Posts Tagged As: Delaware

Social Issues Rise In Tea Party Politics

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

Jim Burroway

September 15th, 2010

Dick Armey

Dick Armey, speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Sept. 13. "That fight (on social issues) will be had."

Last weekend, Dick Armey, Director of FreedomWorks which is the political organization which organized the Tea Party movement nationwide as a disguised “astroturf” campaign of seemingly spontaneous grass-roots organizations, commented at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor that once their planned takeover of Congress is complete, the Tea Party will switch from economic issues to social issues. Armey rejected the idea that there would be a truce on social issues, saying “these are issues of the heart.”

While he claimed that the Tea Party’s first priority is economic issues, Armey admitted that social issues, which the Tea Party has been studiously silent on (except when some of them go off script), will also be part of their agenda. “”People are not going to turn their hearts and minds away from things that they have so heartfelt,” he said, and he cited abortion as only “one a little example.”

And that is why the insurgency of the Tea Party should concern us all. Yesterday, Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell won the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Delaware. In the early 1990’s, she was the founder and leader of a group called the Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT), which hired Wade Richards as their ex-gay spokesman. He later abandoned the ex-gay movement while coming out in an article in The Advocate in 2000. In 1996, she launched a campaign against masturbation on MTV.

Delaware Tea Party nominee for U.S. Senate Christine O'Donnell

O’Donnell, who was once the press secretary for “Concerned Women for America,” believes in Creationism over evolution, and is against admitting women to military academies. “It’s an honor to be a lady, she wrote.  “That’s a beautiful part of womanhood is to be ladylike. ” She claimed that West Point “has had to lower their standards … in order for men and women to compete.” By lowering standards, she added, “we have reduced the effectiveness of our military.” One can very easily hear echoes of anti-gay talking points in the current debate over repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in those remarks.

Tea party leaders have been eager to paint the so-called “spontaneous” movement as being strictly concerned with economic issues. But as the movement pushes the GOP further to the right on economic issues, it will have the effect of pushing it harder to the right on social issues as well, and that will provoke many difficult challenges for the gay community should the Tea Party capture a significant block of seats in Congress. To pretend that the Tea Party’s only interest is in economic issues is, as Dick Armey points out in so many words, naive. That idea rests on the fictional belief that Tea Party members have checked their anti-gay animus at the door. They haven’t. They’ve just hidden it in their closets for the time being.

Nazi’s get blamed for the darndest things

Timothy Kincaid

June 18th, 2010

Godwin’s rule says “”As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Well, it appears that Godwin’s Law applies to political rhetoric offline as well.

Take for example this very creative take on history from Glen Urquhart, a Republican congressional candidate in Delaware. Mr. Urquhart appears to be explaining why it is that he supports a theocracy.

Urquhart: Do you know where this phrase, “Separation of church and state” comes from? Anybody know?

Unidentified man: I do

I know. But I’m the history teacher.

It was a letter.

Urquhart: Actually, that’s exactly not in Jefferson’s letter to Dansbury Baptist. He was reassuring them that our government wouldn’t transform their religion.

The exact phrase, “Separation of Church and State” came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth. That’s where it comes from.

Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of church and state, ask them why they’re Nazis.

Perhaps Urquhart should have listened more closely to the history teacher and less to the AFA’s Bryan Fischer. On January 1, 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Danbury Baptist Association in which he included the following now-famous phrase:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

And I’m pretty sure that Thomas Jefferson was not a Nazi.

Delaware Passes Non-Discrimination Bill

Timothy Kincaid

June 25th, 2009

Delaware Online:

Gays and lesbians in Delaware will have legal protection from discrimination under a bill that passed the General Assembly late Wednesday night, more than a decade after supporters started fighting for it.

The House chamber erupted in applause, cheers and hugs when representatives passed the measure shortly after 8:30 p.m. An hour earlier, the Senate — where previous versions of the legislation always were killed — passed the same bill after a three-hour debate.

The bill now goes to Gov. Jack Markell for his signature. Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, who helped push the bill through the House, said Markell has expressed support for it.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is now banned in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations and insurance. The bill passed both houses by large margins with strong bi-partisan support.

Remember when this would have been national front page news? It is still a very important step and good news for Delaware citizens. And we still have many states in which blatant discrimination against gay persons is completely legal.

But it is a measure of how far we have come that these benefits seem ordinary rather than astonishing.

State Marriage Equality Update

Timothy Kincaid

April 9th, 2009

There has been a lot of movement recently in various states on the issue of recognition for same-sex couples. Here is a brief synopsis (I apologize if I missed anything):

Arkansas – on March 27, a bill was killed that would have banned cities and counties from creating domestic partner registries.

California – the State Supreme Court is deliberating on whether Proposition 8 is constitutional and, if so, what impact it has on the 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June and November 2008.

Colorado – at least two initiative drives are underway to either change the constitution to allow for gay marriage or alternately to statutorily create civil unions. The legislature has just passed a Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act, which has been signed by the Governor.

Connecticut – last week codified – with bipartisan support – marriage equality in the state\’s laws to agree with the decision of the state Supreme Court.

Delaware – proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage defeated in the Senate in the last week in March.

Hawaii – Civil Unions bill was tied up in committee. Although the bill has a strong majority of support in the Senate, they voted not to pull it from committee.

Illinois – a bill (HB 0178) has been introduced to legalize same-sex marriage along with a bill (HB 2234) to enact Civil Unions. The marriage bill is resting in the Rules Committee but the Civil Unions bill passed out of committee in March and now faces a House vote.

Iowa – last week the Supreme Court found that the state must recognize same-sex marriage. It will go into effect on April 27. The Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Speaker of the House have all announced that they will oppose efforts to change the Constitution. Iowa has no initiative process so it would require a change in leadership and several years before it would be possible to revoke this right.

Maine – both a marriage bill and a civil unions bill are before the legislature. The Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on April 24. Gov. John Baldacci is “keeping an open mind”.

Maryland – on April 7, the State Senate upgraded benefits offered to same-sex couples in domestic partnership relationships but do not allow for official state recognition of those relationships.

Minnesota – there is a bill before the legislature to provide new marriage equality. It is unlikely to pass.

Nevada – a bill to provide Domestic Partnerships with all the rights and obligations of marriage has passed out of committee and is before the Senate.

New Hampshire – at the end of March the House passed a bill to allow for gay marriage. It will be considered by the Senate, where Democrats have a 14-9 advantage (a dozen Republicans in the House supported the bill). Governor John Lynch has not stated whether he will veto the legislation, should it pass.

New Jersey – a commission has found that civil unions are inadequate and polls have found that residents favor gay marriage but a bill before the legislature appears not to be moving.

New Mexico – in March the Senate defeated efforts to enact Domestic Partnerships.

New York – the Governor has announced that he will push for a vote in the Senate on gay marriage. Although marriage equality has passed in the House, without support from some Republicans, the votes do not appear to be there in the Senate.

Rhode Island – a gay marriage bill is unlikely to make it out of committee. A “reciprocal beneficiary agreements” bill, a darling of anti-gays who want to label gay couples as identical to roommates or cousins, has been proposed as a “compromise”.

Vermont – this week the legislature overrode the governor\’s veto to pass marriage equality.

Washington – a bill to upgrade the state\’s Domestic Partnerships to provide all the rights and obligations of marriage has passed the Senate and will come before the House soon.

West Virginia – last week the House of Delegates defeated a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

Wisconsin – the Supreme Court is being asked to review the constitutional ban on marriage. The Governor, in his budget, has proposed Domestic Partnership benefits.

Wyoming – in February the House defeated a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

District of Columbia – the Council voted unanimously to recognize out of state marriages. Same-sex marriage bill expected later this year.

Delaware Legislature Affirms Gay Residents

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2009

WBOC is reporting on two bills that would impact gay residents:

The first measure, Senate Bill 27, would have reinforced Delaware’s ban on gay marriage. That proposed constitutional amendment failed in the Senate Thursday.

The House though did pass a measure to make it illegal to discriminate against gay people when it comes to everything from employment to buying homes. The bill now goes over to the Senate for consideration. Gov. Jack Markell said Thursday he supports the bill.

At the last minute, the bill was “clarified” to allow for Civil Unions (replaced with SS 1). But that did not gain it enough support.

BWOC’s Jeremy Tucker can barely contain his disappointment.

Senate bill 27 failed despite the efforts of hundreds of protestors who gathered at Legislative Hall to support the measure. Supporters argued they wanted to make sure marriage remained between a man and a woman.

No word on whether Senate Bill 27 will be re-introduced.

Sorry newsguy, but constitutional amendments require a 2/3 vote of both houses. The Senate rejected this bill by 11 to 9 (with one not voting). If it can’t get a simple majority, then it’s dead.

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