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Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:17 PM

By Number 23's request- My first diary here at DU

Some background first:

At the time this essay was written, I was rather exhausted by some of the more, shall we say, overzealous supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders who have taken to browbeating black people and, to a lesser extent, LGBT people about Bernie Sanders' civil rights record.

A Black Kos member tipped me to a well-researched 4-part series by Aphra Behn at Shakesville; research that led me to some of the conclusions that I drew in this essay written for Daily Kos about Bernie Sanders opinions and statements on marriage equality.

Bernie Sanders and Marriage Equality

To hear some Bernie Sanders supporters here at the GOS tell it, Senator Sanders is more than capable of walking on water, parting the Red Sea, and has fought hard for the civil rights of all people and maybe even a few of those extraterrestrials over at Area 51. For his entire life.

And those of us "others", who choose to simply play "identity politics," do not show sufficient appreciation for all that Senator Sanders has done for us.

Senator Sanders' actual record, however, is a bit murkier.

Let's take marriage equality, for example.

Aphra Behn over at Shakesville did a highly detailed 4-part series on many aspects of Bernie Sanders' record that should be required reading. In Part 4, she reviews Senator Sanders record on gay rights, with an emphasis on the fight in Vermont over civil unions in 2000.

Simply put, Seven Days political columnist Peter Freyne lit into Saint Bernie's ass.

U.S. Sen. Pius J. Leahy, er, sorry, Patrick J. Leahy, belongs to the flock that has Most Rev. Kenneth Angell as CEO. But St. Patrick’s not marching to the drumbeat of Vermont’s Bingo Bishop. Nor is he marching with fellow Democrats Backus and Flanagan.

According to a finely crafted statement issued by St. Patrick’s Washington, D.C., office Tuesday afternoon, “The Vermont Supreme Court produced a thoughtful and well-grounded decision. I believe the best solution now would be legal protections through a comprehensive domestic partnership law, but I respect those who support other remedies.”

At least he took a position.

Obtaining Congressman Bernie Sanders’ position on the gay marriage issue was like pulling teeth...from a rhinoceros. Last month, shortly after the decision of the Amestoy Court was issued, Mr. Sanders publicly tried walking the tightrope — applauding the court’s decision and the cause of equal rights without supporting civil marriage for same-sex couples.

This week we were no more successful getting a straight answer. All we did get was a carefully crafted non-statement statement via e-mail from Washington D.C. And Bernie’s statement wins him the Vermont congressional delegation’s Wishy-Washy Award hands down.

Once more he “applauds” the court decision but won’t go anywhere near choosing between same-sex “marriage” and domestic partnership. “By all accounts the legislature is approaching this issue in a considered and appropriate manner and I support the current process.”

Supports the current process, does he? What a courageous radical!

That’s as far as Ol’ Bernardo would go. It’s an election year, yet despite the lack of a serious challenger, The Bern’s gut-level paranoia is acting up. He’s afraid to say something that might alienate his conservative, rebel-loving rural following out in the hills. Something that could be interpreted as “Bernie Loves Queers!”



As can be expected, this diary was not well received by some of the Bernie Sanders supporters at Daily Kos, in spite of the fact that I went out of the way to clarify:

I will be the first to admit that Sanders' has a great record LGBT on issues. Behn suggests that the "regressive nature" of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the reason for Sanders' "nay" vote on the 1993 measure. And Sanders did vote "nay" on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (then again, both of my United States Senators voted "nay" on DOMA, although my representative at that time was a "yes" vote for DOMA).


I went on to research for affirmative statements that Bernie Sanders made about marriage equality:

Let's take note of Senator Sanders' April 28, 2015 statement urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.

In the 4/28/15 press release, Senator Sanders notes his support of both the 2000 civil unions law in Vermont and the landmark 2009 law legalizing same-sex marriage. I have no doubt that he supported both measures. Yet I do not see any 2009 press releases from Senator Sanders' office urging then Vermont Governor Jim Douglas to sign the same-sex marriage bill passed by the Vermont legislature (Douglas vetoed the bill), no press release congratulating the Vermont legislature for overriding Governor Douglas' veto, or any statement celebrating the commencement of marriages in Vermont September 1, 2009.

That does not constitute the "fierce advocacy" of gay civil rights (at least on the same-sex marriage issue) that Bernie Sanders supporters claims that it does.


Now at no time was I actually criticizing Bernie Sanders' record on LGBT issues other than he seems to have been more of a reliable vote (a leas in his time in Congress) rather than the "fierce advocacy" that some Sanders supporters claim for him.

Now, of course, I can pull up years of his "scores" from various groups like the NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign that show that Sanders is a reliable vote but that he has rarely sponsored or even co-sponsored various pieces of legislation related to civil rights.

Nevertheless, the mere suggestion that Mr. Sanders is anything less than a civil rights "diva" is ridiculed by Mr. Sanders supporters.

So the reaction to some of what I researched and learned at an LGBT forum here at DU was not surprising. At all.

Some Bernie Sanders supporters that I have encountered both here a DU and "back home" at DK cannot seem to bear the slightest criticisms of Bernie Sanders record (or Dr. Cornel West, from the looks of today's posts).

It seems as if the job of a small sector of Sanders supporters is to get the rest of us "low-info voters" to assimilate or to be insulted...and for the record, I am an uncommitted voter at this time.

27 replies, 2538 views

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply By Number 23's request- My first diary here at DU (Original post)
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 OP
steve2470 Sep 2015 #1
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #2
Number23 Sep 2015 #3
Barky Bark Sep 2015 #4
Number23 Sep 2015 #5
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #6
truedelphi Sep 2015 #13
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #15
tishaLA Sep 2015 #20
truedelphi Sep 2015 #26
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #7
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #8
steve2470 Sep 2015 #9
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #10
steve2470 Sep 2015 #12
yardwork Sep 2015 #25
Starry Messenger Sep 2015 #11
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #16
lovemydog Sep 2015 #14
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #17
WIProgressive88 Sep 2015 #18
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #19
jfern Sep 2015 #21
Chitown Kev Sep 2015 #24
brer cat Sep 2015 #22
stonecutter357 Sep 2015 #23
steve2470 Sep 2015 #27

Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:19 PM

1. good op! nt

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:24 PM

2. Thank you!

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:26 PM

3. Ahhh, so this is the post that you said got ghosted! I am glad that you posted this here

I'd love to get your thoughts and opinions on these issues from ALL of the candidates if you're interested in doing so.

And don't forget to add this post to your journal. It's a good feature to keep up with your important posts.

K&R and for what it's worth, many of us in this forum are uncommitted. You are most definitely not alone. And certainly not in the reaction that your post got from the expected crowd. I was called a "jihadist" just today by a particularly SPECIAL Sanders supporter. It's a real shame what has been happening here and all over the Internet in his name.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:28 PM

4. Please check Bernie's record on his amendments - he has produced a lot of amendments

 

to a lot of bills too, and successfully passed. Many do not acknowledge Bernie's behind-the-scenes efforts and his amendments.

The premise of this OP is wrong; More thorough research is needed - especially on amendments.



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Response to Barky Bark (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:29 PM

5. Which amendments in particular do you think the OP and the rest of us should be aware of?

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Response to Barky Bark (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:35 PM

6. I know about Sanders' many amendments

This refers very specifically to legislation flagged by the NAACP and the Human Rights campaign in their reports and not all of his amendments.

Having said that, in reviewing the nearly 20 years worth of scorecards by the NAACP and the nearly 10 years of scorecards by HRC, I felt that there were some items on Sanders record hat could have been included in those reports so I think that those scorecards were flawed as well.

And of course, there's the fact that Sanders has on at least two occasions re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment.

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Response to Barky Bark (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 12:07 AM

13. One problem for me -

A community one neighborhood away is burning to the ground as I type this - so my thinking tonight is not all that clear.

But in the OP, it gets mentioned that Sanders never helped or took a stance with the governor of Vermont regarding the LGBT victories the governor had undertaken and succeeded at.

That is not unusual - Senators are involved in the Federal end of things, and while perhaps it would have been nice if Sanders had been able to get a Hallmark card and then sent it off to the governor to thank him or congratulate him, often these niceties simply do not take place.

For one thing, while the LGBT matters get tossed around inside a state, a Senator might be busy fighting his or her own battles on different but equally important matters in the US Capital.

So it seems to me rather bogus to mention this as some sort of proof that Sanders is not pro-Civil Rights for LGBT people.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #13)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 12:30 AM

15. This is the type of bullshit that I can't stand

Your initial criticism is legitimate, although I will point out that President Obama did some behind the scenes stuff with the Illinois GA in helping us get both CU's and marriage equality...so that type of support from a federal official isn't unprecedented.

Here's the bullshit.

as some sort of proof that Sanders is not pro-Civil Rights for LGBT people.


Nowhere in this article did I ever say that or even anything close to that; in fact, quite the opposite. Yet there were people over at DK that said that I was accusing BS of being homophobic.

Sanders was a bit of a politician about the issue, yes.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #15)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 01:24 AM

20. it's hard to believe this wasn't disappeared

I'm guessing it merited an alert, at the very least

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Response to tishaLA (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 18, 2015, 02:24 AM

26. Have you ever called up and talked to a US Senator's aide and told them

How important such and such a piece of State legislation is to you?

Ever?

There is a huge firewall between the activities that go on in the state house and those that go on at the Federal Government level.

And that aide is going to let you know it.

It is the way it is.

And for instance, if back in the day, a person was concerned about ending Prop Eight here in Calif., not only would writing a letter to Sen. Di Feinstein have done very little good, the letter she has her aides send back to you would probably have thanked you for discussing with them your feelings on some other issue!!



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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:43 PM

7. Excellent OP! nt

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #7)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:49 PM

8. Thanks, Cuz

and if some Sanders supporters want to keep on about Dr. Cornel West, I have a "Negro, Please" reprint about Dr. West fired up and ready to go

I wan to do more diaries here a DU, but I prefer doing original content.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:50 PM

9. I'd like to read that about Dr. West, please nt

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 12:06 AM

12. thanks for that

To be honest, Dr. West's comments about President Obama have really shocked me. He has every right to critique the President, but wow, harsh stuff at times.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 03:28 PM

25. Very interesting!

I have always enjoyed your posts.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 11:58 PM

11. k&r

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #11)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 12:52 AM

16. Thank you

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 12:25 AM

14. K & R

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #14)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 12:53 AM

17. Thank you

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 01:03 AM

18. I think that Bernie does have a solid record in terms of civil rights and social justice, but

his primary message has always been an economic one. I certainly don't mean that as a knock on Senator Sanders; as a democratic socialist, his economic message is what I find appealing. But he does need a more inclusive program that puts the issues specifically affecting the LGBTQ community, people of color, and women on an equal footing with his plans to address economic inequality. I think that he has recognized this and has moved to refine his platform to be more inclusive, although some of his supporters are doing their best to get in the way...

I think that much of this rift between some of the Sanders supporters and others has to do with the concept of solidarity; the idea of the 99%, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, uniting around common economic interests. I certainly like this concept, but certain elements of Sanders's base seem to have this idea that people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and others should "shut up" about "their" issues in the name of class solidarity. The problem is that this is not true solidarity; it's just straight white men telling minorities to get in line so that they can help increase equality among straight white men. True solidarity can only come when those who are oppressed in one way or another unite around ending all forms of oppression, whether it's based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or class. That is the goal of the democratic socialism that I have always believed in, and it has quite honestly shocked me to see some on DU claiming to believe in the democratic socialist cause while being completely blind to issues of race and gender.

Anyways, that's just my slightly rambling, inarticulate, and not particularly original opinion. Thanks for the informative OP.

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Response to WIProgressive88 (Reply #18)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 01:19 AM

19. Sanders is the "Occupy candidate"

yes, I agree with you.

And that would include all of the various criticisms of OWS.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 05:51 AM

21. Well, I guess that narrows down

when Sanders fully supported SSM to sometime between 2000 and 2009. I'm not sure exactly when. There's some possibility he supported in before 2009 and didn't bother to say. I don't think he ever was considered an opponent of SSM.

I do know that in 2006, the last year that Sanders was not in the Senate, only 4 Senators supported SSM: Kennedy, Wyden, Chafee, and Feingold.

In 1972, he did say that all laws dealing with homosexuality should be abolished. Probably referring to sodomy laws and the like. In 1985, as mayor, he proclaimed a gay pride day. So there were ways that he was well ahead of his time in the 20th century even if he did wait until the 21st century to support full SSM.

I would assume that most of us Sanders supporters know that his record isn't perfect, and that it would have been better if he had taken a stand for SSM in 2000, but that blemishes like that don't detract much from the overall picture. Don't let the few who aren't interested in a honest portrayal of Sanders turn you off to him.

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Response to jfern (Reply #21)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 02:22 PM

24. You're right

although what some people have done is to conflate his positions in the 1970's to full-throated support of marriage equality, which wasn't even on the radar for most gays in the 1970's; most gays didn't not support the institution of marriage in the 1970's.

The point here really was that Sanders is a politician like everyone else. A lot of those in the Vermont legislature that did vote for civil unions lost their seats in the 2000 state elections.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 06:13 AM

22. I give you a another huge welcome to DU

and thank you. I had to take a break from the vitriol infesting DU Thursday. I returned yesterday, quickly scanned a few "greatest" threads and decided SS;DD, and walked away again. Waking too early this am, I began to very selectively read some threads and found this, and the linked "Negro, please" essay. Dare I hope that your diaries and comments will elevate the conversation and provide much needed thoughtful analysis during this crazy time? Please continue to bless us with your presence, sharing your talent and viewpoint. And my thanks to "cuz" MrScorpio for encouraging your plunge into DU.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Sun Sep 13, 2015, 09:11 AM

23. K&R!

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Sep 18, 2015, 02:26 AM

27. big kick and rec nt

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