January 4th, 2013
Yesterday history was made when Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) was sworn in as the first openly gay US Senator.
Of course there have been many many Senators for whom all evidence suggests that they were gay, but Tammy is the first to achieve entrance to that most exclusive of societies on her own terms and without any sense of shame or secrecy, which makes this accomplishment particularly noteworthy.
Any hope for Toomey?
January 3rd, 2011
Here’s a odd little note about Pat Toomey, the incoming Republican/Tea Party Pennsylvania Senator: (NYT)
But as he prepared to take office this week, Mr. Toomey hardly sounded like a partisan rabble-rouser.
For one thing, he supported repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Mr. Toomey said that since the military brass believed that allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly would enable the armed forces to execute their mission better, he was supportive of a repeal. He also said that the previous policy was wrong because it forced gay service members to “live a lie.”
I’ve bought into the portrayal of Toomey as extremist and assumed his Tea Party fiscal conservatism was a cover for his right-wing social agenda. I hope this is an indication that perhaps there is a more nuanced Toomey than has been portrayed, and that he is approachable on some of our issues.
Hate attack appears to come from Sen. Chambliss’ office
September 21st, 2010
Today around noon someone going by “Jimmy” left the following message on Joe Jervis’ blogsite, JoeMyGod, on a thread discussing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:
Joe released the IP address of the computer from which the comment was made, and it was identified as belonging to the US Senate and was located in Atlanta, GA. The Senate offices of Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, both Republicans, are located in the same building and the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates for the IP address direct to that building.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has made inquiries of the Senators’ staff:
A spokeswoman for Isakson said his staff quickly ascertained that the message did not originate there.
“We have seen the allegations and are moving quickly to understand the facts. This office has not and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged,” Chambliss spokeswoman Bronwyn Lance Chester said. “Once we have ascertained whether these claims are true, we will take the appropriate steps.”
It will be interesting to discover exactly what Sen. Chambliss considers to be appropriate. And it makes one wonder exactly what sort of political atmosphere exists in his office which would allow a staff member to assume that such behavior was acceptable.
Update: Joe Jervis has received confirmation that the comment did indeed come from Chambliss’ office. The identity of the commenter may come tomorrow.
Vote Count on ending DADT looks positive
May 26th, 2010
From the Chronicle
Supporters said Wednesday the Senate Armed Services Committee has enough votes to approve a bill overturning the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
The prediction came after several lawmakers on the panel signaled their support, including Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat from Nebraska who had been considered a holdout.
“In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy encourages deceit,” Nelson said of the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.
If it is presented to the full Senate by the SASC as part of the Defense Authorization Bill, it would require 60 votes to sever it, and is likely to survive the process. The ‘someday when the military decides it’s ready’ provisions may provide the cover for moderate Democrats and Republicans to not fight the issue.
In the House, anti-gay Republicans led by Buck McKeon are trying to use a ‘amend the amendment’ ploy to add endless ‘study’ provisions and delay a vote indefinitely. This probably will not be allowed by the Rules Committee.
US Senate condemns Uganda’s Kill the Gays Bill
April 15th, 2010
The U.S. Senate yesterday unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Ugandan Parliament to reject a proposed bill that would impose harsh penalties—including life imprisonment and the death penalty—against gay people.
The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), “encourages” the U.S. Secretary of State to “closely monitor human rights abuses that occur because of sexual orientation and to encourage the repeal or reform of laws.”