This commentary is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.
February 17th, 2009
Minnesota is generally considered to be a blue state and state politics are dominated by the DFL (Democratic) Party, with Democrats holding a two-thirds majority of both houses. Even so, it appears that Marty’s bill hasn’t got a chance.
Acknowledging the setback of California’s Proposition 8 vote of last November, Marty said his bill is not going to pass this year, but he said he hopes it wins the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee after a hearing later this month.
Yet I’m very appreciative of Marty’s efforts. Even beginning the conversation moves us closer to our goals of equality under the law.
But I am also frustrated and annoyed.
I am frustrated that the Democratic leadership in a state that prides itself in its liberal tradition will not make equality for gay citizens a priority. I understand why – it’s because they don’t have to. In a state in which they have zero chance of losing power, no promises have to be made or kept, especially to an unpopular minority.
But I’m even more frustrated by gay State Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley (pictured). Koering has announced that he will not be voting for Marty’s bill.
He says even though he’s gay, he will vote against the legislation because lawmakers have bigger fish to fry dealing with a budget deficit estimated at five to seven billion dollars.
While “we’re too busy with the economy” is certainly the excuse of choice this year for every legislator unwilling to fight for equality, it really is awfully stupid. It is based on the ridiculous notion that all of a legislator’s time will be spent dealing specifically with the economy – a notion that some of us would find admirable, but is far far from reality. And how on earth could voting “yes” take up more time than voting “no”.
But, as with the Democrats, I understand Koering’s decision. He is the representative of a very conservative district, one that would almost certainly respond to a pro-marriage vote by replacing him with a homophobe. And I can sympathize with a guy who sees no point in political suicide when there’s no up-side to such a choice.
He would have sacrificed his carreer for nothing. And why should he sacrifice when others won’t support marriage even though it would cost them nothing?
And I certainly don’t favor reprisals against Koering. Our community is advantaged by having him in office. He has shown himself to be willing to take a risk to protect gay Minnesotans when his vote mattered.
In April 2005, Koering provide the crucial vote needed to kill an effort to force a constitutional marriage ban vote onto the floor of the Senate (a quarter of Democrats were unwilling). As a result, anti-gay conservatives ran a campaign of homophobia against him in support of a primary opponent, highlighting his opposition to the anti-gay amendment.
I think Koering will be with us on the day that his vote will be needed. But it galls me that announcements of this sort give permission to those looking for a reason not to support equality today. It allows them an out, “why should we vote for marriage when the gay guy won’t”?
As I said, the whole situation is frustrating and annoying and irritating.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.