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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

She works hard for the money...

So there's yet another Sarah Palin scandal in the news. If there's one thing I can say about her, it's that she certainly gives the media a lot to talk about!

Apparently, Governor Palin's expense reports are being investigated because since taking office in December 2006, she has charged the state of Alaska over $20,000 in airfare for her three daughters (in addition to who-knows-how-much in other travel costs, such as hotel rooms). Although there is no law that specifically addresses a governor's children, there is a law that allows for payment of expenses of anyone conducting official state business. Palin justified charging the state for her daughters' travel by noting on expense reports that the girls had been invited to attend or participated in an official capacity.

Of course, I don't know if watching Todd Palin compete in a snowmobile race can be considered "official business". Organizers of some of the events said that the Palin children were not invited and that they either showed up unexpectedly or that Governor Palin had requested that they be allowed to attend. Some organizers also refuted Palin's claims that her children were on official business, by indicating that they merely accompanied their mother and did not participate.

What also makes this whole thing a little extra fishy, is that on August 6 (three weeks before being named as McCain's running mate), Governor Palin ordered changes to the expense reports for her daughters' travel - specifying that the girls were on official business at each event by adding phrases like "First Family invited" or "in official capacity helping".

I'm actually sort of torn on this issue. On the one hand, she shouldn't be charging the state for events that her children were not invited to or that they attended just to be with her. But on the other hand, I don't blame her for wanting to spend as much time with her family as possible, even if that has to include taking them "to work" with her (of course, in this case, going to work with mom sometimes entailed spending a week at the Ritz Carlton or Essex House). I feel like as a female candidate, she does face somewhat of a "you can't win" situation here because if she left them with a nanny or their father for weeks at a time, she'd be criticized for that. Also, would anyone even look into something like this if she was a man or would they say something like "Oh Governor Bob-whoever brought his daughter to this event, how nice"?

But now I'm almost defending her and I definitely don't want to defend Sarah Palin today. All that aside, I still think what she did was totally inappropriate and an abuse of the perks of being Governor. Unless her children were specifically invited to an event, the state shouldn't pay any of their expenses. Asking the organizer for permission to bring your kids (or just showing up with them unexpectedly) is not the same as being invited. The McCain-Palin campaign has been trying to explain this all away, but I'm not really buying it. A spokesman said that the governor's office has invitations requesting the family to attend some events... but he did not have any to provide. He also claimed that Bristol Palin had been sent a direct email invitation to attend Newsweek's Third Annual Women & Leadership Conference with her mother, but again, he was not able to provide it. A state spokeswoman said that Governor Palin saved Alaska money by flying coach.

Tony Knowles, former Governor of Alaska , said that he never charged the state for his children's travel expenses while he was in office, nor could he recall "any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business".

I'd be interested to see what her own policies were as far as her staff. How does she feel about flex time and family leave and working from home and other ways to help working moms spend more time with their kids? We know she has often brought Trig to work with her... but would she allow one of her employees to bring their baby? We might try to research this and see what we come up with (we'll save that for another blog entry).

It's also interesting to note that Palin started charging the state for commercial flights after she kept a campaign promise to sell the state's luxury jet in order to cut the state budget. Of course, although she relentlessly criticized her predecessor, Frank Murkowski, during her gubernatorial campaign for making such an extravagant purchase, she ignored the fact that he shared the jet with the state's Public Safety Department and that she continued to travel on another state plane after the sale of the jet. Oh and that she sold the jet at a loss, not a profit (and not on eBay either).

She also billed Alaska over $13,000 over the last two years for attending church. (The Alaskan Lieutenant Governor attended some of the same events, but did not request payment because he felt it would be unethical). Her office defended the bills by suggesting that she was going to church on official government business, which at times consisted of ignoring the First Amendment's separation of church and state by telling churchgoers that she would use her power as Governor to enact "the will of God". At least one of those government-paid church visits was to her hometown church (the controversial Wasilla Assembly of God, allegedly linked to gay conversion groups).

The state has already been reviewing the $60 a day she received in per diem meal and travel payments for more than 300 nights that she spent at her own home in Wasilla (adding up to thousands of dollars). How'd she manage that? Through a loophole of course. Since the Palins split their time between Juneau and the Valley, with the governor often working in Juneau during the legislative session and in Anchorage for the rest of the year, the state considered Juneau to be the governer's "home base"... Therefore Palin was considered to be "traveling" while living in her own house.

At least one member of Palin's cabinet also accepted state money while staying in his hometown.

Tony Knowles, who leased out his Anchorage home while in office and moved his family to Juneau, said "When you're living at home, you don't pay yourself for living at home. And if you use a technicality to get around that rule so you can get paid for it, it's not right." When asked why she accepted the meal per diem while at home, a spokeswoman for Palin said "she's entitled to it". Now, maybe it's technically within the law, but it's kind of hypocritical considering that Palin has painted herself as a reformer of frivolous government spending and a "budget watchdog".

It's starting to look like Palin has no problem abusing the perks of being governor (regardless of whether that abuse is technically allowed, I still consider it to be abuse). We already know she's abused her power as governor in that whole Troopergate scandal, but at least she paid for that tanning bed with her own money.

We also know that the McCain-Palin campaign has spent over $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Palin and her family since being named the vice presidential candidate. (A review of the Obama-Biden campaign did not turn up similar spending). They have also spent about $5,000 on hair and makeup since September, but that's actually not such a high amount when you consider that the campaign paid over $14,000 to American Idol makeup artist, Tifanie White for making John McCain look a little less ancient this August and September. But at least neither of them spent $300,000 on a single outfit, like Cindy McCain did for the Republican National Convention.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dear John

So, we kinda drank a lot during Wednesday night's debate. As a result, our notes are not exactly comprehensive, but we do have some initial thoughts that we'd like to share with Senator McCain, because he's totally reading this. (And of course we'll have more to say on issues like equal pay and this mysterious "women's health" thing later.)

Dear John:

~When you're asked about Sarah Palin and you say "I can't tell you how proud I am of her", it sounds like you're talking about a niece who just won a spelling bee, not a vice presidential candidate.

~Trig Palin has Down syndrome, not autism.

~Is Joe The Plumber one of those "Joe Sixpack" guys that Sarah Palin keeps talking about, or is this a whole new thing? We're just trying to keep track.

~Equal pay for equal work is not a "dream" for "trial lawyers", it's a dream for WOMEN. It's also an economic issue that affects lots of women and families, and since your campaign is "about the economy" when it's not about William Ayers or people shouting threats at your campaign rallies, you might try not being quite so dismissive.

~The term is pro-choice, not "pro-abortion". And enough already with claiming that Obama shoots babies from a helicopter in his spare time or whatever you're trying to sell here, it's not working.

~Adoption is not a perfect kittens-and-rainbows process or a magical perfect solution for every unplanned pregnancy, and simply crying "adoption rules!" should not be a get out of jail free card that allows you to ignore issues like sex education and affordable birth control.

~My health is not some abstract concept or gimmick that belongs in air quotes. All women deserve to be just as healthy after a pregnancy as we are before or during it.

~Or, to put it another way, when you say stuff like this: "Just again, the example of the eloquence of Senator Obama. He's 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.'" That makes many of us, quote, "women" decide that we are going to take our, quote, "vote" and use if for, quote, "Obama" because you are a, quote, "sexist jerk".

~"Eloquent" is not an insult. I guess you're trying to make "eloquent" the new "elitist", as part of the continuing quest of many Republicans to demonize things like getting a good education, providing actual answers to questions, and thinking. But stop trying to make "fetch" happen, okay?

~Since you've stated that you don't care about equal pay for women or about women's health, I'd like to request that you stop saying "my friends" all the time and instead just say "my male friends" or "my boys" or "my homies" or something.

~Please don't ever make this face again. Think of the children.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Arab is Not a Synonym for Terrorist

John McCain had to take the microphone away from a woman at his townhall event on Friday after she made this comment about Senator Barack Obama:

"I can't trust Obama. I have read about him, and he's not, he's not...he's an Arab."

McCain's response: "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."

Yes ma'am, thank you so much for your ignorant, racist, hateful, ridiculous statement that has added so much to our political discourse. McCain gets maybe half a point for finally trying to put a stop to some of the insanity coming from some of the people attending his rallies. But his choice of words essentially plays into the same stereotypes and ignorance as the comment that he was responding to, because he implies that "Arab" and "decent family man" are mutually exclusive categories. Guess he's not counting on the Arab-American vote.

Rachel Maddow, take me away to the land of truth and sanity:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah Palin Thinks We're Going To Hell

At a rally in California yesterday, Sarah Palin was nice enough to inform all of us women that if we don't support her, we are going to hell. And for good measure, she misquoted Madeleine Albright in order to blame her for the comments.

"I've gotta share with you, it's like kinda providential, yesterday what happened to me. I can use this today after that introduction from Shelly. I'm reading on my Starbucks mocha cup, okay? The quote of the'll never believe what the quote was. It was Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State [crowd boos] and UN ambassador...Now she said it, I didn't. She said, 'There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women.'" [crowd cheers loudly, proving their hypocrisy since they just got done booing Madeleine Albright, who happens to be a woman]

Now, am I surprised that Sarah Palin thinks that women like us are going to hell? Not one bit. But I am a little surprised that she proudly stated it out loud. I did not think it was possible to have a lower opinion or lower expectations of her, but I guess we'll have to find the basement of the basement.

What does "supporting women" look like in Sarah Palin's world? Opposing equal pay for equal work, charging for rape kits, laughing while a fellow politician (and cancer survivor) is called fat, jealous, "a cancer" and "a bitch", opposing emergency contraception and abortion rights unless a woman's life is in danger, calling Hillary Clinton's mentions of the sexism that she faced in her campaign "whining", supporting a running mate who has done everything from voting against the Violence Against Women Act to making jokes about women being raped by apes and about a teenage girl being ugly, and so on. Based on that, I'm pretty comfortable saying that I choose hell over supporting her. Wouldn't a McCain/Palin administration be hell on earth for women anyway?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Message to Mike Huckabee & Newt Gingrich:

Dear Mike and Newt,

I don't know where you got my email address from, but please stop emailing me asking me to register to vote. I'm already registered and you can be sure that I will not be voting for the candidate that you endorse. Seriously, nothing could be worse at persuading me to vote than an endorsement from you guys. The messages should read "Register to vote, so nobody like me ever gets elected!"
I'm not sure how I got on your United in Purpose mailing list, but I can tell by your website that I am "united" for a totally different "purpose" than you guys are:

"It is often thought that religious liberty means a strict separation of church and state, but that view is out of tune with the proper understanding of the role religion and morality play in the civic and public life of a self-governing people."
Without separation of church and state, there would be no religious liberty. Religious liberty is the free exercise of religion. If we're to be governed based on the "morality" of one religion in particular, followers of any other religion are oppressed.

Okay, so no gays, no single parents, no unmarried parents, no divorce, no married couples without children... our future depends on it!

"Social science data indicate that the intact family—defined as a man and a woman who marry, conceive, and raise their children together—best ensures the current and future welfare of children and society"

"A new poll finds just 28 percent of Americans take a pro-abortion position on the question of when abortions should be allowed"
It's just like an anti-choice website to suggest that not being anti-choice means that you are "pro-abortion". Here's a word of advice - no one is pro-abortion. Upon further reading of the study, the truth is revealed. That 28% of Americans polled felt abortion should be "legal under any circumstances", while 54% felt abortion should be legal in some circumstances and illegal in others. (Only 17% felt that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances).

That one was a little tricky. Pro-Education sure sounds like something I could support. Until I realized that they weren't actually pro-education at all. They're pro-homeschooling. I don't disagree with homeschooling... but I definitely don't think that parents who don't homeschool their kids are "forsaking their responsibility to raise their own children".
"In the moral decline of current society, parents are increasingly forsaking their responsibility to raise their own children, looking instead to government to do the child rearing for them. But the more that government acquires this duty to raise children, the more it takes away the right of parents to do the raising.

So I don't know where you idiots bought my email address from, but I'm reporting you as spam and voting for Obama.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Voting registration deadlines are coming up in almost every state, with some only a couple of days away. (In some states the deadline is October 4th - that's this Saturday!)

So if you haven't registered yet...what are you waiting for? Go! Do it right now! We'll wait here.


(And tell five friends).

Just go to and type in your address. It will tell you how long you have left to register (or search to see where you're already registered, in case you're not sure) and give you other voting information for your area. For a state-by-state list of general info: