Tag Archives: gays

The Road from Here to Marriage Equality

Today we must turn anger into action.

It’s cold comfort to many that history is moving in the right direction, with five states already on their way to marriage equality. But it’s our job to make sure history moves faster towards equality here in California.

We must redouble our efforts in California to finally win this fight for equal rights. Please, take a moment today and lend your voice to this just cause.

Sign our petition for marriage equality.

Join the tireless efforts of the Courage Campaign and Equality California.

Let’s be respectful. But let’s be clear. We must start changing minds today. I know many of my fellow Californians may initially agree with this ruling, but I ask them to reserve final judgment until they have discussed this decision with someone who will be affected by it.

Please talk to a lesbian or gay family member, neighbor or co-worker and ask them why equality in the eyes of the law is important to every Californian. Please talk to local business leaders who know that this will cost jobs and make California less competitive. Please remember we all know someone who is hurt by this decision today. Please reach out to these friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors and discuss why this decision is wrong for California.

California, at its best, is a beacon of equal rights and equal opportunities. If we want to prosper together, we must respect one another.

That’s why we must resolve to restore marriage equality to all Californians. Let this work start today. Sign our petition and join the efforts of the Courage Campaign and Equality California.  

Yes on 8 ads teaching kids about gay marriage.

My son (9) likes to watch the Simpsons on DVR.  Yes on 8 ads have blanketed that time slot.  So the “Yes on 8” campaign ad has told my kid many times that Men can Marry men.!!!!

Not that I care.  My son has a very good friend with two dads so it’s not like he’s even shocked.  And we’ve had some discussion about it as elementary school kids still use “Gay” as an insult and so I’ve had to have that discussion – you know, about what it means and why it’s not bad and how some people think it is…etc..etc..etc.

But what about all those millions of parent’s who aren’t necessarily anti-gay or even anti-gay marriage, but weren’t ready to have that conversation with their kids?  And if the anti-gay marriage types let their kids watch the Simpsons, they ought to be pretty pissed off.

And finally, the hypocrisy of it strikes me as particularly egregious…I mean the whole reason they are given to be opposed to Gay Marriage is that your kids might find out about it – and yet they are blanketing the air waves, during a show that kids love to watch, with ads informing kids that men can marry men and woman can marry woman.  

That’s all I have to say about that.


Received this press release today from the Greg Pettis for CA 80th Assembly District campaign.  Pettis presently has the overwhelming support of labor and LGBT groups in his race to replace the termed-out, thank the deity, State Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia (R-CA).  Pettis, much to the chagrin of his opponents, is also picking up key endorsements from the ethnic minority and multicultural communities.

Pettis has also significantly outraised and outspent his Democratic opponents each reporting period.  According to The Desert Sun, in the last reporting period, Pettis raised and spent more monies than all of these Democratic opponents combined.  Of interest, Pettis also outraised his presumptive Republican opponent, Gary Jeandron, by a significant margin!

Add to this the fact that the current voter registration favors the Democrats.  Thanks to the local Democratic clubs, activists have shifted the 80th AD voter registration from a majority Republican in 2000, to a more than 15,000 voter advantage at present.  And, this does not include the Decline to State voters which have been since 2004 trending Democratic.  Bodes well for a Pettis candidacy in November 2008.

Here is the text of the press release:

For Immediate Release

April 8, 2008

For More Information, contact Richard Oberhaus 760-413-7938

Cathedral City Councilmember Greg Pettis picked up four critical endorsements in the last week from labor and a Latino group, both keys to winning the 80th Assembly District.

More below the flip…

Earlier today, the California AFL-CIO Committee on Public Education endorsed Pettis for the 80th Assembly District. They join the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) who represent 179,000 workers in California and the California State Council of Laborers, who had previously endorsed one of Pettis’s primary election opponents.

Pettis also won the endorsement of HONOR PAC, a statewide Latino group representing Latino and Latina LGBT communities.

The four endorsements cemented Pettis’s position as frontrunner in the Democratic primary in the race to replace Bonnie Garcia, who is prohibited by term limits from serving another term in the 80th Assembly District.

Pettis has previously won endorsements from all the Central Labor Councils representing the 80th Assembly District as well as the California League of Conservation Voters, Cathedral City Professional Firefighters, Progressive Majority, Democracy for America and the Victory Fund.

He has also raised more money than any Democrat running for the 80th Assembly District and has more individual donors than any other candidate.

“We are building a broad-based grassroots coalition that will continue to build momentum through November. Residents of the 80th are coming together behind the need to bring experience to Sacramento to change the way Sacramento works and create a healthier California for all of us,” Pettis said.

Other unions endorsing Pettis include the Building Trades Union of California, Cathedral City Professional Firefighters, San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Central Labor Council, San Diego/Imperial Counties Central Labor Council, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 440.

LGBT community electeds, organizations and activists endorsing Pettis thus far include U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, State Senator Carol Migden, State Assemblyman Mark Leno, Palm Springs City Councilwoman Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Councilman Rick Hutcheson, Cathedral City City Councilman Paul Marchand, Desert Hot Springs City Councilman Karl Baker, the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club, the Inland Stonewall Democratic Club, the Victory Fund, and Bill and Brad Adams, Bill Cain-Gonzalez, Cynthia Davis, Desert Stonewall Democrats Public Relations Chair Donald W. Grimm, Ph.D., Bond Shands, Desert Stonewall Democrats Treasurer Robert Silverman, and Lynn Worley.

Latino and Latina community activists endorsing Pettis include Palm Springs Democratic Club co-founder Lisa Arbelaez, Christopher Arellano, Larry Baza, Bill Cain-Gonzalez, Tony & Sylvia Escobedo, Mayon Gonzalez, Rodolfo Martinez, Leticia Quezada, Nicole Ramirez, 41st Congressional District Candidate Rita Ramirez-Dean, Ph.D., Dan Ruiz, Ed Torres, and Joe Velasquez.

Election 2008: John McCain Disdains LGBT Community and Its Issues

XPosted 2/14/2008 12:00 AM PST on MyDesert.com

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for President has little to say about the rights of the LGBT community or its issues on his campaign website at JohnMcCain.com.

Under the link “Human Dignity & the Sancitity of Life,” McCain lists (1) Overturning Roe V. Wade, (2) Promoting Adoption, (3) Protecting Marriage, (4) Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology, (5) Protecting Children from Online Predators, and (6) the Greatest Concern is to Serve the Cause of Human Dignity.  As you might guess from the above headings, McCain and his campaign is pandering to the so-called Religious Right community.

More below the flip…

More specifically, according to About.com: Gay Life, McCain has a spotty record at best on the LGBT issues themselves.

(1)  McCain on Gay Marriage: McCain opposes Marriage Equality, but believes the issue should be left up to the states.  McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, but according to McCain’s campaign website,

“[He] believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.”

I am guessing that in the case of Marriage Equality, McCain does extend his greatest concern to serve the cause of LGBT dignity or, perhaps, does not include the LGBT community within the context of the Human community.

(2) McCain on Gays and Lesbians in the Military: McCain believes the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been effective and should be left untouched.  At the 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College on Jun 3, 2007, McCain said,

“We have the best-trained, most professional, best- equipped, most efficient, most wonderful military in the history of this country, and I’m proud of every one of them. There just aren’t enough of them. So I think it would be a terrific mistake to even reopen the issue. The policy is working. And I am convinced that that’s the way we can maintain this greatest military. Let’s not tamper with them.”

How is including LGBT community members in the Armed Forces “tampering” with the military?  McCain fails to explicate his position or clarify his terminology.

Allowing LGBT community members to serve openly in the U.S. military is a matter of Human Dignity, and McCain refuses to accord respect to the LGBT community in a fashion similar to that accorded to the heterosexual community in the military.  McCain also does not address the fact that the U.S. military loses millions of dollars of tax payer money each year in attempts to enforse the DADT policies.

McCain fails to address the fact that many Arabic-English and English-Arabic translators are discharged from the U.S. military each year due to DADT.  Finally, the United States is one of the few Western countries to disallow LGBT members from serving in the its Armed Forces, yet, the military leadership is coming around to a more progressive perspective.

McCain on Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): McCain voted against ENDA and prohibiting job discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

McCain on Federal Hate Crimes Legislation: While in the Senate, McCain voted against extending the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and opposed the so-called Matthew Shepard bill on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

McCain on HIV/AIDS: McCain’s stance on HIV/AIDS is ambiguous at best. When asked in the New York Times political blog McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention about the use of contraceptives or counseling to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, McCain said,

“You’ve stumped me. I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was.”

“You’ve stumped me?”  “I’m not informed enough on it?”  “I have to find out what my position was?”  The United States, California and the Coachella Valley have been ravaged by HIV/AIDS, and McCain is either uninformed or incompetent on the issue.

How can a World Leader be unaware of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Nation?  Oh, I forgot, the Republican Party has a long history of neglect on the people affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS from former President Ronald Reagan who refused to utter the words “HIV” or “AIDS” throughout most of his Presidency, to President George H.W. Bush and so-called President George W. Bush who attempted to either reduce funding for HIV/AIDS, attempted to pit the HIV/AIDS community against other chronic illness communities, or attempted to gut HIV/AIDS programs in this country.

McCain is more of the same.  Ignorant, ill-informed, AIDS-phobic, and incompetent on the issue.

Why Do Gays and Latinos Support Hillary Clinton?

I wrote this for today’s Beyond Chron.

As the Democratic Presidential race moves to California on February 5th, Senator Hillary Clinton holds the advantage in part because she leads Barack Obama among two crucial demographics: gays and Latinos.  But if these groups were more “results-oriented” about which candidate would bring about substantive change for their community, Obama could have an edge.  Clinton’s husband signed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act when he was President, and she has only promised to scrap part 3 of DOMA – whereas Obama would repeal it entirely.  While both have waffled on giving drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, when pressed to take a position Clinton said “no” and Obama said “yes.”  Gays and Latinos either don’t know such policy differences — or else have put them aside in favor of symbolic gestures, high name recognition or top-down endorsements.  Before it’s too late, LGBT and Latino voters must look at the issues, and decide which candidate would better pursue their interests.

Clinton vs. Obama and the LGBT Community:

It’s quite baffling why LGBT voters would strongly support Hillary Clinton – but the polls show that they largely do.  Queers loudly celebrated Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 because he pledged to lift the ban on gays in the military, but turned against him after he caved on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Every progressive group can gripe that President Clinton let them down, but the LGBT community bears the distinction that he betrayed them first.

In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – which banned federal rights like Social Security and immigration for same-sex couples, and allowed states to not recognize out-of-state gay marriages.  He signed it simply to deprive Bob Dole of a campaign issue, and did so at midnight while denouncing it as gay-bashing.  Days later, his re-election campaign advertised on Christian radio that he had signed it.

Like all Democratic candidates this year, Hillary Clinton has pledged to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  She says that she’s been “on the record” opposing it since 1999 – which raises another question.  Her husband was still President back then, which means that she could have used her influence to have him repeal it.  While one could argue that the Clintons were on their way out, they could have put George Bush in the awkward position of restoring it once he took office.

Clinton says she would repeal Part 3 of DOMA (which deals with federal benefits), but would keep the rest.  That means she would let states discriminate against out-of-state couples, like what California did in 2000 by passing Proposition 22.  Her explanation leaves much to be desired: “marriage should be left to the states, and I believe that states are taking action on their own.”  Unmentioned was that outside of Massachusetts, the “state action” has been to pass anti-gay marriage amendments.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, would repeal DOMA entirely.  So LGBT voters who want to compare the two candidates’ platforms can determine who is better for them on the issues.  But Obama also angered queers last October when he campaigned in South Carolina with Rev. Donnie McClurkin – a black minister and self-proclaimed “former homosexual,” who believes it is his mission to turn gays straight.  Many of Obama’s gay supporters defected to the Clinton camp when they heard about this.

As an openly gay man, I cannot in good conscience defend what Obama did – and adding a gay black preacher to his campaign circuit after the backlash was pathetic.  However, queers must be “results oriented” when choosing a candidate.  Did Obama’s appearance with McClurkin take away any of our rights, and did it make it harder to achieve marriage equality?  What Obama did was symbolically offensive, but was it a substantive setback in getting the legislative accomplishments we strive for?

Due to her longer time in Washington, Clinton is closer to Beltway leaders in the LGBT community – which explains her many prominent endorsements.  The running joke about the Human Rights Campaign is that HRC stands for Hillary Rodham Clinton (though I prefer the moniker “homosexuals requiring cash.”)  But as the recent fury over ENDA have shown, many queers aren’t happy with their leadership.  Hopefully, they’ll take a closer look at the two leading Democratic candidates and make up their own mind.

Clinton vs. Obama on Latinos:

Clinton beat Obama by 2-1 among Latinos in the Nevada caucus – which bodes well for her in California.  Some of that is due to her higher name recognition, and the Clinton family’s longer history with Latinos.  In 1996, Bill Clinton speeded up the INS process for thousands of immigrants to become naturalized Americans – so they could vote that November.  Because Republicans were engaged in racist immigrant bashing, these (mostly Latino) new citizens voted Democrat in droves.

But anyone can see that Bill Clinton did this move out of pure self-interest to get re-elected.  I’m not Latino, but I was one of those immigrants who got my citizenship in 1996 due to the expedited process.  I was grateful at the time to vote in November, but what power do you really have if you just reward the politician who figured you would vote for him if you could?  The better question should be: did Bill Clinton do anything to substantively help immigrants in general, and Latinos in particular?

His record leaves much to be desired.  In 1996, Bill Clinton signed a punitive immigration bill that strengthened the deportation process and imposed mandatory minimum sentences.  He also signed Welfare Repeal – which eliminated Food Stamps and SSI benefits for legal immigrants.  Like DOMA, Clinton signed the Welfare Bill to deprive Bob Dole of a campaign issue – once again taking progressives for granted.

When asked about the Welfare Bill, Hillary Clinton replied that “the positives outweighed the negatives.”  She did not commit to making any changes besides expanding health care for children, whereas even her husband pledged to “fix” the more odious anti-immigrant provisions (while signing the bill anyway.)  How much did the Clinton Administration really fight to restore these cuts in Food Stamps and SSI after they were signed into law?

More importantly, what would a President Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama do to help immigrants and Latinos?  They both voted for the DREAM Act in the U.S. Senate – so that issue is basically a wash.  They also have similar voting records on increasing border patrol.  But there is a substantive difference between the two candidates on an issue of high importance to the Latino community: making drivers’ licenses available to undocumented immigrants.

At one debate several weeks ago, Clinton got in trouble for initially supporting New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposal – and then saying she did not.  After Spitzer withdrew his bill, she said she opposed the idea in principle.  “As President, I will not support driver’s licenses for undocumented people,” she said, “and will press for comprehensive reform that deals with all of the issues including border security and fixing our broken system.”

Obama has also danced around the issue, but to his credit did come out in favor.  “Undocumented workers do not come here to drive,” he said, “they’re here to work. Instead of being distracted by what has now become a wedge issue, let’s focus on solving the problem that the Bush administration has done nothing about it.”  When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer demanded that he give a simple “yes” or “no” answer, Obama said “yes.”

Like the LGBT leadership, Clinton enjoys top-down support from the Latino community’s elite.  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, and UFW icon Dolores Huerta have all endorsed Hillary Clinton.  There’s no question that the Clinton campaign has done a better outreach job with Latinos that gave her a Nevada victory, and it’s been helped by having more surrogates.

But Obama’s beginning to catch up – and his Latino support is coming more from grassroots leaders at the bottom-up.  Labor leader Maria Elena Durazo has endorsed Obama, and took time off from her job to campaign for him in Nevada.  State Senator Gil Cedillo, who sponsored the California bill to give drivers’ license to undocumented immigrants, is also backing Obama.  The only question now is whether such support from the Latino community is too little, too late.

On February 5th, California will join 21 other states in voting on Super Duper Mega Tuesday on Steroids.  Candidates are frantically flying around the country to pick up votes – and under such circumstances, the establishment front-runner is likely to win.  But Clinton leads Obama among gays and Latinos who are not voting based upon real policy differences.  If they started to do so, we may get a very interesting surprise in the race in a few weeks.