The Situation by Rick Murray
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The War on Christmas Has Begun!


Actually, like anything else related to the holidays, the War on Christmas began back in September, when the American Family Association (AFA) sent out one of their signature action alerts letting their minions know that Gap stores are not Christmas-friendly. AFA eventually called for a boycott of Gap stores, including Banana Republic and Old Navy, when Gap …

The Situation by Rick Murray

 

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The War on Christmas Has Begun!


Actually, like anything else related to the holidays, the War on Christmas began back in September, when the American Family Association (AFA) sent out one of their signature action alerts letting their minions know that Gap stores are not Christmas-friendly. AFA eventually called for a boycott of Gap stores, including Banana Republic and Old Navy, when Gap released a commercial that failed “to use the word ‘Christmas’ in its advertising to Christmas shoppers.”

 

situation3Forget for a moment that the commercial did mention Christmas first in a string of holidays celebrated during this festive season. On second thought, forget about the boycott altogether – the AFA suspended it two weeks ago in anticipation of a new commercial that they hope will prove Gap understands the true meaning of Christmas. In case you may have forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas is, AFA conveniently posts links in its bulletins advising visitors to purchase large quantities of buttons that say, “God’s gift – Merry Christmas!” The buttons are available on the AFA’s web store, which is chock full of other of Christmas-themed items for sale.

 

The AFA has had a terrific history of successful boycotts, at least if you ask them. Their announcement ending their two-year boycott of Ford for providing financial support to gay organizations and organizations that support same-sex marriage and civil unions boasted that Ford suffered an 8% drop in sales during the boycott. They do admit that their boycott wasn’t entirely responsible for the drop in sales, but they don’t acknowledge that gas prices went through the roof during their boycott and that Ford’s car sales remained strong while sales of gas-guzzling trunks tanked. AFA’s crowning achievement was their nearly ten-year boycott of Disney for, among other reasons, supporting the gay agenda. They called off their boycott after Michael Eisner left the company but never achieved victory: Disney’s bottom line was unaffected, they did not change their domestic partner benefits plans and we still have GayDays.

 

Win, Lose or Draw?


Last week’s vote on the marriage equality bill in the New York Senate was another devastating blow to those in our community who want nothing more than the right to marry the man or woman of their choosing, regardless of either party’s gender. Governor David Paterson does not seem like he’s giving up. In a press release Paterson pointed out that the Supreme Court legalized slavery above the 36th parallel in the Dred Scott decision five years before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. “I understand the anger; I understand the frustration; I understand the feeling of betrayal; and I understand the profound disappointment of those who came to Albany today thinking they could get married tomorrow. But I am also here to tell you that we are not back to square one.” It sounds as if he’s quoting a famous Governator: “I’ll be back.”

 

New York’s neighbor, New Jersey, is on a short fuse to pass marriage equality. A bill is supposed to come up for a vote this week and Governor John Corzine has said he will sign the bill into law if it’s passed. Corzine’s term expires in January; his successor, Chris Christie, has indicated he will veto such legislation if it comes before him.

 

Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law went into effect last week.

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How Can You Tell?


While it appears that any chance of action on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) has been kicked down the road into 2010, President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan has reignited the discussion. In a recent press conference, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seemed to dance around the issue of the strain on our forces when a reporter inquired about Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ position on possible repeal of DADT. Gibbs simultaneously acknowledged that our troops were stretched thin and that the Joint Chiefs felt “they could meet the force requirement without interrupting what they had instituted in order to provide that time at home and away from the tour of duty,” making the discussion about rotation duration and breaks instead of DADT. Or did “without interrupting what they had instituted” refer specifically to DADT as a part of their plan?

 

One thing is certain: you cannot have a discussion on the repeal of DADT without hearing from those who will be most affected by it. Straight and closeted soldiers have been polled more times than, well, there have been a lot of polls tilted in favor of and against the repeal of DADT, but the voices of those most affected, gay and lesbian soldiers, have been limited due to very nature of the law. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) has introduced a bill that would permit gay and lesbian soldiers to testify before Congress with immunity. In an Associated Press interview, Hastings is reported as saying Congress needs “reliable and relevant witnesses at its disposal if the House holds hearings next year.” Hastings, who so far has 27 co-sponsors for the bill, puts it succinctly when he said, “In my judgment, it’s just a question of fairness.”

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