UPDATED– Brian Bond, former head of the Victory Fund, will be named Deputy Director of Public Liaison and point person to the LGBT community, according to The Advocate‘s one-woman news department superstar Kerry Elved. Bond served as President of The Gay & Lesbian Leadership (also known as the Victory Fund) from 1997 to 2003, transforming it into a major national political force that identified, promoted and developed gay and lesbian leaders. Now, Bond becomes a major national leader himself. This is great news for the gay community.
The Advocate story explains:
“Bond, a political veteran who has headed the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and held several positions at the Democratic National Committee, will have managerial and strategic responsibilities for the entire Public Liaison office as well as function as the point person on LGBT issues. The liaison office is tasked with communicating and promoting presidential policies to individual constituency groups and serving as a sounding board for the president on policies that affect certain interest groups.
Several LGBT insiders on Capitol Hill said Bond, who also served as director of constituencies for the president-elect during his campaign, was a great fit for the position. “He’s a very skillful and experienced political strategist,” said Bob Witeck, CEO of the DC-based Witeck-Combs Communications, who has known Bond for 15 years. “His knowledge of our community and the competence he has in working with both leaders and activists is immense.”
In 2003, when he resigned from the Victory Fund, Rep. Tammy Baldwin heaped praised on Bond– and for god reason: He helped get her elected. She said:
“Under Brian Bond’s leadership, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has become a major force in American politics.”
Under his tenure, the number of openly gay politicians serving in the U.S. rose from 127 to 228.
Philadelphia Gay News‘ Mark Segal interviewed Bond in August when Bond was serving as constituency director of the Obama campaign. Segal asked him:
[Mark Segal:] Assuming that there’s an Obama administration and a Democratic Congress, what should the LGBT community look for in the next four years?
[Brian Bond]: I think the community can see Barack take his leadership and what is already on paper and put it into action. I think you’ll see an Obama administration that will look like America, including the LGBT community, and build on the successes of the Clinton administration in that area. I think you will see a community that will be asked to be engaged in ensuring that ENDA is passed, hate-crimes legislation is passed and signed into law, and that we take “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and put it in the history books and allow good men and women to serve this country openly.
MS: How does your new position at the Obama campaign differ from your position at the DNC?
BB: I’m really honored to be here because, first of all, I’m working with a lot of incredible people, but second of all I think it says a lot about Barack and his vision to have an openly gay person working with all constituency groups. At the end of the day, clearly we each have our own interests but we all share a common need, a common desire, a common goal not only to elect a Democrat but also to ensure that the values of the Democratic Party are successful and, again, I hate to beat this like a drum, but that will only happen if we do elect a Democratic president and increase our majority in both the House and Senate. To that point, we have the opportunity to nominate several Supreme Court justices in the next administration. It behooves not just the LGBT community but a lot of communities that make up this great country to be very concerned about who will make those nominations. And I personally believe electing Barack Obama will put all communities in good hands when it comes to the selection process for the Supreme Court justices.
The Victory Fund is arguably the most important LGBT government lobbying group in America. Last month, we named it the second best charity for your dollar , calling it “a lean, mean, gay politician-making machine” and the idea that a passionate and smart advocate of gay rights who also knows many of the key LGBT leaders because he helped put them into office is a reassuring sign.
If Barack Obama is to have any one LGBT person be his sounding board on our issues and concerns, we would want it to be Brian Bond.
Whether this turns out to be a delicious morsel or just another crumb for making stuffing for gay turkey only la proverbial time will tell.
Seems still to be waaay behind Bill Clinton is out gay appointments.
We’re sure we lost count while gaining weight over the holidays, but, last we knew, there was one O out lesbian appointment, this, and the gay Secretary of the Navy. What? That didn’t happen? Never mind.
And, NO, “gay transition advisors,” most of which have no direct political action experience [most didn’t even contribute to fight Prop H8TE], and the Lesby Anns on the train Obama’s pulling on us don’t count.
I think he’s HOT!
Not good enough!
Obama is still a bigot!
If he doesn’t repeal DOMA, DADT, and sign the Matthew Sheppard Act into law on his first day in office like Hillary planned to do then I’ll vote Republican in 2012!
Is it just me or does this board have a larger proportion of absolute nutjobs than a normal newsblog?
I mean, really, go ahead and vote Republican. If your logic stream unites the words Obama and bigot, then your vote is not needed.
Do it then Michael. You’re a republican anyhow! No one needs wishy-washy supporters like you.
Michael W: Go ahead, register as a Republican (probably are already) and then join the Boy Scouts (probably are already) and get your merit badge in “Village Idiot”
@Michael W.: On his first day?!?! No, Hillary most certainly did not plan to repeal DOMA/DADT on HER FIRST DAY. In fact, she only advocated a partial repeal of DOMA, unlike the full repeal that Obama has advocated.
Besides, it’s flat out impossible for Obama to sign their repeal if Congress doesn’t actually pass the legislation first.
Give him a chance! When his appointments are done, if there aren’t sufficient LGBT representation, we can bitch. If we don’t see progress on the issues that concern us in a reasonable amount of time, then we can bitch. But come on, he won’t be sworn in for another two weeks, almost, so it’s a bit premature to complain about whether he’s lived up to his promises.
Bond never mentioned the galvanizing support within the Gay Population for Gay Marriage and all of the legal rights which are entailed in passing a Federal Marriage Equality bill.
Michael W: Don’t vote Republican in 2012, VOTE GREEN: the only 100% Gay Supportive Platformed party. Heck, there may even be a Gay on top of the ticket, too! If Gays threaten to walk or withold a Presidential vote unless we get full partnership equality.
The anti-gay murmurs about the Barack Obama camp have become louder to the point that the Gay Press has declared this President to not be remotely gay-friendly. A President Obama must act within 100 days on good faith on the Matthew Shepard Act as we are a community under siege, or be faced with acts of civil disobedience while he grapples with the worst economy which may seal his Presidential fate as with George W Bush but with only one term.
I plan to vote GAY by pulling the lever for the Green Party, both in the State of New York who are waffling on Gay Marriage and federally in 2012. My Gay Family comes first which means we get a different Democrat in 2016 (Hillary will be 69) even if we get 4 disastrous years of President Palin which can only be blamed on the homophobic Democrats and Barack’s failure.
The ball is in Barack’s court…
I first met Brian Bond many years ago during a fundraising effort that included the Victory Fund among its beneficiaries. Thouroughly impressed, even though I was not a K Streeter or Hill pol, I signed on as a supporter of VF. That said, I believe that all things being equal, Mr. Bond is well qualified for such a position regardless of specific community. He is smart, charming, and has extraodinary diplomatic skills which can achieve positive results.
I am confident that the incoming administration will be so much of an improvement for our community so many ways. It actually has begun because for the first time ever in the annals of the Federal Government, health insurance benefits for domestic partners were offered to transition staffers by the GSA. Just a simple, single paragraph, but revolutionary all of the same. Yet as Senator Webb of Virginia said when he turned down a job offered to him by President-Elect Obama, “I already had a job as Secretary of the Navy in one administration and its all about total loyalty.”
There is considerable support for Same-Sex marriage in the District and it is believed that there is a enough votes on the City Council to approve it and the Mayor has declared he will sign the bill if passed. Due to specific items written in the Constitution, Congress has oversight over DC affairs. The recent Congressional history has been a progressive and slow withdrawal of direct interference. We also believe that Nancy Pelosi will have no choice but to schedule it for vote in the House of Representatives. (Can you imagine what would happen if she didn’t? She would be voted out by her LGBT constituents in SF.)
It will be then when we look to Brian Bond to provide the leadership necessary to bring the White House on board.
“[T]he Gay Press has declared this President to not be remotely gay-friendly.”
On what planet do you live? The whole “gay press” reached this conclusion? Gee. Could you provide some proof of your words?
Moreover, how exactly is a man who just appointed Bond, an vocal supporter of gay rights, seem like someone who is “not..remotely gay-friendly”? Hello? Logic? If Obama didn’t care about GLBT Americans then he wouldn’t bother to hire Bond. Can Obama be tone deaf? Sure but let’s cut the crap.
Obama hasn’t even taken office and now he’s the terror of gays. Sheesh! Get a grip!
Newsflash! Obama can’t pass any legislation until it’s been passed by Congress.
There’s a global economic crash taking place. How many congress-persons or senators are eager to push aside concerns about the economy to have the first thing Obama signs be the Matthew Shepard Act? Um, have you heard Barney Frank or Tammy Baldwin say jack?
Why the heck do you think Obama appointed Bond? Gee, do you think that (wait for it, hear it comes) he wants to get gay-positive legislation passed? Shocking! Shocking! Who would have ever thought it conceiveable! Seriously, could there actually be a connection between hiring the former leader of the Victory Fund, a man who knows hot to get people elected and work the system, and Obama wanting to get ENDA, etc. passed?
Let’s actually read the quote Queerty provided for us:
“Several LGBT insiders on Capitol Hill said Bond, who also served as director of constituencies for the president-elect during his campaign, was a great fit for the position. â€œHeâ€™s a very skillful and experienced political strategist,â€ said Bob Witeck, CEO of the DC-based Witeck-Combs Communications, who has known Bond for 15 years. â€œHis knowledge of our community and the competence he has in working with both leaders and activists is immense.â€
I’m not entirely sure… but I think Michael W was being facetious.
For the Blakey living in a Blanky!
Has Obama Turned His Back on Gays?
By: PAUL SCHINDLER
Pastor Rick Warren questions Barack Obama (back to the camera) at the August Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency.
SCOTT TOKAR/ PICS SADDLEBACK CHURCH
President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to invite Southern California megachurch Pastor Rick Warren to give the opening invocation at his inauguration on January 20 has sparked an avalanche of criticism from LGBT activists and elected officials – as well as from other liberal and left-leaning Democrats – who have characterized the decision as a slap in the face of gay Americans, a naÃ¯ve effort to woo Christian evangelists, or both.
Still, other famous gay and lesbian voices, including rocker Melissa Etheridge, have embraced Obama’s decision, while, from the other end of the spectrum, some are questioning why religious leaders of any stripe should take part in a civic event of such moment.
In the week since inaugural planners announced Obama’s choice of Warren, the mainstream media has shorthanded the problem the gay community has with the popular pastor – whose book “The Purpose-Driven Life” was a huge bestseller – by saying he opposes marriage equality for same-sex couples. Just about the only additional detail press accounts have bothered to mention is his active support for California’s Proposition 8.
In fact, Warren’s views on homosexuality are considerably more troublesome than simple opposition to legal equality for same-sex couples. In a video interview December 15 on Beliefnet.com, a faith-based Internet site owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Warren explained his opposition to same-sex marriage by saying, “I am opposed to having a brother and a sister be together and call that a marriage. I am opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I am opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that a marriage.” Asked by the Beliefnet correspondent whether he believes “those are equivalent to gays getting married,” Warren responded, “Oh, I do.”
In a December 19 interview with Ann Curry of “Dateline NBC,” Warren said, “I’ve had many gay friends tell me, ‘Well, Rick, why shouldn’t I have multiple sexual partners, it’s the natural thing to do.’ Well just because it seems natural doesn’t mean it’s best for you or society. I’m naturally inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman I see, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do…. I think that’s part of maturity. I think it’s part of delayed gratification. I think it’s part of character.”
The president-elect has faced questions of his own since his team announced Warren’s role at the inauguration. Asked at a Chicago press conference why he was inviting someone whose attitudes were so at odds with his own to play such a high-profile role in his first day in office, Obama said, “Well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.”
He went on to argue, however, that unity was at the heart of the choice.
“What I have also said is that it is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues,” Obama said. “There are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented, and that’s how it should be, because that’s what America’s about, that’s part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated.”
The president-elect mentioned that Warren invited him to participate in a World AIDS Day event in 2006 at the pastor’s Saddleback Church, “despite his awareness that I held views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion.” Obama also noted that the closing benediction will be delivered by the Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, an African-American Methodist minister who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership conference with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Terming Warren’s comments on marriage equality “degrading,” Congressman Barney Frank, the out gay Massachusetts Democrat, issued a written statement the day after the pastor’s appointment was announced, saying he was “disappointed,” adding “the President-Elect has not simply invited Rev. Warren to give a speech as part of a series in which various views are presented. The selection of a member of the clergy to occupy this uniquely elevated position has always been considered a mark of respect and approval by those who are being inaugurated.”
Christine Quinn, the out lesbian City Council speaker, wrote to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, voicing her “profound objection,” stating, “In his acceptance speech, President-elect Obama called on all Americans to come together for the good of the country. The message of divisiveness and hatred preached by Pastor Warren stands in direct contrast to the President-elect’s call.”
Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, the Washington-based LGBT lobby, in a letter to Obama, argued, “Rev. Warren cannot name a single theological issue that he and vehemently anti-gay theologian James Dobson disagree on. Rev. Warren is not a moderate pastor who is trying to bring all sides together. Instead, Rev. Warren has often played the role of general in the cultural war waged against LGBT Americans.”
By the weekend, Warren, at least, apparently felt the need for damage control. In a video message to his congregation posted on the Saddleback website on December 21, the pastor insisted that in mentioning marriage between siblings, between an adult and an underage person, and with multiple wives, he did not intend to compare gay unions to incest, pedophilia, or polygamy.
“I believe no such thing,” Warren insisted, though later he added, “The gay view of sexuality is contrary to God’s word. I do believe that God gives us a free choice, and he gives us a choice to obey his word or to disobey it.”
A day later, Warren’s critics noted that his church’s website had been scrubbed of a notice that “someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted as a member at Saddleback.”
Jeff Lutes, the executive director of Soulforce, a group that aims to engage religious groups in dialogue about LGBT rights and social justice, knows something about Saddleback’s resistance to accepting gays. In early 2008, the group, in tandem with several other LGBT organizations, reached out to six megachurches across the nation, Saddleback among them, in what they called “An American Family Outing,” or, alternatively, “Can We Talk?” The aim was to have groups of LGBT families – gay and lesbian couples and their children – visit conservative evangelical churches to establish “dialogue.”
Lutes wrote about his experience last week on the Bilerico.com blog site and this week told Gay City News, “While it’s true that all six churches approached us carefully and tried to manage the situations and tried to protect their empires and their ministries, to me Saddleback was the least satisfying and most difficult to deal with. We felt led on and strung out.”
Originally, Lutes wrote on Bilerico, Saddleback agreed that Warren, his wife Kay, and six members of his staff would have a meal with eight families, and then a smaller group drawn from the families would sit down with church officials for a 90-minute meeting. That all changed, Lutes wrote, when Newsweek published “a single sentence” referring to the planned exchange. Suddenly, Saddleback pulled back, and Lutes ended up spending “hours” on the phone and in email exchanges with Warren’s chief of staff.
In the end, Warren would agree only to a ten or 15-minute meeting with Lutes’ family after a service at one of Saddleback’s satellite churches; that encounter would be followed by a longer sit-down between other church officials and the eight families. As Lutes describes it, this denouement of months of negotiations approached farce. As Lutes’ family waited near their pew after the agreed-upon service, he heard his name called, turned to see Warren approach him, and then “he hugged me, my partner, and our three children… and then walked away. No conversation. Minimal eye contact. Just an awkward hug and he was gone.”
The eight families next had lunch with four church representatives – one of whom Lutes had the impression was a media consultant who had flown in for the day – after which each family was allowed to select only one member to sit down for the “dialogue” sought. Even that proved disappointing.
“We tried to share our stories,” Lutes recalled, in a phone interview with Gay City News. “They didn’t seem all that interested in our stories.” What the Saddleback team was willing to talk about was the church’s AIDS ministry, but in terms that Lutes felt suggested that the church could teach the families about advocacy regarding the epidemic, rather than the other way around.
“It felt very condescending,” Lutes said.
As of press time, Saddleback Church had not responded to telephone and email requests for comment on Lutes’ account.
Lutes’ experiences with the limits of Warren’s interest in dialogue about gay issues were echoed in comments Barney Frank made to MSNBC on December 22.
“Oh, I believe that he overestimates his ability to get people to put aside fundamental differences,” Frank said of Obama’s outreach to Warren. “I think he overestimates his ability to take people, particularly our colleagues on the right, and, sort of, charm them into being nice… To be honest, when he talks about being post-partisan, having seen these people and knowing what they would do in that situation, I suffer from post-partisan depression.”
But other notable LGBT voices disagree.
Melissa Etheridge had never heard of Warren before last week’s flap emerged, but as chance would have it, right after she saw the comments he had made about same-sex marriage, she learned he was the keynote speaker at a Muslim-American gathering she was performing at. Her manager reached out to Saddleback, and Warren called her the day of the event and told her what a big fan of hers he is.
“When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future,” Etheridge wrote on the Huffington Post. “Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world’s attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts.”
Conservative gay blogger Chris Crain echoed the notion that common ground – or at least the neutralizing of anti-gay rhetoric – is one possible outcome of Obama’s invitation. “Even if you suspect the whole ‘unity’ thing is really just about politics, the selection of Warren still makes good sense, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans,” he wrote on Newsweek.com. “It is a stroke of political brilliance to recruit a conservative megapastor in support of a president-elect who is arguably the most pro-gay, pro-choice, and progressive in our history.”
And longtime San Francisco AIDS activist Michael Petrelis, writing on his blog, characterized Warren’s selection as “a golden opportunity presented on a silver platter to the gay community.”
“Which of my leaders will initiate a discussion with Warren, who will play a significant role in future battles over gay marriage and our other struggles?” Petrelis wrote, challenging movement advocates. “Who among the brave gay leaders, either cowardly returning inauguration invitations or attending the event, will pick up the phone on January 21 and begin a conversation with Warren?”
But, for some gay leaders, enough is enough with the preachers. Bill Dobbs, a longtime gay and anti-war activist noted for his civil libertarian views, said, “The most obvious angle of this is: Why are preachers participating in this most important civic event?”
“The toxic effects of religiosity are what are at issue,” he told Gay City News. “I don’t think that having Joseph Lowery is any better at bringing about unity. Let’s remember what preachers do. Their perspectives are based on faith and are not based in rationality or science. It’s worrisome that so many people in this controversy have forgotten how important it is to keep religion out of the public sphere.”
Dobbs was particularly critical of LGBT advocates who challenged Warren on religious grounds.
The Reverend Rebecca Voelkel of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, a project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, in written statement, “My prayer is that Pastor Warren allow himself to repent of his hatred and harm to the LGBT community.”
Debating Crain on Newsweek.com, Leah McElrath Renna, who blogs regularly on the Huffington Post, wrote of the individual selected to offer the inauguration invocation, “The person is charged with the responsibility of calling upon God for God’s assistance on all of our behalf, and the reality is that Warren does not recognize lesbian and gay people as being spiritually whole or as having been created by God exactly how we are.”
Yet, even as dedicated a secular organization as Americans United for Separation of Church and State could not refrain from specifically criticizing Warren, even as it echoed Dobbs’ view that religious figures ought not be part of the formal inauguration ceremony at all.
“We have never thought it appropriate for there to be a religious element in these inauguration events,” Barry Lynn, the group’s executive director, told Gay City News. Still, he added, “There is so much about the Warren thing that is so disappointing. In some ways he is worse than Jerry Falwell.”
Asked why the group’s website blog seemed more focused on Warren’s shortcomings than on the issue of keeping religion out of the official inauguration, Lynn said, “We always try to make both points.”
More for Blakey, the paid lap-dog!
Newsom criticizes Obama, Schwarzenegger over Prop 8
Calif. court agrees to hear challenges to marriage ban
Friday, November 21, 2008
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom criticized two top political figures this week for failing to take a more active role in the fight against a state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in California.
Newsom, in an interview Wednesday with the Blade, said President-elect Barack Obama (D) and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) did not provide enough help in the campaign against the measure, known as Proposition 8.
When asked whether they could have been more helpful, Newsom said, â€œThe answer is unequivocally yesâ€ and that â€œyou canâ€™t for a moment be surprised.â€
â€œI think they would be the first to say that â€˜no, we didnâ€™t do much at all,â€™â€ he said.
But Newsom said Schwarzenegger deserves credit for coming out against Proposition 8 in April and Obama should be recognized for doing so in June.
â€œI donâ€™t want to completely minimize their involvement,â€ Newsom said, â€œbut were they advocates of opposition? No. Did they want to particularly talk about the issue of marriage equality? Absolutely not.â€
Newsom said Obama and Schwarz-eneggerâ€™s lack of involvement was â€œarguably notâ€ good for their political futures.
While critical of Obama and Schwarz-negger, Newsom urged supporters of same-sex marriage to avoid criticizing minority groups that voted in favor of Proposition 8. He called for greater outreach to those groups to win their future support.
â€œThe most unfortunate thing that could happen is people pointing fingers, blaming individuals, or more alarmingly, groups of individuals,â€ he said.
He said the most â€œdisconcerting thing thatâ€™s happenedâ€ following the passage of Proposition 8 is â€œmembers of our broader community being attacked as culprits â€” particularly the African-American community.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think we can blame a community for not voting with us when we didnâ€™t ask for their vote, necessarily,â€ he said. â€œThere wasnâ€™t a level of outreach into the African-American churches â€” perhaps there could have been. If you donâ€™t ask for something, you shouldnâ€™t be surprised if people
don’t give it.”
Newsom said the black community â€œis an ally of the gay and lesbian community naturallyâ€ and that gays need to â€œbroaden the dialogueâ€ with the blacks on same-sex marriage.
Newsom, who said he did not want to criticize the â€œNo on 8â€ campaign, said one lesson learned from the fight against the amendment was that â€œwe shouldnâ€™t take any votes for granted, including â€¦ people of faith.â€
He said it was a sign of progress, though, that in 2000, 61 percent of California voters backed Proposition 22, the statutory initiative to ban same-sex marriage, while only 52 percent of voters approved Proposition 8 this year.
â€œWe have made progress and weâ€™re moving in the right direction,â€ he said.
Calif. court considers Prop 8 lawsuits
Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court rejected legal efforts to stay implementation of Prop 8, which stripped marriage rights from gay couples and put 18,000 same-sex marriages performed there in legal limbo.
But the court on Wednesday agreed to hear legal challenges to Proposition 8 and directed the parties involved in lawsuits to brief and argue three issues:
â€¢ Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?
â€¢ Does Proposition 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution?
â€¢ If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?
The court also granted an expedited hearing schedule, with briefings slated for January and oral arguments to be held as early as March.
On Monday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued his reply to the lawsuits and encouraged the justices to take up the issue and review the measureâ€™s constitutionality.
â€œThe profound importance of the issues raised by Proposition 8 warrants that this matter be reviewed and promptly resolved by the California Supreme Court,â€ Brown said in a statement.
Brown argued that the court should handle the petitions rather than lower courts, where lawsuits typically begin, to â€œensure uniformity of decision, finality and certainty for the citizens of California.â€
Brown also said he opposed a stay on Proposition 8, arguing the continuation of same-sex marriage would â€œincrease uncertainty,â€ and reiterated his opinion that the 18,000 gay couples who wed in California still have valid marriages.
A number of sympathetic organizations have filed petitions against Proposition 8, bringing the total number of lawsuits at Blade deadline to six.
Each of the lawsuits argues that Proposition 8 changes established rights in the state Constitution in such a way that the changes should be considered a â€œrevisionâ€ to the constitution and not an â€œamendment.â€ Revisions need approval by two-thirds of the state legislature to become part of the constitution.
Three lawsuits â€” including suits from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Clara County; Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the first gay couple married in Los Angeles; and the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights â€” were filed Nov. 5.
On Nov. 14, another lawsuit was filed by organizations that advocate for minority groups. The organizations include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense & Educational Fund, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
Anurima Bhargava, director of the education practice at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, said her organization and others filed the lawsuit because theyâ€™re â€œall deeply concernedâ€ about having â€œa recognized fundamental right be subject to bare majority rule.â€
â€œThat would be case for the fundamental right to marry and many other fundamental rights that are recognized in the California state Constitution,â€ she said. â€œThis should be of concern to all different types of groups that are in the minority, not only for sexual orientation, but also for race and gender as well.â€
Two womenâ€™s groups â€” the Equal Rights Advocates and the California Womenâ€™s Law Center â€” jointly filed another petition against Proposition 8 on Monday. A petition also was filed Monday by several religious organizations, including the California Council of Churches.
The conservative Liberty Counsel on Monday also filed preliminary opposition to lawsuits against Proposition 8, saying the California high court should not consider petitions seeking to invalidate the amendment.
Liberty Counsel said in a statement that justices should dismiss the petitions, because the voters of California properly enacted Proposition 8 through the initiative process. The organization argues that the high court also should deny petitions against the amendment â€œbecause they threaten the peopleâ€™s right to amend the Constitution by initiative, which is a right reserved to the people in the California Constitution.â€
In the statement, Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, said, â€œthe people of California have spoken by affirming traditional marriageâ€ and â€œit is time to move on.â€
â€œFourteen words that reaffirm the historic and common sense definition of marriage are not a radical revision to the Constitution,â€ he said. â€œIt is a simple affirmation of what has been and should always be.â€
Not anti-gay to oppose gay marriage, Warren says
By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
JAN. 2, 2009
Letter to the Editor
NEW YORK (AP) â€” Pastor Rick Warren, chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to pray at his inauguration despite his support of a gay marriage ban, said he doesnâ€™t equate gay relationships with incest or pedophilia, but opposes redefining marriage just as any conservative Christian would.
Warren said that disagreeing with gay-rights activists on same-sex marriage does not qualify as hate speech and doesnâ€™t mean he is anti-gay. He also said Obama chose him to give the invocation at the swearing-in to show that people with different views donâ€™t have to demonize each other.
â€œWeâ€™re both willing to be criticized in order to try to bring America into a new day of civil discourse and to create a new model that says you donâ€™t have to agree only with your side on everything,â€ Warren said in a video posted by Saddleback Community Church.
Gay-rights advocates were enraged that Obama had given the evangelical clergyman a prominent role at the Jan. 20 inauguration. Obama said he wanted the event to reflect diverse views and insisted he remains a â€œfierce advocateâ€ of equal rights for gays.
Warren backed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in his home state of California, where he founded Saddleback. He recently said that he opposes any redefinition of marriage, including a brother marrying a sister, or an adult marrying a child.
In his video, Warren insisted he wasnâ€™t equating gay marriage with incest or child molestation.
â€œI have in no way ever taught that homosexuality is the same thing as a forced relationship between an adult and a child, or between siblings,â€ Warren said. â€œI was trying to point out Iâ€™m not opposed to gays having their partnership. Iâ€™m opposed to gays using the term marriage for their partnership.â€
More for the Blakester!!!
Gay leaders furious with Obama
By BEN SMITH & NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON | 12/17/08 5:59 PM EST
Rick Warren, Obamaâ€™s pick to give the inaugural invocation, backed the California ban on same-sex marriage.
Barack Obamaâ€™s choice of a prominent evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration is a conciliatory gesture toward social conservatives who opposed him in November, but it is drawing fierce challenges from a gay rights movement that â€” in the wake of a gay marriage ban in California â€” is looking for a fight.
Rick Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, opposes abortion rights but has taken more liberal stances on the government’s role in fighting poverty, and backed away from other evangelicalsâ€™ staunch support for economic conservatism. But itâ€™s his support for the California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage that drew the most heated criticism from Democrats Wednesday.
â€œYour invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans,â€ the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote to Obama Wednesday. â€œ[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.
The rapid, angry reaction from a range of gay activists comes as the gay rights movement looks for an opportunity to flex its political muscle. Last summer gay groups complained, but were rebuffed by Obama, when an â€œex-gayâ€ singer led Obamaâ€™s rallies in South Carolina. And many were shocked last month when voters approved the California ban.
â€œThere is a lot of energy and thereâ€™s a lot of anger and I think people are wanting to direct it somewhere,â€ Solomonese told Politico.
The selection of Warren to preside at the inauguration is not a surprise move, but it is a mirror image of President Bill Clintonâ€™s early struggles with gay rights issues. Obama has worked, and at times succeeded, to bridge the gap between Democrats and evangelical Christians, who form a solid section of the Republican base.
Obama opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposed the California constitutional amendment Warren backed. In selecting Warren, he is choosing to reach out to conservatives on a hot-button social issue, at the cost of antagonizing gay voters who overwhelmingly supported him.
Clinton, by contrast, drew early praise from gay rights activists by pressing to allow openly gay soldiers to serve, only to retreat into the â€œdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tellâ€ compromise that pleased few.
The reaction Wednesday in gay rights circles was universally negative.
â€œItâ€™s a huge mistake,â€ said California gay rights activist Rick Jacobs, who chairs the stateâ€™s Courage Campaign. â€œHeâ€™s really the wrong person to lead the president into office.
â€œCan you imagine if he had a man of God doing the invocation who had deliberately said that Jews are not going to be saved and therefore should be excluded from whatâ€™s going on in America? People would be up in arms,â€ he said.
The editor of the Washington Blade, Kevin Naff, called the choice â€œObamaâ€™s first big mistake.â€
â€œHis presence on the inauguration stand is a slap in the faces of the millions of GLBT voters who so enthusiastically supported him,â€ Naff wrote, referring to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. â€œThis tone-deafness to our concerns must not be tolerated. We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians. The election was supposed to have ended that era. It appears otherwise.â€
Other liberal groups chimed in.
â€œRick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesnâ€™t need or deserve this position of honor,â€ said the president of People for the American Way, Kathryn Kolbert, who described Warren as â€œsomeone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans.â€
Warrenâ€™s spokeswoman did not respond to a message seeking comment, but he has tried to blend personal tolerance with doctrinal disapproval of homosexuality.
â€œI have many gay friends. Iâ€™ve eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than Saddleback Church,â€ he said in a recent interview with BeliefNet.
In the same interview, he compared the â€œredefiniton of a marrigeâ€ to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy.
Obamaâ€™s move may deepen some apparent distance between him among gays and lesbians, one of the very few core Democratic groups among whom his performance was worse than John Kerryâ€™s in 2004. Exit polls suggested that John McCain won 27 percent of the gay vote in November, up four points from Bushâ€™s 2004 tally â€” even as almost all other voters slid toward Obama.
But despite the symbolism of picking Warren, Obama is likely to shift several substantive policy areas in directions that will please gay voters and their political leaders, including a pledge to end â€œdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tellâ€ in military service.
And some gay activists were holding out hope that they would either persuade Obama to dump Warren or Warren to change his mind.
â€œRick Warren did a real disservice to gay families in California and across the country by casually supporting our continued exclusion from marriage,â€ said the founder of the pro-same sex marriage Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson. â€œI hope in the spirit of the new era thatâ€™s dawning, he will open his heart and speak to all Americans about inclusion and our countryâ€™s commitment to equality.â€
Let’s NOT forget the Primaries:
Earl Ofari Hutchinson Blog on Huffington Post
Obama Should Repudiate and Cancel His Gay Bash Tour, and Do It Now
Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama ripped a page straight from the Bush campaign playbook with his announced upcoming three date barnstorm tour through South Carolina with notorious gay basher, gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. The Grammy winning black gospel singer’s last effort on the political scene was his song and shill for Bush’s reelection at the Republican National Convention in 2004. Obama has hitched his string to McClurkin’s high flying gay bash kite in part out of religious belief (he purports to be somewhat of an evangelical), in bigger part because he’s falling further and further behind Hillary Clinton with the black vote in South Carolina and everywhere else, and in the biggest part of all because he hopes that what worked for Bush’s reelection will work for him.
Enter McClurkin. He’s black, he’s popular, and gospel plays big with blacks in South Carolina, especially black evangelicals, and many of them openly and even more of them quietly loathe gays.
Buzz up!on Yahoo!
Bush masterfully tapped that homophobic sentiment in 2000 in part with McClurkin and even more masterfully in 2004 again with McClurkin and the top gun mega black preachers in Ohio and Florida. He tapped it so masterfully that Bush’s naked pander to gay bashing with the GOP spawned anti-gay marriage initiative in Ohio did much to win over a big chunk of black evangelical leaning voter to Bush.
In fact, the great untold story of the 2004 presidential elections was the black evangelical vote.
Although black evangelicals still voted overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, they gave Bush the cushion he needed to bag Ohio and win the White House. There were early warning signs that might happen. The same polls that showed black’s prime concern was with bread and butter issues — and that Kerry was seen as the candidate who could deliver on those issues — also revealed that a sizeable number of blacks ranked abortion, gay marriage and school prayer as priority issues. Their concern for these issues didn’t come anywhere close to that of white evangelicals, but it was still higher than that of the general voting public.
A Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies poll in 2004 found that blacks by a far larger margin than the overall population opposed gay marriage. That raised a few eyebrows among some political pundits, but there were much earlier signs of blacks’ relentless hostility to gays and gay rights. A survey that measured black attitudes toward gays published in Jet magazine in 1994 found that a sizable number of blacks were suspicious and scornful of them. Many blacks also were put off by Kerry’s perceived support of abortion. In polls, Kerry got 20 percent less support from black conservative evangelicals than Democratic presidential contender Al Gore received in 2000.
In Florida and Wisconsin, Republicans aggressively courted and wooed key black religious leaders. They dumped big bucks from Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative program into church-run education and youth programs. Black church leaders not only endorsed Bush but in some cases they actively worked for his re-election, and encouraged members of their congregations to do the same.
This lesson isn’t lost on Obama. Desperate to snatch back some of the political ground with black voters that are slipping away from him and to Hillary; Bush’s black evangelical card seems like the perfect play. Obama wouldn’t dare go down the knock gay path, and risk drawing the inevitable heat for it, if he didn’t think as Bush that anti-gay sentiment is still wide and deep among many blacks.
And that’s what makes Obama’s ala Bush pander to anti-gay mania even more shameless and reprehensible. From the moment that he tossed his hat in the presidential ring, Obama has done everything he could to sell himself to voters, as the Man on the White Horse, a fresh new face on the scene, with new ideas, and the candidate that’s not afraid to boldly challenge Bush and the GOP on everything from the Iraq war to health care.
He’s also sold himself as a healer and consensus builder. Legions have bought his pitch, and have shelled out millions to bankroll his campaign. But healing and consensus building does not mean sucking up to someone that publicly boasts that he’s in “a war” against gays, and that the aim of his war is to “cure” them. That’s what McClurkin has said. Polls show that more Americans than ever say that they support civil rights for gays, and a torrent of gay themed TV shows present non-stereotypical depictions of gays. But this increased tolerance has not dissipated the hostility that far too many blacks, especially hard core Bible thumping blacks, feel toward gays.
Obama has spent months telling everyone that he’s everything that Bush isn’t. He can proof it by saying a resounding no to McClurkin and to gay bashing. He can cancel and repudiate the South Carolina “gospel” tour, and do it now.
(Straight) Blake needs to check himself at the Queer door “On what planet do Gays even say “Dude!” Totally busted as an Obama Obeyer! The rest of us have taken off our rose-colored glasses and seen the writing on the wall: Obama = Not so gay-friendly. There are more villians against gays in the Barack Obama administration and campaign than in the movie “Milk” and he was assasssinated. Do you want the very long laundry list of Barack’s homophobes? I am Gay first before any political party, even the Democratic Party of which I am registered. In 2012, I am very likely going to vote for the Green Party to build a Gay-inclusive third party as a power broker which works well for gays in other western democracies. Admit that you are a lackey of Brian Bond; cleaning up the bloodied gay mess that Barack and his radical religious cronies have created as if we will just lay down and take more of these Bush policies. Blake wants to wait until everyone’s credit cards are paid off!
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?
Except, this is Washington DC! We Gays ARE on the Right Side of History and Barack has been plain wrong up until now! Will he admit these trangressions as Clinton later lamented on his gay record during his tenure as President? If the incoming President’s Ego will allow Barack to admit, “Bad form on Gay Rights!” then we may have an opportunity for dialogue but Brian Bond can’t wimp out like many Gay Leaders often do. If Evengelicals are the new Democrat power-base, they will lose liberals, women and gays (Oh! They’re real base!) as Tim Kaine will easily facilitate the death of the Democratic Party.
Gay Rights are Human Rights are Civil Rights!
@seitan-on-a-stick: How can you trust any party, no matter how good their platform sounds, when they choose a complete lunatic for a candidate?
As for nominations, I care whether ENDA is passed and DOMA and DADT are repealed, and therefore whether those in the administration work towards or against those goals… but their actual orientation is irrelevant.
Because the republicans are willing to repeal DOMA, DADT, and approve MSA?
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