This and that
Still catching up with mail…some good stuff to click over to:
* Just a note: I’ll be posting an update later from Josh Israel, president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club, on the marriage amendment fight in that state, and where things stand with Tim Kaine.
* A scholarship fund has been established in the late Laurel Hester’s name. Michael Jensen at The Big Gay Picture reports:
Laurel’s partner, Stacie Andree, and Dane Wells, a co-worker who helped Laurel in her fight for equality, have found a way to help Laurel’s dream come true despite her passing. They have announced the creation of the Laurel Hester Scholarship Fund/TPLF, c/o The Personal Liberty Fund, P.O. Box 11335, New Brunswick, NJ 08906-1335. The scholarship will be for the benefit of “young adults who have shown leadership in the LGBTI community.” It will be administered by the New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition, an organization that includes about 25 groups as members.
* Alaska stonewalling on election 2004 security concerns: The Brad Blog is covering the bizarre refusal of a long-standing public records request the 2004 election database that was created by Diebold’s voting system. It’s been revealed that the company’s contract with the state claims the information to be a “company secret,” and the state stepped in to stop the request, giving the smells-to-high-heaven reason that the release would pose a “security risk” to the state of Alaska.
* Juan at Boozhy has a good post up, The Flip Side of the Freedom of Speech, on the Austrian Courts’ sentencing of historian David Irving to three years in prison for denying the existence of the holocaust in a 1989 Austrian press interview.
* Hughes for America takes on efforts to stop gays from adopting.
* Blender ZZ pointed to an article on what she says is “a small bright spot in the usual hateful state of affairs around here,” referring to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. saying he’d veto two bills aimed at banning gay-straight alliances in public high schools and limiting what students are taught about evolution.
* A laugher out of New Zealand. I agree with Blender Paul on this one — an appeal from the Catholic Church for New Zealanders to boycott an episode of South Park completely backfired, as six times as many people actually tune in.
The South Park episode revolves around a nearby town’s discovery that a statue of the Virgin Mary has begun bleeding. The event is dubbed a miracle and the people flock to see the statue, including Pope Benedict XVI, who ultimately pronounces that the statue is menstruating.
Military interrogators posing as FBI agents at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapped terrorism suspects in an Israeli flag and forced them to watch homosexual pornography under strobe lights during interrogation sessions that lasted as long as 18 hours, according to one of a batch of FBI memos released Thursday.
The real FBI agents had to step in to say that any confessions extracted under those circumstances wouldn’t be admissable in court. Gee, I wonder why.
* And finally, Blender Willy sent me a letter of his that was posted at the weekly alternative Free Times in Columbia, SC. He said he has been enjoying Blend posts on the Dems selling out gays at every turn, and that this missive was his chance to unload about the state of politics in the party. He said his piece was “not too badly butchered, though they killed my last paragraph.”
When people take the approach that if an anti-gay-marriage although pro-civil-union politician runs, that’s better than nothing, basically they are saying our civil rights and equality are NOT the most important thing our government can support and protect, that it is okay to back-burner those issues or let some people be second-class, be not as good, be not quite as worthy, for however much longer, so that some _real good_ can be accomplished.
And I watch as my gay friends and my str8 friends and acquaintances come to this decision over and over: we will sacrifice your (or our, if you are gay) rights and equality so that we can have the hope of a better life or so that we can defeat the forces of evil. Yet these same people, str8 or gay, are so quick to condemn exactly that same argument regarding domestic spying, that we can sacrifice the rights of some to achieve other gains, that the ends justifies the means.
To me it seems clearly hypocritical. You aren’t protecting what may have been good about this country in either case. You are destroying the good. You are an enabler. You are part of that awful process, and I find the middle-grounders in this, the “be patient, wait while we do other things that are more important,” to be more depressing to think about or deal with than the people on the far right, who at least are not being hypocritical. I think those on the right pretty much believe what they say when they say gay marriage is simply a ploy for “special rights” and an attempt to destroy society. I may not agree, but I don’t see the internal discrepancy that I see in the “gay people wait for their rights while we elect people who will protect everyone’s right not to be spied on, etc.” Sorry, but I can’t understand why civil rights would not be an all or nothing thing, and both these issues in some ways involve rights to privacy and freedom of association.
The polarization between right and left seems to exist to some degree between all the varieties of right and left, although to me the left seems more damaged by it. I don’t see myself persuading anyone I know not to vote for the middle ground on equal rights issues. I sure as hell don’t see any of them changing me in the least.
In a way I suppose I would like to thank the middle-grounders and the “yes, it’s not fair, but you have to be realistic” crowd for making me stop and think about just what is going on here. After growing up in the sixties and seventies feeling completely “other,” a queer in a str8 world, an atheist in the Bible Belt, a socialist in the Democrat-becoming-Republican solid south, you’d think it’d have been hard for me to feel even less welcome, but that’s pretty much what the marriage debate has done for me. And it’s not the right who’s done it; it’s the compromise crowd.
Gay-Straight Alliance, anyone? I can see what we queers are giving up here. Can someone remind me what the str8s are giving up in not supporting in every possible way fair and equal civil rights for all?
Thankfully we have a good number of straight allies in the fight, Willy, and we’ll need help from every one of them to educate people who don’t have
civil equality on their radar. The “New Dems” aren’t interested in talking about it, so changing minds is really only going to happen at the grassroots level, perhaps even more effectively at the person-to-person level. It will take gays kicking open the closet door (and straight allies “coming out” as supporters) in strong numbers. You just wish that the Dems would lead the way and not show such cowardice.