Posts Tagged As: Democrats

While Obama Evolves…

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2012

twenty twenty-one U.S. Senators are calling for an endorsement of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform. When the Blade’s article first went up today, the number was at eighteen (you can see that in the article’s URL).  They’ve had to update it twice three times since just this morning to include the two three additional Senators, and they say they will update it as more Senators respond the the Blade’s requests for statements.

Utah Dems Elect First Openly Gay Man As Party Leader

Jim Burroway

July 18th, 2011

And he wants to assure the state’s Mormons that they are also welcome in the “big tent” party:

“I want to speak directly to the LDS people in our state,” Jim Dabakis said Saturday after being nominated for state party chairman. “I want you LDS people to participate in our party. We want your spirit, we want your contributions and we want to earn your votes. I will do whatever I can as chair to see that our big tent is comfortable to LDS people because it’s the right thing to do.”

Dabakis co-founded Equality Utah and The Utah Pride Center. Shortly after his nomination for the top job, he joked, “This is a historic moment. Utah may elect its first out Greek-American party chair.”

New Hope for NY Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

June 13th, 2011

The man who tells you that he can predict what Albany will do is either a fool or a liar. However, there is some very promising last-minute news out of New York. First, the NYTimes tells us that the last Democratic Senator holdouts (other than Sen. Diaz) have pledged support:

The three Democratic senators — Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. and Shirley L. Huntley of Queens and Carl Kruger of Brooklyn — all voted against the measure in 2009, when it failed by a wide margin. Their switch to the yes column leaves all but one Senate Democrat supporting same-sex marriage — and the fate of the legislation in the hands of the Republican majority in the chamber.

This brings the total support count among Democrats to 29. The bill needs the support of at least 3 Republicans to reach the 32 majority. But the New York Post reports that this may be more than possible.

Seven or more Senate Republicans have signaled Gov. Cuomo that they’re ready to legalize same-sex marriage, more than enough to put the controversial and historic measure over the top this week, The Post has learned.

A highly knowledgeable Senate insider said yesterday that “far more of the [GOP] members are in play than anyone realizes, including some surprising names from conservative upstate areas.”

Among the unexpected potential Senate Republican “yes” votes, insiders say, are Kemp Hannon of Nassau County, Charles Fuscillo of Suffolk County, Betty Little of Glens Falls, Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, Greg Ball of Putnam County, James Alesi of Rochester, and Roy McDonald of Rensselaer County — all of whom helped defeat gay marriage when the vote was held in December 2009.

Of course, all of that can change in a heartbeat.

UPDATE: Republican Senator James Alesi has confirmed that he will vote for marriage

“I am doing this on my own initiative. I really am not down here because I have been guaranteed that we will have enough votes to pass this. It is my hope, not just here in New York State, but all across the nation that if a Republican senator can stand before his constituents and say that he supports marriage equality, that he supports equality for all Americans without regard for their gender or their sexual preference that we can start here in New York State and look at it as is a national initiative that America is for Freedom and equality.”

DOMA As A Wedge Issue, Ctd

Jim Burroway

March 18th, 2011


A newly released Washington Post-ABC News poll confirms what other recent polls have shown, that a majority of Americans support marriage equality. That majority remains a slim one when one considers the 3.5 percent margin of error. But five years ago,  only 36 percent supported same-sex marriage; today, 53 percent do. That’s a 47 percent increase in a very short amount of time. WaPo notes some significant trends:

In the new Post-ABC poll, the shift has been driven by several political and demographic groups whose support for such unions jumped sharply. Men, who previously were less supportive of same-sex marriage than women, now back it at the same rate. Support among college-educated whites, political independents and people who do not consider themselves religious also rose substantially.

ABC News breaks it down further:

While younger adults and liberals remain at the forefront of support for gay marriage, the new results underscore its expansion. In an ABC/Post poll five and a half years ago, for example, under-30s were the sole age group to give majority support to gay marriage, at 57 percent. Today it’s 68 percent in that group – but also 65 percent among people in their 30s, up a remarkable 23 points from the 2005 level; and 52 percent among those in their 40s, up 17 points.

…Support is up by a striking 23 points among white Catholics, often a swing group and one that’s been ready, in many cases, to disregard church positions on political or social issues. But they have company: Fifty-seven percent of non-evangelical white Protestants now also support gay marriage, up 16 points from its level five years ago. Evangelicals, as noted, remain very broadly opposed. But even in their ranks, support for gay marriage is up by a double-digit margin.

You can see the poll itself here (PDF: 85KB/3 pages). It should be noted that the margin of error for these smaller sample groups would likely be significantly greater than the poll’s overall ±3.5%. The released information does not provide margins of errors for the smaller groups, so we don’t know whether those majorities are significant in themselves, but the trend at least probably is. Especially, this trend:

Support has grown by 17 points among Democrats, but also by 13 points among independents, to a clear majority, 58 percent, in the crucial political center. And it’s 63 percent among moderates, up 21 points.

Opposing marriage equality is a losing political proposition for everyone except the conservative GOP base. Not too long ago, supporting marriage quality was a losing proposition for everyone except the liberal Democratic base.

That’s what made it the definitive wedge issue — it drove a wedge between the crucial moderates and independents from Democratic candidates. Which left the Democratic candidates sputtering that marriage bans were cynical distractions from more important issues facing the country — jobs, the economy, the global war against terrorism, whatever. Those weak arguments are why we got steamrollered in the elections.

Now, we have a president who will defend DOMA only under heightened scrutiny, and Democratic legislators introducing legislation to repeal DOMA in both houses of Congress. And in response, it’s conservative Republicans’ turn to complain that efforts to dismantle DOMA are a cynical distraction. My how times have changed.

Update: Indiana Republicans have seen the writing on the wall, and are abandoning efforts to amend the state constitution to ban marriage equality.

Anti-Gay Dem Party Chair Doubles Down

Jim Burroway

March 17th, 2011

Bexar County (San Antonio) Democratic Party Chair and yesterday’s LaBarbera Award winner Dan Ramos held a news conference this morning to announce that he was not resigning over comments he made last week likening gay people to “the “f*cking Nazi Party.” Not only that, but Ramos doubled down:

Bexar County Democratic Chairman Dan Ramos reiterated that he believed that gays were like “white termites who have infiltrated the party much like termites infiltrate your house,” and were co-conspirators with direct involvement in the theft of over $200,000 from party coffers.

…”I’ve always tried to be politically correct, however the gays, through the Stonewall Democrats, have taken over the party. Hell, my opponent in the election, Choco Meza, she’s a lesbian,” Ramos said. (Meza is not a lesbian.)

Ramos also referred to State Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie as a “racist bastard” and an “idiot” who’s been too busy to help the local party. “Gay people have been advising Richie,” he said, “and he slipped when he asked me to resign.”

Update: Oh, goody. We have video:

YouTube Preview Image

Democratic Operative Deploys Gay-Baiting Campaign

Jim Burroway

March 14th, 2011


Unconscionable. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what “unmarried” is code for. From Think Progress:

Less Government Now appears to be tied to Scott Maddox, a Democratic operative who unsuccessfully ran for Agricultural Commissioner last year, and has been used to bolster tea party candidates in an attempt to split the GOP vote. Tampa has non-partisan mayoral elections, but Ferlita, a current county commissioner, is a Republican.

Maryland’s equal marriage bill does NOT pass

Timothy Kincaid

March 11th, 2011

In a legislative body with 98 Democrats and 43 Republicans, in a state that already recognizes same-sex marriages conducted next door, supporters of the Maryland marriage equality bill were unable to round up 71 votes. (WaPo)

The effort to legalize gay marriage in Maryland died for the year Friday after supporters said they could not find enough votes to pass the measure in the House.

House leaders avoided a final vote on the bill and returned it to the House Judiciary Committee after it became apparent they did not have the 71 votes needed for approval. The bill to make Maryland the sixth state to allow gay marriage had already passed the Senate, and the governor said he would have signed it.

Iowa house passes anti-marriage constitutional amendment

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2011

From OneIowa

The Iowa House today, by a vote of 62-37, passed an amendment (House Joint Resolution 6) that would deny any form of legal recognition for gay couples. The amendment seeks to prohibit not only the freedom to marry for gay couples, but also civil unions or domestic partnerships.

The bill now moves on to the Iowa Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment. If passed through both legislative bodies in two consecutive General Assemblies, the issue could be on the ballot as soon as 2013.

As the Democrats hold a majority in the Senate and have already demonstrated their support for Gronstal on the issue, barring some bizarre turn of events, this amendment will not pass the Senate.

House passes standalone DADT repeal

Timothy Kincaid

December 15th, 2010

The House of Representatives has just voted to repeal the Military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy by a vote of 250 to 175.

Democrats:
235 Yes
15 No
5 Not Voting

Republicans:
15 Yes
160 No
4 Not Voting

Unlike the defense bill, there are no other issues on which to hang one’s vote, and appeals to “not the right time” have the same moral weight as the more blatant “My constituents don’t like gay people.” This is purely a vote on whether gay people should be accorded the same rights as other Americans, and history should take careful note of the names of those who sided with inequality.

Belated good news from Hawaii

Timothy Kincaid

October 12th, 2010

This is a few weeks old, but it’s important. (AP)

Hawaii Democrats have chosen former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie in their bid to take back the governor’s office after eight years of Republican control.

Abercrombie defeated longtime political rival ex-Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a bitterly contested campaign that focused on character and leadership experience.

Abercrombie will face Republican nominee Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona in the November campaign to succeed GOP Gov. Linda Lingle in President Barack Obama’s birth state.

Polls have shown Abercrombie as a likely winner in the very Democratic state. His biggest threat was Hannemann, a Mormon, who campaigned on an anti-gay platform.

Hannemann’s supporters released an ad during the primary which criticized Abercrombie for supporting the civil unions bill which was vetoed by Republican Governor Linda Lingle, “In the battle of HB444, we learned the importance of electing people with our traditional Christian values.”

I think that it is likely that should Abercrombie be elected in November will open the way for the Hawaii state legislature to revisit their support of gay couples. And I think that this time they may opt for full marriage equality.

GayTM On the Fritz: Gay Political Donations Down

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2010

The "GayTM" is out of orderPerhaps one measure of the gay community’s scorn for the Democratic Party’s failure to deliver on its promises — as evidenced by this week’s cynical tossing of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” football coupled with the administration’s ridiculous filing in the Log Cabin Republican lawsuit against DADT — the OpenSecretsBlog reports that LGBT groups’ contributions to political campaigns are drastically down when compared the the last mid-term elections in 2006:

[I]n an election cycle full of controversy over hot button issues such as adoption, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, donations to federal candidates from gay and lesbian interest groups are lagging. So far during the 2010 election cycle, people and political action committees associated with this special interest area have donated $744,040 to federal candidates, with 96 percent of funds going to Democrats. That’s compared to more than $2 million contributed to federal candidates during the 2006 congressional elections and $1.8 million contributed during the 2008 presidential election cycle.

The Human Rights Campaign has donated a huge majority of the industry’s funds going to federal candidates this cycle, contributing $625,272 to primarily Democratic candidates.

"If you want my gay dollar, I want my gay rightThat means that the HRC has contributed almost 85% of all the LGBT dollars to federal campaigns. I don’t know what percentage of the total contribution the HRC contributed in 2006, but I doubt that it amounted to $1.6 million. There has long been a perception that the Democratic party has been eager to take the gay dollar but unwilling to seriously address the gay community’s concerns, whether they be the ongoing firing of qualified personnel from the U.S. military, discrimination against gay and (especially) transgender people in the workplace, or the unwillingness to take a coherent stand on marriage. LGBT people and organizations are, as a result, naturally and justifiably outraged this year, with many demanding that the “GayTM” be shut down.

While undoubtedly the economy has contributed to this falloff in donations, but that’s not the entire story. LGBT donations are down by about half; other sources for donations are off, they haven’t fallen as drastically as this. I’m glad that most of the major LGBT organizations have decided to close the GayTM. Their money wasn’t being well spent, given the pathetic and cynical behavior of the political establishment that so many of us have worked so long and hard to support. For any organization that as to evaluate how effective every dollar they spend is toward accomplishing their goals, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that their dollars can be better spent elsewhere.

I fully support the call to sit on your dollars during this election cycle. If you have money to donate, there are many more worthy causes in your own local community that could use your help in this down economy. At least there, your hard-earned dollars have a better chance of actually doing some good. And if you are interested in contributing to political candidates, there is still the option of donating directly to specific candidates that you know have stood by the LGBT community. (For me locally, for example, I would single out my Congressman, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ). He was among the extremely few Arizona officeholders who actively and publicly campaigned against Prop 102, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which passed in 2008.)

I also think this report documents how unbelievably out of touch the HRC is with the community it claims to represent. It looks like we don’t just need an overhaul of the political establishment that takes our money without delivering results, but also the advocacy group that takes our dollars and doesn’t hold anyone accountable. To those of us who have donated to the HRC in the past, it’s a good time to ask: have you gotten your money’s worth?

The difference in social policy between a Democrat and a moderate Republican

Timothy Kincaid

September 15th, 2010

In reading about the candidates vying for Mark Kirk’s old district, I ran across as clear a description between the social positions of a “Democrat” and a “moderate Republican” as I think I’ve seen:

The two candidates are facing off in the 10th Congressional District, portraying themselves as deficit and tax hawks who are more moderate on social issues.

Yet Dold and Seals noted their differences on abortion and gay rights.

Dold said he supports abortion rights, with restrictions. Dold backs parental notification for minors and opposes late-term abortions and tax money being spent on the procedure.

“Let me be clear, I’m pro-choice, while I may be more moderate than (Seals) is on this issue,” Dold said.

Seals said he supports abortion rights without Dold’s caveats and cited his endorsements from organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Seals argued that limits on taxpayer-funded abortion and parental notification laws would force some women “to go to a back alley to care of this.”

On gay marriage, Seals supports it, calling it a “civil rights issue.” He also backs repealing military restrictions on openly gay soldiers.

Dold doesn’t support gay marriage, but said same-sex couples should have similar legal protections. Dold said he will support repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy if military generals agree it won’t impact combat operations.

Yes, there are many Democrats that do not support marriage equality and some Republicans that do. But I think that these two positions probably reflect what the voter who self-categorizes as “Democrat” or “moderate Republican” finds most comfortable.

Voters are really really (not) concerned about “protecting marriage”

Timothy Kincaid

August 12th, 2010

The latest Pew Research Center survey is in and they’ve found that when it comes to same-sex marriage, voters could not care less. Literally. Of the thirteen categories of concern, same-sex marriage was at the very bottom, in both parties.

The reason we haven’t heard the politicians screaming about Judge Walker’s ruling is because they have figured out that their constituents aren’t interested, don’t want to talk about it, and are probably suspicious about anyone who wants to rant about gays instead of the economy.

Hawaii Senate to vote Friday on civil unions

Timothy Kincaid

January 20th, 2010

Prop 8 protest in November 2008

Prop 8 protest in November 2008

The Hawaiian Senate has set a date to vote on the civil unions bill postponed from 2009. (Honolulu Star Bulletin)

“It is my understanding that it will be put on the Order of the Day (agenda) Thursday and put it up for a vote on Friday,” said Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

This bill was essentially killed in the last days of the last session by amending it to include the unnecessary wording, “It is not the Legislature’s intent to revise the definition or eligibility requirements of marriage.” That strategic effort bought the legislature nearly another year to do nothing.

Because the bill had a start date as of the first of the year, there is some question as to whether it would be valid or would require another amendment. Some senators appear to be pretending that such a technical amendment would be reason to vote against the bill.

However, the award for bald disingenuousness, for unbridled cynicism, for smarmy condescension goes to former Senate President Robert Bunda:

“It is totally about solemnizing civil unions, and I think what gay people are really seeking is same-sex marriage,” Bunda said.

“I hope we just defer the whole thing. We have more important issues, like the budget.”

Yes, Mr. Bunda, we want equality. But that hasn’t been presented as an option, has it? And you would oppose such a bill were it to come up, wouldn’t you, cuz treating all citizens equally just isn’t important enough.

And, in the meantime, I still have not heard back from the DNC as to why they have said absolutely nothing to encourage the virtually entirely Democratic legislature to pass the civil unions bill. Good thing I wasn’t holding my breath.

My email to the DNC re: civil unions in Hawaii

Timothy Kincaid

January 18th, 2010

Today I emailed the DNC:

This week the legislature in Hawaii will be considering Civil Unions legislation. As the HI legislature is virtually all Democratic, can you please direct me to the statements in which the DNC has encouraged the Hawaiian legislature to uphold the standard of the Party and vote for equality? I don’t seem to be able to find them online.

I wonder if I’ll get a response. They may be too busy honoring Dr. King’s dream for equality and civil rights.

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