Category Archives: LGBT
Huzzah. In the Elections of 2010 all across the country, voters elected GOP members with the expectation that they would help fix the jobs and overspending issues in America. Instead, they decided it would be a good idea to crusade against the rights of everyday Americans, like the recent campaign to get rid of collective bargaining- a basic right of hardworking public sector union members to ensure a decent wage and a safe working environment. They also attacked women’s rights, with national efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that works to help many rights that women had fought for through centuries. Now, the assault is on domestic partnerships.
The GOP-led Congress in Michigan has attempted to strip away benefits those in the LGBT community have enjoyed in the state through a bill called SCR9. While the bill passed the Senate, 11 Democrats were needed in the House to defect from the party line and vote for this. Luckily, Democrats (save two defections) were able to stave off this blatant assault on gay rights. Unfortunately, the Republicans seem hell-bent on ramming this legislation through, so this is going to require a watchful eye on the part of all progressives. For now, however, benefits have been saved for domestic partners- a victory for human rights and the progressive movement.
There is no question our Commander in Chief is quite happy right now. First, of course, he’s going to Hawaii. That would make pretty much everyone elated, especially those dealing with the freezing cold up here in Michigan. The biggie, however, is the massive amount of legislative victories and ability to reach across the aisle to those difficult-to-compromise-with Republicans over the past few weeks. Normally, the lame duck session, or the session following a Congressional election but preceding the formation of a new Congress, is quite uneventful. Rachel Maddow said on her 92Y special last night on MSNBC that pundits were expecting perhaps “a few post offices to be renamed.” But this could not be further from the truth, as we have seen this White House finally come out and fight hard for common-sense policy items that are heavily favored by the American people. Let’s go down the list, shall we?
New START Treaty ratified by the Senate. A treaty requires 67 votes to be ratified, or made law, in the US Senate. The New START treaty was one of the items on the lame duck agenda that Washington heavily pushed. All six living Republican secretaries of state supported it, as did the joint chiefs of staff, and Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Still, however, Republican leaders in the Senate headed by Jon Kyl, minority whip, asked for more time and more funding for “infrastructure”. In the end, this was pushed to a vote and made it in just three days before Christmas, ratified 71-26. Now, we don’t have to worry about a Second Cold War breaking out and all of humanity perishing as we know it. Yay!
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed. A major progressive victory no matter how you look at it, the House and Senate passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and its full implementation across the board will only take a matter of months, according to Obama himself. Better late than never, as we were the second to last NATO country to allow homosexuals in, but no matter what all of Obama’s critics on the left have to admit this was a fantastic legislative accomplishment.
Food Safety Act passed. Anyone who has read Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation knows how loose FDA regulations are. This bill will help make America’s food safer across the board by imposing stricter regulations.
The 9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill passed (unanimously!) Despite Tea Party Republicans’ best attempts to stifle a bill giving health care to those who bravely risked their lives on September the 11th, a scathing indictment over the past week by Jon Stewart and others prompted the Senate into action. The bill passed without objection.
Pell Grants, Unemployed benefits Extended. The tax cut compromise proposed by Obama two weeks ago was roundly criticized by liberals, but within it were some golden nuggets that will really help those who need the help most- students and the unemployed. Pell Grants will continue to be funded at the current amount, and God knows for me that’s essentially the only way I can attend U of M. Also, for millions of Americans who are unemployed and were worried the Congress would play politics with their benefits, they can enjoy a nice meal for Christmas and rest a bit easier. Paul Krugman, one of the leading economists in the world, points to unemployment benefits as the best economic stimulus, as the impoverished need to spend the money on goods to keep going- stimulating business, ushering in new jobs, all that good stuff.
Sure, some post offices were probably renamed too, but you’d be hard pressed to find a time in Congressional history since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt where this much has been accomplished. The tax cut compromise allowed a temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, and in exchange all this has been accomplished in a matter of days. According to a CNN poll released on December 22, voters approve of Obama’s handling of the lame duck session 56-41, while voters disapprove of Republicans’ handling 53-42. Similarly, on the issue of compromise, the tax cut decision went well with voters as 59-37 percent believe Obama has done enough to reach across the aisle, whereas 68% thought Republicans weren’t doing enough in return. This poll highlights what happens when Obama fights for the extremely popular policies that he championed when running for office. Now, for the next few days, Obama can rest easy, eat lots of food, and participate in those wonderful Hawaiian luaus and know that he has really proven himself as the leader of this nation. Merry Christmas to my fellow Dems, Happy Kwanzaa if you are so inclined, and Happy New Year. Huzzah.
Equality is the prime rib of America.
-Lady Gaga, at a Maine rally calling for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
As some of you may or may not have seen, Mitch Rivard from MSU Dems posted this on his Facebook earlier and I wanted to repost it:
After watching the video go to this website to sign a petition to end discrimination against gay marriage.
Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, in response to Republican calls for a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in response to the Iowa State Supreme Court’s recent ruling:
[L]ast Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know Ive been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.
Full transcript and video here.
Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislation when the state legislature overrode Governor Jim Douglas’ veto today of a bill that allows gay and lesbian couples to wed in the state.Â Same-sex marriage was legalized by the courts in the three other states (Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts) where it is permitted.
See the full Washington Post article on the story.
As much as I love the courts, and their ability to protect the rights of those who most need protecting, I’ve never thought they’re the best way to achieve our goals here.Â Remember, our goal should not just be the legal right (which is obviously important), butÂ also widespread public support for said right.Â We’re getting close, but we’re not there yet.
That said, the fact that a court ruled this way – unanimously – in a relatively socially conservative Farm State is fantastic.Â Massachusetts, California, and Vermont are states that opponents of equal marriage rights like to deride as being full of liberal elites, whose views don’t represent Middle America.Â They’ll have a hard time making the same claim about Iowa.Â I don’t want to sound too optimistic here, but still – I think this really could be a turning point.Â It sounds cheesy, but when I read this this morning, it actually made me feel good – it was sort of uplifting, in a way few court rulings are.Â This reinforces what I’ve believed for a while now – that, by the time our generation is fortunate enough to have children of our own, they will allÂ grow up to have full legal rights to marry their partners – regardless of their sex.
This hasn’t even been picked up by Kos yet. SUCK IT KOS! KAAA RULEZZZ!!!!!!!11
UPDATE: I just saw the dems.core email. whatever.
Anyway… The Iowa supreme court earlier this morning upheld a lower court decision allowing homosexual couples to marry. In the unanimous decision, the justices ruled that only having civil unions violates the equal protection clause of their state Constitution
Here is an excerpt from the ruling, followed by an article from the Des Moines Register:
New Hampshire came one step closer to be the third state (after Massachusets and Conneticut) to allow homosexuals to marry today after a narrow victory in the state House. The bill, which is an extension of the Civil Union law passed last year, only passed narrowly, 186-179. [Source]
It’s fate is uncertain, however, as it must move on to the NH Senate and then Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who opposes Gay Marriage (although is a strong proponent of civil unions) but has yet to specifically say that he veto the bill. It also faces opposition in the senate, as the Republicans plan on doing everything in their power, despite being in the minority, to ensure the bill does not pass. Senate Republican Leader Peter Bragdon said GOP senators will work to kill the legislation. State Republican Party Chairman John H. Sununu agreed with Bragdon, criticizing the House vote as an “attempt by the liberal Democrats in the Legislature to impose their San Francisco agenda on the state of New Hampshire.”
In related news, the Vermont Senate passed a similar bill this week, although the governor has expressedly stated that he will veto the bill should it pass the House as well.
On a side note, while researching this bill I found a really interesting graph detailing the rights of homosexuals throughout the country. Not surprisingly, Michigan rated one of the worst.