FIRST I want to send my condolences to the family of the guard shot at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. and to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. We've seen a pattern in recent weeks, with the murder of Kansas women's health Dr. George Tiller last week, and now this--I think it reminds us how incredibly volatile and horrible unabated hatred is. Several months ago two American families lost their sons to suicide from hateful anti-gay bullying. We see what hate can do all around us, and yet we don't want to acknowledge it. As the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill crawls its way through Capitol Hill, we hear that this is a bill that will punish "thought crimes" and other garbage. That's not true, obviously, but frankly, why would anyone WANT to defend that kind of thinking anyway? Should we be allowed to think whatever we want about whoever we want, be allowed to say whatever we want freely--of course! But just because you have the right, doesn't mean that you should, and just because I want to educate you and try and change your mind and help you come to a less hateful place does NOT mean that I DON'T respect YOUR rights. In fact it means that I am concerned about how little you may respect MY rights. This week has been a powerful reminder that unabated hate can and will reach the unthinkable. Do we need thought crime laws, or curb free speech? NO! But, we must also become more assertive in our own quest to educate others before they get to that place.
Of course, Perez Hilton's initial webcast response to the now FORMER Miss California, Carrie Prejean, in which he called her names and swore was unprofessional and counterproductive. However, NOM Spokeswoman Maggie Gallagher confronted rational and respectful disagreements with Carrie's words as attacks on Ms. Prejean's freedoms. That is the fallback argument that Extremists on the right go to whenever someone disagrees with them--that those of us disagreeing want to take away rights to speak, rights to think and believe what they want. Seeking to educate someone is NOT an effort to take away their rights nor an exercise in disrespect. On the contrary, If I'm trying to educate you, it is OUT of respect--I respect you enough to engage you in human-to-human, face-to-face intelligent conversation and discussion, rather than cowardly lobbing insults at you from afar. I respect your dignity and your freedoms but want you to see me as a human, as an AMERICAN as well.
Can we get to a place where our discourse in this country is not framed by these sound bytes, talking points and repeated rhetoric based in insulated thinking and circular logic and remember that we're all Americans and more than that, we're all HUMANS? Can we not FREAK OUT on people that take us out of our COMFORT ZONE, and instead engage them as equals?
LOOK AT THE TRAIL OF HATE HERE! Where is this all going? I'm going to be VERY SADDENED but NOT VERY SURPRISED if the extremism continues in the near future.
However, I do believe in starting the day on a positive note, so here is some more encouraging information.
NEW YORK: With all of the confusion over who is in charge in the New York Senate, Marriage Equality rumors are reaching fever pitch. Since the chambers have been closed, NOM missed their lobby day yesterday! The Governor has told them to figure it out and get back to work now. Meanwhile, Senator Tom Duane seems quiet over which side he'll pick. Its going to be a tough decision for him--newly anointed Senate President Pedro Espada Jr. has said that getting a vote on Marriage Equality is at the top of his list. That's tempting. Espada has said Marriage Equality "is my signature issue at this point." I know one Queens couple that is SURELY anxious for the drama to be resolved--they're the same-sex couple that are finalists for US Weekly's 'Dream Wedding' contest!
CALIFORNIA: You know, I never heard the arguments laid out for 2012 repeal over 2010 repeal, but these make a lot of sense. If you blow your wad in 2010 and lose, its going to be harder to raise that cash, raise the morale and try again in 2012. Then again, the Dallas Principles tell us NO MORE WAITING! This does need a lot more further discussion, however. What also needs to be precise is the language--and using language that reminds people we are on the side of freedom and equality is going to help us. The Governator has suggested cutting HIV funding to balance the sate budget, but we aren't going to let the legislature go that route--and told them so en masse in Sacramento!
OHIO and the rest of the world: In OHIO, both candidates for the Democratic Nomination for Senator have endorsed full Marriage Equality. The City of Miami will vote today to extend Domestic Partnership benefits to the partners of all of its city employees. Yesterday the WASHINGTON D.C. Elections Board heard arguments for the ballot referendum to take out recognition of Marriage Equality in D.C. The decision is expected next week. About that March on Washington... Here are FIVE GREAT ALTERNATIVES THAT MAY HELP US EVEN MORE: 1. Funding Locally, 2. Acting Locally, 3. Lobbying Locally, 4. Direct Action, 5. Funding for the Future! Pointing her finger at Capitol Hill, Rachel Maddow explores the absurdity of the recently overturned Bush policy of deporting nonresident widows when their resident husbands die--and the even more absurd policy of allowing dead straight spouses to count more than live gay ones! Also on TV, Bil Browning from Bilerico was on Blogger Bunch on CNN talking about DADT. Centrism wins in Virginia and New Jersey. TEL AVIV, ISRAEL has amped up Pride Week to PRIDE MONTH! China has allowed Shanghai Pride to continue, but have banned certain planned events.
On the hottest June night in New York history--the night that Judy Garland was buried--a group of drag queens and bartenders decided they were sick and tired of being pushed around by the police and the public, and when their bar was raided, they decided it was time to fight back. Every June since, we've celebrated the beginning of the Stonewall Inn riots around the country and around the world as the beginning of the movement to give Liberty and Equality for gay and lesbian people. We call these celebrations Pride. Before you go and chug your beer, take your shirt off and get sunburned dancing in the streets, revisit the queen scream heard 'round the world!
TOAST TO ALL OF MY OLD TIME ADVOCATES OUT THERE--FROM ACE TO HARRY AND WAYNE! THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE FROM THE BEGINNING AND STILL BEING THERE NOW! ALL THE WORK YOU DID BEFORE I EVER CAME ALONG SET THE STAGE, PAVED THE WAY, AND MADE ALL OF THE DIFFERENCE!