This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin
January 19th, 2010
A month ago it was all but certain that Martha Coakley would be the successor to the US Senator from Massachusetts seat that had been held by Teddy Kennedy for four decades. And the Whitehouse, along with congressional leadership made a decision that now seems foolhardy and arrogant: they assumed that they would have a filibuster-proof majority for another year.
So they made the strategic decision to freeze out Republican involvement in running the government, most specifically in reforming healthcare. Choosing to have this reform be the centerpiece of the Party’s image for the next decade, they excluded Republicans from the talk, instead negotiating among Democrats behind closed doors.
Today this looks to have been a major mistake. With the election of Scott Brown to the Senate, Republicans now control 41 votes, effectively killing President Obama’s efforts to revise the health industry as he wishes. Scott Brown’s election has put the brakes on what has been a rapid gallop in a new direction, definitely eliminating such possibilities as a “public option”.
What Brown’s election means to the administration is that the honeymoon is over. And the election of a Republican to represent the state of Massachusetts sends a signal that November may be a sad time for Democratic Party leadership.
But what does Brown’s election mean for our community?
Not good, but perhaps not catastrophe.
The irony is that while many progressive gay activists support the “public option” and were hoping that Coakley’s election would allow Democrats to pursue this dream, it may be advantageous to our community that such a provision is no longer likely.
Any movement of health care coverage from private industry to federal oversight could have disastrous impact on the lives of gay men and women. While a great many private companies provide spousal coverage to same-sex partners, such provisions are banned by the Defense of Marriage Act. And as I understand it, the legislation that has been proposed takes little notice that gay people and gay couples exist.
On specific gay issues, Martha Coakley would have been an ardent supporter of our community in the Senate (filling in Kennedy’s shoes). I think, however, there are signs that Scott Brown will likely not be an ardent opponent.
Although Brown has recently been cast as “homophobic”, it does not appear that he is comparable to, say, Sam Brownback. Brown is a dedicated enemy to marriage equality but has stated that he supports civil unions. Further, he has commented that in Massachusetts, the decision has already been made.
On a Federal level some have suggested that he would support a Defense of Marriage Act to change the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, but that appears to conflict with the following statement on his website:
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. States should be free to make their own laws in this area, so long as they reflect the people’s will as expressed through them directly, or as expressed through their elected representatives.
And Brown appears to have avoided running an anti-gay campaign.
None of which suggests that he is a friend. The Boston Globe says that he opposes the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (I would welcome a more direct source, which I’m having difficulty finding). He also is credited with opposition to lifting the ban on open service in the military. Also, Brown may feel that he owes much of his success to social conservatives, like National Organization for Marriage, who provided substantial financial and strategic support.
So I think we can safely assume that he will not vote with us on marriage or military issues. But I don’t see him as a likely to seek to attract too much attention by being sharply anti-gay. He does, after all, still have to answer to the voters in Massachusetts who prefer their Republicans to be at least moderately supportive.
I am reasonable hopeful that on such issues as discrimination, immigration, and the like we have a decent chance at competing for Scott Brown’s vote. Perhaps now is a good time to try think about building bridges to the Senate’s newest member.
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.