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  • « Will NY Dems renege on marriage pledge? | Main | Affirmative action for Beltway gays »

    December 05, 2008

    NY Dems throw gays under the bus

    Posted by: Andoni


    Mr. Diaz is now confident that there will be no vote in the Senate next year on legislation to legalize same sex marriage, something most Democrats support but which Mr. Diaz opposes.

    Well it happened. Today's New York Times details  a deal that was made among the Democratic leaders of the New York state Senate and Governor Paterson. In order to keep several senators from jumping ship to the Republicans, Malcolm Smith, the prospective majority leader had to agree to share power with several of the dissidents. One of these people who will wield power and help determine which bills come up for a vote is Ruben Diaz, a staunchly anti-same sex marriage senator from the Bronx.

    So despite all the promises, it appears that a same sex marriage vote will not occur in New York in next session.

    UPDATE: I sent Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry an email asking if he felt that we were thrown under the bus by the New York Democrats and this is how he responded:

    We should not get distracted by trial balloons or rumors, and not be deflected by politicians' maneuvering or invitations to surrender.  We must keep doing our part -- constituent visits, engaging the key additional votes we need, shaping the public climate, supporting the groups leading the fight -- and hold the leadership to do theirs, as well.

    We saw similar jockeying and efforts to get us to give up in 2007.  Some voices from the Assembly said they couldn't do it, we shouldn't make them do it if the Senate wasn't going to vote anyway, etc.  After a period of posturing and hedging, they buckled down, got to work, and wound up passing the marriage bill by a greater majority than expected.  And then all the pro-marriage members got reelected -- including the Republicans -- and we picked up others.
    The Democrats ran for the Senate pledged to advance a marriage bill, and now have a mandate to do so and a Governor who is committed to our cause. 
    We should expect them to deliver on their commitment, and all of us should just crunch down and do what we need to do to make it happen as early as possible in 2009.


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    1. Kris on Dec 5, 2008 10:14:36 AM:

      At least you know where you stand with Republicans. If they say they are going to support you they will support you. Democrats will lie to your face just to get your vote. LGBT Americans will soon be saying Oh No He Didn't instead of Yes We Can when Obama takes office.

    1. JBY on Dec 5, 2008 11:27:24 AM:

      I like Evan's attitude. He refuses to be thrown under the bus. Good work, Evan. And good example for the rest of us to follow.

    1. Jami Metzgar on Jan 18, 2009 6:00:45 PM:

      American’s have only changed when there was blood. We cannot spill theirs, so then let us spill ours. Like Gaudi, let us shame them into respect for us. And so I give you this story.

      The Torches Of Freedom

      Joshua didn’t feel well. The cold weather wasn’t doing him any good. It was January 20th, in Washington DC., inauguration day. This was going to be the largest inauguration in American history. A very popular Black president elect would take the oath of office. There were nearly a million people having come to Washington, just to catch a glimpse of this historic moment. Most would have done better to have watched the entire proceedings on their televisions, but to be here on this day, this historic moment, that was an attraction all these people couldn’t resist.
      Joshua would have rather have been home in bed, warm and medicated. He felt so nauseous, so cold, his 110 pound frame could hardly hold up against the strain of moving through the crowd. Joshua had full blown AIDS. He stopped a moment to catch his breath. He only wished his lover Peter could have been here this day, to share in this moment of courage, a moment of courage Joshua had never found in himself while Peter was alive. But Peter was dead, Peter had been Joshua’s partner and lover for fifteen years. Peter died six months earlier. He had AIDS as well. He had courage. He died holding Joshua’s hand, telling Joshua how it was OK, all OK and how Joshua had to go on and live life without him, until they were reunited together in Heaven.
      Peter was like that. Peter believed in God, in Heaven. Peter had taught his faith to Joshua. Joshua believed in God, believed in faith. Joshua had faith in many things. One of these things was the goodness of people. Joshua had faith that the goodness in people could be brought to life, but he knew that at times it took a critical act to bring the goodness in people alive. Joshua had been active in the fight for equal rights for gays, for the GLBT people for years. Yet, after all their efforts, Joshua realized that working through the system, getting out the vote, voting, trying to appeal to the better natures of people was a futile effort. Joshua had only wanted to marry Peter before Peter died, but the bigots, the ignorant, the haters, had stopped them from ever having at least one special day before Peter died, and their happiness and hope had died with Peter. Now Joshua realized that there was only one of two ways to get the attention of the non GLBT people. One was violence. But Joshua new violence was wrong was in fact a sin against all people and God. Joshua also knew that as only fifteen percent of the population, the GLBT community would suffer a violent backlash from which they may never recover. Violence against the non GLBT people was out of the question. No, Joshua knew that the people of the country must be shown, symbolically, outwardly, the pain and anguish the GLBT peoples felt as second class citizens, unable to be equal and protected as other people, in so many aspects of their lives, but most of all the pain and anguish GLBT people felt by not even being able to have the equal right to marry the person they loved. A symbolic act, an act of outward pain, he must show the pain outwardly, that was the only answer, make them see the pain.
      The president elect took his vow of office. He stood behind a podium and began to speak. Joshua thought that here was a man who had spoken so eloquently about equal rights for GLBT people, but that his words were only that, only words. This president had no course of action that he had defined. Anyone can say the want equality, but actions speak louder then words. This new president had done nothing, less then anything as he had not said what he would do. There was absolutely no reason to believe that he cared for the GLBT people any more then anyone who had paid lip service to the GLBT. Hell, this guy had even said he didn’t believe that gays should be able to marry. He was, for all intents and purposes no better then those that actively preached hate against the GLBT from their pulpits in their houses of hate every Sunday. The Religiphiles, Joshua liked that word. Like pedophiles, that touch children against their wills, the Religiphiles imposed their hate against the GLBT people, against the GLBT will.
      Joshua watched as so many African Americans watched in joy, this Black President. They had a right to be happy. For so many years Blacks had been oppressed. It was ironic that so many Blacks could be so clear, so keen to recognize discrimination and bigotry against themselves, and others. But so many Blacks, mostly because of their victimization by religious superstition, still passively and even actively participated in GLBT discrimination.
      Symbolic, thought Joshua, like Marten Luther King being assassinated, becoming a martyr to the cause. Symbolic, like he would do, to show outwardly the pain he felt inside for never being able to marry Peter. Joshua sat down in the lotus position, like the monks in Vietnam had done so many years before, when they too had done this symbolic act, this symbolic act that really ended the war in the minds of the Vietnamese people as a whole. Like those monks, he would make these people feel what he felt, what all the GLBT people felt. Joshua yelled, “GET BACK, GET AWAY FROM ME!” The crowd, turned to look, and then gasped as Joshua struck a match, the crowd drew away, and Joshua held the burning match to a balloon filled with gasoline, one of many under his cloths, to prevent the flames from being extinguished. The balloon broke, his undergarments soaked in Kerosene flashed into flame. Joshua screamed in anguish. His entire body was a torch. The crowd backed off, Joshua was glad no one else was hurt, that was important; don’t pollute the meaning through innocent injury he thought. As Joshua gasped his last breath, saw his last sight, he smiled, for he knew he was the first Torch of Freedom.
      The inauguration was ruined. The FBI instantly swung into action. Joshua was identified. But Joshua wanted to be known. He had sent a dozen e-mails describing his intent to various locations. They all read the same.
      “I Joshua Smith do this as a symbolic act so others will see with their eyes, what we the GLBT people feel inside as we cannot marry and are denied other rights and freedoms of the general population. I regret that I can only show this act but once. I ask that every 28 days, after the date of the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, every 28 days, let those who don’t know, or don‘t care, or hate, see the pain we have inside symbolically displayed outwardly. For our pain inside is no less then the flames upon our flesh. There will be those who will doubt us, those that will laugh, and those that will call us sinners for what they will call suicide. But it is not suicide to die for freedom, and in the end the doubters, the hard of heart, will fade away. For those of us, the GLBT people, I know your hearts will abhor, will cry tears for what we do. But don’t be so gently foolish. Understand no freedom is ever won easily in this country. American’s have never listened to reason alone. Our history has always given change only after strife. So let us end the strife we will feel anyway, let us endure it one more time. In the end you will see that it is the only way left to us. For those who are dieing of AIDS, cancer and the like, make your death a meaningful thing, follow me, follow me and lead us all unto freedom, give your flesh for our freedom. God Bless All Of You, Everyone Without Exception, May God Bless.”
      The president spoke of regret, the pulpits mostly condemned, but some were saddened, the analysts swapped opinions on the television channels. But the president, the preachers, the analysts did nothing as usual. Then 28 days later on the steps of a right wing church in California, another gay man,
      Ben Stevens, who had AIDS, set himself ablaze. More regretful words followed with analysis and more preaching. But nothing changed again. Then 28 days later, several Lesbians and a Transgender man became Torches of Freedom. Another 28 days and a dozen others became Torches of Freedom, then after another 28 days, then another. On one occasion the hills of
      Salt Lake City displayed the Torches of Freedom at midnight on the 28 day deadline. It went on and on and on until any pretense of moral authority was drained away from he minds of the people of the country and the world for The United States. It went on and on until The United States found its soul, and the GLBT people won their equality, won their freedom, freedom finally won in the only way possible, by way of The Torches’ of Freedom.


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