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Posted by gustav at 03:00AM, Wednesday, December 03rd, 2003
Kerry has stabbed us all in the heart
It's impossible to tell what his personal feelings on the matter may be, because his official opinion shifts with the polls, but I think his support for an anti-gay amendment to the Mass. Constitution will open a lot of eyes on the true left.I am so tired of being spat on by people who count on my vote. I'm a Democrat for many reasons, but, overall, because that seems to be the party most consistent with my ideals of letting other people live without interference from you as long as they aren't stepping on you -- building machines that block out the sun with smog, defining what rights you have in your bedroom, etc. (And notice I say people, not corporations.) The problem is that the current Washington leadership of the party is lost. I don't think it's coincidental that, once Dean is firmly out of the race, the things he championed -- including gay rights, which gave him much of his initial support -- start to get ignored because he's not around to keep them in the other candidate's faces. We had Edwards and his "I'm done with that question" comment about gay marriage; now we have Kerry supporting an anti-gay-marriage amendment in his home state, even while he criticizes Bush for wanting to do the same with the U.S. Constitution.
Posted by Veritas at 2004-03-01 23:23:24
I have no idea what statement of John Kerry's you're referring to. John Kerry has a long history of support for gay and lesbian issues, dating back to the 1970's, when it was far from fashionable to be supportive of our cause.
Additionally, he was the only senator, up for election in 1996, who voted AGAINST DOMA.
Here is John Kerry's position on GLBT rights:
"Protecting Gay and Lesbian Families: John Kerry believes that same-sex couples should be granted rights, including access to pensions, health insurance, family medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor benefits, and other basic legal protections that all families and children need. He has supported legislation to provide domestic partners of federal employees the benefits available to spouses of federal employees."
If this issue is truly the most important to you, and transcends the 3 million Americans out of work, an administration that cooked up intelligence to muster up support for an illegal war, the attacks on 9/11 that were allowed to happen, the undermining of civil liberties through the Patriot Act, and the usurpation of democractically elected leaders in other countries (i.e., Aristide, Chavez), then Ralph Nader will be running in this election, and would love to have your vote.
Then, we'll all be cooling our heals at Git'mo! 8-)
Posted by gustav at 2004-03-04 10:01:31
I should mention two other things about Kerry's gay rights record.
First, I'm happy he voted against DOMA. That was courageous, although it's also sad that he was the only one up for reelection who didn't support that piece of hateful legislation. However, a lot of us were disappointed to see no Kerry representation at Boston Pride last year. (There were probably close to 20 Dean campaigners, and I seem to remember a couple Kucinich people. Their early outreach to the gay community in their campaigns meant a lot to some of us. Support from "the gay community" is what leant Dean a lot of his early momentum. It's interesting to me that, two weeks after dropping out of the race, the guy still had a landslide victory in his home state. That's the result of signing unpopular legislation because of your convictions -- rabid support from those who've paid attention to your politics for years. I wish Kerry's campaign were more in touch with this sort of thing.) It's great he was anti-DOMA. It's kind of sad that, on an issue that's more in the public spotlight, he's so self-contradictory, bashing Bush for the FMA while saying he'd back one at the state level.
The bigger problem with this is that it opens him up to criticism, not only from the "activist" left -- people like me who feel it's disgraceful that someone labelling himself as a Democrat wants to write discrimination into *any* constitution -- but from the Republican opposition, who use this as an example of his supposed untrustworthiness and lack of conviction. NPR this morning was quoting Bush saying that Kerry had been in DC long enough to take both sides on pretty much every issue. Our own despicable Republican Governor Mitt Romney said a few days ago that Kerry's position on state and federal marriage amendments was an example of how he tries to play both sides of issues, and ends up always flip-flopping. Backing constitutional changes isn't winning him any friends on the left, and is opening him up to a great deal of criticism on the right. I hope he reconsiders.
Re: Reference Please...
Posted by gustav at 2004-03-03 13:12:42
The link may not be up for long: (As a side note, I'm appalled at the lack of coverage I've seen of this, nationally, outside of The Advocate and the one-day appearance on the Globe.)
To summarize, Kerry told a Boston Globe reporter on Weds, Feb. 25th that "If the Massachusetts Legislature crafts an appropriate amendment [banning same-sex marriage] that provides for partnership and civil unions, then I would support it, and it would advance the goal of equal protection."
As I said, I think it's nuts to claim that a candidate whose official position is that I, or any gay Massachusetts resident, does not deserve the same marriage rights he enjoys, is remotely pro-gay. Yes, he claims to be pro-gay, when speaking to a gay-friendly audience. He can also say that he backs marriage-for-straights-only when speaking to gay-hostile audiences, and claim that he only opposes the FMA because he feels marriage is an issue for states to decide. Similarly, BushCo can claim that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, regardless of whether they actually believe that. I don't think it matters what politicians really believe, it's what they do. What they say they stand for is immaterial if it doesn't jive with which legislation they throw their weight behind. I think Kerry's words and actions, which, by saying we're not eligible for the same rights as straight people, dehumanize gays and lesbians, are despicable. No, he's not advocating the FMA. But it's unclear why not; after all, he thinks an anti-marriage amendment in his home state is just fine.
I think the party needs a voice with conviction and principles. I have yet to see any evidence that Kerry has either, and I've seen plenty to tell me he lacks any sort of internal moral compass. I find that deeply troubling.
I think civil unions don't cut it. As the SJC ruling pointed out, separate is seldom, if ever, equal. I thought we'd been through all that in the 60s.
Do I think marriage is more important than jobs and the economy? Well, that depends: are we talking about when my partner is trying to visit me in urgent care in the hospital, and can't, because he's not family, according to state records? Are we talking about when I'm being depositioned in court and can't claim spousal privilege regarding his conversations with me? Are we talking about when I have to pay higher taxes than my straight peers, because I'm not "really" married? Are we talking about when I pay higher insurance rates for the same reason, or when my partner doesn't qualify for health care benefits through my job? It's naive to dismiss these issues as unimportant. You can't rationally separate them from other economic and civil rights issues. They're damned important to me, and they should be to anyone who would claim to be concerned with civil rights. These aren't abstract what-if scenarios that never happen to people. They happen every day, and a bunch of them have happened to me. I have lost money because of them. I've lost money because of the economy, too. Frankly, I don't care if they are issues because there's a Democrat in the White House, or a Republican. I just want them changed, and Kerry doesn't seem to be one to do that for us. I'm not saying state recognition of my marriage would fix them all, but it would be a step to getting DOMA repealed. And that has to happen before the U.S. can claim to be anything but a hypocrite when it preaches about civil rights and liberty and justice.
Re: Reference Please...
Posted by Veritas at 2004-03-06 13:12:04
I appreciate your comments on John Kerry's position on GLBT rights.
First, as a campaign volunteer who also worked the SF Pride event, I can tell you that Kerry's campaign had not yet swung into motion at that time. At least in the Bay Area, we were a small group of hardcore politicos who were supporting Kerry that early. Dean and Kucinich had more extensive networks at that time, and they were both represented by tabling at the Pride fairs. We (the Kerry campaign) were not yet organized enough to have a booth or table set up. Only later did the campaign begin to have enough volunteers to work such events. Since then, the Kerry campaign has hired a GLBT outreach person, and has been present tabling in the Castro every week.
Secondly, as a maxed out donor to the campaign, and as a fund raiser who has brought many more thousands of dollars into the campaign, I disagree with John Kerry's statement. I would prefer the blanket rejection he made of the amendment at a Federal level. If I have access to Senator Kerry before the election, I will ask him to clarify this statement.
This having been said, I will continue to support John Kerry, as I believe that having him in the White House is absolutely better for America than the alternative, and I will fight hard to make this a reality. Political change must be won gradually and incrementally. Having a President who supports Civil Unions will help the cause of GLBT persons far more than having p(R)esident who is in support of amending the constitution of our country to embed discrimination within it.
Re: Reference Please...
Posted by gustav at 2004-03-07 10:13:06
I agree with almost everything you've said here. Even though I personally cannot support Kerry until he reverses his position on the Massachusetts Constitutional amendment, I hope there's little doubt in any voter's mind that he'll make a much less evil president than Bush II -- that the economy will recover from the recession it's teetering into now, and that we'll stop sliding headlong into fascism and halt the loss of privacy and first-amendment rights we're experiencing now. I still find it sickening that gays are the first sacrificial victims to the hypothetical appearance of non-radicalism in American politics -- or whatever it is that's going through Kerry's mind as he issues three incredibly contradictory statements over the course of a week or so.
As I've said, I don't necessarily believe caution or trepidation ever won anyone civil rights. Less so back-pedalling and equivocation. Part of that, of course, is an observation on the amazing events of the past year: I think all of us a year ago would have been thrilled to know that mainstream Republicans would consider civil unions compromise legislation these days. That's an example of the power of radical change, brought on by years of carefully planned court cases, but also by a month of grass-roots radicalism. I think bold stands, on whatever the issue, can have more influence on public perception than complicated nuance that can be twisted by the press. It's not as though the Bush administration has ever been timid in their radicalism, and I don't think they've paid a price for that -- except when Bush devoted a big chunk of the state of the union to explaining why he hated gay marriage in the middle of one of the biggest periods of job loss since the Depression. At any rate, the argument's as old as the civil rights movemement, and no one's going to change anyone else's mind at this point.
I'm going to be writing a letter to Kerry, explaining why, as much as I loathe Bush, I can neither vote for Kerry, nor send his campaign money, until he ceases to endorse bigoted legislation in his -- and my -- home state. I encourage others to do the same. We've seen the power of collective activism. Let's put some pressure on the Demo's nominee to stand up for true Democratic ideals while there's still time. I'll also be sending a little more to HRC and the NLGTF this year than usual. I think they freakin' deserve it.
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