Most of the post-election debate about Prop. 8 in CA has centered around the gay/black divide on same-sex marriage. The real issue however is the role of RELIGION in passing Prop. 8 and in the wider war on LGBT civil rights.
What unites all of the groups who supported Prop. 8 (Mormons, Catholics, White Evangelicals, and African-Americans) is RELIGION, specifically, the fundamentalist religious belief in "GOD" and that HE is opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage.
Phil Zuckerman does an interesting analysis of how much better gays and lesbians are in non-religious democracies in Western & Northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, etc.) and how those societies are in fact better than the U.S. on a wide range of socio-economic indicators!
So if "GOD" punishes societies that disobey HIS will, why are those societies better off than ours?
Obama has moved quickly to announce his economic team: Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary, is a veteran Treasury player and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He is also close to Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary Richard Rubin, and is part of the "centrist" Clinton economic team which emphasized pleasing Wall Street by cutting the deficit and restraining government spending. It looks like Larry Summers, another Clintonite, will also be an important economic advisor. This is not a very progressive economic team.
On international affairs, Obama is surrounding himself with war Hawks like Hillary Clinton (Sec. of State!) who supported the Iraq War, which Obama promised to end. The anti-war groups who supported Obama are not happy and have reason to be nervous. When Democrats win the Presidency, they always seem to become supporters of the U.S. imperialist war machine, no matter how progressive they were in the campaign.
Does this sound familiar: A Democratic presidential candidate campaigns on a progressive platform of "change" including universal health care, taking on corporate interests and lobbyists, defending labor and the "middle class," and after winning the election moves to the right and backtracks on the progressive platform he ran on.
Bill Clinton ran as a progressive populist, but governed as a "centrist" Republican. He pushed NAFTA, "welfare reform" (the end of welfare as we knew it), and backtracked on his promise to lift the ban on gays in the military and before the end of his first term proclaimed "the era of big government is over" and jumped on the "family values" bandwagon by endorsing the anti-gay "Defense of Marriage Act" to get re-elected.
Clinton was elected after a long decade of Reagan/Bush conservative Republican rule. We (progressives, gays, etc.) celebrated his election. Then we watched as one by one we were thrown under the bus: gays, labor, the poor, etc.
It seems to be happening again! I hope I'm wrong, but the Obama "transition" is starting to look like a replay of the Clinton betrayal of the progressive base of the Democratic Party.
First, Obama's choice of Rahm Emanuel, now his apparent choice of neo-liberal hawk Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (a choice applauded by Republicans, NOT progressive Democrats!), and the appeasement of traitor Joe Lieberman (who left the Democratic Party to form his own party!), it looks like "the left has been foiled again," in the words of one Democratic Senate aide.
Democratic leaders in Congress seem to relish any opportunity to piss off their own base to be "bipartisan". House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reject any progressive mandate from the voters and distance themselves from the Left. It's looking like Obama may catch this anti-Left disease that has spread throughout the Democratic Party establishment in Washington D.C.
Maybe Obama is being political smart by embracing his former adversaries, or maybe his is being politically naive. Lieberman campaign for Obama's Republican opponent and joined with the right-wing nuts who called Obama a Marxist! Hillary Clinton began the racist attacks questioning Obama's patriotism, experience and religious beliefs! How can Obama just forget about these things? Bill Clinton had a unhealthy need to be loved and liked by everyone and he went too far in appeasing Republicans and his political enemies. I hope Obama learned something from Clinton's mistakes, but it doesn't look like it. You cannot please everyone in politics, and you have to be willing to stand up to your enemies!
WILL OBAMA FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF FDR OR BILL CLINTON? THINK BIG Obama!
The Obama-Biden transition team has released its official civil rights agenda on Change.gov, the official transition website, and the expansive and far-reaching section on LGBT rights includes federal civil unions.
"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do," President-Elect Barack Obama is quoted as saying. "Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
The passage on relationship recognition goes much farther than modest proposals currently pending in Congress to extend domestic partner benefits to federal employees: Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
Other LGBT highlights of the Obama plan:
Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: passing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity Fight Workplace Discrimination: passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity protections Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Expand Adoption Rights Promote AIDS Prevention: Obama promised in his first year in office a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies, expanding beyond abstinence-only sex ed and ending the federal ban on needle exchange
"Look, I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact. And, frank -- for that matter, if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that these secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that are antithetical, they're the opposite, of what you're taught in Sunday school."
Who is trying to impose their will on whom? Isn't it the Christo-Fascists like New Gingrich and Bill O'Reilly who are trying to use the government to impose "traditional religion" on us?
While black voters supported Prop. 8 by 70%, they were only 10% of the voters (and 6% of the CA population). White homophobia accounted for 90% of the vote for Prop. 8
I understand we cannot blame African-Americans for Prop. 8, but we also cannot ignore the fact that a disproportionate number of African-Americans (70%) oppose gay marriage equality, compared to 50% of other races. Whatever the LGBT community is doing to reach out to African-Americans is NOT working. It's not about BLAME, its about how do we reach out and get the support of African-Americans for LGBT civil rights?
Also, African-Americans may be a minority of the population, but they make up a large proportion of the Democratic Party base, a base that needs to be unified on civil rights for everyone.
The Mormon Church is pandering for sympathy after being targeted by protesters for spear-heading the anti-gay Prop. 8 in California. They claim that Mormons have only been exercising their freedom of religion in opposing the rights of gay couples to marry. However, as the New York Times article spells out, the Mormon Church played a major role in the Prop. 8 campaign in California, including political strategy and funding half of the $40 million campaign.
Yes, Mormons have the right like other religious bigots to practice their religion and believe stupid things (like talking snakes and magic underwear), but when they try to use government to impose their religious beliefs, or deny the rights of other groups, they should not be surprised if some of they groups they target with a massive campaign of misinformation and religious bigotry fight back!
And the Mormons are the last religious cult that should be campaigning to defend marriage as a relationship between 1 man and 1 woman!
Here in Memphis about 100 protesters gathered at City Hall to protest the passage of the anti-gay marriage Prop. 8 in CA and support equality and LGBT civil rights. (It was windy, wet and COLD!) Congrats to Amy Livingston with the Women's Action Coalition in Memphis for organizing the local demonstration!
A judge cleared the way Wednesday for gay marriage in Connecticut, a victory for advocates stung by California's referendum that banned same-sex unions in that state.
Minutes after a judge entered a final ruling, the New Haven city clerk's office issued its first marriage license to a gay couple. It went to Barbara and Robin Levine-Ritterman of New Haven, one of the eight couples who successfully challenged a state law prohibiting gay marriage.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Oct. 10 that same-sex couples have the right to wed rather than accept a civil union law designed to give them the same rights as married couples.
OK, after all the protests in CA and across the country against the Mormon and Roman Catholic Churches, and the anti-gay homophobia in the Black churches, some are accusing us of attacking religion and blaming the African-American community for Prop. 8.
First, I agree that we cannot blame the passage of Prop. 8 on African-Americans. While they overwhelming voted for it (70%), they were only a small percentage of the population. It was overwhelmingly WHITE people who are responsible for Prop. 8. Yes, WHITE homophobia and bigotry is as much, probably more, of a problem for LGBT people. However, let's not overlook the political reality that many liberal Democrats publicly oppose "gay marriage" mainly to win black votes in many cities and districts.
However, it was RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS, Mormons and Catholics who voted for prop. 8. I think it is fair to target the religious groups who FUNDED the Yes on 8 campaign, and to demand the freedom FROM their religions!
The underlying problem is these people do not understand or support the separation of church and state! The ONLY arguments they have against marriage equality is their religious beliefs about marriage! It is NOT attacking religion to demand the freedom FROM other people's religious beliefs and stand up for the Constitutional separation of Church and State!
Join the Rallies in Your Town Saturday, 12:30 PM CT
In Memphis, Join your fellow Memphians in expressing your opposition to Proposition 8! Memphis Protest Against Proposition 8 (CA gay marriage ban) Saturday, November 15 12:30 PM City Hall (125 N. Main) http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/page/Memphis
Prop. 8 passed in CA with 52% of the vote, and millions of dollars in funding from Catholics, the Mormon Church and other anti-gay religious fundamentalist groups.
Exit polls revealed dramatic demographic gaps in the gay-marriage vote. While about six in 10 voters under 30 opposed the ban, about the same proportion of those 65 and older supported it.
There were sharp racial discrepancies as well. Even as black voters overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama -- a gay-rights supporter -- for president, about seven in 10 of them voted against gay marriage, compared with about half of white voters.
Jim Maynard, Memphis gay activist: "I'm very saddened, and angry, by the passage of Proposition 8 in California. The voters in California sided with anti-gay religious groups to rescind the marriages of thousands of gay and lesbian couples. Unfortunately, the fight for marriage equality is going to be an uphill battle. Civil rights should never be determined by the votes of a majority of people in a state."
Now the HARD work begins! The political pressure is already growing to push Obama to the RIGHT, to govern from the "center" and not carry out his progressive agenda. It will take a large social movement to really create CHANGE.
My joy and excitement over Obama's victory is tempered by the passage of Prop. 8 in CA. It is sad that the voters of California have voted 53%-47% (with only 26% votes reporting) and sided with the religious right to rescind marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
American voters may be ready for a Black president, but they are not ready to support equal rights for gays and lesbians.
(It is time for DEMOCRATS, especially Liberal/progressive Democrats, to STOP saying they support "civil unions" but NOT marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Progressive Democrats must stop reinforcing the public fear of same-sex marriage!)
While most attention is focused on the Presidential election today, there is a very important anti-gay ballot measure in California, Proposition 8, which would rescind the Constitutional right to marry for gay and lesbian couples in California.
Thanks to George Lord for sending me this wonderful quote on the right to marry! Hopefully CA voters will reject Prop. 8 today which would TAKE AWAY the right of gays and lesbians to marry in California. (I think it would be the first time a Constitutional right is TAKEN AWAY!)
The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which "the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one's skin or color or race" are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs. [Hannah Arendt, Dissent, Winter 1959.]
Religious Right groups are putting millions of dollars into Prop. 8, opposing the civil rights of gays and lesbians in California.
I just want to get this out of my system before John McCain gets his ass handed over to him by Barack Obama on Tuesday: SHAME ON YOU JOHN McCAIN!
SHAME ON YOU FOR: Picking Sarah Palin! You said you would pick the MOST QUALIFIED person who could be PRESIDENT! You said she was the “best person” to be Vice-President.. Are you INSANE???
YOU LIED! You didn’t put the “Country First”, you put YOUR GREED FOR POLITICAL POWER first! You put the religious fanatics who control your neo-fascist party first!
John McCain, you promised to run a "decent" campaign that focused on the issues and NOT personal attacks against Barack Obama. YOU LIED!
SHAME ON YOU JOHN McCain! Shame on you for running one of the MOST DIRTY, LOW, DISHONEST Campaigns in U.S. History! You LIED! You Lied about Barack Obama being a Muslim, terrorist sympathizer! YOU LIED about Obama being a “socialist”! YOU LIED about Obama wanting to RAISE TAXES on working class people! YOU LIED about the Iraq War! YOU LIED when you accused Barack Obama of supporting the "murder" of babies and teaching sex to kindergartners!
Shame on the ignorant racists, Christo-fascists who supported you because they hate Muslims, black people and gays!
And SHAME on the racists Democrats who supported you! SHAME on the bitter Hillary Clinton “supporters” who supported you because they bought into the hatred and lies about Barack Obama! SHAME on the Uncle Tom Republicans (Black and Gay) who supported you because they support your neo-fascist agenda more than they care about the rights of their own community!
Obama won't say it but I will: John McCain, You are not a "maverick"--YOU ARE A LIAR!