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    January 29, 2008

    Blogger-activist search for purity, con't

    Posted by: Chris

    Dennisk The latest example of the blogger-activist search for purity comes from the Republic of T, a black gay blogger I read and respect, who is throwing up his hands now that Dennis Kucinich has withdrawn from a race he never had a snowball's chance in Hades of winning in the first place:

    So, I guess I’m sitting things out until November. I had looked forward to having the opportunity to vote my hopes in the primaries—to vote for someone. Now, I guess I’ll just fold my arms until I know who I’m voting against in November, and who I’m settling for.

    And before anyone jumps on me, I will vote in the general election. I just can’t see myself getting excited about or supporting any of the remaining Democratic candidates with any degree of enthusiasm. Of those who remain, Mike Gravel is the only who supports marriage equality, but he loses me with his whole tax position. At this point, the least unsatisfactory Democrat in my view may be John Edwards, but I can’t work up a good head of steam over him either.

    I'm sure "T" doesn't need me to remind him that settling and compromise are an inevitable and central part of politics in a democracy. The blogger-activist naivete on that point is one reason for the whole ridiculous fight over transgender inclusion in ENDA.

    In his post "T" says that it's not simply on gay issues that the candidates disappoint, but to suggest that Gravel (of all people) is the only one worthy of gay support is so far off the mark. Marriage equality is central to the movement but under our system has never been an issue decided at the federal level. That's one reason President Bush's support for a federal marriage amendment was so transparently cynical.

    Yes, most of us would agree that it violates the federal Constitution's guarantee of equal protection for a state to exclude same-sex couples from marrying, but gay activists haven't even filed that lawsuit, much less asked politicians to back that view.

    To the extent marriage is a federal issue and support from the president is anything more than symbolic, there is a real difference between the leading Democrats:

    • Hillary Clinton supports repeal of only Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which would allow for federal recognition of gay marriages. She has defended the decision by her husband to sign the law and still supports the remainder of DOMA, which states that each state can refuse to recognize gay marriages from other states.
    • John Edwards told a national audience during the 2004 presidential primaries that he also supports the half of DOMA that Hillary doesn't want to repeal. He has since apparently come around, stating on his website that he favors a full DOMA repeal, although that's not a pledge the candidate himself has ever made personally.
    • Barack Obama has said since during that same 2004 election that DOMA was wrong and discriminatory when enacted and ought to be repealed in full.

    Advocates of John Edwards claim Obama's position was inconsistent in that 2004 campaign, and Hillary's supporters say she's the one most likely to be elected in November and knows best how to navigate her positions through Congress. I believe Edwards' supporters overstate their case and ignore their own candidate's 2004 view, and Clinton's supporters faith in her political follow-through ignores the history of two Clinton presidential terms that Hillary still defends in full today -- including on gay issues.

    Whatever stock "T" and other disgruntled blogger-activists put in any of these views, there is sufficient difference between the candidates that the judgment of each and every voter is needed to ensure the best outcome.

    "T" wrote that his parents taught him to vote against someone, even if he can't vote for someone. If none of the Democrats inspire him enough to vote for or against, then he and others ought at least to vote against those primary voters who don't care about our civil equality or actively oppose it.



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    1. Lucrece on Jan 29, 2008 3:54:19 PM:

      His name's Terrence, if I recall correctly.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Jan 30, 2008 5:08:28 AM:

      I totally disagree.

      States like Michigan have an "uncommitted" as an option for primaries, which has always struck me as an eminently sensible way of handling this. Sort of like voting "present".

      And to this:

      Yes, most of us would agree that it violates the federal Constitution's guarantee of equal protection for a state to exclude same-sex couples from marrying

      And, under that interpretation, since the Fourteenth Amendment refers to "all persons", without any other clarifications (i.e. age, citizenship, existing marriage), it would be a violation of equal protection for there to be ANY restrictions or exclusions on marriage.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Jan 30, 2008 11:03:40 PM:


      Your "analysis" of Chris' Equal Protection comment is overly simplistic and wrong.

      EP involves judicial review of the reasonableness of a law which discriminates against some class of people (e.g. gay people). If a particular law discriminates, there must a rational reason for it. The point here is that there is no rational reason to probhibit same sex marriage.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Jan 31, 2008 12:35:53 AM:

      The point here is that there is no rational reason to probhibit same sex marriage.

      And, according to others, there is no "rational reason" to ban plural marriage or child marriage.

      Marriage law is in fact equal; regardless of sexual orientation, you are only allowed to marry a person of the opposite sex.

      The fact that you are not sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex is no more of an argument to grant you marriage than it would be for a pedophile to argue that he or she is being denied the right to marry because he or she is not attracted to adults.

      Instead of explaining to people why same-sex marriage would be beneficial and demonstrating it through healthy relationships, you are attempting to misuse the Constitution as a shortcut, and you have provoked the appropriate reaction from the people, which is to exercise their control over the judiciary via the amendment process.

      One of these days, you will learn that the pathway to acceptance cannot be mandated by the courts, and you will develop enough respect for others that you will explain your logic and abide by their decision, rather than trying to force it on them by judicial fiat.

      And for the sake of gay people, I hope that day comes soon.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Jan 31, 2008 11:32:36 PM:


      Unfortunately, this forum isn't suitable for lengthy debate. I'm afraid I'd have to post a dissertation to reply to all of your points. So, I'll just say a few words and call it quits.

      You suggest that we gay people should just accept bigotry until such time as the government deigns to grant us marriage rights, whenever that might be. I say "No way." No minority group has ever obtained a right by asking politely.

      If you want to fawn at the feet of your Republican masters and beg them for marriage rights, go ahead. I don't beg.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Feb 1, 2008 12:03:58 AM:

      If you want to fawn at the feet of your Republican masters and beg them for marriage rights, go ahead. I don't beg.

      First, marriage is not a right; if it were, it could not be legally denied to ANYONE unless the conditions for said denial were spelled out in the Constitution.

      Marriage is a benefit granted by society. And you simply have not made an effective argument for why society should grant that benefit.

      Second, I am not begging for marriage because I see no compelling need for it. My partner and I have the necessary legal documentation regarding financial, healthcare, end-of-life, and beneficiary actions -- documents which, I might add, even MARRIED couples are strongly exhorted to get (especially considering the Terri Schiavo fiasco). Our incomes would effectively penalize us if we filed in any marriage status (serious AMT action). Any children that we have will have to be adopted, which is a whole separate legal process that will establish guardianship and heir status. Our Social Security survivor benefits if we were married would be LESS than they are as two individuals. And, thanks to the Republican-pushed and signed Pension Protection Act of 2006, each of us can inherit the other's retirement fund with the same tax treatment as was previously reserved for spouses.

      If one looks at marriage with a non-jaundiced eye, one figures out very quickly that it was designed and built for single- or small-double income couples who are having and raising their own children -- which is the overwhelming majority of straight married couples.

      That would be the distinct and tiny minority of gay couples.

      The question that needs to be asked is why gays are wasting so much time and energy on something that the vast majority of people don't think we need, versus taking a realistic look at what we would like to have that happens to be present in marriage and seeking different ways with broad support to get it.

      For example, if we were to seek Federal standardization and strengthening for healthcare and financial proxies, that would be something that would not only benefit gay couples, but would also benefit immensely baby boomers who are caring for their aged parents who live in other states -- and would likely draw their support and votes. If we were to actively seek to lift the ban on visas for skilled immigrants who have HIV, we would benefit numerous gay couples, and we would also have strong support from businesses who have heretofore been blocked from recruiting and bringing to the US talented people who happen to be HIV-positive.

      As gay conservatives like myself who lobbied for the change to the Pension Protection Act can tell you, it can be done -- if gays are willing to set aside feelgood screaming about "marriage" and actually work for HELPING gay people.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Feb 1, 2008 2:02:46 AM:

      Well, I thought I could leave well enough alone, but a few last comments...

      First, marriage IS a right. In 1978 the U.S Supreme Court decided Zablocki v. Redhail a case about a Wisconsin marriage restriction. The case involved heterosexuals. The court stuck down the restriction and, in its opinion noted, "Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival." You may very well disagree with this idea, but that is the law of the land.

      Second, if marriage is not the right situation for you and your parter, that's fine. More power to you. But for a lot of gay people being married would confer numerous legal financial benefits. And while you may not think those rights and benefits are important, lots of other people do.

      Third, marriage wasn't "designed" for anything. It's as useful to people with children as without.

      Fourth, you are 110% correct that everyone should have health care directives, wills, proxies and the like. However, marriage provides certain default protections; why shouldn't gay people have access to default protections like any straight couple?

      Fifth...I haven't made the argument? It's the same argument for straight people. Study after study shows that married people are happier, live longer, are more finacially secure, healthier, etc. There's nothing special about the man-woman dynamic that makes it worthy of marriage, but not the man-man dynamic. And no, the ability to produce biological children is of no significance.

      Sixth... if you have been working to improve the lives of gay people as by lobbying for pension protection then you're a decent enough fellow. I agree with what you said in your penultimate paragraph above.

      Seventh and last ... you state that a gay couple can get all of the protections and benefits of marriage by cobbling together important life documents. Well, you can get some, not all of the benefits. But why would you want all of the car parts instead of the fully built car?

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 30, 2011 2:54:26 AM:

      you state that a gay couple can get all of the protections and benefits of marriage by cobbling together important life documents. Well, you can get some, not all of the benefits. But why would you want all of the car parts instead of the fully built car?

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