Romney Supports ‘Gay Rights’ but Not Gay Marriage

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney responded to the Obama administrations claims that he has flip-flopped on his position concerning same-sex marriage.  Romney told the Nashua Telegraph:

“I’m in favour of traditional marriage. I oppose same-sex marriage. At the same time, I don’t believe in discriminating in employment or opportunity for gay individuals.

“So I favour gay rights. I do not favour same-sex marriage. That has been my position all along.”

Romney signed the National Organization for Marriage’s pledge to support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

He has also criticized the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Watch the video:

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Bachmann Would Reinstate DADT Policy If Elected President!

I apologize for my absence but to be honest, I’ve had a lot going on these last couple of weeks.  I truly hope you’ll forgive me.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been paying attention to the world of politics, you likely already know that presidential-hopeful Michelle Bachmann isn’t exactly gay-friendly.  Oops, she won’t be getting the gay vote, that’s for sure.

In yet another wonderful example of her lack of support of the gay community, Bachmann has declared that if elected president, she will reinstate the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy!  Yes, she’s a piece of work. If you missed it, here’s an article for your review.

Read:  Bachmann would reinstate US gay troops ban

I also previously posted on Bachmann’s signing of the Marriage Vow and her clinic that “cures” gays of their homosexuality here.

Yeah, she would be a great leader for this democracy.  Right.

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Rep. Barney Frank Asks Obama to Veto Anti-Gay DADT Language in Defense Bill

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and three other members of Congress sent a formal letter to President Obama to request that he make it explicit that he will also veto a bill that would in any way undermine a military that does not discriminate unfairly.   Last month, the White House released its Statement of Administrative Policy H.R. 1540 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 which condemns the DADT repeal delays.

Read the full letter to president Obama here.

Kudos to Barney Frank and his colleagues for supporting equality for gays and lesbians.

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Obama Administration’s Position on DOMA and DADT Repeals

The White House released its Statement of Administrative Policy H.R. 1540 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 which supports the repeal of DOMA and condemns the DADT repeal delays.

With respect to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the statement reads:

“The Administration strongly objects to any legislative attempts (such as section 533) to directly or indirectly undermine, prevent, or delay the implementation of the repeal, as such efforts create uncertainty for servicemembers and their families.”

It’s position on DOMA:

“The Administration strongly objects to sections 534 and 535, believes that section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory, and supports DOMA’s repeal.”

Read the entire Statement of Administrative Policy here.

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

U.S. House Armed Services Committee Approves Three Anti-Gay DADT & DOMA Amendments

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee passed three amendments that effectively delay and derail the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In a 33 to 27 vote, the Committee passed an amendment to require that each of the Chiefs of the four combat branches of the military provide written certification to Congress before repeal of DADT can be implemented.

In a 39 to 22 vote, the Committee passed an amendment to reiterate that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) applies to the military.

Finally, a 38 to 23 vote passed an amendment to reiterate that decisions concerning use of military facilities and personnel for conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies are governed by DOMA.

Read:   House committee approves three anti-gay DADT, DOMA amendments  [LGBTQ Nation]

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Republican National Committee’s Website ‘Hope Isn’t Hiring’ Demonizes Obama’s Progress In Gay & Lesbian Issues

For those who have not yet seen the Republican National Committee’s new website, Hope Isn’t Hiring, you should take a moment to visit and see for yourself how LGBT issues are treated.  On the page titled The Case Against Obama:  Social Issues there are 10 issues listed. The first two items listed are:

1. Despite It Being The Law Of The Land, Obama Refused To Continue To Defend The Defense Of Marriage Act In Court

2. Obama Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell While U.S. Troops Are Still On The Battlefield

Ranking at #6 is:

6. Obama Opposed California’s Prop 8 And Has Expanded Government Recognition Of Same-Sex Couples

That’s 3 out of 10, folks. While math isn’t my strong suit, even I can see that 30% of the RNC’s criticism of President Obama results from his stance on gay and lesbian social issues.  Apparently, Republicans don’t agree that gay and lesbian issues are worth the President’s time.  It’s also readily apparent that it’s not a set of issues embraced by the Republicans (not that it’s a surprise to anyone, I’m just pointing it out again).

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) wrote the following letter to RNC’s chairman:

April 5, 2011

Mr. Reince Priebus
Chairman, Republican National Committee
310 First Street SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

Dear Chairman Priebus:

As chairman of the Republican National Committee, you have the chance to do great things for your party and your country. Unfortunately, that same power can also be used to harm people. Your new website, “Hope Isn’t Hiring,” unfairly demonizes the hopes and ambitions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, as well as straight allies who support us. The site makes us out to be the enemy when all that we want is an America that treats everyone respectfully and equally. The great irony is that many of the civil rights victories that you criticize were made possible by Republicans, and others are supported in large numbers by members of your own party.

From the way in which certain issues are detailed, reasonable people would conclude that the RNC believes in discrimination against LGBT people. You sensationalize issues like hospital visitation rights for loving families and ending housing discrimination when the truth is Americans agree that these are the right things to do. Your website effectively expatriates former Vice President Dick Cheney’s family, and ostracizes Republicans like First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Barbara, who support marriage equality. Furthermore, the historic passage of the law that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – supported by 77 percent of Americans – was made possible by the votes of eight Republican U.S. Senators and 15 Republican members of the House.

Is this website what we can expect from the Republican Party under your leadership? Should we anticipate more mean-spirited campaigns against particular groups of Americans rather than focusing on pressing national priorities?

You lead a party that could be an example of making equality a cornerstone of your agenda, as the GOP has done in the past. As President Lincoln said over a century and a half ago, “We have, as all will agree, a free Government, where every man has a right to be equal with every other man. In this great struggle, this form of Government and every form of human right is endangered if our enemies succeed.” Don’t make yourself the enemy.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Joe Solmonese

I’m looking forward to the response as well…

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

What “The Wizard of Oz” Can Teach the Gay and Lesbian Community

I attended a fabulous performance of The Wizard of Ozlast night and afterward, I got to thinking about the lessons, parallels and symbolism in that play and how they might apply to the gay and lesbian community.  You all think I’ve gone crazy?  Nope, I assure you I’m serious.

Think about it.  We’ve got Dorothy, a strong female character who isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind and isn’t afraid to go the mile to make change happen for herself and her friends.  She suddenly finds herself in a foreign environment where she must face difficult challenges and stand up for what she needs  — and that girl does not back down.  She’s an activist of sorts, fighting for the simple basic needs that we all have:   a brain, a heart, courage and a home.  Not necessarily in that order, of course, but follow me on this.  Dorothy is representative of the women and men who have championed the gay rights movement.  Dorothy is every person who has given their time, energy and money to fight for the repeal of DADT and DOMA.  It’s a long, hard process but it has to start somewhere.  As Glinda advises, “it’s always best to start at the beginning – and all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road.”  Just as activists for gay and lesbian causes have fought hard and won, Dorothy followed that yellow brick road a long way in order to get the result she wanted.  It wasn’t easy and that nasty wicked witch threw her a lot of obstacles in her path.  But in the end, she won the battle.  She also got that nifty broomstick.

We’ve got two wicked witches and a good witch.  The wicked witches terrorize people for sport.  (One is eradicated early on when the twister drops Dorothy’s house on her.  Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead).  The good witch educates and protects them.  Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy that not all witches are ugly … just the ones who are bad.  Metaphorically, I see that parallel in a lot of gay and lesbian situations.  There are some downright ugly people out there who commit horrific acts against gay and lesbian people simple because they (the perpetrators) are bad people.  They launch verbal attacks and violent physical assaults on decent human beings for the simple fact that they happen not to be heterosexual.  The heinous murder of Matthew Shepard comes to mind.  Dorothy should throw a bucket of water on those horrible people.  Perhaps they’ll melt.

Then we have groups such as GLAD and PFLAG and GLSEN and True Colors … those are the good witches who educate the general public and protect gay and lesbian citizens.  They are the groups that make it snow on the field of poppies so that the bad witches don’t get the upper hand.   They are the organizations who stand up to the bad witches and warn them, “be gone before somebody drops a house on you!”  You really do have to work with me on the metaphors and symbolism … just close your eyes and click your heels three times.

The scarecrow starts off not having a clue which way to go.  Once he gets his bearings, he stays on top of his game right to the end.   Grassroots organizations like Love Makes A Family were successful for that same reason.  Nobody had a clue how to make gay marriage a reality.  LMF figured out the strategy and made it happen in Connecticut.  There are other organizations like LMF all across the country.  They’ve figured it out, too, and they won’t stop trying until all 50 states recognize and allow gay marriage.

The tin man is a cool guy.  He just wants to love and he’ll fight flying monkeys and wicked witches for the privilege.  He’s the Plaintiff  in every lawsuit that has been brought to court in order to make same-sex marriage a reality. He’s every gay man or lesbian woman who has testified before a legislative hearing. He’s every gay or lesbian person who has made phone calls, carried signs, stuffed envelopes and fought for the right to marry the person they love. He has a lot of heart. As the Wizard explains when he gives him the ticking heart “testimonial” after he and the others return from their battle with the wicked witch, “a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” The parallel here is acceptance and support of gay and lesbian relationships by the straight contingent. (Repealing DOMA would be helpful).

You’ve got to love the cowardly lion. He’s afraid until he learns that he’s not alone in his fight for courage. With the support of complete strangers, he is able to obtain what has eluded him for a lifetime:

“How? Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on a mast to wave? Courage! What makes an elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? What makes a muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the Seventh Wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?”

Um, courage! In the fight for gay and lesbian rights, courage is the hallmark of the movement. If not for the courage of a few individuals, organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and Get Equal would not exist. It has taken a lot of courage for every person who has fought the long battle for equality. To every one of those people, “for meritorious conduct, extraordinary valor, conspicuous bravery against Wicked Witches, I award you the Triple Cross. You are now a member of the Legion of Courage!” Thank you for fighting.

Yes, “The Wizard of Oz” can teach us all a lesson. Speak up, fight, don’t give in and don’t let the wicked witches get those ruby slippers.

In the end, I hope that every gay and lesbian person will enjoy true equality in his or her lifetime.

Toto, too? Toto, too.

 

 

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

President Obama Signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) Repeal

As promised, President Obama signed the DADT repeal today. Obama said:

“No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military … because they happen to be gay. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder in order to serve the country that they love.”

Watch the video of President Obama’s speech and the signing of the law on ABC News here.

Updates:

Read: The Many Lessons of DADT Repeal [Huffington Post by Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign].

Watch “The View” as they discuss the Senate’s vote to repeal DADT aired 12/20/10. [The Washington Post]

Read: Dan Choi gets to DADT signing, and gets his West Point ring back

Visit the White House Blog to read Repealing DADT: “History Making”

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski

Senate Votes to Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

The U.S. Senate voted on Saturday to repeal the military’s discriminatory policy against lesbians and gays serving openly in the armed services. After 17 years, it’s about time.

Watch the following videos:

U.S. Senate Votes to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repealed

For more on the DADT repeal follow these links:

U.S. Senate Votes to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ is repealed by Senate; bill awaits Obama’s signing

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski

House Votes to Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell … Now It’s Up to the Senate

In a 250-175 vote today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. The next move belongs to the Senate. Unfortunately, although it is reported that there will be enough Senate votes in favor of the repeal, there may not be enough time to get the bill to the floor. According to the Hartford Courant:

No time has been set for a Senate vote on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Failure to overturn the policy this year could relegate the issue to the back burner next year when Republicans, who are far less supportive of allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military, take over the House and gain strength in the Senate.

The Washington Post reported that the House voted on the new bill first in order to allow the Senate to consider it faster given that it is now a privileged resolution that will require fewer days to debate.

According to the Huffington Post:

“The congressional debate comes as the head of the Marine Corps told reporters that lifting the ban during wartime could cost lives.

“I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction,” said Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos. “I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda (Naval Medical Center) with no legs be the result of any type of distraction.”

Other senior military officials have countered that changing the law during wartime is preferable because troops are more focused on survival than a colleague’s sexual orientation.”

Watch the news conference by Steny Hoyer on MSNBC here (It takes a moment to load and there’s a short commercial first, sorry).

For specifics on the vote itself, I refer you to this post by the New York Times.

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski