Hate on Trial
Prop H8 on Trial
The makers of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot measure that ended marriage equality in the state, were quick to jump up and declare their opposition to same-sex couples marrying and to rally for a ballot measure so everyone could vote on what should be the private right of two people to choose who they wish to become a family with; they aren’t so quick to display the courage of their convictions in a court of law.
Prop H8 on Trial
The makers of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot measure that ended marriage equality in the state, were quick to jump up and declare their opposition to same-sex couples marrying and to rally for a ballot measure so everyone could vote on what should be the private right of two people to choose who they wish to become a family with; they aren’t so quick to display the courage of their convictions in a court of law. Proposition 8 is being challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds by attorneys (and Newsweek cover boys) David Boies and Ted Olson, who are arguing that, from a conservative perspective, Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. There was, of course, a great deal of legal wrangling, arguing and appealing surrounding one judge’s decision to videotape the proceedings, but like those in Washington State who didn’t want their signatures on petitions to revoke the rights of others made public, the instigators and supporters of Prop. 8 began scurrying like roaches from light when it came time to defend their position in court. The mere idea of televising or otherwise recording the proceedings for broadcast was unacceptable (out of fear for retribution) to those who supported Prop. 8. The first to drop out was Hak-Shing William Tam, who reportedly feared for his life after being threatened (by the Velvet Mafia?). Tam did not receive a free pass; instead, he was removed as a defendant and placed on the plaintiff’s list as a hostile witness after a taped deposition in which he referred to states allowing marriage equality as falling “into Satan’s hands” was entered as evidence. Two expert witnesses (Ph.D.s) who were dropped by the defense amid alleged concerns for their safety had their videotaped depositions posted on YouTube by the American Foundation for Equal Rights. In these videos both witnesses appeared to agree that “equal marriage would increase family stability, improve the lives of children, and that gay men and lesbians have faced a long history of discrimination including violence.” (Both videos have been removed from YouTube.) So far testimony by those defending Prop. 8 aren’t gaining legal ground. You can track the highlights, arguments, follow significant announcements and read transcripts of each day’s proceedings at EqualRightsFoundation.org
As a related side dish, Cindy McCain, wife of former Republican presidential candidate and Senator John McCain, has lent her well-(over) lit face to Adam Rouska’s NoH8 campaign.
Much Ado About Outing
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards recently announced their nominees for 2010. Nominees for Outstanding Documentary include “Ask Not (PBS), “Be Like Others” (HBO), Derek (The Sundance Channel), “The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls” (Diva Productions) and “U People” (Logo). Notably missing is Kirby Dick’s “Outrage.” For some this not a news item, for others it is grounds for a good old fashioned cat fight. “Outrage,” a film many consider one of the better gay films to be released recently, focuses partly on the work Mike Rogers of BlogActive.com has done outing closeted gay politicians that are on the record as having sided with anti-gay policies (think Larry Craig). Both Rogers and Michelangelo Signorile have gone on the record expressing their disappointment (or is it outrage?) at what has been referred to as a snub. GLAAD offered, in their defense, “The GLAAD Media Awards are about elevating and promoting the fair, accurate and inclusive stories of LGBT issues, people and allies that have increased awareness, understanding and respect for our lives and our pursuit of equality.” While journalists, activists and out gay politicians were interviewed or profiled, the issue GLAAD appears to have with the film has to do with outing people who work against the LGBT community: “While there is certainly an argument that is made for speculating on the sexual orientation of anti-LGBT politicians in an effort to hold them accountable for the harms they inflict on our community, that sort of speculation doesn’t promote awareness, understanding and respect for our lives and thus does not fit the criteria for the GLAAD Media Awards.” No one disagrees that the film is controversial or even well done (GLAAD even refers to it as a fine film), but the criticisms of GLAAD go so far as to accuse the organization of enabling the closet cases that do harm to our community. By not giving the film an award?
Liberty University Pulls Out
The Situation recently reported on GOProud’s co-sponsorship of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an event that looks more like a platform for social conservatism rather than political. Among the proud sponsors of the conference joining GOProud are anti-gay groups such as Concerned Women for America, National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family Action. Several conservative groups were appalled that an organization that supports marriage equality might be presented an opportunity to debate their position; their fears were partially calmed when the organizers let them know that GOProud will not be given a chance at the podium. That didn’t satisfy Liberty University, the Christian university founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell, and they have withdrawn from the event. In a statement explaining the reason for their withdrawal Mat Staver said, “You wouldn’t expect… a co-sponsor to actively work to undermine another co-sponsor, and that is in fact what GOProud does.” Part of me wonders if the real reason is because of what they fear might happen when you mix gay Republicans with college students…