


Carrie Underwood Comes Out For Marriage Equality

In a move doomed to alienate a signiicant hunk of her fanbase, Carrie Underwood has revealed to the Independent that she is a strong believer in marriage equality:

"As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love, and want to marry," she said. "I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love."

UnderwoodMs. Underwood was speaking to the British newspaper in preparation for her first-ever concert in the UK, which shall be held at the Royal Albert Hall later this month. (Incidentally, Underwood isn't the first American country star to visit London and make statements which might annoy her red-state fanbase. It was there that the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines famously voiced her unhappiness about the United States' rush to war in Iraq.)

From the Independent:

Underwood ... draws much of her fanbase from evangelical Christians, speaks frequently about her faith and has made religion the subject of several of her best-known songs, including the No 1 country hit "Jesus Take the Wheel".

She said, however, that her liberal attitude towards same-sex marriage comes because of her Christian values, rather than in spite of them. Though raised a Baptist, a church that tends to oppose homosexuality, Underwood and her husband Mike Fisher, a professional ice-hockey player, now worship in a non-denominational congregation.

"Our church is gay friendly," she said. "Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or [saying] 'everyone has to be like me'. No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."

Underwood, 29, swept to fame in 2005 after winning American Idol and has since drawn much of her estimated $20m (£13m) annual income from touring the US. In the interview, she condemned "people who use the Bible for hate", adding: "That's not how I would want myself as a Christian to be represented."

Underwood's new album, Blown Away, and her single, "Good Girl," currently occupy the top spots on the Billboard country charts.


Vice President Joe Biden Is For Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Biden

This morning on Meet The Press, in an interview with David Gregory, Vice President Joe Biden announced his support of marriage equality.

Watch Joe Biden on Meet The Press AFTER THE JUMP...

Here's a transcript of the relevant part of the interview:

Gregory: You write social policy. I'm curious. You know, the president has said that his views on gay marriage, on same sex marriage, have evolved. But he's opposed to it. You are opposed to it. Have your views evolved?

Biden: Look -- I just think that, uh, the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is about, it's a simple proposition. Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that's what people are finding out. It's what all marriages, at their root, are about. Whether they're marriages of lesbians, or gay men, or heterosexuals.

That's what you believe now?

That's what I believe!

And you're comfortable with same sex marriage now?

Look. I'm Vice President of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual -- men and women marrying – are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.

In a second term, will this administration come out behind same sex marriage? The institution of marriage?

Well, I, I can't speak to that. Uh, I, I, I, I don't know the answer to that. But I can tell you --

Sounds like you'd like to see it happen. If that's where the president ...

Well, the president continues to fight. Whether it's Don't Ask Don't Tell, or whether it is making sure, across the board, that you can't discriminate -- look at the executive orders he's put in place. Any hospital that gets federal funding, which is almost all of them, they can't deny a partner from being able to have access to their partner [who's] ill, or making the call on whether or not they, you know ... it's just, this is evolving. And by the way, my measure, David -- and I take a look at when things really began to change, is when the social culture changes. I think Will and Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far.

And I think people fear that which is different. Now they're beginning to understand, they're beginning to understand that this -- as a base! -- I, uh, was speaking to a group of gay leaders in Los Angeles last, two weeks ago. And one gentleman looked at me in the question period and said, let me ask you, how do you feel about us? And I had just walked in to the backdoor of this gay couple and their, their two adopted -- and I turned to the man who owned the house, and said: What did I do when I walked in? He said: You walked right to my children. They were seven and five, and giving you flowers. And I said, I wish every American could see the look of love those children have in their eyes for you guys, and they wouldn't have any doubt what this is about. 

This is the kind of off-the-script vice-presidential headline-making that any administration can either hurry to embrace or else attempt to slink away from. Interestingly, the Obama administration seems to be doing both. 

According to the Washington Post, a "Biden spokesperson" clarifies:

[The Vice President] was saying what the President has said previously -- that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights.

On Twitter, President Obama's Communications Director, David Axelrod, is more succinct:

What VP said-that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights-is precisely POTUS's position.

Good to know.

Watch Joe Biden on Meet The Press AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Vice President Joe Biden Is For Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


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