August 20, 2008
LGBT-onics and the Dem platform (II)
Posted by: Chris
Two lesbian elected officials are defending the draft Democratic Party platform they helped write against complaints that it omits the G-word -- along with the L, B and T words. Lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who co-chaired the platform committee, whose 15 members also included Alabama state rep Patricia Todd, both both spoke to Ohio's Gay Peoples Chronicle:
Baldwin explained that the committee made a conscious choice to use more descriptive language that models the wording used in legislation.
“Most of the wordsmithing,” said Baldwin, “was done purposefully to make the clearest policy statements possible.”
“There was never any discussion to keep the word ‘gay’ out of the platform or any reluctance to say the word,” Todd said.
The 2004 platform does refer to “gay” and “lesbian.”
“The platform is a statement of aspiration,” Baldwin said, “not an implementation plan. It reflects the values of the party.”
Baldwin's explanation tracks my own reaction to the draft, since gay rights legislation bans discrimination based on "sexual orientation," which includes bias against heterosexuals as well.
Also, it turns out the most glaring "LGBT" omission, in a reference to gay families that is repeated verbatim from the 2004 without "gay," is apparently be remedied:
- 2004: We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits and protections for these families.
- 2008 draft: We support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections.
- 2008 revision: We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections.
Considering the attention paid to the complaints and to precise wording, this supposed revision is a bit odd. For one thing, there's still no LGBT-ish there, though it's easy to understand why considering the political correctness that surrounds LGBT-onics. Changing "same-sex couples" to "gay couples" or "gay and lesbian couples" would still leave out "bisexual couples." That leaves only the clunky "gay, lesbian and bisexual couples," which of course would leave our trans sisters and brothers fuming.
What's more, using "same-sex couples," implies adult relationships are the extent of our families, with no acknowledgment of those of us who are parents. The 2004 platform, on the other hand, used over-inclusive language, since "gay and lesbian families" implies the kids are gay, too.
Why not this:
We support the full inclusion of all families, including those led by same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections.
This more accurately describes gay couples as part of families, and recognizes at least impliedly that relationship recognition impacts not just them but their children as well.
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