‘No’ on Prop 8 — and ‘No’ on Race-Baiting UPDATE: TAKE ACTION!

by matttbastard

I would like to sign on to the following statement from Truth Wins Out:

Truth Wins Out today expressed its grave disappointment in those in the LGBT community who have emulated our bigoted opponents by scapegoating minorities. It has been reported that African Americans have been verbally abused and have had racial epithets hurled at them during Anti-Proposition 8 rallies.

“It is reprehensible to look for scapegoats and target innocent people with vile racial epithets,” said TWO Executive Director, Wayne Besen. “We call on all GLBT people behave intelligently and act responsibly, so we can figure out – together – the best way for our movement to proceed and achieve equality.”

What specifically was Besen referring to?

From the Rod 2.0 post linked to in the TWO statement:

A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night’s marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.

Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

Los Angeles resident and Rod 2.0 reader A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.

Three older men accosted my friend and shouted, “Black people did this, I hope you people are happy!” A young lesbian couple with mohawks and Obama buttons joined the shouting and said there were “very disappointed with black people” and “how could we” after the Obama victory. This was stupid for them to single us out because we were carrying those blue NO ON PROP 8 signs! I pointed that out and the one of the older men said it didn’t matter because “most black people hated gays” and he was “wrong” to think we had compassion. That was the most insulting thing I had ever heard. I guess he never thought we were gay.

Yeah, so much for the (apparently premature) eulogies for racism now that we’ve entered the Age of Obama.

Alex Blaze FTW:

But I’m wondering why these folks are so caught up in the black voters, who obviously can’t ever be persuaded on this issue because… well, because. There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):

* The elderly (65+)
* Republicans
* Conservatives
* People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
* People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
* Protestants
* Catholics
* White Protestants
* Those who attend church weekly
* Married people
* People with children under 18
* Gun owners
* Bush voters
* Offshore drilling supporters
* People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
* People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
* Supporters of the war against Iraq
* People who didn’t care about the age of the candidates
* Anti-choicers
* People who are from the “Inland/Valley” region of California
* McCain voters

Some of these groups supported Prop 8 far more than African Americans did, which makes me wonder why we’re focused so much on race instead of any of these factors. In terms of predictive value, religion, political ideology, and being married with children tell us much more about how someone voted on Prop 8 than race does.

From which we can infer three things. First, breaking the statistics just along racial lines is an overly simplistic way to look at the results. Black people, like white people, are not a monolithic group, and LGBT people can make inroads by reaching out to African Americans if we try. Flapping our mouths about how we’re not PC, how all blacks are homophobic, and how there’s no use in reaching out to African Americans doesn’t endear people to us, and there is work to be done here that hasn’t been done.

Second, religion is the overwhelming factor in Prop 8’s win, in terms of organizing, funding, and voting. Since it’s not going anywhere, we have to take a more serious approach to religious voters. And, yes, their leaders make bank off homophobia, but we’re going to have to be more creative. No writing off fundies as idiots allowed – they get votes too.

Last word goes to Pam Spaulding (h/t):

Civil rights is not a zero-sum game; there is enough shared blame for the debacle that is Prop 8, and it cannot be undone. We have the choice to educate or alienate going forward.

Your move, Mr. President-elect…

Update: I swear I didn’t see Antonia’s post before putting this up–great minds, etc.

Update 2: hekebolos @ dKos:

I would like to encourage you to take specific action to increase the number of people who are expressing their outspoken opposition to discrimination.

The “REPEAL PROP 8” movement is underway. And I’d love it if you added your voice.

The Courage Campaign has been leading a grassroots and netroots effort against Proposition 8. Sign their petition calling for the repeal of Proposition 8:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/…

If you’re on Facebook (and if you’re not, you should be) there is also a “Repeal Prop 8” Facebook Group that I would encourage everyone to join.

As Barack Obama said: nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.

But we need those voices to get it done. Add yours to the mix. And be watching for further news about what you can do to support marriage equality not only in California, but across the entire country.

h/t Dr. Prole (who is creatively agitatin’ to get the LDS Church’s tax-exempt status revoked–gogogo!) Also make sure to check out this dKos diary from shanikka, who debunks the exit poll results that have been cited as ‘proving’ African-Americans are to blame for the passage of Prop 8.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: ACLU, Other Groups File Suit Against Proposition 8

by matttbastard

ACLU/Lambda/NCLR press release:

Legal Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Proposition 8, Should It Pass (11/5/2008)

Legal Papers Claim Initiative Procedure Cannot Be Used To Undermine the Constitution’s Core Commitment To Equality For Everyone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

SAN FRANCISCO – The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court today urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works. Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid.

“If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution. Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw – it removes a protected constitutional right – here, the right to marry – not from all Californians, but just from one group of us,” said Jenny Pizer, a staff attorney with Lambda Legal. “That’s too big a change in the principles of our constitution to be made just by a bare majority of voters.”

“A major purpose of the constitution is to protect minorities from majorities. Because changing that principle is a fundamental change to the organizing principles of the constitution itself, only the legislature can initiate such revisions to the constitution,” added Elizabeth Gill, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

The groups filed the lawsuit today in the California Supreme Court on behalf of Equality California and 6 same-sex couples who did not marry before Tuesday’s election but would like to be able to marry now.

The groups filed a writ petition in the California Supreme Court before the elections presenting similar arguments because they believed the initiative should not have appeared on the ballot, but the court dismissed that petition without addressing its merits. That earlier order is not precedent here.

“Historically, courts are reluctant to get involved in disputes if they can avoid doing so,” said Shannon Minter, Legal Director of NCLR. “It is not uncommon for the court to wait to see what happens at the polls before considering these legal arguments. However, now that Proposition 8 may pass, the courts will have to weigh in and we believe they will agree that Proposition 8 should never have been on the ballot in the first place.”

This would not be the first time the court has struck down an improper voter initiative. In 1990, the court stuck down an initiative that would have added a provision to the California Constitution stating that the “Constitution shall not be construed by the courts to afford greater rights to criminal defendants than those afforded by the Constitution of the United States.” That measure was invalid because it improperly attempted to strip California’s courts of their role as independent interpreters of the state’s constitution.

In a statement issued earlier today, the groups stated their conviction, which is shared by the California Attorney General, that the state must continue to honor the marriages of the 18,000 lesbian and gay couples who have already married in California. A copy of the statement as well as the writ petition filed today is available at: www.aclu.org/lgbt, www.lambdalegal.org, and www.nclrights.org.

In addition to the ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR, the legal team bringing the writ also includes the Law Office of David C. Codell; Munger Tolles & Olson, LLP; and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP.

h/t DKos (by way of pale via IM).

More from Digby (h/t Paul the Spud) , Faith @ Shakesville, Ta-Nehisi Coates (h/t Sebastian) Amp, Mandolin, The Girl Detective, Jeff Fecke, Thomas @ Feministe, VivirLatino, Kyle @ Right Wing Watch, Bil Browning, Darkrose and Pam Spaulding

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

More on Sarah Palin and Book-Banning

by matttbastard

The Nation has just published a very informative investigative piece by Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, further exploring the connections between Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin and the Christian right.  The entire article is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight the following passage, which sheds more light on a now-infamous alleged incident from 1997 involving Palin and the Wasilla Public Library:

Much has been made of Palin’s gestures toward book-banning as mayor. To understand what happened, it’s useful to realize that the Mat-Su Valley was in the middle of a roiling controversy over a book by [Howard Bess, a local retired liberal Baptist minister], titled Pastor, I Am Gay. Bess, 80, is deeply respected by the Valley’s small progressive community. Educated at Northwestern’s Garrett Biblical Institute — now called the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary — he comes from a Baptist tradition committed to church-state separation. In 1980 he left his church in Santa Barbara, California, to become pastor of Anchorage First American Baptist. Over the years Bess developed an intense concern about gay rights, and he went out of his way to welcome gay people into his Anchorage church. After he had served seven years at First Baptist, the board of the church asked him to lower his profile on the issue. Unwilling to do so, he resigned, took early retirement and ended up moving to Palmer to pastor a tiny liberal congregation, the Church of the Covenant, which he did without pay.
Bess published Pastor, I Am Gay in 1995. It recounts his experiences ministering to gay men and lesbians, calls for the church to take a stand against discrimination and even draws parallels between the experience of gay people and that of Jesus. “They are despised and rejected,” he wrote. “They suffer and are acquainted with infirmity. They are rejected by a perversion of justice. Is it possible that the will of the Lord will prosper through them?”

Local conservatives, including at Wasilla Assembly of God, mobilized against the book. Christian bookstores as well as secular retailers refused to sell it. Bess donated two copies to the Wasilla Public Library, but they vanished from the shelves, so he donated more. The atmosphere toward Bess was toxic; a 1997 cartoon in the Frontiersman showed a slobbering, doll-clutching pedophile approaching his church, whose sign said, Wasilla Church of the Covenant. Howard Bess, Pastor. All Sinners Welcome! Bible Interpretations to Suit Your “Lifestyle.”
Most reports have said that, when asking about banning books, Palin never mentioned any specific titles, but the presence of Pastor, I Am Gay in the library was, at the time, a matter of fierce contention. “I’m as sure that that book was at issue with Sarah Palin as I am that I’m talking to you right now,” said Bess.

Providential coincidence, or small-town cheap homophobic conspiracy?  Stay tuned, true believers.

Related: Fareed Zakaria dons his Captain Obvious pajamas, declaring Palin to be “utterly unqualified to be vice president”; has the bar on Palin been set so low that it’s entirely possible for her to ‘win’ Thursday’s VP debate?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

On John Edwards ‘Love Child’

by matttbastard

“Double standard!” cries Slate media critic Jack Shafer.  “An elaborate cover up!” whines hacktacular OG ‘even the liberal’ blogger Mickey Kaus.  ‘Liberal bias!’ wails the wingnutosphere (surprise, surprise).

All that self-righteous sturm und drang simply because the MSM hasn’t dove on recent reports from that bastion of responsible journalism, The National Enquirer, alleging that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, with a woman named Reille Hunter.

Oooh.  Shocking.  A liberal Democrat with no moral values–way to conform to years of movement conservative propaganda, John Boy.

Sorry, kiddies; as John Cole aptly notes, the Grand Old Party has upped the ante on sex scandals to the point where a mere (yes, heterosexual) extramarital affair (and illegitimate child) is now small beer, not worthy of the print expenditure:

The reason no one is paying attention to the alleged affair and love-child is simple. You guys have made standard affairs boring (I know, I know. You claim to be a Democrat.). No one is claiming Edwards was seen in two wetsuits hanging from the ceiling with a dildo lodged in his rectum. There is no DC madam with a black book involved. No one has transcripts of him instant messaging teen-age congressional pages or crashing their dorms in a drunken stupor. There is no arrest record for soliciting oral sex in an airport bathroom, complete with feisty confrontations with the arresting officer on video tape. There is no religious hypocrisy and gay prostitution and meth-fueled sodomy binge to talk about.

In short, aside from the fact that all there is to the story is an Enquirer report, it is just boring. You all have made standard affairs pedestrian and dull. Even when you use the phrase “love child,” what it boils down to is a guy allegedly sleeping with a woman. Pretty tame stuff, given what the GOP has provided us for the past few years.

Now maybe if he got caught engaging in oral sex with goats. That would probably get some attention.

I think there’s something to be said about the innate homophobia contained within media coverage of the aforementioned events. But the hook that made them ‘newsworthy’ by mainstream press standards is the fact that, in most instances, the principals were all on record as being militantly homophobic Christian conservatives; their moral (and, in many cases, legal) transgressions were thus in direct opposition to their images and records as public officials.  Even former NY governor Elliot Spitzer was a grandstanding anti-prostitution crusader, so when he was caught in the middle of a prostitution ring, the immensity of the hypocrisy was too much for the jackals in the MSM to ignore (even as the puritanical response once again served as a revealing Rorschach Test of the collective American unconscious).

So, unless there’s more blood to this latest (alleged) ‘scandal’, one shouldn’t be surprised (nor shocked and outraged!!11one) at the underwhelmed non-response from the press.

Of course, as David Corn notes, even if this story never makes the 24 hour cable news cycle, the allegations have effectively removed Edwards from VP consideration:

[W]hether you read about this matter in the Times or not, the veep-vetters of the Obama campaign have probably paid the story notice. If Edwards is still in contention, he better have for them a rather convincing denial to allay suspicions that this time the scandalmongers of the Enquirer might have actually gotten it right.

Regardless, one wonders if the McCain campaign really wants the media to be talking about political figures running around behind the backs of their sick wives.

Ahem.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Obey: Black, Gay, and Female? Talk About a Prime Target For Protection and Service.

by matttbastard

Via Renee:

Elle nails it:

What I noticed about the video (aside from the cops jerking a young woman off a public bus and injuring her for a damned finger sign) was how police brutality has led us to be always ready to assume the defense. Her mother stated over and over that her daughter was “good” and wasn’t a “criminal.” She’d never been in any trouble. She theorized that the police officers’ actions were a manifestation of the  problem” LBPD has with young, black lesbians.

[…]

What do you say when we are still at the point where we assume the defensive, have to proclaim our status as “good” and “like everyone else,” otherwise mistreating us is okay?

Renee also has it exactly right:

If the people who are supposed to be upholding the law, daily violate the law, then we have no law.  What we have is a masquerade of justice wherein certain bodies matter, and others are only considered to the extent that can be exploited, and marginalized.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, “assaulting a police officer” is an Orwellian synonym for ‘disobedience’, as manifested in this specific instance by Ms. Patton not showing appropriate fealty towards, as Elle puts it, “the power of the uniform.”  And, these days, that’s a hollow, impotent power, devoid of any earned respect or authority to bolster the legitimacy of those who wear the uniform.  I mean, really, would a goddamn bird-flip warrant such a horrifyingly disproportionate response unless the officers who got dissed didn’t feel obligated to subsequently assert and affirm their dominance–to demand obedience–by force?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

On Rite Aid’s LGBTQI Outreach Program…

by matttbastard

One (facetiously) wonders if blatant homophobia like this would be considered a “[matter] of conscience” under Bill C-537:

Also see Good as You, Queerty, and Paula the Surf Mom, who also provides the following contact information for those who would like to *ahem* politely discuss the matter with Rite Aid:

By Phone

(717) 731-6566 or (717) 975-5718

By E-Mail

By U.S. Mail

Rite Aid Corporation
Customer Support
P.O. Box 3165
Harrisburg, PA 17105

h/t Liss

Update: The latest from Queerty:

A concerned and peppy Rite Aid spokeswoman just gave us a call to inform us that neither Tom Marquez nor any other Rite Aid employee had anything to do with the lamentable sign. She also told us that the sign’s message “doesn’t represent the views of Rite Aid or their employees.” The police have been contacted and they’re trying to track down the culprit, who Rite Aid hopes will be prosecuted to “the fullest extent of the law” for this “vandalism.” The spokeswoman also used the word “appalled” to describe her and her peers’ feelings about the alleged homophobia. Thanks for the clarification, Rite Aid!

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Jesse Helms Departs This Mortal Coil (Finally)

by matttbastard

(click the image for a restrained-but-unsentimental obit from ThinkProgress)

Hey, sing ‘Dixie’ to Strom Thurmond for me once you finally get down there, you racist, homophobic assbag.

Oh, and Happy 4th of July (indeed).

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Pastor John Hagee: “The Antichrist is a dispatch deep from the recesses of my id!” and other NOOZ!

by matttbastard

(video created by Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action.org)

Dunno, Max–I think it needs more “hootin’ and hollerin'” to achieve the vaunted threshold of ‘NOOZworthy’.  Speanking of NOOZ, a friend of a friend of an ex-CIA ratfucker tells me that FoxNews has locked up teh mysterious Michelle Obama ‘whitey’ video in Al Capone’s vault!!!11 What was that about wingnuts pole vaulting over bbq’d shark?

Recommend this post at Progressive bloggers

Say No To Homophobia – Boycott Digg!

by matttbastard

Kevin Rose and the fine young gentlemen @ Digg appear to have a problem with Lesbian-authored websites.

Paula the Surf Mom:

Well friends and readers it did not take us here at Lesbiatopia long before we have reluctantly found ourselves entering the realm of controversy as it would seem that Lesbiatopia has been banned by the internet book marking service Diggs, for displaying Adult content. But it is our option that our banning has more to do with a homophobic and misogynistic group think element by a of a small number of Digg users that tends to only wish to promote their personal views on homosexuality, lesbians and women in general.

[Digg] likes to promote itself as a non-hierarchical community-based popularity website, that uses a form of democratic editorial control were news stories and websites that are submitted by Digg users. Digg users then promote these submissions to the front page through a user-based ranking system.

[…] 

Only last week [Digg] banned another Lesbian authored site that I am sure many of the readers here are familiar with called Just A Girl in Short Shorts, for exactly the same reason as it banned Lesbiatopia… but if one reads this authors page you can see the banning of this site was probably motivated more by the fact the author is a lesbian with a brain, who presents content that is targeted primarily to a lesbian readership and that talks frankly about lesbian issues.

[…]

Hmmm me thinks that possibly there may just be a double standard at [Digg] and I think it just might be time to let [Digg’s] advertisers know that if they are looking for a demographic that has a proven track record for spending their money on line they just might want to look at the Gay and Lesbian demographic and remember that we tend to support firms that support us.

Shiver me timbers, the dirty so-and-sos have even banned The Cap’n, who be mates with The Beav!

Now, to be fair to teh boyz @ Digg, some Lesbian content is a-ok.

*blinks*

Ahem.

*headdesk*

Moving on….

Paula has subsequently addressed an open letter to Digg:

Gentleman,

Recently you banned a site I author called Lesbiatopia for mature content, you also recently banned another lesbian authored site called Just a Girl in Short Shorts for the same reason, but a search of your site with the word ‘lesbian’ reveals that there is still plenty of prurient lesbian content present, much of which I can assure you would be considered by many of my lesbian readers as exploitive and insulting… for example the content and comments of this very popular string that I had no problem finding on your site titled Britney Spears has lesbian footage of Paris Hilton. This post is seems only the tip of the iceberg when it come to efforts by your users to humiliate and degrade lesbians and gay people in general.

So it sort of seems to me and several other lesbian and gay publishers I have contacted that your action against Lesbiatopia and other lesbian authored sites recently may well be a bit homophobic on your parts and that you seem to pander to a misogynistic and lesbiaphobic element who tend to frequent your site. We can only take this to mean that your only concern would be material this element considers ‘offensive’ as lesbian material posted by lesbians for other lesbians.

Therefore since you are a San Francisco based company and you have chosen to ignore any communications from me about this matter to date, I feel I have no choice but to contact the San Francisco Human Rights commission to see if they might be of some assistance in this matter and I will be asking my readers to do the same.

Thank You

Paula the Surf Mom

I echo Dave and Chet’s call to arms: let’s give Digg the heave-ho and bury it, in solidarity with Paula and the rest of our sapphic sisters.  This non-heterosexual male definitely tends to support companies that support members of the community–and vice versa.

h/t pale via IM.

x-posted @ Bread and Roses 

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Quote Of The Day 2: High-Brow Panty-Sniffing

by matttbastard

sigh.jpg

The goal of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy isn’t merely to win — it’s to make the public feel that any Democrat who might attain real power is someone no decent person should associate with, someone we should cross the street to avoid, someone whose intentions and goals are dangerous — if not unspeakable. That’s the message being spread right now about Hillary Clinton in these linked communications. She is a lesbian agent of terror. Her vagina will get us all killed.

Steve M., nailing it.

Seriously, Matt Drudge and Rupert Murdoch, along with Beltway/blogosphere rodents who are always so quick to mindless scurry in line when the first few notes are breathlessly played by the aforementioned VRWC opinion-pipers, still personify everything that is wrong with contemporary political journalism. Welcome to the official kickoff to real 2008 campaign press coverage. Check your standards at the door, right alongside your brain.

Via Memeorandum

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