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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:19 AM
Original message
"We are effectively without any national voice"
In a recent thread about the HRC, ReadMoreOften asked, "So what the fuck do they actually do...?" Ruggerson answered, "They do nothing except fundraise" and added, "Since NGLTF is not any better, we are effectively without any national voice."

So I've been wondering: What would be necessary to create an organization that does give a national voice to the issues of whatever alphabet soup you want to use to describe our diverse communities? What would those issues be, and in what priority, more important to less? What compromises would you be willing to make in order to build up a strong, effective coalition? What metric would you use to differentiate between effective and non-effective?

Right now, this is just food for thought. Latter, though.... Well, I happen to agree about the HRC and NGLTF, and we really need something.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Part of the problem is we don't have a national agenda
Think of the poll I posted. It was divided between those who felt marriage or some form of marital rights should be first on the block and those who favored ENDA or civil rights legislation. That represents a regional divide between those who have the civil rights legislation (costal states and upper midwest) and those who don't (Southeast, midwest, and mountain states). Without a truely national agenda it is hard to have a national leader.
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. So let's pretend we are setting up up a national agenda
We want to keep the issues focused on immediate needs and goals, and be reasonably national in scope. Here are some to consider:

Aging - Helping those without a family or descendants to care for them as they get older or become sick.

Coming out - Assisting people in becoming more open about themselves in their lives.

Employment - Working to create and enforce laws that would prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation or identity.

Hate crimes - Working to create and enforce hate crime legislation.

Health care - Working to eliminate discrimination by health care providers, educate the larger community about HIV/AIDS, other STDs and the dangers of drug use, and to improve access for lesbians to woman-specific health care.

Housing - Working to create and enforce laws that would prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or identity with regards to renting or buying a home, or with regards to being able to obtain a mortgage.

Immigration - Helping gay people from outside the United States find asylum here from countries where they are being persecuted for being gay and assisting those who are trying to immigrate to the US for reasons other than asylum.

Marriage - Working to pass equal marriage legislation, fighting legislation and ballot measures that would strip marriage recognition and trying to get state and national DOMA laws repealed.

Military - Working to repeal DADT.

Parenting - Working to repeal laws and bureaucratic regulations that disallow gay people from becoming foster or adoptive parents, and fighting to get the parental rights of same-sex partners acknowledged and enforced.

Transgender - Educating the gay community about the historic connections between transgender rights and gay rights, fighting for transgender inclusivity in the gay and larger communities, working to pass legislation that would enforce the rights of transgendered people.

Youth - Supporting safe spaces for gay and questioning youth.

Let's keep this focused to, say, four to start with. Which would you consider the most important nationally, and in what priority?
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I think that we should ask for everything all at once. Hear me out!
I know that the usual approach to getting things one wants is incremental, but in the case of gay rights, the incremental approach actually hurts our cause. Here's why.

We're not asking for "special" rights. We're asking for the same civil rights as every other person in the U.S. Therefore, it is illogical for us to pick and choose among those rights and try to decide which ones to ask for first. Instead, we should be saying, "Enough of this nonsense. Gay people have been abused long enough. Provide us with equal rights across the board now."

People have a problem with the word marriage? Tell them to get over it. The legal document says "marriage certificate."
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Incremental is what you will get if you try to focus on everything at once
Any organization will have finite resources. Dividing those resources between four or five projects would be more effective than dividing them between 20 or 25 projects, even if only four or five get the lion's share of what is available.

This why I think any national organization needs to be very focused on what issues it is working on.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I think that we should ask for the full package of benefits on a national level.
Here in North Carolina, HRC refuses to even consider the marriage question. They're focused on hate crimes. I don't agree with that strategy.

I'd like to see a national push for equal rights under the Constitution. Forget the states. Half the states in the U.S. would still allow slavery if they could get away with it. I live in the south and I'm not kidding.

If even Californians can be persuaded to take away a right that gay people had already been granted, what hope is there for the south and most of the midwest? We'll be fighting for crumbs over the next century with that approach.
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Stay focused on a key few, and most of the rest will fall into place by themselves
To pick one example: Many health care and child care issues would no longer be issues if equal marriage becomes a national reality.

And the example you use about the HRC is exactly why it has become irrelevant. It has become too dependent on the good will and contributions of too many bigoted people to bother with actual, meaningful civil rights.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
21. If we get universal healthcare for everyone, a lot of issues will fall into place.
I'd like to see the gay movement align with worker's rights.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. I agree. It's the FOX NEWS strategy and it works.
Have a news program with complete right wing fascists and all of a sudden other solidly right-wing assholes seem bipartisan.

If we have a national demand that all our issues be met, arbitration logic has it that some demands will be met. Being polite and reasonable gets you nowhere. Think about what has made the most impact on us already???

Harvey Milk (gay establishment said 'too radical')
Stonewall (a riot complete with molotov cocktails)
ACT-UP (who took over churches in the press and put us in the spotlight)

Why do we act like we've never been bold and demanding? Have we ever gotten anything by being polite and earnest? Everything we've ever done is through actions that could've "alienated our allies." The meme is "the support just isn't there". WHO GIVES A RATS ASS? WHAT'S RIGHT IS RIGHT. JUSTICE IS JUSTICE.

What do people do with radicals? They say "Gosh they're so shrill. I guess they have a point, but why do they have to scream?" A year later, the shrillness is forgotten but the point remains and people act as if the radical's point is something they always agreed with, sheer common sense...
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Everything you list make for a great national platform.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 01:52 PM by bluedawg12
The other issue is priorities.

What should we tackle first, second. etc.?

Ideally, we should be working on all of the issues, but some are social like aging, youth, coming out etc and some are political: DOMA, marriage equality.

If we had a national organization, then all of the things you mentioned could be part of the platform, but political issues would be prioritized based on timing and resources which are not unlimited.

Going back to the first question, why don't we have a national leader?

It seems that historically we have been fighting this State by State. It seems like we have State wide activism, in some States, but not a national political movement.

Also, we have been working under the umbrella of a national presence, like the Democratic party, which then mounts candidates such as PE Obama, who is running for national office.

So far, that means we have thrown our lot in with the best candidate that comes closest to voicing some of our concerns on a national level but certainly not all of our concerns.

I agree that your question is relevant and I was thinking about this the other day.

Is it time for a national organization?

Is it time for a national spokes person?

Memberships, dues, annual meetings? Committee's and sub committees to deal with social and political issues?

Research? A national speakers bureau?

Maybe a think tank for gay issues, as a well as a national organization, or as part of one?

I don't have the exact answer as to the details, but, I bet if something were developed, if for example a benefactor could donate a nice sum of funds to start something like that, I bet, with the internet access to the GLBTQ community even in remote places, there would be an interest in joining, support and involvement.

I think your question is spot on because the time sure seems right.

I am looking forward to what others think.




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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. The problem, as I see it, is
These issues were taken directly from the HRC's and NGLTF's websites. The HRC is ineffective because it would rather be a powerbroker than an advocate, and the NGLTF is ineffective, I think, because their scope is "anything and everything" and are trying to do too much at once. That is why I think a narrow focus would be better: enough to show diversity in goals, but few enough that any action taken on them can receive a large chunk of available resources.

The points you raise are exactly what got me thinking. We need a national organization that focuses on basic political rights: address those and the social issues will follow. And we need it to be independent: it cannot hold the Democratic Party accountable for its lack of support for our rights -- its blatant opposition to them, on occation -- if it is dependent on the party for its very existence.

At issue is that there already are a number of national organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, but these groups have become part of the Establishment and are no longer effective at what they are supposed to be doing. The HRC, in particular, has assimilated to the point where they have endorsed Republicans and thrown their support behind poorly qualified straight candiates for elected and appointed office rather than well qualified gay candidates.

I think it is time to acknowledge that these two groups have become irrelevant and start fresh.

Regarding organization, I'm not sure what approach would be most effective. The only such organizational structure I am familiar with is the standard hierarchy of local and state chapters supporting a national organization. That system is flexible, but I am concerned that it would lead to "mission creep" and the national agenda would be diluted. On the other hand, setting it up directly as a national organization (putting aside the question of financing it) would allow the directors to remain focused, but that runs the risk of alienating the local activists and volunteers that would be necessary to do any kind of work.

I'm open to suggestion.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Am I the only one living in a small town, red state, that feels left out of their national agenda?
Allow me to go back to your first question.

>>What would be necessary to create an organization that does give a national voice to the issues of whatever alphabet soup you want to use to describe our diverse communities?<<

You mentioned that two prominent groups exist, the NGLTF and HRC. You mentioned that they are ineffective. You also gave some reasons why they may be so.

Let me speak just from a personal perspective, since all politics are local, meaning there should be some relevance to my life to make political involvement appealing.

The HRC and NGLTF?

I think, to my surprise, this just touched a raw nerve.

I am going to get on a soap box a little and please dont misunderstand, mr.t-bear, this is not aimed at you. Its that the questions you raised got me in touch with a little bit of resentment I just realized was there and simmering.

I live in a smallish town, not that far from a major metro center, but far enough that my life is encapsulated by my home, work, and friends in this small town.

I/we are surrounded by straight people.

Yes, we do have some men and women that are gay and lesbian, I think I know all six of them here. Everyone has their own lives, none are political about gay rights, though I know four are staunchly Democrat. Wow. Thats a landslide in the making. Geez.

According to census reports there are 10,000 same sex couples living in this State.

The HRC and NGLTF have no presence here. None. I never hear a thing about them.

I dont live in a cocoon, I watch the news, I read news magazines, but the only place I hear about the HRC and NGLTF is here on DU GLBT.

The only time I learn more about NGLTF and HRC is when I go to their website as a point of curiosity because of some thread here.

They have no impact on my life day to day life what so ever. None at all.

I am involved in the local Democratic party, why hell, donations ($$$) and volunteerism is always welcome.

Guess what?

The word gay never comes up at any Democratic functions.

I live in a red state, gay marriage? WTF?
There is no gay marriage rights issue here, gay marriage it is BARELY talked about.
The Democratic leaders are mildly in favor of civil unions.
This State has a law banning same sex marriage.
There have been legislative debates about adding a Constitutional Amendment against same sex marriage and in looking over press clippings, I see no activism or quote from HRC or NGLTF. None. No help.

The HRC is according their web site, located in Wash. DC.

The NGLTF according their web site has branch offices in:
Washington, DC
New York, NY
Cambridge, MA
Los Angeles,CA
Miami, FL
Minneapolis, MN

So whats my point other than perhaps feeling that I just got in touch with some anger?

Well, on one hand there are two organizations that claim to be national and for GLBTQ rights.

On the other hand, it is noted that for various reasons they are not national leaders.

I have to agree.

I am not certain that we have to re-invent the wheel, or start all over again with more funding and creating yet another group, now that I think of it.

While many GLBTQ people do live in Miami, NY and Calif, and Minn. Many of us do not.

I whole heartedly support gay marriage rights and the repeal of Hate8 in Calif., and pro-gay marriage legislation in NY and while I support gay rights causes across the board, I have to say that not one gay organizations touches my life here locally.

The problem as I see it, is not that the NGLTF and HRC have too many issues to deal with and lack focus, allthough that may be true as well, from where I sit their chief problem is they have no national presence. They seem regional.

Although looking at their websites just now, I can see why you state they are all over the place with their prioritization.

BTW I note that both groups share the same to-do list of concerns almost verbatim.

So, if these groups claim to be on the national level, if they claim to represent my partner and I in dealing with work place, ageing, health rights and living in a committed relationship without even civil unions on the horizon, much less gay marriage, then, I have to ask where are they in my States debate?

A quick inter net search shows that the ACLU took on the fight to recognize out of state civil unions! That was six years ago! It was about civil unions and it was by the ACLU.

Yes, I am in a long term relationship, yes I have concerns about health care decision making in the event either of us get sick, hospital visitation, power of attorney, inheritance rights.

Guess where I get help? I hire an attorney and pay out of pocket. There is no legislation giving us as a couple any rights, we are not recognized, and no one NO ONE is out there helping us.

So, HRC and NGLTF are for me theoretical entities.
Gay marriage is theoretical for me/us.
Civil unions are theoretical for me/us.

I wonder how many people are out there like me and my partner, living in small towns, relatively isolated from other gays and lesbians and apparently off radar?

We make- do for ourselves. Work to pay the bills, do our best to survive and thrive, surrounded by a straight culture.

There are no rallies here. There are no protests here. Theres just cold weather, work and bills to pay.

This State only repealed sodomy laws in 1976 and even then, there were two attempts to re-introduce it, one as late as the mid-1980's following the Anita Bryant hate crusade.

So, what does this all mean?

Should I just STFU, am I marginal, the two of us dont count, this state doesnt count, my six gay friends dont count? One the face of it, that seems to be the answer at the moment.

What might be helpful is for these organizations to actually have a national presence in fact and not just words, not just a presence in larger urban centers.

I dont expect a branch office here anytime soon, but, when I sit through years of gay bashing while watching MSNBC and CNN and watch numerous interviews of members of rw theofascist hate groups talk about gays being immoral, how we are the cause of national moral decline and even more vitriolic gay bashing and not even one national gay spokesperson appears to counter the libel for yearsthen, their lack of presence actually affects me more than their failure to be present and pro-active on positive issues.

It might be helpful if they actually went out on some national shows and had a speakers bureau to educate the public about gay people, our lives, who we are, what we fight for and why rw stereotypes are so damaging to us as human beings.


Look at their press clippings:

http://www.thetaskforce.org/TF_in_news/08_1204/index.ht...

They give some interviews, a few quotes here and there, but no one seems to have a newspaper column, or a full feature article.

The HRC has some of its own publications on its web site. Who is going to look that up, except me for this thread, some grad students, some concerned gays and six of my friends (after today)?

http://www.hrc.org/publications.asp


On this site, the HRC seems to be good at throwing luncheons( column right side).

Here the HRC is fighting back against a full page ad in the NYT from the religious right, claiming gay mob action.

What did they do? They launched a forceful web site. Whoop de doo.

Human Rights Campaign is urging people to take action online. By visiting the website, supporters can write a letter to the New York Times; send an email to the Beckett Fund, the organization that paid for the misleading New York Times advertisement; and share their personal story with NoMobVote.org and let them know how the passage of Prop 8 affected their life.
http://www.hrc.org/11628.htm


They could have simply come on GLBT DU and gotten email letters pronto.

Oh yeah, and this, the ultimate in lame out reach, share your story with a hate group?

>>share their personal story with NoMobVote.org and let them know how the passage of Prop 8 affected their life.<<

And this happy horse crap means nothing to my life:

http://www.hrc.org/pressroom.asp
News & Event Media
L Word Premiere Parties
This Thanksgiving
Volunteer with HRC during this Critical Election Year
Election Night Watch Parties
Marriage in CA
No on Prop 8 Action Weekend
America Ferrera, Tony Plana & Ana Ortiz Speak Out Against Proposition 8
The Human Rights Campaigns Twelfth Annual National Dinner
HRC's Annual Holiday Ornament for 2008

Summary:
Consistent focused message.
A true national presence with camera friendly, articulate spokes people appearing on mainstream media shows to represent and defend our voice and message.
An occasional article published in some national magazine, not just one sentence interviews.
And figure out some way to speak to millions of GLBTQs living in small towns, rural areas, in a national voice that acknowledges we exist.
The two groups seems redundant and maybe should pool resources and merge?

Why do I even care? Because it makes me happy to be able to do some small thing, maybe contribute a link, a thought, a thread, donate some money, give some support to GLBTQ people who are feeling down, or verbally assaulted out in the real world, I do what I can in my own small way and it means a lot to be able to talk to other GLBTQ folks here, its an way to avoid isolation and its healthy.

I feel more supported here on this forum, in a real tangible way than any organization out there who claims to be working on my behalf, at this moment in time.

Peace-
bd12







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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 12:20 AM
Response to Reply #13
34. When I said: And this happy horse crap means nothing to my life
And I cited:
.....
http://www.hrc.org/pressroom.asp
News & Event Media
L Word Premiere Parties
This Thanksgiving
Volunteer with HRC during this Critical Election Year
Election Night Watch Parties
Marriage in CA
No on Prop 8 Action Weekend
America Ferrera, Tony Plana & Ana Ortiz Speak Out Against Proposition 8
The Human Rights Campaigns Twelfth Annual National Dinner
HRC's Annual Holiday Ornament for 2008
.......

I may have been on to something.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/173213/page/2

>>Others, including many older gay activists, say they're disappointed that groups like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, made little effort to capitalize on the post-Prop. 8 momentum.

Many were particularly offended by an e-mail a local HRC steering committee sent to San Francisco constituents on Nov. 10, as Join the Impact groups were coordinating in cities around the nation. It was to remind members about "Spa Night": an evening of wine, mingling, "pampering and relaxation" that would help raise money for the $40 million group. HRC says the Spa Night offering was donated by a local business, and while they recognize the e-mail may not have been the best PR strategy, "it was certainly not something we were expending resources or energy on," says Brad Luna, the group's communications director.<<

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ohm_moyh_gawd Donating Member (12 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Re how high a priority the issue of marriage should be placed...
...on the national agenda, it seems to me that achieving marriage equality on the national level will cause most of the other issues to fall in line. I do not believe full marriage equality is possible within the immediate foreseeable future, but I do believe that we will see either a separate-but-not-equal domestic partnership recognition with full federal tax benefits or an all-out repeal of DOMA by the end of an eight-year Obama administration (but not in his first term). I believe we'll see an end to DADT and the passage of ENDA in his first term. With settling for the time being for separate-but-not-equal federal marriage recognition, the issues of concern to those in states who support a less aggressive agenda will have no basis for opposition, and I would add to the list of issues that will fall in line once marriage benefits are recognized -- immigration.

I was devastated on Nov 5 when prop 8 passed, and frankly, I still am. I would not call myself an optimist in any way. But I do believe that we will see federal recognition and protection of our relationships sooner than we think. And when that happens, we'll get the rest as wedding gifts.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. The easiest and most logical thing to do is demand it all-- immediately.
Why bicker amongst ourselves? The argument that "what are the straights most likely to accept?" does nothing but divide our community by prioritizing our issues. We need a list of demands, similar to workers in a union. You don't strike for better working conditions and then strike for health care. You do it all at once.

We demand total equality for all of us. That includes:

Same-sex marriage for LGBTQI persons. Repeal of Federal DOMA.
Trans-inclusive ENDA (Oprah's done enough shows by this point that our supporters should get the point.)
DADT repeal.
Hate Crimes INCLUSION (not 'legislation' since hate crime status already exists for other minorities)

That's our reform package demand #1. We need a national organization that both demands these reforms on a NATIONAL level and gives support to localized fights (ex: Prop 8, state-by-state DOMAs).

In life you generally get a little less then you ask for. Maybe we'll get something if we start playing by our own rules and demanding ALL of what we deserve.

*****
On a side note: in the spirit of MILK, I think we can achieve this the way Harvey did. He earned support for seemingly unbeatable measures by standing in solidarity with others: ethnic minorities, the elderly, labor unions. If we want people to recognize us as valued members of the national fabric, I propose we have an organization of LGBT people who specifically stand in solidarity with workers (gay and straight), who join picket lines, who take up concerns for seniors (gay and straight)--even strapping LGBT types who can act as first responders during national disasters. We need an organization in OUR NAME to show that we are indeed valued members of the community, real neighbors, real people, real workers... not wealthy characters on TV shows.




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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. I don't give a rat's tail about "what are the straights most likely to accept"
That is one of the key reasons why the HRC and the NGLTF have been ineffective and, as far as I'm concerned, have become moribund.

I am concerned with what are the keystone issues, the ones that, if addressed, will automatically deal with many other issues. For example, if equal marriage becomes a reality then many problems related to health insurance and child care simply go away, already covered by exiting marriage law and precedent. I think that identifying these keystone issues, focusing resources on them and getting them resolved would be a much better approach than an "anything and everything" to-do list.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I am confused. Equal marriage is a State's right issue.
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 06:54 PM by bluedawg12
DOMA repeal would simply mean:

1.) States have to recognize each others marriage certificates. ( Correction: There are two so far. Await ruling in Calif for third.)
2.) Federal right would be granted to same sex marriage, from all three States.
4.) Federal right would be granted to same civil unions.

That still does nothing for the majority of States that have neither CU or same sex marriage. Correct?

Repealing DOMA is important but limited to certain States.

There is no such thing as universal equal marriage becoming a reality due to federal laws, it's a State right and has to be fought State by State, or am I confused?


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ohm_moyh_gawd Donating Member (12 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. There are two separate issues here.
1. Repealing DOMA has to do with making states comply with the full faith and credit provision of the Constitution, under which states recognize valid marriages performed in other states. One aspect I am not sure about is whether repealing DOMA would automatically _require_ states with anti-gay marriage laws and constitutionall prohibitions on the books to recognize same-sex marriages in states that allow them; but repealing DOMA would surely put full faith and credit principles in conflict with state law, and i'd bet that federal principles would win out. I believe (but am not certain) that DOMA requires that under federal law, the term "spouses" refers only to married couples of the opposite sex.

2. The other issue is one of federal tax law and federal benefits, which, among other things, allows married spouses to transfer and unlimited amount of property back and forth to one another without any tax consequences. As it stands now, same-sex spouses, although legally married in their state, do not get any of the federal tax advantages afforded to opposite-sex married couples, which includes one spouse inheriting property from their deceased spouse when s/he dies, without having to answer to the IRS until the 2nd spouse dies. In other words, straight spouses get to have their joint estates looked at by the IRS after they're both dead; same-sex spouses and legally recognized domestic partners are not afforded that benefit. The consequence of that is that the deceased spouse's estate has to be taken care of with the IRS when s/he dies, as well as whatever taxes might be associated with what the surviving spouse inherits. The result can be extremely burdensome; surviving partners/spouses will lose their homes if they can't afford to settle with the IRS with separate funds; that's simply not an issue for straight couples. Also at issue is Social Security benefits and pension rights controlled by federal law, which (no surprise) are not afforded to same-sex spouses.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Repeal of DOMA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_marriage_act

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the short title of a federal law of the United States passed on September 21, 1996.

The law has two effects:

No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.

The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

............
So as I understand it:

So, repealing the first past would allow other States to recognize out of State marriage, if they chose to do so.

It still leaves it up to States whether they chose to do so or not.

>>whether repealing DOMA would automatically _require_ states with anti-gay marriage laws and constitutional prohibitions on the books to recognize same-sex marriages in states that allow them;<<

I don't think so. There are anti-gay laws on the books and Mini Doma's in some States, this would still allow States to pass their own laws or keep existing laws defining marriage.

.....

>>The other issue is one of federal tax law and federal benefits, which, among other things, allows married spouses to transfer and unlimited amount of property back and forth to one another without any tax consequences.<<

I agree repeal of DOMA would ensure equal Federal marriage rights.

This still raises the question of of whether or not civil unions would be included in getting those rights, if DOMA were repealed, as DOMA speaks only of "marriage" and not CU.

........

My understanding is that State's issue marriage licenses and not the Federal govt.

So marriage rights have to be fought State by State, to either repeal anti-gay laws, or to pass pro-gay equal marriage rights.
........

This is important because I often read comments about how repealing DOMA will ensure equal marriage rights nationally, but, I don't think that's the case.

....

As far as the many benefits of marriage under federal law, you mentioned one that is important and not often cited, mutual ownership of property and associated tax burden.

I wonder if placing a house in an estate escapes that? But, that's a bit OT.





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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Info. from Bilerico Project re: DOMA repeal and States.
http://www.bilerico.com/2008/04/what_domas_repeal_would...

>>But I don't believe (it) is completely correct in inferring that the repeal of the part of DOMA which says that a state is not required to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in another would achieve "full parity" for the same-sex couples involved.

Here's why: Despite the fact that alarmed right-wingers pushed DOMA was because of fears that under the Full Faith and Credit Clause (FFC) of the U.S. Constitution, same-sex marriages valid in one state would have to be considered valid in all, most legal scholars disagreed with this interpretation of that clause. Fairly well-established precedent prior to DOMA had established that the FFC applied to "judgments" rendered in one state that others had to accept, and not to marital status itself. If a particular state found an out-of-state union to be "against strong public policy", it did not have to recognize it. (One might be tempted to object that since the Loving vs. Virginia decision no states can ban interracial marriages, but this decision was based upon the Equal Protection Clause, not the FFC).

The part of DOMA involved for the most part simply reflected what was already accepted law. That law depended neither on the FFC nor on DOMA for its validity. Therefore the repeal of that section of DOMA would still leave a state with a strong public policy against same-sex marriage with the ability to deny recognition to it. Keep in mind that DOMA says states "need not" recognize; it doesn't say that they "shall not" recognize them.


In stating that the repeal of the DOMA section on state recognition would have no legal effect in that area.

<snip>

That aside, it should be kept in mind that the repeal of all of DOMA would not, by itself, mean that same sex marriages valid in one state would automatically require recognition in all others.

There would seem to be only one way for that to happen: a decision by the United States Supreme Court under the Equal Protection Clause that a state creating or recognizing another state's marriage cannot distinguish between same-sex or heterosexual marriage. Some have suggested federal legislation to bring about the same thing but for reasons too long to go into here I believe that this approach would have constitutional hurdles and would not have the same universal sweep. In any event, the Supreme Court decision referred to above doesn't seem likely anytime soon, given its makeup.

My main point in going into all of this...is that in our rightful zeal in working for marriage equality, as in other rights important to the GLBT community, we need to be armed with as accurate a picture of what this or that development might or might not do in achieving the overall goal. <<



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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Your understanding is incorrect
Repeal of the first part of DOMA would require the states to recognize valid same-sex marriage exactly the same it must recognize any other valid marriage. That means that if a same-sex couple gets married in Massachussetts, or that their marriage in California is allowed to stand, all states would be required to honor that marriage and treat it as valid regardless of state law, in the same way that the United States Constitution requires that they recognize all other marriages from Massachussetts, California or any other state. There would be no option because of the Full Faith And Credit Clause of the United States Constitution (which, in theory, already invalidates the first part of DOMA but this has yet to be tested in federal court.)

Until the Courts determine that bans on same-sex marriage are just as unconstitutional as previous bans on interracial marriage, states would still be free to refuse granting marriage to same-sex couples. However, they would still be obligated to fully recognize out-of-state marriage because of the US Constitution. Any effort to criminalize leaving the state for the purpose of entering into a same-sex marriage would be struck down immediately and likely force the Court to disallow all gender-based bans on marriage; that is exactly what happened with the decision Loving v. Virginia.

Civil unions, domestic partnerships and other forms of Jim Crow marriages would hopefully fade out of existence once full civil marriage becomes a reality, much in the same way that "whites only" drinking fountains and "colored" hotels and train cars ceased to exist after the end of segregation.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. Thank you for clarifying.
Thanks for explaining this and for your patience.

OK, I am working through understanding State and Federal roles and laws.

I cant support or defend something adequately if I dont understand it, so I am trying to understand these laws and have been reading about them and also posted about the actual laws and language to try and comprehend.

There are attempts at partial measures or substitues for full marriage rights, which I do not support. It behooves me to know why.

For example:

I can see attempts at pawning off civil unions as being separate and unequal.

I just read a Salon article that talks about a partial repeal of DOMA (Sec 3 dealing with the Fed. Rights) I just read where Bob Barr, the author of DOMA was pitching the same idea.

In order to support full gay marriage rights and know the basis for it, I need to educate myself on this complex topic.

In summary:

With the repeal of DOMA the FFC would require States to recognize out of State same sex marriage.

Then, the next part:

Until the Courts determine that bans on same-sex marriage are just as unconstitutional as previous bans on interracial marriage, states would still be free to refuse granting marriage to same-sex couples.

This was still confusing for me. Which Courts? State Courts? Or SCOTUS?

I think you answer this in reply #18, you discuss this further:

It is my assertion that state laws and constitutions which prohibit marriage when the principles are the same gender are just as unconstitutional as state laws that once prohibited marriage when the principles were white and non-white...I am confident that "one man, one woman" laws are just as unconstitutional, although I know that now would not be a good time to put the matter before the Supreme Court.

So, thats what I still want to understand, it would not take a State by State repeal of the existing anti-gay marriage laws? Which seems daunting and a more direct approach would be through a SCOTUS challenge.

It could be brought before SCOTUS to pass a Federal nation wide law prohibiting discrimination against same sex marriage, effectively making State laws that now ban gay marriage and/or have State Constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man one woman illegal?

If thats the case, then repeal of DOMA has to be the first step and when the timing is right, a case brought before the SCOTUS to repeal or prohibit any States from passing discrimination in same sex marriage laws and it does not have to be a State by State repeal?

Part of what was also confusing was PE Obamas statement that he favors repeal of DOMA but believes that marriage is a States rights issue.

........
I found this: excerpt from the June 2004 Harvard Law Review:

"Until recently, DOMA was effectively unchallengeable by the individuals subjected to its stigma. . . . Now the time is ripe for a constitutional challenge to DOMA. . . . DOMA violates principles of equal protection and due process.

A strong case can also be made that DOMA abuses the Full Faith and Credit Clause and contravenes fundamental principles of federalism.

A successful equal protection or due process challenge, however, is likely to have the farthest-reaching implications for the future of same-sex marriage in two respects.

First, if DOMA is found to violate equal protection or due process, the state DOMAs are likely to fall on the same grounds.

And second, it is difficult to imagine how the Court could find excluding same-sex couples from the definition of marriage unconstitutional without creating a constitutional requirement that same-sex couples be allowed to marry."

........

One interesting note, looking at the ACLU web site, searching for something on DOMA, how many states have been petitioned to recognize or not discriminate against same sex couples.

http://www.aclu.org/search/search_wrap.html?account=436...

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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. When I use a capital C in Court, I mean the US Supreme Court
I use Courts to mean the federal court system including the US Supreme Court. I'm usually better at clarifying my meaning, sorry. :hi:

It would not take a state by state repeal of marriage bans for equal marriage to become reality in the US, as many Supreme Court cases have shown. The case most relevant to equal marriage is the 1967 decision of Loving v. Virginia. Let me give you some background, so you know what I'm talking about. You can skip over this if you already are familiar with the case.

It used to be that many states had laws that either outright prohibited interracial marriage or worked to discourage them. The Massachussetts law against getting a marriage in that state which would be invalid in one's home state (now repealed) was one such law.

The statute in Virginia was the "Racial Integrity Act of 1927." This state law not only prohibited interracial marriage, it made it a criminal offense for residents of Virginia to leave the state with the purpose of entering into an interracial marriage. Specifically, it was a felony, with a conviction leading to a prison term of at least one and no more than five years.

In June, 1958, Virginia residents Mildred Jeter (mixed-race African and Native American, classified as "colored" under Virginia's system of apartheid) and Richard Loving (classified as "white") left the Commonwealth and were married in the District of Columbia. A few months latter, acting on tips from "concerned" citizens, the police raided their home late one evening in the hopes of finding them engaged in sex, itself a criminal offense in Virgina if the couple were unmarried. Mildred pointed to the marriage certificate in a frame beside the bed, and the couple was arrested on the grounds of leaving the state to enter into an illegal marriage. The couple was convicted and, in lieu of jail time, they were given suspended sentences and ordered to leave the state; if they returned within 25 years, the conviction would be reinstated and they would serve the maximum time in state prison.

The case was appealed to Virginia's Supreme Court, which upheld the conviction. The Lovings then appealed to the federal courts, claiming that the law violated rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. Eventually the case was heard by the US Supreme Court, which in 1967 overturned the conviction on the grounds that it violated the couple's Due Process and Equal Protection rights. In its conclusion, the ruling stated that "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man'" and that

To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

The decision overturned anti-miscegenation as a legal concept, invalidating laws extant in 16 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Despite these laws becoming invalid, the tradition of bigotry was so strong that these laws remained on the books, unenforceable, for many years. Alabama was the last state to actually repeal their anti-miscegenation law, in 2000.


I believe that, eventually, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case regarding the same-sex marriage ban and that such bans will be likewise be struck down as violations of Due Process and Equal Protection. State efforts should not cease; I have little doubt that the fact most states did NOT prohibit interracial marriage played a role in Loving. The fewer states that have bans, and the more states that allow same-sex marriage, the better the prospects that the Court will decide in favor of equality. But ultimately, as with anti-miscegenation, the matter will be one for the federal courts, not the states.

Regarding DOMA, I see it as bigoted but ultimately little more than a symbol. The key part, about staes not having to recognize out-of-state marriages, is so blatantly unconstitutional that it will be struck down the moment a federal court finds the gonads to hear the case. Allowing it to stand keeps the door open for states to not recognize out-of-state divorces, drivers licenses or birth certificates, and that way leads chaos.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Seems like a good strategy, techbear.
When I say demand it all, I definitely don't mean make a list of contradictory demands that redouble our efforts on the marriage issue. I agree that the last thing we want is chaos, since the fog of war allows gives bigots cover. My point is that we can demand the repeal of DADT and get an inclusive ENDA passed without necessarily harming the marriage movement.

Thanks for a thoughtful thread. :hi:
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. You nailed what I was missing: Loving v Virgina
I hadn't gotten to reading about that case, although I had heard it mentioned.

I appreciate you explaining it and it's relevance to gay marriage equality rights. If you change the language and substitute same sex marriage it would fit the legal decision, too.

"The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

This is hopeful for those of us who live in States where the discussion of g-m rights has not progressed beyond the stage of discussions in the State legislature where clergy are invited to speak on the "procreative reasons" for marriage. The ultimate Federal approach seems more expedient and a straightforward way to get from here to there ( our rights).

Thanks again for your time and efforts, t-bear. :pals:
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. If you really want to skewer the "procreative rationale for marriage" crowd, do what I did
Initiative 957
(Note that where a statute is amended, an underline means text is added to the existing statute, the strikeout between double parens means text is removed from the existing statute.)

Official notice from the WA Sec of State, including the official title and summary.

Wikipedia entry for I-957
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Oh that is so evil - I love it!
:rofl:

The fecundity requirement. :evilgrin:

Hey, you collected about 40,000 signatures - that is impressive.

Good interview:

http://www.ttca.org/cruisenews/2007/01/different-way-to...

Initiative 957 and the diligent work by wa-doma, points to the absurdity and hypocrisy of the procreation argument.

I will await the new wa-doma initiatives, after all what's fair is fair. :sarcasm:

"...the (Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance) alliance would introduce two other proposals over the next few years, one that would prohibit divorce or separation by married people who have children together and another that would make having a child together the equivalent of marriage."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/20035587...

Be careful brother t-bear, or you may have to be our "national gay spokesbear!"

Well, this sure cheered me up, it's brilliant. :D
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. I am especially proud of the line from Section 8 (1)
"When the state registrar of vital statistics determines that a marriage solemnized in this state has failed to produce offspring as described in section 5 of this act, he or she shall file a petition in the superior court of the county wherein the marriage license was filed requesting that the marriage be annulled on the grounds of failure to fulfill the purpose of marriage."

I just gotta say that again: "Annulled on the grounds of failure to fulfill the purpose of marriage."

:rofl:
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. So I'm watching The Daily Show with Stewart and his guest
Mike Huckelphobe shilling his new book of rw platitudes and worn out ideas. *yawn*

Kind of wondering why I have to see another rw phobe on media, when sure as heck good old Jon Stewart steers the topic to gay marriage.

Well, Huckelphobe starts to sweat bullets like the pig that knows it's dinner. He can see his book sales plummet, he can picture the book title on the boycott list, but he gamely trots out the old anti-gay marriage arguments and one by one, while I am screaming at the TV all of the new stuff I learned on GLBTQ DU to give me the language and ideas to fight back and yes Stewart takes each phobe argument and turns it on it's head and the audience goes wild.

So, Huckelphobe retreats to the rampart and again starts talking about XX and XY and procreation and why the reason for marriage is ---> TA! DA! **procreation**

By now, I am on the edge of my seat shouting at Huckelphobe "Initiative 957 you douche! Initiative 957 you lying douche!"

The living room was now empty of worried pets who thought I had lost my marbles, but my sainted and ever patient and loving partner, was like, "What's this Initiative 957?"

So, I explained it and of course it makes so much sense as to how much utter bullsh*t their rw argument is about marriage being for procreation. We laughed really hard about your Initiative 957 calling out the lie out and demonstrating the hypocrisy of marriage being solely for one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation, we know better. The old shrubco era brain washed right wing propaganda is so...so....2007. It's over. These guys can't come on a major TV show and pawn off their old lies and get away with anymore.

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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Only in the same way that anti-miscegenation laws were a "states' right" issue
It is my assertion that state laws and constitutions which prohibit marriage when the principles are the same gender are just as unconstitutional as state laws that once prohibited marriage when the principles were white and non-white. Those racially motivated laws -- on the books and strictly enforced in 14 states at the time -- were struck down by the US Supreme Court in its 1967 decision of Loving v. Virginia on the grounds that they violated the couple's 14th Amendment rights. I am confident that "one man, one woman" laws are just as unconstitutional, although I know that now would not be a good time to put the matter before the Supreme Court.

When something is in direct violation of the 14th Amendment, or any other part of the Constitution, it ceases to be a matter of "states' rights" and becomes a matter of national importance that requires a national resolution.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. I agree.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I think that we should demand marriage equality on the basis of the U.S. Constitution.
Here in the south, we can wait until the cows come home and we'll still never have marriage rights if we leave it up to the states. There are constitutional rights that we are being denied. It's a federal issue imo.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
22. That's the way I see it but I'm willing to listen to other points of view.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
30. To get back on track about your original question
"What would be necessary to create an organization that does give a national voice to the issues..."

Now that I've had my moment of self pity and digression yesterday, I am still interested in defining what a national organization would have to do to become a national, unified, spokes body for gay and GLBTQ issues.

We have discussed the issues and even prioritizing, but, what kind of organization would carry that banner to the national stage?

Here are some preliminary ideas for discussion:

1.) A public persona or figure who is smart, articulate, well informed, and perhaps charismatic(?). A national leader. A political movement should have an identifiable leader. Ex: MLK, or recently Barrack Obama.

2.) The movement should be in the national public spot light and included in MSM discussions.
TV appearances to counter the ever present rw gadflies who always seem invited to discuss gay issues from the gay hating dogbeaterdobson group, or in the past Fallwell was always on TV blathering about gays.

3.) Clear focused and well framed arguments. A good message and message discipline. From everything I have read, our best suit is the justice and fairness under law argument, rather than debating theologically, or getting side barred into discussions about what is "natural," or ick factor side bars, like, "Eeew the thought of it..."

4.) The organization should have a group of writers, thinkers, intellectuals who get published in MSM.
Heck, the neocons have the weekly standard, and just this week Newsweek had a story about pro-gay arguments from a biblical perspective. While I am skeptical about the merits of arguing theology, articles similar to that in terms of pro-gay topics, especially law, or health, or psychology, could come from a unified national gay leadership source.

OK, I'll sit back and see what others think about what a gay national organization should look like to have national leadership qualities and national presence.

Bottom line: There is a need and the time seems to be right.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
32. This story from Oklahoma is an example of why we need national leadership.
The thread is right here today from RetiredTrotskyite
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

And the link to the Okla. story is here:

http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/oklahoma-city-mayor-pa... /

>>Oklahoma Baptist Pastor Steve Kern, husband of notorious Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, reportedly believes gay Americans should be incarcerated and forcibly cured.

We have to get rid of that and start curing those sinners. Its past time that this nation stopped placating sin and start putting them in education programs. Courts can force drug offenders into treatment centers and violent people into anger management. Theres no reason our courts cant do that with homos.<<

Also another minor story about has-been 50's crooner Pat Boone, both stories falsley libel gay protest as violent, thus, a gateway to scapegoating gays in any way they can, for their own putrid reasons.

So, what would I expect a National Gay Organization to do?

Well, these stories share a current rw talking point about gay protests as violent, this is a battle strategy pattern becoming apparent from the haters - for starters- someone needs to set that record straight on a national media basis that they gays and friends protests were peaceful.

Next, about Okla., I know that every single hate speaker and wingnut story can't be squashed, but, when something as odious as incarcerating Americans actually is spoken out loud in a public manner, a harsh spot light needs to be shined on these cockroaches and they must be refuted and slapped down.

That was my point about the variance between places that are fighting for our more advanced causes, while there are extreme rw strong holds where they actually speak about camps and forced cures, this should be way too similar to death camps and pink triangle history to sit well with any American.

This is why we need a national group and a strong leader(s) with a public presence.






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IndianaGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
35. We need something as vociferous as Act Up
Act Up was loud, obnoxious, and they made pests out of themselves; but guess what? They were effective in bringing to the public the reality of HIV.
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