Category Archives: 2008 election

Get Wanda Sykes in Their Face

Patricia A. Gozemba
For those who doubt the efficacy of nation-wide rallies like last Saturday’s about Prop 8, I have two words: Wanda Sykes. It was worth dragging thousands of us out from Honolulu to Portland, Maine to have Wanda Sykes show up at a Las Vegas rally and come out to the world.

 Married for just 10 days before the Prop 8 vote torpedoed marriage equality in California, Sykes and her wife are in marriage limbo along with 17, 999 other couples. Hopefully Sykes’s public reflection on being in the closet will resonate with those in the LGBT community, still not ready to come out.

When Sykes told the crowd, “You know, I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn’t feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life. Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay. But that’s the way people should be able to live their lives. Now, I gotta get in their face.”

Yeah, Wanda, we all have to come out. We can assume that people who voted for Prop 8 didn’t know that you were gay. Maybe that would have shifted opinions. I can imagine a great 30 second ad with you and your wife. California could have used some gay people in their ads for sure. The elegant logic in “Wanda Sykes on Gay Marriage,” is a winner. “If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same-sex.”

Okay, Wanda, now that you’re out, I want more. You were right “our community was attacked” by the vote on Prop 8.  Your logic, “We shouldn’t have to be out here demanding something that we should automatically have as citizens of this country.” Wanda, tell the world. Feel free to get in the face of those who don’t believe that you are as good as they are. It will make a difference. Everyone’s coming out does.

Yes We Can

Last week, America voted for hope, not fear. For peace, not war. For love, not hatred. The election of Barack Obama represents what is best in the American spirit—fairness, equality, respect for hardworking people, a belief in a better tomorrow. It has been a long time coming. As Obama has said again and again over the last 21 months, America is a nation defined by its continued desire to form “a more perfect union.”

Unfortunately, for the LGBT community, voters who went to the polls in record numbers on Tuesday, voted their fears on the issues that matter to us most—respect for our families. We lost votes on marriage equality in three states: California, Florida and Arizona. And in Arkansas, voters banned unmarried couples from serving as foster or adoptive parents. This measure, clearly aimed at gay families, is perhaps the most damaging of this year’s initiatives in that it so blatantly carries the message that gay people are harmful to children.

Continue reading at Beacon Broadside.

48 More Hours of Gay Marriage in CA?

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In 48 hours, a California minority group may lose an important civil right at the ballot box. Almost sounds Machiavellian. Certainly it sounds un-American. In an election that by all indications looks as if it will be historic in elevating the first African American to the presidency, mean-spirited and biased California voters can still show that all prejudice is not dead by voting Yes on Proposition 8 to eliminate gay marriage. Or a majority of California voters, led by their better angels, can uphold the California Supreme Court decision approving gay marriage and sweep aside homophobia along with racism.


As the November 4th election looms, same-sex couples in California are rushing to town and city halls to get marriage licenses and marry. California courts have determined that couples married before (or if) their civil rights are voted away will still be legally married. Another class of Californians will be created, gays who once had the civil right to marry as opposed to those who weren’t born at the right time, or in love at the right time, or . . ..


Approximately 16,000 couples have married in four and a half months.

What a mind-boggling situation these couples are thrust into because they are part of an apparently despised minority. Some folks like Focus on the Family, the Catholic Knights of Columbus, the Mormon Church, and clusters of other right-wing ideological groups have raised millions of dollars to convince Californians that some people do not deserve full civil rights. They are urging a Yes vote on Proposition 8.


In perhaps their most despicable moment, these Yes on Proposition 8 folks just sent a targeted mailing to African American voters indicating that Barack Obama and Joe Biden are also for Yes on Proposition 8. In response to the duplicitous direct-mail piece, Obama campaign spokesman Ben Bolt released this statement: “Senator Obama has already announced that the Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Senator Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans.”


What Obama and Biden have never said is that they are for marriage equality. Of course, that’s the stickler. They’ve said that they are for civil unions. Californians had that separate but equal solution and their high court said that it was not enough—just as Connecticut’s high court said a few weeks ago. There’s a lesson here about being for full equality—unequivocally. Nonetheless in this last minute showdown the Obama campaign has said it “opposes Proposition 8.”


Meanwhile gay and lesbian couples in California are rushing to marry while they still have that civil right. Let’s hope this last ditch ad by NO on Prop 8 helps. It says all the right things but I just wish that some of the political heroes had the guts to really be for marriage equality.


Right Wing Using Courting Equality to Support Yes on Prop 8

 by Karen Kahn

The right wing blogs have picked up a story by Mass Resistance activist Brian Camenker, in which he slams us for providing Courting Equality as a gift to all Massachusetts public high school libraries. He claims that this was a tax-funded effort. This is an outright lie. This effort was funded through a generous private donation to PFLAG!

But if Courting Equality can be used against same-sex marriage, it certainly should be used to support it. Let your friends, family, colleagues know about the Courting Equality video ( If you know anyone in California, urge them to Vote No on Proposition 8 and to share the video with as many people as they can. Also, ballot referendums are taking place in Florida, Arizona, and Connecticut. Let’s get out the vote in favor of marriage equality, and keep the momentum going. Love Wins!

“Truthiness,” the Presidential Election, and LGBT Rights

Our LGBT community, just like the broader Democratic community, is split on supporting Obama or Clinton. We’re a substantial minority group too–at least 10%–and we vote and donate money. Not surprising that candidates are courting us with promises of equality.

Clinton’s most recent appearance on Ellen (see my post of April 10th and listen to Clinton’s story) made me reflect on what Stephen Colbert would call her “truthiness” in her recollection of a story about her parents and their gay neighbors. In turn, I am now trying to get a reading on Obama’s “truthiness.” No, I don’t have a “truthiness-meter” but wouldn’t it be a great device to have?

Yesterday I pondered why I had never heard before Clinton’s story about her ageing parents and their gay male neighbors who befriended them. After all, it related to gay people and to her parents at a particularly vulnerable period in their lives. Isn’t it the kind of story that a politician would trot out early and often in interviews with the LGBT media? But it appears just this week as we bear down on the Pennsylvania primary. The great part about the story is that it tugs at all the right heart-strings: death of a parent and the good gays to the rescue. How could a government deny civil rights to the guy who held Clinton’s father’s hand as he died? Indeed.

I want to believe the story but . . . echoes of Bosnia run through my head.

In contrast, Obama’s April 10th interview with The Advocate has a brief personal story about a gay person who influenced him, a professor of his at Occidental:

“Somebody else who influenced me, I actually had a professor at Occidental — now, this is embarrassing because I might screw up his last name — Lawrence Golden, I think it was. He was a wonderful guy. He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. He wasn’t proselytizing all the time, but just his comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues.” 

I can’t quite figure out why this has more of a ring of “truthiness” to it than Clinton’s story. Perhaps it’s because in the same interview Obama says flat out:

1. “I reasonably can see ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ eliminated.”

2. “I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law.”

3.  “The third thing I believe I can get done is in dealing with federal employees, making sure that their benefits, that their ability to transfer health or pension benefits the same way that opposite-sex couples do, is something that I’m interested in making happen and I think can be done with some opposition, some turbulence, but I think we can get that done.”

4. “And finally, an area that I’m very interested in is making sure that federal benefits are available to same-sex couples who have a civil union. I think as more states sign civil union bills into law the federal government should be helping to usher in a time when there’s full equality in terms of what that means for federal benefits.”

Read the whole article in The Advocate.

In the interest of full disclosure and “truthiness,” I voted for Clinton. Stay tuned.

Does Ellen Believe Hillary?

On April 7th, Hillary appeared on the Ellen show and told a very touching story about two gay neighbors of her parents. She told in detail a story about her parents’ connection to the two gay men and how her parents actually came to rely quite a bit on them. Ellen ate it up and so did the audience. I want to believe it but I have questions.

How can we have faith in this touching story, knowing as we do that it is emerging now after many months of campaigning?

Did this story affect Hillary before the telling of it on the Ellen show on April 7th?

Why haven’t stories like this made Hillary realize that she should be advocating for the total repeal of DOMA?

Watch the video and see what you think.