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I wrote this post during lunch today and came home to post it.  But since I wrote it, the New York legislature passed a same-sex marriage law.  This is a huge deal.  Historic.  The population of America where same-sex marriage is legal just doubled.  I’m pretty much speechless right now.  Wow.

Now the post I wrote earlier.

As Dana Milbank points out in his Sunday column (out Friday), Democrats are angry at President Obama.  So are Republicans, so he must be doing something right.  But he’s doing a lot wrong, too.  And it’s a lot easier to point out what he’s doing wrong right now.

  • Afghanistan: Pulling 10,000 troops out this year and 23,000 more by next summer strikes me as too little too late.  Americans are tired of war.  It’s been 10 years, so why wouldn’t they be?  But more importantly, what good do we hope to do over there?  Does anyone really think that the Taliban isn’t going to come out of its caves (or Pakistan or wherever else they went) and put Afghanistan right back where it was in 2001 when the last American leaves in 2014?  Why keep spending lives and treasure (which we don’t have) prolonging it?  What will we have – other than making it quite difficult for al Qaeda – to show for it?  A corrupt government of a nation that really isn’t a coherent nation at all?  No – it’s time to go now.
  • Libya: You can read Krauthammer’s column today for an analysis of whether theLibya operation is legal or not.  I do have to say, though, that the president’s excuse, saying that the Libya operation doesn’t really constitute hostilities is ridiculous.  It’s the kind of statement that is just insulting to the intelligence of anyone with a pulse.  Seventy Democrats voted to rebuke Obama and then 36 of them voted to cut off funding for the Libya operation.
  • Debt Ceiling / Deficit Negotiations: Letting the increasingly ultra-right-wing Republicans walk all over him – and then stage a walkout – and his administration in the deficit/debt ceiling negotiations.  The United States has never defaulted on its debt obligations it its history.  Never.  And it’s looking more and more like it might happen.  The resulting economic chaos would make 2008 look like a mere ripple on the pond.  But he is letting the Republicans set the agenda of these negotiations and isn’t calling them on walking out.  The Republicans are being ridiculous, but so is the administration.  The Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith, and Obama ought to say so – loudly – with concrete examples.
  • Gay rights: Yes, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed and is being implemented, allowing gay service members to serve. The Defense of Marriage Act is still the law of the land, even if the Obama administration isn’t actively defending it.  Boehner’s House of Representatives still is.  He knows that people are “impatient” with him on same-sex marriage and full gay equality and is indicating that he’ll come out in support of same-sex marriage in his second term.  We’re getting so close we can almost taste it.  The idea of waiting until it’s politically acceptable is maddening.  After all, how would you like being told to wait to gain equal rights?

There’s one major problem.  There’s no one better than Obama out there.  If anyone mounted a primary challenge to Obama, it would weaken him so much that a Republican could sneak away with the presidency next year.  And the Republican Party has become so radicalized by the tea partiers that it really would be a disaster.  So progressives have to be patient with Obama.  What’s the alternative?  There isn’t any.

The Yes on 8 attorneys are really grasping at straws.  Yesterday in federal court, they argued that the trial judge, now-retired Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, was biased because he is gay.  The Yes on 8 attorneys are saying that because the judge is gay – which was an open secret while he was on the bench – he stands to benefit from his own ruling.  It is, of course, a specious argument.

By that same argument, a black judge would have to recuse himself from a civil rights case involving a black person because that judge could benefit.  A Hispanic judge would recuse himself from an immigration case.  A woman judge would have to recuse herself from a case where women would benefit based on her ruling.  Spare me.  Where does it end?

It smacks of desperation to me.  Yes on 8 knows that they’re going to lose.  Public sentiment has been shifting.  The public is more and more supportive of same-sex relationships and of same-sex marriage.  So the forces of the status quo are going to lose.  (Anyone see any parallels between the struggle for gay equality and the fight for civil rights a few decades ago?  It’s not the same, but the parallels really are stunning.)  And if you’re going to lose – and know it – try everything possible to pull it out.

There will be same-sex marriage in this country.  (Indeed, there already is in several states, and the world has not ended – despite Harold Camping’s best calculations.)  DADT is on its belated way out.  DOMA still remains the law of the land, but that could change when the appeals courts get the appeal from this case, and other cases wending their way through the courts.

Judge Walker’s ruling was upheld today.  That is in line with other cases where race and gender were the issues.  But the Yes on 8 people were really offensive with this argument, saying that a gay judge couldn’t be impartial.  Proposition 8 was declared unconstitutional because it is unconstitutional.  It had nothing to do with the fact the judge is gay.

I read a blog post by Louis Marinelli (via Mark Morford’s SF Gate column), who is one of the architects of The National Organization for Marriage (to which I will not link on this site).  He describes in some detail how he came to the conclusion that he actually supports same-sex marriage.

Having spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease, I must admit that it is hard for me to put the following text into words let alone utter them with my own voice.

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

While I have come to terms with this reality internally, speaking about it, even with the closest members of my family, has proven to be something difficult for me to do.

In short, if there is an issue of disbelief surrounding my newfound support for civil marriage equality, it is disbelief from those who surround me. If there is an issue of shame, it is a result of acknowledging the number of people I have targeted, hurt and oppressed. And if there is an issue of embarrassment, its roots lie in the face-to-face encounters I have had and expect to have with those with whom I once toiled over this very contentious issue.

I understand that those whom I approach now are well within their right to disbelieve and question me and my motives. I accept that is the result of what I have done over the past few years and would therefore like to take this time to, as openly as I can, discuss the events that brought about my change of heart.

As you may already know, I was the one behind the 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour which the National Organization for Marriage sponsored and operated throughout July and August last year. It was my doing when, in March that year, I approached Brian Brown, then Executive Director of the National Organization for Marriage about sponsoring and participating in a series of traditional marriage rallies scattered around the Nation.

In fact, the tour route itself, while chosen largely by NOM itself, incorporated as many of the sites I had originally chosen and helped independently organize. Other locations were added due to strategic, political or simply logistical purposes.

Ironically, one of the last tour stops added to the itinerary was Atlanta and I bring this site up because it was in Atlanta that I can remember that I questioned what I was doing for the first time. The NOM showing in the heart of the Bible-belt was dismal and the hundreds of counter-protesters who showed up were nothing short of inspiring.

Even though I had been confronted by the counter-protesters throughout the marriage tour, the lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people for me almost instantly. For the first time I had empathy for them and remember asking myself what I was doing.

[T]he lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people for me almost instantly.  I think that this is what people forgot all too often.  LGBT people are indeed real people, people who have a difficult road because of who they are.  LGBTs are a faceless enemy advancing the “homosexual agenda” – according to conservatives that oppose equal rights.  Marinelli says as much in his post.

This is exactly the reason that I think LGBT people need to be visible, and not be in the closet.  That doesn’t mean everyone needs to be an activist, but letting other people see you for who you are is critically important.  After all, LGBTs care about all the same things everyone else does: the mortgage, the job, the car payment, the break-in down the street, getting the child to all his activities, the school budget issues, etc.  They’re pretty humdrum, mundane concerns.  Just like everyone else’s concerns.

But LGBT people face discrimination on top of all that.  DADT is recently repealed but not fully implemented, so LGBTs cannot fully serve openly.  DOMA is still the law of the land, even if the Obama administration has stopped defending it in court, even if the administration is still enforcing it.  Same-sex marriage is not allowed in most states.

Until all this changes – and it is changing, slowly – LGBTs have to remain visible in living their lives.  They have to become real people, not faceless, promiscuous people.  When that happens, full equality will not be far behind.

I started this blog because it’s a ridiculous world, especially in politics.  I drive my family nuts when I start talking about this stuff, so I decided that I’d inflict my views on the blogosphere.  And where better to start, really, than with John Boehner’s move to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

A week or so after the Obama administration announced that it would no longer defend DOMA in court (even though he is still enforcing the law), our Speaker of the House — Boehner — says that never fear, he’ll defend it.  This, of course, keeps the Republicans squarely in the 1950s.  Whatever moves they make to join the 21st century they are dragged, kicking and screaming into the future.

[Nancy] Pelosi said in a statement that Boehner’s move placed Republicans “squarely on the wrong side of history and progress” and would likely cost the House hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

“President Obama took a bold step forward for civil rights and equality when he announced that the federal government would no longer argue to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act in court,” Pelosi said. “I oppose Speaker Boehner’s effort to put the House in the position of defending this indefensible statute.”

It will probably lose, too.  Ted Olson and David Boies have done a great job eviscerating Proposition 8 in federal court.  And it should lose, too.

It’s ridiculous (I think this could be a theme on this blog) that another person would give a damn about who other people sleep with, love, or want to spend their lives with.  I really wonder when people will live and let live, and stop worrying so much about what someone else does.  Same-sex relationships have nothing to do with anyone else’s relationship.  None.  And spare me the rhetoric that a same-sex marriage somehow debases other people’s marriages.   It’s simply not true.

And I didn’t even get into the whole think with Mike Huckabee taking a shot at Natalie Portman for being an unwed mother.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this as I go forward in this blog.

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