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Maryland Senator Muse Champions Bigotry

This article is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2008

muse.jpgThose who are regular readers know my frustration with the Democratic Party in Maryland. They have allowed one anti-gay legislator to dictate the level of discrimination that the state will impose on its gay citizens.

Let me be clear. Most Republicans in the state are far worse, many seeking to ban equality through revision to the state constitution. And some even oppose letting couples in a long term relationships make medical decisions for each other.

On the Senate floor yesterday, Republicans said that allowing an unmarried couple who have been partners only a short time to trump parents or children in crucial life-and-death medical decisions struck them as irresponsible.

“How far are we going to go?” asked Sen. Alex X. Mooney (R-Frederick). “Let’s not put domestic partners above the family. Let’s put them after.”

But that isn’t all that surprising from the Party that brought us Sally Kern. Such attitudes, however, are supposed to not prevail in the Democratic Party. Yet it is the Democratic Party leadership that has placed power in the hands of a man who blocked the chance of Senators to even consider marriage equality or civil unions.

Religious objections proved the determining factor in a key, evenly split Senate committee that a marriage or civil unions bill needed to clear before getting to the floor. The swing vote was C. Anthony Muse, a Prince George’s County Democrat who was lobbied intensely by gay rights advocates and lawmakers to pass a civil unions bill. But Muse, pastor of an evangelical Christian church in Upper Marlboro, said he ultimately was bound by biblical teachings that say only men and women should marry. The bills are likely to languish without a vote.

There will be a vote taken on some piece-meal rights such as health care decisions or inheritance. But Muse was not content in allowing gay people to make determinations about their own health without taking the opportunity to champion bigotry.

yesterday, he voted for several Republican-sponsored changes to the medical decision-making measure, including one that would have barred public schools from teaching about domestic partnerships. The changes were rejected. Muse said he is unsure how he will vote when the Senate takes a final vote on the bill next week.

I do not doubt that Senator Muse has experienced discrimination in his lifetime. But that does not excuse him for doling it out to those citizens that he dislikes.

And it’s time for the Democratic Party in Maryland to recognize that those minority legislators, be they gay or black or whatever, who campaign against the rights of other minorities, be they gay or black or whatever, are engaging in bigotry and have no place in any position of authority.

Senator Muse needs to feel the consequences of his homophobia. And as long as the Maryland Democratic Party continues to allow Muse to stand in the way of equality, they will receive no respect from me.

See also:
Blade Asks What Happened In Maryland
Maryland Passes Limited Rights for Gay Couples
Maryland Balances Budget by Taxing Gay Widows
Maryland Senator Muse Champions Bigotry
Maryland AG Endorses Marriage Equality
Maryland Legislator Calls Anti-Gay Bluff
Maryland Introduces Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage – Are Democrats Committed to Equality?
Maryland Marriage Poll

Comments

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Stefano
March 15th, 2008 | LINK

I feel your frustration.

Welcome to the Theocratic States of America. :(

Zeke
March 15th, 2008 | LINK

There you go again Mr. Kincaid.

I thought we dealt with your use of the inflammatory “Democrat” Party and how it takes away from your point.

It seems that you either just can’t help yourself or you can’t remember to reserve your cute Limbaugh style rhetoric to your conversations with your Republican friends. Yes, I use the term Republicans, not Rethuglicans, not Republicants, not Republi-Cons or any of the other cutesy terms that could be used.

It’s called being grown up. It’s something we expect from journalists. Or at least we SHOULD.

Zeke
March 15th, 2008 | LINK

Oh, and yeah Mr. Kincaid, it’s the Democrats who are the main roadblocks to fairness and equality for gay people in America today.

It’s that one Democratic legislator in Maryland who has single handedly kept gay marriage out of reach of gay Marylanders. And it’s clearly the Democratic party’s fault that they haven’t DEMANDED that every Democrat fall in line and vote exactly how the part tells them to on every issue, the way the Republican Party often does when they vote against gay rights. But yes Mr. Kincaid it’s the Democrats that are the anti-gay boogey men.

I hear this silly argument from Log Cabin Republicans (which I used to be) all the time. It amazes me that they can say it with a straight face. It’s just like how the LCR took 100% credit for the passing of a pro-gay bill in Oregon (I think it was) all because ONE, yes ONE, Republican voted for it.

That isn’t just silly, that’s delussional.

The Democrats are certainly not anywhere close to perfect but Jesus Christ you have to be a complete moron to believe that we are better off withholding our support from the lesser of two evils, when we know that such an action would leave us with the rabidly homophobic Republican Party.

That might make you and some of your LCR buddies orgasm but to many of us gays who have families that have been under constant, vicious assault by the Republican Party for the last few years, that is NOT an option.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2008 | LINK

Ugh… yes, I did it again :(

It’s an old habit and one I need to break. I think I hear “Democrat Party” in my head and it comes out automatically. I doubt you’ll believe me but I don’t do it to offend (and really have no idea why it’s considered offensive).

I also pronounce the word “accept” as uh-sept much to the amusement of my friends. Some habits are hard to break.

Oh, but by the way, I’m not a journalist. I’m an accountant by trade and on here I’m a blogger but I make no pretence to having journalistic credentials.

David
March 16th, 2008 | LINK

Zeke,

Take a valium, for Pete’s sake!

“Democrat Party” or “Democratic Party,” what’s the big friggin deal?

It’s clear you hate the Republicans but just how, given what Timothy Kincaid has reported, are the Maryland Democrats a lesser evil in that state?

And, Timothy, please forgive me for defending you.

Zeke
March 16th, 2008 | LINK

David,

You clearly know nothing about me. I have spent considerably more of my life as a Republican than I have as a Democrat. At least half of my friends are Republican and ALL of my family is. So your spurious claim that I “hate Republicans” is completely unfounded and inflammatory.

As for “Democrat Party” vs. “Democratic Party”, it does make a difference and Mr. Kincaid knows, and has acknowledged as much. It is used extensively by Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin wing of the Republican Party (and their devoted followers) so it is certainly intended to be a clever, “oops, I didn’t realize I said that” shot across the bow of Democrats.

I have the same problem when bloggers use “clever” variations on the word “Republican” when writing a commentary where they are trying to inform, educate or make serious observations on an important topic.

It’s perfectly fine if one is trying to be offensive or silly but it unnecessarily destracts when a person who is trying to make a valid and serious point does it.

I’m sorry you don’t understand that.

I think Mr. Kincaid on the other hand does.

Oh, and as far as your question, “how…are the Maryland Democrats a lesser evil in that state?”

Look at any anti-gay measure in Maryland or any other state and YOU tell ME which party has the most supporters and which one has the most dessenters.

Look at any pro-gay legislation in Maryland, or any other state and YOU tell ME which party has the most supporters and which one has the most dessenters.

You can do simple math, right?

Mr. Kincaid, you missed one. ;)

Zeke
March 16th, 2008 | LINK

Mr. Kincaid, even though I doubt your claim to not understand why Democrats find “Democrat Party” offensive, I’ll try to explain it as concisely as possible:

1) The intent of using “Democrat Party” is to insenuate that neither Democrats nor their Party are Democratic.

and even more simply,

2) It’s simply NOT called the Democrat Party. It never has been. You know that. Everyone knows that. You also know very well why you chose to start using it and why you continue to do so; it’s cute and clever in a real Rush Limbaugh sort of way, especially among one’s Republican friends.

Don’t forget, I used to be one of those friends.

werdna
March 17th, 2008 | LINK

Here’s a fine (though partisan) discussion of the history and use of the term “Democrat Party”:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/08/07/060807ta_talk_hertzberg

It goes back much earlier than Limbaugh, Coulter, GWB, etc. (Senator Joseph McCarthy was fond of using it) but it is much more widely used these days and, more to the point, is clearly intended to irritate Democrats. As Zeke says, the proper name of the party is, and always has been, the Democratic Party. Heck, even William F. Buckley found the use of “Democrat Party” an offense to good grammar and clear communication…

Jason D
March 17th, 2008 | LINK

I am 30 years old.

And I have used:
“Democrat Party” vs. “Democratic Party”

interchangably forever. To me, it makese sense. We call the Republican Party , “Republicans” for short. So it would make sense that if they call themselves “Democrats” that they would be the “Democrat Party”.

“The Democratic Party” sounds almost pretentious — as if to say that any other party out there does not support democracy.

This is, of course, before I read a very odd history lesson in this very thread.

Zeke
“2) It’s simply NOT called the Democrat Party. It never has been. You know that. Everyone knows that.”

I didn’t know that until just now. I was in gifted and honors classes in High School. I went to college. I usually vote FOR the democrats. I’m a gay actor, you don’t get much more liberal than that! I’ve been fairly active politically for quite awhile, but never read anything about this controversy, and never noticed anyone getting irate about “democrat” vs “democratic”.

Zeke, I had to read your comment, and the article several times and it wasn’t until I read further down the thread that I understood. I kept thinking maybe Timothy had called them the “DEMONcrats” or something snarky like that.

This almost sounds like a silly semantic argument. The loss of “ic” breeds this much trouble? Perhaps the Democratic Party should insist on calling each other “Democratics” for short, so that the distinction flows more organically.

I say all this because, well, I’m a pretty smart and perceptive person…and I don’t mean to belittle you Zeke, but I don’t think *everyone* knows this little tidbit of information.

Interesting nonetheless.

Now what was the article about in the first place?

Timothy Kincaid
March 17th, 2008 | LINK

Zeke,

You also know very well why you chose to start using it and why you continue to do so; it’s cute and clever in a real Rush Limbaugh sort of way, especially among one’s Republican friends.

I’ve said that this was not an intentional insult. Twice. You continue to accuse me.

I do not use slurs. I don’t think they are cute or clever. I think they are nasty and pointless and show immaturity.

Now, you may very well have been hateful and vile towards Democrats when you were a Republican, as you state. You may have used slurs as cheap insults. But just because you behaved in this tacky manner does not give you any insight to my thinking.

And I assure you that if you did, you would certainly not have been one of my close “Republican friends”.

You may believe what you like about me. But you may not continue to make baseless accusations about me. Or at least not at this site.

So consider this a helpful reminder. Disagree with my opinions but do not ascribe motivations to me.

Zeke
March 17th, 2008 | LINK

Mr. Kincaid, you’re absolutely right. I shouldn’t have made such assumptions or ascribed motivations. You do show yourself to be respectful in your commentaries and in your responses. I think it’s actually fellow Democrats that have set my defenses on high alert, with all of the Clinton/Obama infighting. I took it out on you. That was completely inappropriate. Please accept my apologies.

Jason D., you’re point is well taken as well.

Zeke
March 17th, 2008 | LINK

One more thing,

I didn’t use slurs when I was a Republican and I don’t use them now.

I agree that they are childish and counterproductive to any debate, political or otherwise.

Somehow it seems like everyone in the Democratic Party has forgotten this over the last few weeks. It’s getting REALLY ugly out there.

David
March 18th, 2008 | LINK

Zeke,

You didn’t take that Valium, did you?

My line about hating the Republicans was hyperbole; in any event I didn’t say ‘Zeke hates Republicans,’ I said you hate theRepublicans, meaning the Party itself. I implied nothing about your feelings towards individuals.

I have seen plenty of variations on the term Republicans such as Repugs and Rethugs. I have also seen similar variations on the word Democrats like Dhimmicrats and Dummocrats. Using the phrase Democrat Party instead of Democratic Party is nothing like them — no matter who uses it. So relax a little.

As for my lesser evil question, you haven’t answered it. I have not been living on another planet for the last 20 years. I know full well which party has the lesser number of gay-friendly polticians and why. But my question wasn’t about the differences between the parties.

I asked just how the Democratic Party of Maryland is a lesser evil than the state’s Republican Party when the Democrats have as one of their legislative leaders a man who will stop the legislature from even considering gay-friendly measures he doesn’t like. This question gets to the crux of Kincaid’s post — which you seem to have missed.

Jason D
March 18th, 2008 | LINK

Which is worse?

A party – composed of many gay-UNfriendly politicians (to put it mildly).

-or-

B party – composed of many gay-friendly politicians but has one powerful anti-gay politician that refuses to let equality measures even be considered by the legislature.

Seems like you break even, except when you consider that B Party members are not powerless in this situation, they simply aren’t doing anything.

werdna
March 18th, 2008 | LINK

Hey Timothy, since we’re offering corrections, you might want to credit the article you took your quotes from.

I also have some questions about the process in the Maryland Senate. The WaPo article describes the Judicial Proceedings Committee as “evenly split,” but it’s an 11-member committee. How does that work, exactly? According to the Maryland Senate website 7 members of the committee are Democrats. So that must mean that at least one of the Democrats besides Muse was against the bill, right?

I’m not familiar with Maryland politics, but I’m wondering why Muse is more to blame than the other Democratic legislator(s)? Is it because he’s seen as more likely to change his vote? Because he’s from a safe district? There’s a lot of background information that’s not in evidence here and it makes it hard to figure out the whole story.

I guess I’m a little puzzled as to what you think should be done to Sen. Muse. Should he be removed from his position on the committee because he didn’t support this particular bill? What’s involved in such an action? What is the process by which Maryland Sentors are appointed to or removed from committees? How often does such a thing occur and under what circumstances. Again, what about the other Democrat(s) on the committee who didn’t support the bill?

What’s the standard you’re proposing for when a legislator should be judged to deserve “no place in any position of authority?” Should a legislator be removed any time he or she doesn’t follow the will of the party leadership? Only when he or she is a minority voting against rights for another minority? Whenever anyone (minority or not) supports “bigotry?” Is the standard different for legislators who are minorities than for those who aren’t?

Finally, is there anything productive we can do other than withhold our respect from the Democratic Party leadership?

Ben in Oakland
March 18th, 2008 | LINK

I sent a letter both to muse and to the democratIC party in MD. And I always tell the Dems that when they support me fully– not occasionally– I will be willing to give them money. not until.

I still remember the dog-and-pony show that became DADT, and Bill C. getting monica’d while he was signing DOMA.

They have to do better than that.

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