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On gay marriage, civil unions and the 2009 elections

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 11:59 am - November 11, 2009.
Filed under: 2009 Elections,Gay Marriage

As many of you may know that last Tuesday while voters in Maine rejected gay marriage, voters in Washington State approved domestic partnerships.  That “split decision” occasioned my latest column for Pajamas Media.  Here’s a taste:

Largely lost amidst the hullabaloo of Republican gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia and a Conservative defeat in New York’s 23rd congressional district last week was a successful citizens’ veto in Maine of a state statute recognizing gay marriage.  At the same time, across the nation, citizens in Washington State approved a statute making “the rights, responsibilities, and obligations  of same-sex and senior domestic partners” the equivalent to those of married spouses without calling the relationships marriage.  The margins were nearly identical.   In the Pine Tree State, 52.8% of voters approved Question 1, rejecting state recognition of same-sex marriage.  In the Evergreen State, 52.56% voted to approve domestic partnerships.

This split decision, if you will, could have tremendous reverberations in the current debate on gay marriage, particularly as it relates to the strategies gay activists employ to secure state recognition of and legal benefits to same-sex couples.  When Maine voters’ approval of Question 1, the Pine Tree State become the 31st state to either reject same-sex marriage or accept the traditional definition of marriage by popular initiative.  No state has recognized same-sex marriage at the ballot box.

By contrast, Washington State become the first state to approve state recognition of same-sex domestic partnerships at the ballot box.*  It’s only been ten years since California became the first state to recognize same-sex relationships when the state legislature enacted the Domestic Partnership Act of 1999.  While some state courts (e.g., Vermont that year and New Jersey in 2003) mandated the state legislature enact legislation recognizing civil unions, until last Tuesday, voters, via a statewide initiative process, had never previously approved such legislation.

Click here to read the rest.

The mindset of the left; the energy on the right

Last night at the SLDN fundraiser, I did my utmost to stay silent when various participants maligned Republicans and “the right.”  Though when one person suggested the Club for Growth had an anti-gay agenda, I blurt out that just wasn’t so.  Just one look at their web page indicates that their primary interest is promoting economic freedom.

Yet, when these left-wingers see the Club as backing more conservative candidates and because, in their narrow view of the world where all conservatives hate gay people, they have determined that the Club must needs have an anti-gay agenda.  When these people see the tea party rallies, they single out the most hateful signs and decide that all people there share the sentiments printed on that isolated placard.

But, then, it really doesn’t matter what the vast majority of signs say at the rallies, left-wing pundits will focus on the hateful ones (after having ignored the even more vile signs carried at anti-Bush rallies in the early part of the current decade).

(H/t for the sign:  Michelle Malkin.)

The media, like all too many on the left are bound and determined to see those rallying against Obama’s policies as having nefarious notions.

There’s an energy on the right and it shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who have studied the history of American conservatism, followed the events in Washington these past few months, even listened to Obama’s campaign speeches.  It has nothing to do with prejudice toward gays or any other minority.  It has to do with an issue that that Democrat addressed in the campaign.  In the third presidential debate, he said:

But there is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments.

Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.

But, instead of a net spending cut, we’ve had a severe spending explosion.  No wonder Americans are upset.  Had the President acted in accord with his campaign promises, the GOP today would be as Republicans were in the early 1930s, devoid of ideas with a dispirited base.  Instead, Fred Barnes finds “the political energy and ardor are on the center-right“: (more…)

Support Service Members Legal Defense Network

Last night, I attended a Los Angeles-area fundraiser for the Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN), a group “dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).”  They also provide legal assistance to those affected by DADT.

When I learned about the fundraiser, I decided to contribute and attend, in large measure because of the tone of the e-mails they send out to their listserve.  Unlike most such missives I receive from gay organizations, the folks at SLDN do not engage in partisan rancor.  They focus on making the case for repealing the ban and understand they can better achieve their goals by working with Republicans rather than demonizing them.

A case in point was the way the group’s Executive Director, Aubrey Sarvis, handled some questions and comments from people at the last night’s gathering.   The crowd was largely left-wing; I may well have been the only Republican in the room.  A handful of people made some rather ignorant comments about the tactics of the right and the intransigence of Republicans.  One man even suggested that the Club for Growth had an anti-gay agenda.

Sarvis, however, did not indulge these unwarranted attacks on conservative groups an the GOP.  Instead, he insisted that SLDN needs to work with Republicans, reminding us that not all Democrats will vote to lift the ban.  Later, in a private conversation, I learned that they have already reached out to a number of prominent Republicans, hoping to bring them on board.

I decided to double my modest contribution not merely because of the good work they do, but because of how Sarvis handled the anti-Republican rhetoric.  The staff at SLDN do not harbor any animus against Republicans (or if they do, they keep it safely under wraps).  They just don’t think it’s a sound strategy to make enemies of the GOP.

I hope that other gay organizations follow their lead and encourage you to join me in supporting SLDN.