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More squirming from Dems on equality

Paul points to an excellent article by Wyatt Buchanan in the SF Chronicle, Gays want more from Dems on marriage.

It’s ground we’ve covered here before — Dems hiding behind the safety and comfort of publicly opposing a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage while seemingly unable to articulate, with equal public vigor, a definitive position on what rights they believe LGBT taxpaying citizens should have, be it marriage equality, adoption rights, protection from employment discrimination, etc.

Even those who purport to be allies were squirming when the questions arose during the marriage amendment debate last week.

…most Democratic senators argued only that Congress should be confronting more important issues like the economy and the Iraq war; they did not specifically address same-sex marriage. When asked later for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s position on same-sex marriage, a spokesman said Feinstein’s speech was her only statement on the topic.

In the speech, Feinstein argued that the states “reign supreme” in family law and are dealing with same-sex marriage “as they see fit.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, like Feinstein a Bay Area Democrat, spent more time talking about gay families. But her speech focused on the other issues she believed the Senate should discuss.

A spokeswoman said Boxer supports full rights and benefits equal to marriage for same-sex couples, but not marriage. The spokeswoman did not respond to a question about what distinction the senator draws between marriage and the kinds of unions she supports.

That dovetails with the message Terrance Heath of The Republic of T received from the “netroots” at Yearly Kos — that it’s “our job” to shift public opinion so that it’s “safe” for Democratic leaders like Feinstein, sHillary or Boxer to stand up on those issues when questioned. Any and all progress on LGBT issues is our job to do by changing hearts and minds — don’t look for support from the Dem leadership — they’re off courting the 700 Club vote. See you at the polls…and by the way, open your wallet and drop some dough.

Remember that, as the mailers come in asking for your queer (and queer-ally) cash, because if the position of “leave matters to the states” is the phrase of the campaign season, will the Dems actually fight those amendments coming up on the ballot? Good question.

Gay rights leaders said a crucial test of Democratic Party support — in addition to the marriage vote — is how the party responds to a formal request from the National Stonewall Democrats to help fight the state amendments and encourage gays and lesbians to vote. The party has yet to budget any money for the efforts.

“They know they have to quickly move on something, and we are optimistic that it will be in the next few weeks,” said John Marble, spokesman for the National Stonewall Democrats.

Constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in Idaho, Virginia, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Carolina. Gay rights leaders believe they have the best chance of defeating the Wisconsin amendment.

The most insightful comment in the article actually comes from a bible beater, Benjamin Lopez of insane Lou Sheldon’s Traditional Values Coalition, who knows that the lame ass-kissing effort by Howard Dean and Co. of the evangelicals won’t pay off — it will simply turn off the gay vote.

“I don’t think the Democratic Party is going to sacrifice a significant portion of its base simply to appease a few evangelicals they might win over in November and then have to deal with the long-term effect of having to win over the gay community for years to come,” Lopez said.

Maybe the Dems will listen to one of these social conservative “true believers” and come to the realization that gays, those in favor of reproductive freedom, and citizens concerned with privacy rights (just to name a few disillusioned portions of the Dem base) will refuse to vote for sellout Dems. Or, as we have seen so far, we’ll just watch the spectacle of the party establishment continuing its blind and delusional race to chase down the evangelical vote.

***

Perhaps some of those lame, on-the-fence, triangulating Dems need to take a look at this WaPo article on how Loving v. Virginia has relevance to this gay rights struggle: Loving Day Recalls a Time When the Union of a Man And a Woman Was Banned.

Monday was the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down miscegenation laws in Virginia, as well as the 15 other states where these horrible laws existed. The reasoning for banning racial intermarriage was, as we see each and every day here when it comes to same-sex marriage opposition, torn from and justified by the bible at the time.

“Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, Malay, and red and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix,” [Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Leon ] Bazile ruled.

Once the laws were overturned, the United States did not implode after Loving v. Virginia. Cultural armageddon did not not ensue. What did change was the boom in mixed race citizens.

That decision has, in the ensuing years, changed the way the nation looks — the percentage of interracial marriages has increased fivefold from 1970 to 2000, according the U.S. Census, from 1 percent of all marriages to more than 5 percent. The number of children living in interracial families has quadrupled in that time period, going from 900,000 to more than 3 million, and the Census Bureau predicts that such interracial unions will continue to increase.

What one has to ask the Dems who cannot find the voice to oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians is whether they truly believe that there is nothing wrong with leaving the very same right to marry up for a popular vote by “the people.”

Hat tip, Holly.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding