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Posts for February, 2012

NOM’s sad little dishonest “survey”

Timothy Kincaid

February 2nd, 2012

What do you do when all the polls are against you? What do you do when accurately reporting social attitudes demonstrates that you are outside the mainstream and that people aren’t buying your arguments anymore. What do you do to justify your continued ‘defense of the family’ when it becomes clear that ‘the family’ doesn’t want your defense?

Well, if you are the National Organization for Marriage, you make sh!t up. And what better way than to conduct your own “survey” of the attitudes of Washington voters and pass it off as meaningful. Here’s what they say about their little survey.

When reminded that Washington State has a civil union law for gay couples, 57% of voters say it is not necessary to redefine marriage. 72% of voters think state lawmakers should work on other issues rather than same-sex marriage. A nearly identical number -71% of voters—believe the people should decide the marriage issue; only 9% think legislators should decide the matter.

“If the Washington Legislature wants to change the definition of marriage, which 57% of voters oppose, NOM calls on them to give this decision to voters. Thirty-one other states have been able to vote on the definition of marriage, and Washington voters deserve the same opportunity,” Brown said. “Voters have made it clear in this survey that they alone should decide the marriage issue—not legislators. Let the people vote.”

But reading the actual survey is just funny. They tried everything they could to get desired results from this “survey” and still Washingtonians didn’t give them what they wanted. And while the survey is meaningless from a social survey standpoint, it does illustrate how dishonest NOM actually is willing to be.

First, NOM stacked the deck. Choosing an age sample that understated those under 45 and overstate those over 65 by about 3-4%. They also found a sample that is 36% conservative and 34% liberal on social issues. In Washington. And in a state that voted for Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama (with an 18 point spread), their sample is 37% leaning Democrat and 35% leaning Republican.

And then NOM played the ‘push poll’ game, setting up language to try and jostle participants into giving them an answer that they can use for political gain. It’s a very common tactic of politicians, but it is despicable and immoral when used by a group that pretends to be protecting the voters.

The first question is about whether the participant is a voter. No problem. But then it is followed by three ‘set-up’ questions designed to place the participant as an opponent to the legislature: 2) is Washington going in the right direction or wrong track, and 3) how would you rate the job performance of Gov. Gregoire and 4) the legislature. Rating categories were excellent, good, only fair, poor, other.

“Only fair” is an interesting option. Usually “fair” stands alone, as an indication of acceptable but not particularly laudable. However, by adding “only”, NOM poisons this option and takes it from “okay” and implies a failure. This intentional shading was necessary in order to push the participant into being suspicious of the legislature and governor.

And then come the marriage questions. And the first one is just laughable obvious.

5. As you probably know, since 2010 Washington has had a civil union law which gives gay couples all the legal rights of married couples. Now some people want to pass a new law, which changes the definiton of marriage, so that it is no longer between a man and a woman, but between any two people. Do you feel it is necessary or not necessary to pass now a new law which changes the definition of marriage in this way?

36% Necessary
57% Not Necessary
7% Don’t Know / No Response

Any two people. Hmmm. Like, say, siblings or parent and child or fundamentalist Mormon and his unwilling 14 year old bride, or you and the girl down the street that put out a restraining order on you. Any two people… yeah, that’s just a lie. Not a misstatement, not a convenient term for a complex issue. Nope. Just a lie.

And is it “necessary now”? Well, considering the economy and other issues of concern, having 36% say that it’s necessary now is a HUGE failure for NOM.

6. Who do you think should decide what the definition of marriage is in Washington state: should it be defined by the courts, or should it be defined by the state legislature, or should it be defined by the voters of the state?

8% Defined by the courts
9% Defined by the Legislature
71% Defined by the voters
12% Don’t know / no response

Okay. That’s probably somewhat reflective of their views.

7. If you were able to speak today with your local state legislator, would you tell him or her that passing a new which charges the definition of marriage is something you want the state legislature to work on at this time, or would you tell him or her that the state legislature should work on solving other problems?

23% Work on marriage law
72% Work on solving other problems
4% Don’t know/no response

Again, colossal fail for NOM. A quarter of Washington residents think that marriage equality is more important than anything else.

But here is the clincher. Here is the question to which everything was geared. Here is the answer that NOM has been driving for:

8. And if you were able to speak today with your local state legislator, would you tell him or her to vote for this new law which changes the definition of marriage, so that it is no longer between a man and a woman but between any two people, or to vote against this change?

42% Vote for new marriage law
49% Vote against marriage change
10% Don’t know / No Response

Having done everything they could to stack the survey population and the skew the poll to show that “the people” don’t want equality, still they couldn’t get more than half to say to vote against the bill. Having gotten participants to agree that it wasn’t necessary or more important than other matters and that it should be up to “the voters”, still 42% said to vote for the “any two people” bill.

Oh, NOM, you are a sad little group, aren’t you? Unethical, immoral, dishonest, and still losing your culture war over the hearts and minds of decent people.

Washington Senate says yes to equality

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012

Tonight the Washington State Senate voted with a bipartisan majority to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples: 28 – 21.

Now it goes to the House where passage is nearly certain and to Governor Gregoire for signature.

Anti-gays will collect signatures to get it on the ballot, but that is all a possible future and tonight we rejoice.

Minor amendment may get two more GOP Senate votes in Washington

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012

Josh Feit at PubliCola is reporting that two more Washington State Republican Senators may vote for marriage equality tonight if they can amend the proposed bill slightly.

Sens. Fain and Hill will vote for the marriage bill if a couple of friendly amendments are passed to clarify that clergy and religious institutions do not have to recognize gay marriage for things such as premarital counsel.

I have no problem with that. They already can refuse the perform the service, not allow their sanctuary, or meeting hall. I can’t see any problem with saying, “Okay, Rev. Joe, you don’t have to give gay couples premarital counseling if its against your religion.” I can’t imagine why anyone would want premarital counseling from someone who is going to counsel you not to marry.

UPDATE: Fain Both Fain and Hill joined Republican Senators Litzow and Pflug and 25 24 Democrats to pass this bill with a healthy bipartisan majority of 28 -21.

Now Amazon

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012

Now that anti-gays cannot go to Macy’s or even JC Penny’s to buy a shirt, can’t drink coffee or dine out in Seattle, and can’t use Windows write their screeds, their options for social survival were slim. But they still could use some smartphones to buy things online. Now even that is tougher.

“Amazon is joining other Pacific Northwest companies, including Microsoft, Starbucks and Nike, in support of Washington state’s marriage equality bills,” Amazon said in a statement released by spokeswoman Mary Osako. “The spirit of these bills is consistent with our longstanding employment practices.”

I think that if those anti-gays really believe in the sanctity of special privileges for themselves, then they have a moral obligation to personally boycott every single company that supports equality. Forever. And no weaning off, or making threats; live up to your convictions starting right now. God is watching.

If it helps, I think Chick-fil-a if you stock up for the week.

The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, February 1

Jim Burroway

February 1st, 2012

TODAY’S AGENDA:
New Hampshire Legislature May Vote On Marriage Repeal: Concord, NH. Word has it that the New Hampshire legislature may bring a bill to repeal marriage equality up for a vote today. While Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both houses, it’s unclear whether they will have the votes to override Gov. John Lynch’s (D) promised veto. A number of Republicans have come out against repealing marriage equality, while others are keeping mum simply because they want the whole issue to go away. As one former Republican House speaker explained, “It’s kind of one of those issues we’re going to have to deal with but wish we didn’t have to, in my opinion.” Marriage equality has been the law of the land since January 1, 2010.

Washington Senate to Vote On Marriage Equality: Olympia, WA. At the other end of the country from New Hampshire, the Washington state Senate is expected to vote on marriage equality later this afternoon or early evening. Twenty-five Senators, including two Republicans, have pledged their support for the proposal, providing the minimum needed for passage in that chamber. A similar bill is awaiting committee action in the House.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Langston Hughes: 1902.  He was one of the innovators of a new form of poetry: jazz poetry. And it’s his poetry that he is best known for. Born in Joplin, Missouri, he moved to New York City to attend Columbia, but was more interested in the goings-on in Harlem. He traveled throughout the world, and while his writings reflect those travels, he remained rooted in the experience of the Harlem Renaissance. His 1934 collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks, tells of the intersection of black and white, and his screen play for Way Down South came out in the same year as Gone With the Wind. He remained closeted for his entire life, although some say that if you ignore the pronouns you can see hints of homoeroticism in some of his poems. Other unpublished poems appear to have been written to a black male lover. Another short story, Blessed Assurance,” deals with a father’s anger over his son’s “queerness.” But his finances were always precarious, and he would not have been able to afford the fallout of openness about his sexuality. He died in 1967 after abdominal surgery, and his ashes are interred at the Arthur Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Washington marriage bill now up for tomorrow’s Senate vote

Timothy Kincaid

January 31st, 2012

AP

The Senate Rules Committee voted Tuesday to advance the measure for a vote by the full chamber with Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, president of the Senate, saying that he has emphasized tolerance and diversity at state schools for decades, which would make it “hypocritical for me to not support this bill.”

“For me, this is not a religious question,” said Owen, a Democrat. “It’s a legal question.”

The committee advanced the bill on a 14-7 vote, with six of the seven Republicans on the committee in opposition. Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, voted to advance it. She is one of two Republican senators who have said they will support the measure.

The Senate vote Wednesday is expected to come in late afternoon or early evening.

The count is 25, the minimum needed. Hope and pray that no one decides at the last minute to betray their conscience and sense of fairness and decency.

WA Senate to Vote On Marriage Equality Wednesday

Jim Burroway

January 30th, 2012

The Washington State Senate has scheduled a  vote on SB 6239, the bill to provide marriage quality, on Wednesday. Undoubtedly, anti-equality proponents are already lining up their minions to try to pressure key state Senators to switch their votes after last week’s announcement that marriage supporters have the votes needed for passage with bipartisan support. If you’re a Washington voter or resident, you can find your Senator here.

Meanwhile, across the Capitol, the state’s House Judiciary Committee approved that chamber’s marriage bill 7-6 on a straight party line vote. The bill will next go to a fiscal committee, but a date for the hearing hasn’t been set.

Opponents vow to collect signatures for a referendum to veto the measure if it passes the legislature and is signed into law.

Horses

Jim Burroway

January 25th, 2012

Box turtles, ducks, house plants, robots — and horses:

And of course, (Seattle-area pastor Ken) Hutcherson goes there: “If this law is passed, what is going to happen? Now ask your guests in the studio. Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything?

Horses, huh? The problem with Hutcherson (aside from the the obvious batshittery-craziness) is that he’s not very original.

We have the votes in Washington

Timothy Kincaid

January 23rd, 2012

Seattle Intelligencer

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, announced Monday that she supports gay-marriage legislation in the Senate, giving proponents the 25 votes needed for passage.

The state House already has enough lawmakers in support of the measure to approve it. Gov. Chris Gregoire backs the bill as well.

And with the pressure of “25th Vote” now gone, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of the remaining ‘undecided’ Senators votes for marriage as well.

Of course it isn’t over until it’s over. But absent any bizarre and unexpected shifts of fate (or politics) equality in the State of Washington is just a matter of days away.

Washington Catholic Bishops demean gay parents

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2012

Arrogance can be blinding. And the arrogance that the Roman Catholic Bishops hold in their perception of their role in society often leads them to make statements that only make sense to those who share their presumptions, prejudices and undying belief that the Catholic Church dictates what is real simply by declaring it so.

And in their blinding arrogance, Bishops in the State of Washington have released a letter that is so disdainful of gay parents, adoptive parents, and those who require help with fertility that I believe it will only serve to further illustrate how ignorant and out-of-touch the Catholic Church has become. Perhaps staying within the realm of religious doctrine their words could be given some respect, but posed as declarations about objective reality and public policy, their advice on the proposed marriage bill is laughable … and disgusting.

Married couples who bring children into the world make particular sacrifices and take on unique risks and obligations for the good of society. For this reason the state has long understood that it has a compelling interest in recognizing and supporting these mothers and fathers through a distinct category of laws. Were the definition of marriage to change, there would be no special laws to support and recognize the irreplaceable contribution that these married couples make to society and to the common good by bringing to life the next generation.

Upholding the present definition of marriage does not depend on anyone’s religious beliefs. Washington State’s present law defining marriage as “a civil contract between a male and a female” is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society. It recognizes the value of marriage as a bond of personal relationships, but also in terms of the unique and irreplaceable potential of a man and woman to conceive and nurture new life, thus contributing to the continuation of the human race. A change in legislation would mean that the state would no longer recognize the unique sacrifices and contributions made by these couples, thereby adding to the forces already undermining family life today.

You see, heterosexuals make “sacrifices and contributions” that are “unique and irreplaceable”. The rest of you are just slackers.

Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are past the preferred adoption age – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are born addicted to heroin – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are mixed-race and hard to place – slackers. Those same-sex couples who adopt kids who are infected with HIV or have other special needs – slackers. These same-sex couples who carefully plan to have a family and wait until they can afford to do so without being a burden to anyone else – slackers. Those same-sex couples who step in when heterosexuals abuse and rape and torture their own offspring and who give endless hours of love and attention – there’s no sacrifice or contribution to society there. Nope, just slackers.

And you can ask anyone in adoption services – anyone in child protection – anyone in foster care administration who they turn to when no one else is willing to take a kid. It isn’t the Catholic Church; they care so little for children that they’d close adoption services rather than be seen treating their gay neighbors like themselves. And it’s not just a meme or a stereotype or PR, it’s a simple fact – gay couples take the kids that no one else will take. The damn slackers.

But when little Mary Catherine McPlaidskirt and Michael Joseph Illpullout have their backseat tryst and then rush into a Holy Union before they pop out the 6,988,281,769th human – and immediately get on public assistance – they are making “particular sacrifices” and taking on “unique risks and obligations for the good of society”.

Fortunately, this is not only offensive to gay couples, it’s offensive to those who have friends who are gay or infertile or adopted or who have ever been in a position where they were unable to provide for a child and took the responsible step of seeking a better home. Frankly, it’s insulting to anyone with even a modicum of mental capability.

Keep it up, Catholic Church. You may just reach the place where your opposition is so absurd and spiteful that it is all that is needed to ensure success.

Republican support for marriage grows in Washington State

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2012

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat notes a Republican county official who is taking a risk by supporting equality.

Reagan Dunn on Monday also said he supports allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

Dunn is a King County Council member. His blood bleeds so Republican his mother named him after Ronald Reagan. And he’s running statewide this year, to be attorney general — which means he is this state’s highest-profile Republican, by far, to come out for gay marriage.

It also means he’s out stumping for GOP money and votes not just in liberal King County, but in the reddest of red counties. Not to mention trying to rally the party’s base of social and church conservatives to his cause.

Westneat notes that there are now five elected Republicans who have in the past week come publicly on board. Let’s hope it’s a trend

Equality in WA picks up 23rd supporting Senator

Timothy Kincaid

January 13th, 2012

Yesterday we reported that Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell was undeclared on whether to support the proposed marriage bill. She has now read the bill, discussed the matter with her constituents, and KEPRTV is reporting that she has pledged her support to its passage: “Now is the time to support marriage for all families.”

Two more to go.

Washington: AP’s vote count shows hope for Senate

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2012

The State of Washington will be introducing an equality bill next week which will treat gay citizens who wish to marry the same as heterosexual citizens who wish to marry. The vote is expected to pass the House will little trouble, but the vote in the Senate is close. However the Associated Press reached out to the Senate members to get a feeling of where the votes lie. There are 49 Senators, so in order for the bill to pass, the support of 25 is required.

Here is what they found:

Sen. Cheryl Pflug

22 yes, including 20 Democrats and 2 Republicans. In addition to the previously mentioned Sen. Steve Litzow, Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug indicated her support.

“I don’t feel diminished when another human being is allowed to exercise the same rights that I enjoy. I would feel diminished if I voted to deny others the right to exercise those same rights and freedoms.”

18 no, including 2 Democrats and 16 Republicans. Among the Republicans is Sen. Curtis King of Yakima who supported the domestic partnerships bill but does not feel ready to support full equality.

6 uncommitted, including 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D – Bothell) is leaning in favor of support and Democrats Brian Hatfield of Raymond, Jim Kastama of Puyallup and Paull Shin of Edmonds have previously voted against expanding rights but are now considering supporting the equality bill. Freshmen Republicans Sens. Joe Fain of Auburn and Andy Hill of Redmond are talking with their constituents before they make a determination either way.

Which leaves 3 about which the AP doesn’t provide information.

If supporters of equality can pick up three of the nine uncertain votes, then marriage equality is assured in the legislature.

Almost certainly opponents would begin collecting signatures to bring that vote to a referendum of the electorate. Anti-gay activists in 2009 found it very difficult to collect enough signatures to Ref. 71 on the ballot. As this is marriage rather than domestic partnerships it might be easier to collect signatures. But, on the other hand, anti-gay activists in Washington may be discouraged and find few willing to commit the time and energy into a project that they fear will only lose and start a trend towards voter-approved equality.

This promises to live up to Washington’s reputation for nail-biting situations.

Washington equality quest goes bipartisan

Timothy Kincaid

January 9th, 2012

20120109-072539.jpg

The Seattle Times reports a happy event:

SOMETIMES it takes just one individual to stand on principle and let others follow. State Sen. Steve Litzow announced he will be the first Republican in the Senate to support gay marriage.

“I am a traditional Republican,” explained Litzow. “When you think about gay marriage, it’s the right thing to do and it’s very consistent with the tenets of being a Republican — such as individual freedom and personal responsibility.”

While the vote is certain in the House, the state Senate is less sure. Although Democrats have a healthy majority, some are not supporters of equality. This early and unequivocal support from Litzow may shame reluctant Democrats and encourage other Republicans and is very welcome.

Washingtonians support equality

Timothy Kincaid

January 8th, 2012

The residents of the state of Washington support equality. With a strong margin.

The University of Washington, Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality operates the Washington Poll, a non-partisan telephone survey of registered voters. They have a relatively decent accuracy record and can be considered a reputable measure of the attitudes of the voters in the state.

In October they conducted a poll of the attitudes of Washingtonians about marriage equality and are finally releasing the results. The key finding is:

Next year the legislature could pass a law allowing gay and lesbian couples to get married. If that happens, there could be a referendum in which voters would be asked to approve or reject the law. If such a referendum were held today:
Would you vote YES — that is, to keep a law in place allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry OR would you vote NO, against the law — to make it so that gay and lesbian couples could not marry?

47% – Yes – keep law in place – strongly
8% – Yes – keep the law in place – not strong
7% – No – against the law – not strong
31% – No – against the law – strongly
7% – Undecided

The breakout was skewed pretty much as one might expect with Seattle area residents supporting marriage by 63% with Eastern Washington dropping to 43%. Democrats were 84% supportive with Republicans at 24% and Independents at 54%.

When presented with multiple options, support for full equality dropped.

43% – full equality
22% – everything but the name (status quo)
15% – limited domestic partnership benefits
17% – no rights at all
3% – don’t know

However, the poll illustrated something fascinating. Many of those who prefer full legal rights without the status of marriage would still support the legislature if they voted for marriage and would vote to uphold such a bill if brought to referendum. Even a quarter of those who prefer limited rights or no rights at all would vote to uphold the decision of the legislature.

With this sort of evidence, the legislature should feel confident in supporting equality.

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