Friday, November 14, 2008

The Fight for Same-Sex Marriage

So what are we supposed to do now that Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in California (as well as the similar initiatives in Florida and Arizona) has passed?

Lawsuits have already been filed regarding Prop 8 in California. One basic argument being made is that to allow the majority to vote to deny fundamental rights to a protected minority is unconstitutional. Can you imagine if the people of California were able to vote to deny, say, black people the right to marry?

So what else can the rest of us do, including those of us outside California?

Now of course, the easiest way to join in the fight is to sign a petition...

Of course, the easiest way is not always the most effective way. By all means, please do sign the petitions! Just don't stop at that, because it's not enough.

Contact your congressperson and your local officials directly and tell them why same-sex marriage (and other civil and gay rights issues) are important to you.
Also write to the politicians, government officials, and other public figures that opposed Prop 8 - like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger - and thank them. You can search the Voting Records of the elected officials in your community to see what their stances have been on gay rights issues.
Congressional Directory

Directory of Local Governments


Download and fliers and graphics to show your support of same-sex marriage. Go blue for equality by displaying a blue light in your window or storefront. Wear your support with one of our new cafepress t-shirt designs:

[Click each image for more items]


Support the companies that funded the fight against Prop 8 (such as Google, Apple and Pacific Gas & Electric) and the many organizations that opposed the proposition (like the League of Women Voters and the California Teacher's Association).

Make a donation to any of these groups that fight for gay rights:

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

GLAADThe Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Let California Ring
Public education campaign to "open hearts and minds" about the freedom to marry and the respect, support, protections, and responsibilities that come with marriage.

EQ|CA - Equality California
In the past 10 years, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation.

Human Rights Campaign
America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

Immigration Equality
A national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status.


In addition to preserving civil rights (such as the freedom of speech or the right to due process), the American Civil Liberties Union works to guarantee the right to equal treatment and protection under the law.

Lambda Legal
A national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.


Boycott the many businesses that endorsed or donated to "Yes on 8". Californians Against Hate have compiled a list of the top contributors to the cause. (You can also search the Donation Records of the people in your area to see what candidates they've supported).

You should also contact groups and organizations that funded the "Yes on Prop 8" campaign and tell them that you will not support them because of their position on same-sex marriage.

One of greatest supporters of Proposition 8 was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This has not only caused many Mormons to resign from the church in protest of the "hatred" and "discrimination", but has also prompted people to work towards stripping the Mormon church of its tax-exempt status. The argument is that since the IRS law has restrictions on political campaigning and lobbying, they should not be eligible for tax-exemption (which would seriously diminish their anti-gay marriage funds).


We urge you to check out some of the campaigns against Proposition 8 (and for same-sex marriage in general). Keep updated on their various events and projects.

Just a few random websites:
Follow NoOnProp8 on Twitter, add Equality Now on myspace, or search for "prop 8" on facebook.

Also... Here's a cute myspace blog from comedian Ian Harvie, giving "tips" on how to make a go of marriage equality next time and an awesome "Special Comment"from Keith Olbermann, on how horrible Prop 8 is. Just because.


There will be a nation-wide protest against Proposition 8 outside city halls across the country this Saturday, November 15 at 10:30 am PST/1:30 pm EST. We hope to join the protesters gathering in NYC and encourage everyone to look for one in your area: here! (If you can't find a location near you, get involved and organize your own!) Check out for more information on Saturday's events and please pass the word on.

Also check out Equality California's list of events, the list of Prop 8 protests and rallies provided by Queers United and

Fight for same-sex marriage in your state. Right now same-sex marriage is legal is only two U.S. states: Massachusetts and Connecticut. (A few other states offer "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships"). There are limitations to what someone in say, New York, can do about the law in California, Arizona or Florida... but we can reach out on the local level to try to encourage change and progress.

We should all be working towards gay rights on a national level as well. We need federal legislative action that would invalidate Proposition 8 (and eventually, every other gay marriage ban or restriction). Repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be a big step in the right direction. DOMA states that no state needs to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage (even if it considered a marriage in another state) and the federal government is forbidden from doing so.

If you've been paying attention to the media then I'm sure you've already heard about how Prop 8 passing is all the fault of black people. Or that scary stuff about ministers going to jail for refusing to do gay weddings. Or the new requirement of teaching same-sex marriage in public schools. Or the angry riots that gay people have been causing throughout California.

Yeah you've probably heard it all. The problem is that NONE OF IT IS TRUE.

It's up to us to speak out and try to correct the false information whenever we hear, read, or see it. Hold the media accountable if they report an inaccurate or untrue story, because we deserve the truth.


Although the general public basically considers the measure to have passed, technically it will not be law until December 13 when the state of California will officially call the results of Prop 8. (The measure passed by a difference of only about 504,000 votes, but there are still as many as 3 million absentee and provisional ballots that have not yet been counted).

And I wouldn't exactly call this good news, but it is still interesting to note that in 2000, 61.4% of voters supported Proposition 22 (the ballot initiative that originally banned same-sex marriage in California), while only 52.5% of voters supported Proposition 8 this time around. So it is a small sign of progress. We'll see on December 13th just how small it really is.

Forward this blog (or selected information provided within the blog) to everyone you know.

This is not just a "gay" issue or a "marriage" issue. This is a civil rights issue. If we stand for discrimination of any group, then we cannot expect to be protected from discrimination ourselves. If we condone or ignore denying rights to one segment of the population, then who knows what will be next. To quote Martin Luther King, Jr...
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Last Minute Election Link Round-Up

Conservatives Against Sarah Palin: The List is Growing (The Washington Note)
More and more top line conservatives are expressing doubts about Sarah Palin's qualifications to be Vice President.

A Drag on the Ticket? (Yahoo News)
According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the number one concern about McCain was Palin's perceived lack of qualifications.

The Fight Against Domestic Violence (Huffington Post)
Joe Biden discusses his National Domestic Violence Volunteer Act and more.

Five questions about America this election may answer (
The impact of the 2008 presidential campaign will depend not only on who wins but also on whether the results signify a deeper realignment in American politics.

Joe Biden Made Me Cry (BlogHer)
Senator Biden helped the National Domestic Violence Hotline "celebrate" its two millionth call. (We put "celebrate" in quotes, because it's not a good thing that two million women needed to make that call, but it is a good thing that those two million women were able to make that call and did make that call).

Tea with Barack Obama's sister (
An interview with Maya Soetoro-Ng on her "awesome" big brother, his early presidential leanings and their mother's legacy.
A look at the anti-woman policies of McCain and Palin.
Lies About Abortion (Jezebel)
This Fall in California, voters will have the opportunity to pass or defeat the parental-notification bill called "Sarah's Law".

John McCain's Domestic Terrorism Problem (Daily Kos)
John McCain voted twice against legislation that would protect women and their doctors, by making a federal law prohibiting bombings, arson, shootings, blockades and threats of violence at abortion clinics.

Palin: 'I Don't Know' If Abortions Clinic Bombers are Terrorists (Jed Report)
Do we really need to write a summary for this one? I think the title says it all.

NARAL Pro-Choice Voter Guide
Find out which candidates are pro-choice and endorsed by NARAL. (The link takes you to NARAL New York, but just click on the map to find candidates in your state).

Fact Check: The myths that wouldn't go away (Yahoo news)
During the campaign, McCain and Obama produced enduring myths that their running mates and supporters amplified and distorted even more.

Election day dress code (may be) enforced (
In some states, it may be prohibited to wear political gear at the voting booth, resulting in being turned away and in some cases, arrest. By definition, displaying political messages on T-Shirts, buttons and such is considered “electioneering” and is not allowed near some state's voting booths. So wear those t-shirts and buttons today, but keep them at home when you go to vote tomorrow!

Voters Across Nation Hit by Dirty Tricks (AOL news)
Intimidation, misinformation and plain old trickery are just an example of the lengths that some people will go to keep people from voting. Don't be fooled!

Election Information You Need (
Do a last minute check of your polling place and get info on candidates and ballot measures in your area. (Sponsored by the League of Women Voters Education Fund).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sarah Palin Presents 25 Reasons Not To Vote for Sarah Palin

Since our "John McCain Presents 50 Reasons Not To Vote for John McCain" blog entry was so successful, we thought we'd also let Sarah Palin tell us why we shouldn't vote for her and McCain!

1. "I will tell Americans straight up that I don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman."

2. "...she is not my 'gay friend', she is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made. "

3. "When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that about that excess criticism or you know maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think "man, that doesn't do us any good" - women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. I don't think it bodes well for her, a statement like that, because again, fair or unfair, it is there. I think that's reality, and I think it's a given. I think people can just accept that she is going to be under that sharper microscope. So be it! I mean, work harder, prove yourself to an even greater degree that you're capable, that you're going to be the best candidate, and that of course is what she wants us to believe at this point. So it bothers me a little bit hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level."

4. "I told the Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that Bridge to Nowhere."

5. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

6. "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made."

7. "As for that V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?"

8. We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation."

9. "...our leaders, our national leaders, are sending soldiers out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan".

10. "I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't." [after being questioned about spending over $50,000 in city funds to redecorate her office, without the city council's authorization]

11. Katie Couric: "What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?"

Sarah Palin: "Well, let's see. There's -- of course -- in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are -- those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know -- going through the history of American, there would be others but --"

Katie Couric:
"Can you think of any?"
Sarah Palin: "Well, I could think of -- of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with."

12. "I like being here because it seems like here and in our last rally too -- other parts around this great Northwest -- here in New Hampshire you just get it."

"I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing ... any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that." [after an Alaska legislative report found that she had broken Alaska's ethics law and abused her power]

14. "What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?"

15. "They are also building schools for the Afghan children so that there is hope and opportunity in our neighboring country of Afghanistan."

16. "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also."

17. "I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you." [when asked to cite specific examples of how John McCain has pushed for more regulation in the Senate]

18. "They're in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes..." [wrongly answering a question on what the vice president does]

19. Charlie Gibson: "What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?"

Sarah Palin: "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska"

20. Charlie Gibson: "Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?"

Sarah Palin: "In what respect, Charlie?"

Charlie Gibson: "Bush -- What do you interpret it to be?"
Sarah Palin: "His worldview?"

21. Katie Couric: "If a 15-year-old is raped by her father, do you believe it should be illegal for her to get an abortion, and why?"

Sarah Palin: "I am pro-life. And I'm unapologetic in my position that I am pro-life."

22. "There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women." [misquoting Madeline Albright]

23. Katie Couric: "Some people have credited the morning-after pill for decreasing the number of abortions. How do you feel about the morning-after pill?"

Sarah Palin: "Well, I am all for contraception. And I am all for preventative measures that are legal and save, and should be taken, but Katie, again, I am one to believe that life starts at the moment of conception. And I would like to see …"

Katie Couric: "And so you don't believe in the morning-after pill?"

Sarah Palin: "I would like to see fewer and fewer abortions in this world. And again, I haven't spoken with anyone who disagrees with my position on that."

Katie Couric: "I'm sorry, I just want to ask you again. Do you not support or do you condone or condemn the morning-after pill."

Sarah Palin: "...personally, I would not choose to participate in that kind of contraception."

24. " the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy." [actually, it's more like 3.5 percent]

25. "You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Elections are so gay

It's getting closer and closer to the election. We've already spent a lot of time writing about the candidates for President and Vice President, but we haven't really given that much attention to all the other men and women who are running for office. Seeing as it's still GLBT History month, we thought we'd let you know a little bit about what GLBT candidates there are this year.

But first, some inspiring words from the late Harvey Milk:

The Victory Fund, the nation's largest GLBT political action committee, has endorsed 100 GLBT gay candidates at various levels for 2008, the group's largest endorsement slate ever! They've highlighted 10 candidates that you might not already know, but should:

For a full list of candidates across the United States, at every level of government: Endorsed Candidates map. For openly gay officials already in office across the world: Out Officials map.

  • Jason Bartlett - State Representative, Connecticut—Rep. Bartlett came out in 2008 during his current term, making him one of only two openly gay African-American state legislators in the U.S. His reelection would confirm that serving honestly and openly as LGBT is not a barrier to retaining the trust of constituents.
  • Kate Brown - Secretary of State, Oregon—Sen. Kate Brown, who currently serves as the Democratic Leader in the Oregon Senate, would become the first openly LGBT Secretary of State in the U.S. In Oregon, the office is the second-highest ranking elected post behind the governor.
  • Linda Ketner - U.S. Representative, South Carolina—Linda Ketner is a longtime businesswoman, community activist and philanthropist who is seeking to represent South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives. She faces an entrenched Republican incumbent, but the state’s political press says Ketner’s campaign has made the race competitive.
  • Kevin Lee - State Representative, Pennsylvania—Kevin Lee would become the Keystone State’s first out representative, which would be a milestone for Pennsylvania’s substantial LGBT community. Kevin hopes to represent a swing district in suburban Philadelphia.
  • Andrew Martin - State Representative, Nevada—Andrew Martin is seeking a seat in the Nevada Assembly, where he would be the only out state representative. Current State Rep. David Parks, who is also openly gay, is running for the State Senate.
  • Sara Orozco - State Senate, Massachusetts—Sara Orozco would be the only openly LGBT state senator in Massachusetts. She faces a notoriously anti-gay incumbent.
  • John Perez - State Assembly, California—If elected, John Perez would become the first openly LGBT person of color elected to the California legislature. Perez’ strong support from both the labor and LGBT groups reflects growing alliances between the two communities.
  • Jared Polis - U.S. Representative, Colorado—Jared Polis, the former Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education, won a hard-fought Democratic primary to represent the 2nd Congressional District. If elected, Jared would become the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a non-incumbent.
  • Jared Roth - Corporation Commission, Oklahoma—Jim Roth was appointed to this powerful statewide regulatory commission by Gov. Brad Henry after winning two terms on the Oklahoma County Commission. He is now running to keep the seat. Roth would become the first openly gay statewide elected official in Oklahoma.
  • Lupe Valdez - Sheriff, Dallas County, Texas—Lupe Valdez became the first woman, the first Latina and the first out lesbian ever elected to this post when she won in 2004. Republicans, still smarting from having lost the seat in 2004, have targeted this county-wide race.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

John McCain Presents 50 Reasons Not To Vote For John McCain

Now that there are ten days to go before the election, we thought it would be fun to present 10 quotes demonstrating why it's not a good idea to vote for John McCain, straight from someone who would know. There was only one small problem - limiting it to just ten quotes proved impossible. We stopped ourselves at 50, in no particular order, but of course we're always open to suggestions. Enjoy.

  1. "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."
  2. "The fundamentals of the economy are strong."
  3. "I believe Roe v. Wade was a very bad decision."
  4. "I campaigned in the first primary for Congress in 1982 as a pro-lifer and my voting record over all of those years, and there are many, many votes that are pro-life votes that I've taken. Never once has there been a non-pro-life vote...And I've got a consistent zero from NARAL throughout all of those years. I may have had some other policy differences with some people in the pro-life community, but my record is clear. And I think the important thing is you look at people's voting record because sometimes rhetoric can be a little ... misleading."
  5. "At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."
  6. “Today in Washington, D.C., thousands of people are taking part in the annual March for Life and staking a claim for the rights of the unborn. I commend them and am in awe of their great dedication to the cause of protecting life. I share their strong pro life beliefs and I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Child Custody Protection Act that is being introduced today….minors with the assistance of adults –who are not their parents– are being transported across State lines to receive abortions without obtaining parental consent. We need to end this and, far more importantly, the consequences such actions have on life. I am and always have been pro-life and my record during my tenure in Congress reflects my strong belief that life is sacred. We must stand up for the rights of the unborn and do all that we can to enact this important legislation.”
  7. "I do not believe gay marriage should be legal."
  8. "I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don't believe in gay adoption."
  9. Q: Do you believe creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the nation's schools?
    "No, I believe that's up to the school districts. But I think that every American should be exposed to all theories. There's no doubt in my mind that the hand of God was in what we are today. And I do believe that we are unique, and I believe that God loves us. But I also believe that all of our children in school can be taught different views on different issues. I leave the curricula up to the school boards."
  10. "I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."
  11. "In the 21st century nations don't invade other nations."
  12. SCHIEFFER: You said at one of your town halls recently that it was OK with you if we stayed in Iraq for 100 years. I mean...That requires some explanation, I think.

    Sen. McCAIN: It requires some explanation, because I had a--at a town hall meeting, we go back and forth. There was a man there who was very well informed about Iraq and firmly disagreed with me, and we had this exchange. He said, `How long do we have to stay there?' My point was, and continues to be, how long do we have to stay in Bosnia? How long do we have to stay in South Korea? How long are we going to stay in Japan? How long we going to stay in Germany? All of those, 50, 60-year period. No one complains--in fact, they contribute enormously, their presence, to stability in the world.

    The point is, it's American casualties. We got to get Americans off the front line, have the Iraqis as part of this strategy take over more and more of the responsibilities and then I don't think Americans are concerned if we're there for 100 years or 1,000 years or 10,000 years. What they care about is the sacrifice of our most precious treasure, and that's American blood. So what I'm saying is, look, if Americans are there in a support role but they're not taking casualties, that's fine. We're in Kuwait now, as you well recall there. We had a war, we stayed in Kuwait. We didn't stay in Saudi Arabia. So it's going to be up to the relationship between the Iraqi government and the United States of America.
  13. "You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran? Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." --breaking into song after being asked at a VFW meeting about whether it was time to send a message to Iran, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, April 18, 2007 (Watch video clip)

    When asked about the negative reaction to his new interpretation of the song:
    “When veterans are together, veterans joke. And I was with veterans, and we were joking. And if somebody can't understand that, my answer is please get a life.”
  14. "Maybe that's a way of killing them." --responding to a report that $158 million in cigarettes have been shipped to Iran during Bush's presidency despite restrictions on U.S. exports to that country, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 8, 2008
  15. "Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father."
  16. "Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, 'Where is that marvelous ape?'" --a "joke" McCain reportedly told during his first Senate race in 1986
  17. "The French remind me of an aging movie actress in the 1940s who’s still trying to dine out on her looks, but doesn’t have the face for it."

    "Look, I don’t mean to try to be snide, but the Lord said the poor will always be with us. The French will always be with us, too."
  18. "I was looking at the Sturgis schedule, and noticed that you had a beauty pageant, so I encouraged Cindy to compete. I told her [that] with a little luck, she could be the only woman to serve as both the First Lady and Miss Buffalo Chip." --on the Miss Buffalo Chip Pageant, which features topless (and occasionally bottomless) contestants, Sturgis, South Dakota, Aug. 4, 2008 (Watch video clip)
  19. "I think -- I'll have my staff get to you. It's condominiums where -- I'll have them get to you." --after being asked how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own, interview with Politico, Las Cruces, N.M., Aug. 20, 2008

  20. Q: "Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?"
    Mr. McCain: (Long pause) "You've stumped me."
    Q: "I mean, I think you'd probably agree it probably does help stop it?"
    Mr. McCain: (Laughs) "Are we on the Straight Talk express? 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. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception—I'm sure I'm opposed to government spending on it, I'm sure I support the president's policies on it."
  21. On VP choice Sarah Palin: "She's a partner and a soul mate."
  22. On his oppositions to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would make it easier for women to sue for discrimination in cases where they are not getting equal pay for equal work: "I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system...They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else," McCain said. "And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them.
  23. "I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government."
  24. "I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia." (July 2008)

    "The first thing I would do is make sure that we have a missile defense system in place in Czechoslovakia and Poland, and I don't care what his objections are to it." (October 2007)

    "In 1994, McCain suggested NATO be expanded to include Czechoslovakia. At a dinner in 1999, he 'twice thanked the ambassador from 'Czechoslovakia' for his efforts,' according to the Washington Post."

    (Czechoslovakia no longer exists - it split into two separate countries in 1993.)
  25. "We have a lot of work to do. It's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border." --referring to a border that does not exist, ABC News interview, July 21, 2008 (Watch video clip)
  26. Asked in an interview with a Spanish reporter about whether he would meet with Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain: " "All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region."
    "But what about Europe? I'm talking about the President of Spain."
    McCain: "What about me, what?
    Interviewer: "Are you willing to meet with him if you're elected president?"
    McCain: "I am wiling to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for humans rights, democracy and freedom. And I will stand up to those who do not."
  27. "Fannie and Freddie's lobbyists lobbyists succeeded and Congress failed. Under our administration this will not happen again."
  28. "And by the way, on that oil rig — and I’m sure you’ve probably heard this story — you look down, and there’s fish everywhere! There’s fish everywhere! Yeah, the fish love to be around those rigs. So not only can it be helpful for energy, it can be helpful for some pretty good meals as well."
  29. "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public's trust. If I were president today, I would fire him." --apparently unaware of the fact that the SEC chairman, as a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission, cannot be removed by the president, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Sept. 18, 2008
  30. "In your judgment, could you see her [Sarah Palin] as President of the United States?"
    "As president?"
    "Absolutely, absolutely." [60 Minutes interview, 9/21/08]
  31. "Sure. Technically, I don't know." --asked if the U.S. is in a recession [60 Minutes interview, Sept. 21, 2008]
  32. On the Iraq war: "I believe the success will be fairly easy." [Larry King Live - Sept. 24, 2002]

    "I believe that we can win an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time." [CNN's Late Edition - Sept. 29, 2002]
  33. "We're talking about Joe The Plumber!"

  34. Q: Well, you say you’re sure that she has the experience, but again, I’m just asking for an example. What experience does she have in the field of national security?
    McCAIN: Energy. She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America. …. And we all know that energy is a critical and vital national security issue. [interview with an NBC affiliate in Portland, ME, 9/10/08]
    GIBSON: But as you know, the questions revolve really around foreign policy experience. Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn’t traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?
    MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America’s national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands.
    Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that. Look, Sen. Obama’s never visited south of our border. I mean, please. [Interview with ABC's Charles 'In What Respect, Charlie?' Gibson, 9/3/08]
  35. "I don't think that Senator Obama understands that there was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf came to power. Everybody who was around then and had been there and knew about it knew that it was a failed state."
  36. "If I was a dictator, which I always aspire to be..."
  37. "I love to bash the media all the time"
  38. Q: Senator, right now, you know - you came to Washington, you took action, you suspended your campaign again to come back and vote. But right now a recent study shows and the polls reflect it, that Barack Obama's gaining ever since this crisis landed on everyone's kitchen table. Why is that?

    McCain: Because life isn't fair.
  39. To the crown at a women's town hall meeting: "My friends, I've had hundreds of town hall meetings around this country for many, many years and I've got to say, thanks to you and to you and to you this is one of the more impactful and emotional town hall meetings I've ever had. Maybe it's because it's a women's town hall."
  40. Crazy woman at town hall meeting: "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him, and he's not, he's not...he's an Arab."

    McCain's: "No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about. He's not. Thank you."
  41. "There was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney. You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one."
  42. "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." --in the Sept./Oct. issue of Contingencies
  43. "He's (for) health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, 'health.'"
  44. "Obviously, [the Ledbetter Act] waved the statute of limitations, which you could have gone back 20 or 30 years. It was a trial lawyer's dream."
  45. "Let me just say categorically I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies...I have repudiated every time someone's been out of line, whether they've been part of my campaign or not, and I will continue to do that."
  46. "I am very honored to know [Sarah Palin] and her family. By the way, her husband Todd is a four time champion of a race of 2000 miles across Alaska in the dead of winter. Um, amazing person. His grandmother is a native Alaskan. On one of his races he broke his arm and continued the race for 250 more miles. So just a wonderful family. And they have a very special child and I'm very proud of them."
  47. "[Sarah Palin] is a direct counterpoint to the liberal feminist agenda for America."
  48. "No one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have."
  49. "There's no doubt in my mind that we will prevail and there's no doubt in my mind, once these people are gone, that we will be welcomed as liberators." --on the Iraq war, "Hardball" interview, March 24, 2003
  50. "The fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I've been totally in agreement and support of President Bush. --"Meet the Press" interview, June 19, 2005

Friday, October 24, 2008

GLBT Bonus: Palin Sucks Too

Bonus blog! It's GLBT History Month and we've already told you how much McCain would suck for the future of GLBT rights, we thought we'd throw in a little Sarah Palin suckage too. Albeit, she has less of a record against gay rights - mainly because she has less of a record period - but she's still blatantly against gay rights.

When it comes to marriage, Sarah Palin is actually more anti-gay rights than her running mate, if you can believe that. She does support a federal ban on same-sex marriage, which goes against McCain's states-rights position (but is pretty much on point with McCain's anti-gay stance) and has voted in the past for a state amendment to ban same sex marriage in Alaska.

In the Vice Presidential debate against Joe Biden, Palin said that she and Biden shared the same position on same-sex marriage (both against it). However, the fact is that Palin is a little tiny bit more against it. Although Biden does not agree with legalizing same-sex marriage (because he felt that "marriage" was a term that should be left up to the faiths) he said that he "absolutely positively" supported granting same-sex couples with the same legal rights and benefits as married couples.

"Absolutely positively. Absolutely no distinction from a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple. That's only fair."
However, Palin attached a qualifier to her support of same-sex benefits that Biden did not. That is, while he said "absolutely positively", she had an "if":
"Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. And unfortunately that's sometimes where those steps lead.

...I will tell Americans straight up that I don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means."
That "if" is so vague and so broad (how close is "closer and closer") that it can be interpreted in a number of ways, some which may strongly hinder same-sex couples from actually receiving the benefits that Palin claims she supports. In her 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire, she listed "preserving the definition of 'marriage'" as one of her top three priorities in regard to families, if elected governor and said that she believes spousal benefits should be "reserved for married citizens".

Also in that questionnaire, she affirmed her stance on the expansion of hate crime laws and implementing explicit sex-ed programs (neither would get her support).

In case you're still not sure... let's look back at her record in Alaska. There's been a lot of talk about how, as Governor, she vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the state from granting health benefits to same-sex partners of public employees, because she found it to be unconstitutional. Or that is, the Alaska attorney general advised her that it was unconstitutional and would likely be defeated in the courts. Some people might look at this veto as a sign that she supports spousal benefits for same-sex couples, but she doesn't. She and her office made it clear that she doesn't, when they released this statement about the bill:
"The Department of Law advised me that this bill, HB4001, is unconstitutional given the recent Court order of of December 19th, mandating same-sex benefits. With that in mind, signing this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office."

"The Governor's veto does not signal any change or modification to her disagreement with the action and order by the Alaska Supreme Court."
"The Supreme Court has ordered adoption of the regulations by the State of Alaska to begin providing benefits January 1. We have no more judicial options. We may disagree with the rationale behind the ruling, but our responsibility is to proceed forward with the law and follow the Constitution."
"I disagree with the recent court decision because I feel as though Alaskans spoke on this issue with its overwhelming support for a Constitutional Amendment in 1998 which defined marriage as between a man and woman. But the Supreme Court has spoken and the state will abide."
She even raised the possibility of amending the state constitution so that a similar bill would pass at a later date. So I don't really think it's completely fair to say she shares the same opinion as Senator Biden.

Palin recently declined to issue a proclamation recognizing National Coming Out Day in Alaska, even after receiving a formal request from Alaskans Together for Equality to acknowledge the day. So far in October 2008, she has issued proclamations for such very important days as:
  • Careers in Construction Week
  • 10th Annual Christian Heritage Week
  • Biomedical Technician Week
  • Alaska Taiwan Friendship Week
  • World Farm Animals Day
  • Breastfeeding Awareness Month
  • Grand Opening of Rilke Schule Day
Palin has claimed to have good friends who are gay, but I find it pretty hard to believe that any self-respecting gay person would really be friends with someone who has fought so hard to prevent them from having basic rights. Of course, she's never named any of the gay friends, nor have they come out to support her publicly, nor has anyone else been able to find these gay friends. She mentioned one of these alleged friends her interview with Katie Couric:
"I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships. I have one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years happens to be gay, and I love her dearly. And she is not my 'gay friend', she is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made. But I am not going to judge people."
So basically she not only believes that homosexuality is a choice, but she actually thinks that by trying to deny her "friend" the right to marry she's not "judging" her. Palin may not have as strong of an anti-gay record as McCain, but I'm sure that by the time she has been in politics as many years as he has, her record will far surpass his. Even though she's only the VP candidate - so obviously McCain's anti-gay stance is more pressing - given McCain's age there is a good chance that she may very well serve as President of the United States if McCain is elected. And I think it's all too clear how dangerous it would be for either of them to be in the Whitehouse.

McCain and the Future of GLBT Rights

faAs we've already mentioned, October is GLBT History Month. Now, knowing the history is important... but we can't forget the present and future either. I think it's important, during this election season, to remember how bad John McCain will be for gay rights. A lot of people mistakenly think that McCain is pro-gay rights or at least tolerant of gay rights. Nope. Not true. I can understand why people believe this, but they're wrong.

There has only ever been one thing that John McCain has done that indirectly benefited the GLBT community: He refused to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Now in the short version, that might seem like something good for the GLBT community (and obviously defeating a federal ban on same-sex marriage is a good thing). However, this one good thing does not mean that McCain supports the GLBT community. He wasn't against the ban because he thought it was discriminatory or wrong (it was). And he wasn't against the ban because he thinks same-sex marriage should be legal (he doesn't).

The only reason he was against the federal ban was because he thinks that issue should be decided at the state level (and he did vote for the Defense of Marriage Act). That's not pro-gay. Pro-gay would be supporting a federal amendment legalizing same-sex marriage (which he would never do). He believes that marriage should only be between one man and one woman and he completely supports and encourages each state's efforts to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. Just like he supported Arizona's Proposition 107, which would have banned both gay marriage and civil unions back in 2006. He also opposes same-sex civil unions.

Oh and let's not forget that even though he was opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment then, he did admit that he is leaving the door open to support it:

"If the Supreme Court of the United States rejects the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional; if state legislatures are frustrated by the decisions of jurists in more states than one, and if state remedies to such judicial activism fail; and finally, if a large majority of Americans come to perceive that their communities’ values are being ignored and other standards concerning marriage are being imposed on them against their will, and that elections and state legislatures can provide no remedy, then, and only then, should we consider, quite appropriately, amending the Constitution of the United States."
So yeah, he still sucks. The rest of McCain's history on GLBT issues has been equally suckish, if not more so. He has been rated 33% by the Human Rights Campaign (indicating a low-mixed record on gay rights) and 0% by the ACLU (indicating an anti-civil rights voting record).

McCain voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have protected against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. McCain has been quoted as supporting the "concept" of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people, but he won't actually support any legislation that would ensure that "concept" becomes a reality.
"I support the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people. However, we need to make sure legislation doesn't lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits or infringe on religious institutions."
There he goes again protecting bigoted corporations from "frivolous lawsuits". Because silly things like discrimination, equal opportunity, and equal pay are just silly, petty, stupid issues that we shouldn't worry our little heads about! This past year a version of ENDA finally passed through the House, but we'll see if it ever makes it through the Senate as more than just a "concept".

Another "concept" that McCain claims to agree with, but does nothing to support is the protection of GLBT Americans from bias-motivated attacks. According to the FBI's statistics on hate crimes, 1 in 6 bias crimes are due to the victim's sexual orientation. Currently, federal hate crimes law does not specifically protect victims from crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but McCain voted three times against expanding the law to include sexual orientation. He said he found the addition "unnecessary".

McCain opposes adoption by same-sex couples because he doesn't "believe it's appropriate". He has been quoted as saying, "we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don't believe in gay adoption". He's proven it? Really? Hm... because almost every child welfare organization in the country disagrees. The Child Welfare League of America, an association of nearly 800 public and private nonprofit agencies that assist over 3.5 million abused and neglected children and their families each year, disagrees with McCain. They believe that lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are "as well suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts" and cite social science research to support this claim:

"A growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two parents who are gay or lesbian fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Evidence shows that children's optimal development is influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by its particular structural form".

The CWLA isn't alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the National Adoption Center all agree that homosexuals are just as qualified to be parents as heterosexuals. But you know, McCain thinks it's not appropriate, and he knows best, right? Obviously McCain's position not only hurts the GLBT community (and single parents of any orientation) but it seriously hurts all of the children in orphanages and foster care that might never be placed for adoption due to discrimination.
McCain is against allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military and thinks that the antiquated "don't ask, don't tell" policy is "working". He's been quoted as saying that gay troops pose an intolerable risk to national security:
"I believe polarization of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual service members above those of their units.
Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America's armed services."
This law has led to the departure or discharge of more than 11,000 service members and there are currently more than 65,000 lesbian and gay service members on duty. But yeah, we wouldn't want to put the interests of those 65,000 service members above the interests of their heterosexual peers who aren't being discriminated against or being asked to live a lie. They can put their lives on the line for their country, but still have to live in fear of being discharged based on something that is not illegal. But it's working right, so who cares if it's fair? But wait... is it really working? McCain has based his stance that it's "working" on the alleged opinion of military leaders:
"Almost unanimously, they tell me that this present policy is working, that we have the best military in history, that we have the bravest, most professional, best prepared, and that this policy ought to be continued because it's working."
Actually, not everyone believes it's working. General John Shalikashvili, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman (1993-1997) originally supported the policy, but now thinks it should be given "serious reconsideration". He believes that people's attitudes have evolved and cites evidence to support the claim that gays and lesbians in the military are now be accepted by the majority of their peers and therefore able to serve just as effectively. A Zogby poll shows that 73% of military members say they are comfortable around lesbians and gays. Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen told CNN last year, that it's time to revisit the ban, which he describes as "a policy of discrimination". West Point Superintendent Daniel Chrstiman, retired Army Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, and retired Navy Rear Admiral John Hutson have also expressed support for revisiting the law.

Military leaders in many other countries have already adopted less discriminatory practices. The Netherlands has one of the most tolerant stances on homosexuality in the military. France has no official policy, however they will allow a homosexual individual to be exempt from service if he feels threatened. In Great Britain, a ban similar to that of the U.S. ban was lifted in 1999 following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. General Sir Richard Dannatt, chief of the general staff of the British Army, recently gave a speech at a gay rights conference, saying that GLBT officers were welcome to serve in the Army and that respect for these soldiers was now vital for "operational effectiveness".

Sharra Greer, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's director of law and policy, feels that McCain's position is "out of step with the overwhelming majority of the American people and out of touch with the best interests of our armed forces." Barack Obama believes that the policy should be repealed because allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would not undermine the military's efficacy. He believes that no one should be prevented from "serving his or her country because of what they do in private".
"I do believe that at a time when we are short-handed, that everybody who is willing to lay down their lives on behalf of the United States, and can do so effectively, can perform critical functions, should have the opportunity to do so."

Although the issue of HIV/AIDS is not exclusively a GLBT issue, it most certainly is an important issue to the GLBT community. McCain supported a discriminatory strategy from Jesse Helms to cut off-funding for prevention efforts aimed at the gay community. He also supported the barring of people infected with HIV from visiting or immigrating to the U.S. and supports more emphasis on abstinence programs (because those work so well)..

In 2000, John McCain said he wasn't sure whether or not condoms helped prevent the transmission of HIV:
Q: "Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? 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.”
Barack Obama has been quoted as believing the U.S. needs a "more effective AIDS policy" which would coincide with his plans for universal health care legislation, sex education, and promotion of STD testing in minority communities.

John McCain has promised (both recently and during his Presidential campaign in 1999) to only appoint Supreme Court judges who were strictly faithful to the Constitution and did not participate in judicial activism. (Which can be roughly translated to mean judicial decisions that support GLBT rights, choice, or the separation of church and state). He strongly supported John Roberts and Samuel Alito - who have both been strongly opposed by GLBT rights groups - and he would likely seek other ultra-conservative judicial appointees like them.

He has also accepted endorsements from people who have a similar history of anti-gay policies, such as Mike Huckabee, President George W. Bush, and Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council.

As if all that wasn't enough... McCain has been proven himself to be less gay friendly than you'd hope, on more than one occasion. He apparently didn't even know what the abbreviation "LGBT" stood for until last year. He has admitted to not really caring much about "social issues and during his 2000 campaign for President, McCain told reports that he could spot colleagues who were gay by "behavior and attitudes".
"I think that it's clear to some of us when people have that lifestyle."

And I think it's clear to some of us when a candidate is a bad choice for the future of GLBT history.