"All people are not heterosexual. Heterosexuality is not superior and is not the norm by which all other sexual orientation and gender identities are measured." --Burnaby, B.C. Schools Draft Policy #5.45

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Republican versus Republican

An article I read yesterday by a gay author expressed disgust toward the Log Cabin Republicans, belittled their (successful) lawsuit against DADT, and called them "irrelevant".  Anything but the mainstream Democratic Party-connected activist groups, the author sarcastically implied, was weird.  I think the opposite--that sexual minority Republicans are part of the cutting edge in the push for equality in this era and that the internal Republican versus Republican conflicts that have emerged (the people involved, the different character of Republican-Republican debates) are actually more fascinating (party labels being my shorthand both for actual party members and for like-minded people). Here's an example (by way of roundabout description):

New York recognizes same sex marriages from other jurisdictions (e.g., Massachusetts, Vermont, or Ontario), but doesn't have same sex marriage itself.

A marriage equality bill failed last year in the New York legislature. A marriage equality bill was re-introduced into the New York Assembly, on May 10th.

Section 1 of the bill, setting out the "legislative intent", is the most interesting part:

"Marriage is a fundamental human right. Same-sex couples and their children should have the same access as others to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations, and benefits of civil marriage. Stable family relationships help build a stronger society. For the welfare of the community and in fairness to all New Yorkers, this act formally recognizes otherwise-valid marriages without regard to whether the parties are of the same or different sex."

The bill can be seen in its entirety here

Groups working for marriage equality (such as Human Rights Campaign and Log Cabin Republicans) have formed a coalition called New Yorkers United for Marriage. According to a New York Times article, 2/3 of the coalition's funds have come from Republican donors.

The donors' arguments were that equality is a matter of "social justice", a right that government should not be interfering in, and also that it would be good for the New York economy by making New York more business friendly.

Advocate.com says New Yorkers United for Marriage sent out a mailer last week:
"The mailer features a [picture of] Nassau County couple, Paul and Iris Blumenthal, who want to see their son Jonathan marry.  'We’d love to invite you to our son’s wedding,' reads the mailer. 'Sadly, he’s not allowed to get married.'"

Apparently, the biggest organization opposing marriage equality is National Organization for Marriage (presumably all Republicans).  Some interesting things from NOM's web site: 

1. NOM wants people to send e-postcards to their congresspeople asking them to support a House resolution condemning the Obama administration's decision to stop defending DOMA in federal court.  

2. NOM "praises" the recent motions filed in Perry v. Brown (the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn California's Proposition 8 and to find a federal constitutional right to same sex marriage, fka Perry v. Schwarzenegger) requesting that the decision be vacated because the judge who presided over the trial, Vaughn Walker, did not disclose that he has been in a same sex relationship for the last ten years.

3. NOM says in its "talking points" section, that "extensive and repeated polling" has shown that the most effective, one line argument against same sex marriage, is, "Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose.  They don't have a right to redefine marriage for all of us."

So, there's the roundabout description, but the main point is, as of this week, in New York, it's wealthy Republican donors financing a marriage equality campaign, contending against a large national activist organization, also Republicans, that fights marriage equality.   

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