Posts Tagged Gay Rights
The vote of the US Senate yesterday to agree to overcome a potential filibuster, and allow a final vote on ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) is a great move forward on civil rights.
The proposed law, discussed for many years, would ban employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against workers or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The procedural vote was 61-30 with 54 Democrats (all but Claire McCaskill, who was not present), and 7 Republicans (Susan Collins, Kelly Ayotte, Dean Heller, Mark Kirk,. Rob Portman, Orrin Hatch, and Pat Toomey) in favor.
So the bill will pass the Senate in the next few days, but disturbing is that 30 Republicans had the nerve to vote for continued discrimination, and 8 Republicans were not recorded as voting.
It will be interesting to see if any of these 38 Republicans will vote for the final bill, particularly such Senators as John McCain and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and John Thune, who at times have shown some moderation as compared to most in the Senate Republican caucus.
At the same time, Illinois moved today toward final acceptance of gay marriage, making that state the 15th to have gay marriage, going into effect by the summer of 2014.
At the same time, other states seem to be moving in the same direction, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, although at different measurements of progress.
Regarding the ENDA legislation, IF Speaker John Boehner allowed an open vote, the legislation would become law, with most Democrats and enough Republicans to make it the law of the land , but Boehner has indicated that he will not allow a vote, which, if it is pursued all the way, would stop any chance to do what is morally right to do, stop job discrimination, So pressure must be brought to convince him to change his mind, and allow a vote even without a majority of his caucus.
Time For Change: Pope Francis View Needs To Be Accepted By Republican Party, Conservatives, And Evangelical Christians!
Pope Francis has moved the Catholic Church a tremendous distance by his revolutionary statements, declaring it is time to stop obsessing on contraception, abortion, and gay rights!
Instead of promoting hate, division, prejudice, and discrimination, he says it is time to learn to understand and accept different viewpoints, and to avoid condemnation, which makes the lives of millions of people more stressful and torturous.
This is a welcome change, which is certain to cause problems for Pope Francis within the conservative, hard line structure of the Vatican, and the Pope needs to be applauded for promoting an open minded, tolerant attitude that he knows will be vigorously opposed by right wing elements within the Church.
But his bold move opens up another avenue. This is the time for the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and for the evangelical Christians who promote hate, to stop doing that, and to accept that the world is changing, and that accepting contraception, abortion, and homosexuality is not going to destroy the world!
Rather, it is the narrow minded, hateful and intolerant attitudes of these groups which is causing violence, bloodshed, discrimination, and intolerance, against the message of Jesus Christ, and undermining the stated belief of the right wing for less government intervention, which should, therefore, stop interference and the promotion of making life more difficult for gays, women, and privacy rights of the American people!
Will the Catholic Church hierarchy, the Republican Party, conservatives, and evangelical Christians listen to what Pope Francis has uttered?
Sadly, probably not, and the battle for human rights and equality will rage on, ironically against the narrow mindedness of those who claim to believe in freedom and love!
It is literally shocking that the NY Times chose to publish a self serving, propagandistic statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Putin lectures the United States, and questions the “exceptionalism” that America is known for, and even discusses God in a society infamous for atheism during the Soviet Period, when Putin was a member of the Russian Secret Police of that era, the KGB!
Yes, the United States has many problems and faults, but still we are an “exceptional” nation that is a model for the world!
Meanwhile, the Russian Federation has arranged for the disappearance and death of dissidents, even in other countries; invaded the nation of Georgia; massacred hundreds of thousands of people in Chechnya; denies basic freedoms to its own citizens, including freedom of speech and press; and is now on a campaign to persecute and intimidate gays who live in Russia, as well as causing an Olympics crisis with its anti gay laws, which are likely to lead to arrest of foreigners in Russia during the upcoming Winter Olympics!
Putin is, clearly, a dictator and a totalitarian, and the NY Times should be ashamed of itself for allowing him a venue through their newspaper to lecture the US and its government and people!
Instead, what Putin needs to do is look in the mirror, and work on promoting human freedom and opportunity in Russia, on the model of the United States, which has plenty of work left to do, but has a lot to show that is good, to the rest of the world!
Religious Right Wing Christians Join Russia, Uganda, Saudi Arabia And Other Nations In Advocating Persecution Of Gays And Lesbians!
As Gay Rights advance in 13 states and nationally in America, and also in much of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and parts of Latin America, we also witness the horrible persecution going on in Uganda and other African nations; Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations; in much of Asia; and sadly, in Russia, which will be hosting the Winter Olympics in February 2014, threatening athletes, journalists, coaches, visitors, as well as victimizing Russian citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation.
This reality brings back memories of gays and lesbians being the second largest group of victims in the Holocaust during World War II, with only Jews surpassing the number of victims of the Nazis under Adolf Hitler.
As terrible as this persecution and discrimination is, the fact that the right wing Christian conservatives in the United States are very willing to endorse this persecution, and claiming to follow the teachings of their Jewish icon, Jesus Christ, is infuriating, and makes one wonder how anyone who studies the teachings of Jesus could possibly be for persecution, and even worse for gays and lesbians in America and world wide. Their ability to promote such hate and to use poisonous invective against gays and lesbians is mind boggling.
What hypocrisy, what immorality, what lack of ethics, what sick minds would advocate violence and mistreatment of people based on their sexuality!
Traditional views of American politics tell us that the cities, the urban areas, are overwhelmingly Democratic in loyalty; that the suburbs, which blossomed after World War II, are Republican, as people escape the city and urban problems, and are heavily white; and that the exurbs, those areas much further away from the cities, are Republican, along with the widespread land we consider rural areas.
So as long as the Republican Party wins the suburbs, the exurbs, and the rural areas,a they can be competitive and win national elections.
But it is now apparent by statistics that the suburbs are rapidly turning Democratic, as they have become no longer white “flight” havens, but instead have become a mix of Americans of all races and religions and cultures, and sadly, poverty has come to the suburbs, in some ways almost as badly as in the cities, due to the Great Recession.
The Republican refusal to accept that poverty is not the fault of citizens, but of circumstance, and rejection of the concept that everyone should be entitled to health care, is having a long range effect on Americans living in the suburbs.
It is not just economic factors, but also social factors, such as the issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, labor rights, concern about the environment, education, and the recognition of the need to adjust to a changing American society, which is also helping the Democrats, as the Republicans come across as mean spirited, biased, prejudiced, uncaring about anyone except the wealthy, and refusing to recognize the demographic changes that have developed in suburbs, as well as the cities.
So a political party that thinks it can survive and prosper on the basis of winning the exurbs and the rural areas is a party in total denial, as while there are massive land areas where these people live, the percentages of population living in those areas is miniscule, compared to the larger population numbers in the suburbs, as well as the cities.
While many Congressional districts can be gerrymandered and give the Republicans greater influence than they should rightfully have in the House of Representatives, their agenda and public persona of their leadership insures that the cities and the suburbs will be majority Democratic for a long time, giving the Presidency and the Senate to the Democrats. In the long run, this guarantees that the future Supreme Court , and even the lower courts, will be heavily influenced by Democratic Presidential appointments, which are considered and approved by the Senate, where Democrats need to fight to keep control so that they can promote the agenda of Democratic Presidents, and resist a Republican House majority based on artificial conditions, that can eventually be turned over to a Democratic Party majority over time.
Vladimir Putin’s War On Gays A Threat That Requires Olympic Boycott On Basis Of Human Rights Violations!
The Russian government under former KGB head Vladimir Putin has taken a step which, regrettably, requires an Olympic boycott by the United States and other Western nations on the basis of human rights violations that are unconscionable!
Putin has declared war on gays and lesbians in the following ways:
Russian born children cannot be adopted by gay couples or by any couple or single person living in any country that promotes gay rights, including gay marriage.
Russian police can arrest any tourist or foreign national they suspect of being gay, lesbian, or having pro gay sympathies, and detain them for 14 days for questioning.
Any Olympic athlete, trainer, family member, reporter or fan who is gay, suspected of being gay, or accused of being gay, can be sent to jail.
Any teacher, parent or anyone who makes pro gay statements, or argues that being gay is normal behavior, and any lawmaker, lawyer, or judge who has an open mind on the subject of homosexuality, is subject to arrest and fines.
Any couple accused or suspected of being gay could have their children taken from them by the state, whether adoptive or biological parents, as unfit to be parents.
This set of laws and restrictions are a gross violation of human rights, and totally unacceptable, no matter what a person’s viewpoint on homosexuality, as gays and lesbians are human beings who are entitled to the same treatment under the law as straight people are!
This situation reminds one of the campaign against gays and lesbians by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, and the mass murder of this group on a level only second to Jews!
Just as Western Europe and Canada and even the United States and portions of Latin America are moving ahead on gay rights and gay marriage, we see Russia moving in the direction of much of Africa and Asia and the Middle East in demonizing gays!
And joining with them in this regard, sadly, are the Catholic Church and many evangelical Christians and Mormons, who are not teaching the vision and tolerance of Jesus Christ, and are now “bedfellows” of oppressive governments, including Russia!
The United States and Western European countries should make it clear that unless these anti gay laws and restrictions are repealed, that they will boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia!
This would be a sad event for the athletes of these nations, but this is a question of basic human rights that cannot be overlooked by any decent government or any tolerant, open minded people! And remember that Olympic participants could become victims under these Russian laws, as well! So there is no choice but to boycott if nothing is done to repeal these laws!
Theodore Roosevelt, the first President of the 20th century, came up with the term “Bully Pulpit” to describe his efforts to draw attention to emerging national issues that needed our attention, with him leading the charge from the White House, and the Presidency was never the same after that!
TR led the struggle against monopoly capitalism; for conservation of natural resources; for improvement of labor conditions; and for government regulation of our food and drugs–all as important national goals. He appealed to our “better angels” in his campaigns on these issues.
Franklin D. Roosevelt led from the “Bully Pulpit” on the need for government activism to deal with the Great Depression, and in getting us ready for the challenge of international Fascism’s threat to the democracies by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan.
John F. Kennedy led us from his “Bully Pulpit” on the need to deal with civil rights as a moral crusade, and also the significance of learning to coexist in the world, so as to avoid an ultimate war that no one could win during the Cold War era.
Lyndon B. Johnson led from his “Bully Pulpit” on the issue of civil rights, and also on the reality of poverty in America and the need to take serious action on these issues.
And now Barack Obama has used the “Bully Pulpit” to address the issues of gay rights and the role of race in our society, and what he has done is draw attention and stature to issues that have long been ignored or overlooked as too controversial to deal with on the White House level, but he has the courage and principle that TR, FDR, JFK, and LBJ had before him!
So Barack Obama, with all of the positives and negatives that we find in any President, will be long remembered for challenging our better nature with his leadership on gay rights and race. And it is good already that New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks and 2008 Republican Presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, have endorsed his message on race as recently as the time when this author is writing this entry!
A total of 14 courageous, principled Republican Senators voted for the immigration reform bill which creates a path to citizenship over 13 years; doubles the number of troops at the Mexican border; spends twice as much on border security; and builds a 700 mile fence between Mexico and the United States.
32 Republican Senators voted against the bill in the US Senate, with a final vote of 68-32, all Democrats included in the majority.
The roll of honor of GOP Senators includes:
Marco Rubio of Florida
John McCain of Arizona
Jeff Flake of Arizona
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Bob Corker of Tennessee
Susan Collins of Maine
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Dean Heller of Nevada
Mark Kirk of Illinois
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey
These 14 Senators realize they will have their head handed to them by the Tea Party and right wing talk show hosts, but they did the right and moral thing by supporting reform.
Sadly, the other 32 Republican Senators and the majority of the House Republicans are not going to go along, and it will be up to Speaker of the House John Boehner, whether he will sacrifice his Speakership to do the right thing, promote passage of the Senate immigration reform bill, which is very rational and reasonable, and gives the Republicans a chance to gain some Hispanic and Latino support down the road!
Without this legislation, and maybe even with it, with the attack on women’s rights and gay rights, the Republican Party long term future is doomed!
Why Do Black Republican Conservatives Need To Be So Confrontational And Vicious Toward First Black President Barack Obama?
There is something about black Republican conservatives that makes them be horribly confrontational and vicious in their attitude toward our first black President, Barack Obama.
So we have the examples of the following, who accuse the Democrats of promoting a “plantation mentality”, and condemn welfare, food stamps, gay rights, Planned Parenthood and other programs and groups, which they claim “enslave” black Americans:
Former Congressman Allen West of Florida, now gracing Fox News Channel as a contributor
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott
Dr. Benjamin Carson, renowned surgeon who has flirted with running for President
Herman Cain, past GOP Presidential contender
Star Parker, syndicated columnist for Scripps-Howard newspapers
Bishop E. W. Jackson, Lieutenant Governor nominee in Virginia
Mackubin Thomas Owens, Professor at US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island
C. Mason Weaver, Radio Talk Show Host
Reverend C. L. Bryant, Tea Party activist and Fox News contributor
Meanwhile, 90 percent of African Americans, including many in the growing black middle class, embrace the Democrats, and most are not looking for “handouts’ or “freebies”, and are insulted by the decision of these people above to spew such hatred and venom, and to undermine all of the good that is being done by our 44th President!