Who wants to give Dennis Kucinich a big bear hug? The Ohio-born Congressman definitely “felt the love” last night at the Logo/HRC gay forum.
The diminutive Kucinich left the crowd wanting more, Senator Hillary Clinton left people cheering and poor Governor Bill Richardson, meanwhile, left us scratching our heads.
Barack Obama started it all, his prize for agreeing to the forum first. The Senator from Illinois strolled up to the casual, Oprah-esque stage and stayed cool as a cucumber while discussing the division between church and state. And, like all the “different” candidates, made sure to emphasize his outsider status:
Well, it is my strong belief that the government has to treat all citizens equally. I come from that in part out of personal experience. When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside. And so my concern is continually to make sure that the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for all people.
I am a strong supporter not of a weak version of civil unions, but of a strong version, in which the rights that are conferred at the federal level to persons of — you know, who are part of the same sex union are compatible. Now, as a consequence, I don’t think that the church should be making these determinations when it comes to legal rights conferred by the state.
Obama must have been listening to Irene Monroe, because he made sure to point out that his particular church – United Church of Christ – thinks the gays are a-ok.
If Obama believes in equal rights, why not support marriage? He attempts to explain himself:
…My view is that we should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word “marriage,” which has religious connotations to some people…
…Semantics may be important to some. From my perspective, what I’m interested is making sure that those legal rights are available to people.
Alright, then, why don’t you do it?
One of the most intriguing questions posed came from Jonathan Capehart, who asked Obama how he’ll deal with homophobia in black communities. Like all good politicians, Obama made sure to reference an earlier reference to fighting homophobia in black communities. He also betrayed his straightness when he described gays as a “political football,” an analogy that went over our heads.
…My job as a leader, not just of African-Americans but hopefully as a leader of Americans, is to tell the truth, which is this has been a political football that’s been used. It is unfortunate. It’s got to stop. And when it stops, we will then be able to address the legitimate and serious concerns that face the black family.
In addition to ending the ugly game of anti-gay politics, the handsome politico became obviously uncomfortable when asked about comparisons between black and gay struggles. “I’m always very cautious about getting into comparisons of victimology.” Obama also made clear he’s not talking about gay rights because “it’s convenient”. He does it for the bitches. And the equal rights under the law.
Breast cancer provided a convenient segue for rocker Melissa Etheridge’s interrogation of Senator John Edwards. The rocker and Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, both had breast cancer, which prompted Etheridge to ask about equal health rights, which Edwards supports. He also supports gay homeless teens, perhaps more of Irene Monroes influence? The lesbian reverend recently worried homeless gay teens would get cut from the subject list. We’re sure she’s proud of Edwards.
We’re all proud Edwards accepted an invitation to slam Ann Coulter, who made more than a few headlines for calling Edwards a faggot earlier this year.
I think that what Ann Coulter does is the worst kind of public discourse. I think she demeans everything that all the rest of us do — and I think it is — I think it is intended to out — to get — to go to the lowest common denominator in the American people and to divide us.
The idea of reuniting America ran through nearly all the candidates’ discourse, but seemed especially powerful coming from Edwards. It must have been the accent.
It should come as no surprise that Edwards’ faith come up in the conversation. The lawyer once said that his Southern Baptist upbringing led to an internal gay marriage struggle. Well, he abandoned that right quick when Solmonese inquired, “I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about what is it within your religion that’s leading you to this position? ” Edwards owned up to his mistake right quick – or what he wants you to think he thinks was a mistake:
Well, you know, I have to tell you, I shouldn’t have said that, because first of all my — first of all, I believe, to my core, in equality.
I will not impose my faith belief on the American people. I don’t believe any president of the United States should do that. I believe in the separation of church and state.
We heard to words, but somehow we didn’t quite believe it. Maybe Edwards’ squirming and apparent – and denied – discomfort distracted us.
Love machine Dennis Kucinich – one of the two candidates who support gay marriage – came out next. We would love to put all of our notes in picture form, because Kucinich’s adorable display nearly defies words. The Ohio politico came out smiling, as one does, and offered a hippie-flavored explanation for his gay marriage “love”:
…This is really a question of whether you really believe in equality. I mean I see the “equal” sign there, and I have that same sign in my office in Washington, D.C. And imagine that “equal” sign inside a heart. Because what we’re really talking about here is human love. And there’s no power on this Earth greater than human love.
Love bug Kucinich stayed political when asked about the other candidates’ anti-nuptial stance, “I stand for real equality…” He didn’t seem to stand for anything during his closing remarks, during which he froze for a few seconds before again ejaculating his verbal love all over the room, giving himself a symbolic group hug and making his way out.
Mike Gravel, the other candidate who supports gay marriage, came out and, we must say, proved to be the night’s winner. It wasn’t simply what Gravel said, but how he said it. More than any other candidate, the former Alaska Senator really seemed to connect with the audience. No doubt he won some support when he called out his “white, straight, male” peers who continues to discriminate against gays. And some of the atheists in the audience creamed when Gravel took on spiritually-motivated politics:
I resent religion saying that [marriage is] a religious term. It’s not. Marriage preceded all forms of religion in civilization. Marriage is a commitment between two human beings in love. And understand me; I’m saying two human beings.
Never one to mince words, Gravel had something to say about his fellow candidates:
They’re playing it safe. They’re not going to earn — they’re not going to lose any votes over not being for marriage, whatever their excuses are. They’re going to win. This is costing votes for us. I don’t care. I don’t want those votes.
Oh, Mike Gravel, you beautiful crank of a man, we love you! If Gravel and Kucinich teamed up, America would be thrown back to the 1960s, only without all the strife and war. Just flower power and happenings, man.
Man, oh man, did Governor Bill Richardson stink or what? Definitely the big loser of the debate, Richardson dropped jaws when he stumbled over what should be the most simple of questions: is homosexuality a choice. Richardson stumbled, which prompted Etheridge to rephrase her question. He did no better the second time around:
ME: Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?
BR: It’s a choice. It’s — [Note: official transcript says “it’s,” we heard “yes”.]
ME: I don’t know if you understand the question. (Soft laughter.) Do you think I — a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, “Ooh, I want to be gay”?
BR: Well, I — I’m not a scientist. It’s — you know, I don’t see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I see it as a matter of love and companionship and people loving each other. You know I don’t like to categorize people. I don’t like to, like, answer definitions like that that, you know, perhaps are grounded in science or something else that I don’t understand.
His fragile popularity shattered, we’re sure.
Richardson wanted to point out to voters, however, that he’s sorry for having voted for the Defense of Marriage Act during the Clinton administration. He hopes his positive work as New Mexico Governor – including comprehensive hate crime and non-discrimination laws – can counteract the damage done by DOMA. It’s a start, to be sure.
So, what of that infamous “Maricon Moment,” when Richardson uttered the Spanish word for “faggot” while on Don Imus’ since canceled radio show? Richardson takes full responsibility and, yes, reminded readers that he’s Latino, which is almost like being gay, only he doesn’t suck dick.
I’m Hispanic. I felt the sting as a kid of being stereotyped. And I apologized but I meant no harm when I said that. It was, you know, one of those exchanges that I was caught off guard. No, I am not backing off. I apologize, but I think you should look at my actions and not words.
Actions do speak louder than words, but that doesn’t mean the words aren’t important.
Richardson seemed to be at a loss of words when Solmonese busted his balls over marriage. Richardson famously called a special New Mexico legislative meeting to pass domestic partnerships – a move many saw as political posturing – but the bill lost by one vote. Solmonese hinted at the political cache of Richardson’s oft-referenced vote before taking him to task:
JS: …If the New Mexico legislature handed you a marriage bill, would you sign it?
BR: (Short pause.) The New Mexico legislature, I am pushing it very hard to expand domestic partnership. It’s the same thing, Joe. It’s a question of going through a path that is achievable.
That’s a fairly nonsensical answer, if you ask us, which you tacitly do. Solmonese asked what Richardson would do if handed a marriage bill and Richardson says we need to stay realistic. Richardson failed to realize it wasn’t a question about legislative action, but core convictions. Now we know where Richardson stands, huh?
Last but certainly not least, we got ourselves a bit of Hillary Clinton. The front runner amongst gays and Democrats, Clinton seemed the most comfortable on stage, laughing and charming the pants and panties off the crowd. “I’m your girl,” she laughed with Margaret Carlson.
Not surprisingly, Clinton had to defend her past stances on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which her husband implemented, an issue she claims ranks as one of her top concerns.
…It’s one of my highest priorities. I came out against don’t ask/don’t tell in 1999. It was a transitional action that was taken back at the beginning of my husband’s administration because at the time, there was such a witch hunt going on. …We have moved a long way on this and other issues.
Clinton also believe the country has moved on the issue of marriage, which the Republicans once brandished as a weapon, but the majority of people seem to realize they were duped. As the tides change, Clinton says, she’s sure we as Ameicans can get more rights.
Clinton wrapped up by clarifying her post Peter Pace stumble. She initially took a neutral stance after Pace called gays “immoral,” but rapidly shifted gears after gay activists criticized her wishy-washy answer. Clinton released a more harsh statement the next day, “I should have put it in a broader context.”
The Senator garnered even more cheers after humanizing gay rights:
And I want to be a president who can clearly say to the American people, you know, these are our friends, our children, our parents; these are people who we want to support as they live the best lives they can.
The question remains, however: can we trust Hillary Clinton?
We’re not sure, but she did come off as one of the top contenders after last night, using her hag magic to work the crowd. While most of the candidates whored themselves a bit, we have to admit we’re pleasantly surprised with how the forum’s played out. No new issues were raised, but we got a good long look at the major issues facing gay communities – and heard where the candidates stand, or don’t stand, on our civil rights.
Now, if only we could figure out how to get Kucinich’s love out of our hair.
Whenever white gays try to liken their struggle to that of black people, they are only revealing their outsized senses of entitlement, and their white privilege. There are far too many powerful white gay males to claim they are as persecuted as black people. Stop doing it. It’s not only wrong, it is ugly ugly fugly. You white bitches have it way better than black people. You just don’t like that you don’t have it all. And fuck you very much for that.
David Hauslaib, Queerty
Wasn’t it Hillary who said the gay struggle hasn’t been going on for that long? Not that I entirely agree .. it hasn’t been in the public mindset for that long.
Meanwhile, the point is a solid one: Oppression against blacks included a little thing called slavery, which gays in the U.S. have never had to endure. No, I’m not full of self-hatred, and our fight (I’m speaking as a gay man here) is a worthwhile one. But most of us (or, at least, the non-African-Americans) can still trace our heritage back more than two generations.
@hillarity: To be sure, the fight for equal rights for GLBTs is not simply a “white” struggle.
Hillarity, I think I just barfed a little.
I agree with you, but sounding so combative and vindictive about it doesn’t help anything.
It actually just makes you sound annoying.
Well, last night’s rimjob aside, Mike Gravel is a total crackpot whom, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, couldn’t get elected if only gays and lesbians were voting in 2008, but he’s a sweet, grandfatherly crackpot.
Brother to brother, man, “fuck you very much for that?” So very postive and mature, message-wise.
I don’t know why I’m trying to address it with you, though, because I’m probably too Uncle Tom for you to even acknowledge.
I actually agree with hillarity in a sense… and what Barack said. The oppression of black people cannot be compared to the gay rights struggle. When you look at the fact that white gay men are largely the wealthiest demographic in the US you have to think hard about comparing the two. That said, however, I think Barack put it well when he said that any inequality is unacceptable and should be made right.
The crowd I watched the forum with unanimously thought Obama was the best of the lot.
Most of us thought Edwards came in second.
And virtually all of us thought Hillary just blew smoke and said nothing at all.
I have never HEARD a white person try to compare the struggles of blacks and gays.
I’ve heard thousands of us say basically the same thing that Obama said last night: that a wrong is a wrong, whoever it’s against, but these two struggles are too different to compare them.
Since you have called me a “white bitch” in advance I feel it necessary to give you what you asked for.
1. My parents, aunts and uncles picked cotton in Texas in the 40’s and 50’s. They were called sharecroppers. They were too poor to get an education. They are not an isolated case. So don’t think that you hold the key to hard working family members.
2. I worked by ass of during the 80’s and much of the 90’s caring for friends with AIDS…both black and white. When I marched with ACT UP, I did so for blacks and whites. When I marched on Washington DC, I marched for the rights of gay men and women black and white. When I donate money and time to various charities, it is not for a white country club as you might think.
So you, Cannick, and others can get down off your high fucking black horse and get back down on the streets with the rest of us.
You and the rhetoric is so fucking divisive and pisses off so many because we know that you should be working within your evangelical black community to change THE HOMOPHOBIA THAT is rampant there. Honey, that has nothing to do with slavery, white bitches, or Hilary Clinton.
It has to do with fucked up homophobic religious nuts that happen to be black.
So go clean your own fucking house up first, and contribute your money, your time, your hard work to better a community for all of us and stop being so exclusive or you might find yourself
David, while many of us have not experienced “slavery” in our lifetime, nor have many of the blacks that are currently bitching about it. I have experienced the slow, painful death of of over 40 friends. I watched as my friends started being considered lepers. People didn’t want to touch them, or feed them. The government ignored them. Those without insurance were left alone by a Reagan government that felt it was just too gay.
So slavery can take on may forms.
When someone comes on here spewing white bigoted venom, I think it is only fair to stand up and say fuck you asshole and all that you stand for cause this white bitch aint buying it.
And I’d like to remind people that just as issues aren’t all black or white, nor are gay people. We are many different races, different ethnicities. And as a woman I could go on about the centuries of oppression we’ve endured. But I won’t 🙂
I guess my point is that we are all in this together, and the only thing fighting amongst ourselves does is help the people who hate us. “United we stand, divided we fall” may be old and a cliche, but it’s true.
Alexa is right on these moments we have to remain calm and think wisely about who we are and what we want to see in the next elections. Let ourselves hear by voting for the right candidate. Remain focus on our goals. Cheers…
wow this thing will never go away why can we all just forget it?
The republican mean machine scoring political points by climbing on our backs.The same posturing at the expense of families like mine.The civil liberties for all.In red states it is a winning formula for the social conservatives.Apathy among Democrats and glbt is unacceptable. The idea we are gaining gay ground is misguided & misleading. A social -movement with rights is absent in the mid-west. Lgbt people must confront the lies and misinformation, organize and educate. Our familes and friends to join us and partcipate. Hillary Clinton ‘thinks’ it best to leave it to the states to decide our equality. She says we need to be patient.Forty plus years IS patient.Too many of us died because of the failure of the federal goverment and the inability of a President to say Aids. I think she is so wrong and I do not forgive President Clinton for throwing us under a bus.They concluded they would not squander any of their political will to fight for us.Tired of Hills and Bills winks at the gay community. They used us before. Right now our families deserve and have earned the right to expect relief at the federal level sooner than later. Full equality under the law is the right thing to do; and we all know it. I don’t understand the Hill bandwagon. There are lgbt familes that fear for their safety in many parts of the country.The fear of being killed/assualted is real for many in the heartland of America ;we need real leadership and real representation.So much pandering while our families are suffering from hate and indifference.Just like the the Clinton years of before.
Comments are closed.