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Does The LGBTQ Community Blame The Black Community For Gay Marriage Losses?



HuffPo’s David Kaufman Needs To Learn How To Play In The Civil Rights Sandbox

Let me make a few things perfectly clear:

  • No one, and I mean no one, owns the patent, trademark, or copyright on civil rights. Not blacks, not gays, not anyone.
  • No one, and I mean no one, owns the patent, trademark, or copyright on civil marriage. Not the Catholics, not the Jews, not the Christians, not the Muslims, not anyone.
  • It is unacceptable that an oppressed minority would turn tables on another oppressed minority. For blacks to not support the LGBTQ community (and vice-versa,) for the LGB community to not support trans people (and vice-versa,) is unacceptable as we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century.

Now, having laid that groundwork, let me respond to David Kaufman’s ill-considered Huffington Post piece, “Co-Opted: Marriage Equality’s Civil Rights Rip-Off.”

The very title exemplifies my three bullet points above.

You may consider the remainder an open letter to Mr. Kaufman.

* * *

Mr. Kaufman, your statement, and the basis of your piece, that “LGBT Inc. demands the right to appropriate the Civil Rights struggle wherever and whenever possible” is incorrect and offensive.

Civil rights are not owned by African-Americans. In fact, just last week, as she cast her vote for marriage equality, New Jersey Senator Nia Gill (who, herself, is African-American) had this to say on same-sex marriage:

“It is a civil rights issue – not because African-Americans own the copyright to civil rights, it is a civil rights issue in the analysis of the equal protection of the fourteenth amendment in the constitution. And maybe some in my community want to hold on to it, because it’s ours. Because our blood has been shed for the right to vote, and we jealously guard that as a re-affirmation of being American. And so we hold it, because no one can do civil rights and have civil rights better than we do. That’s emotional, but it is certainly not an analysis of the constitutional imperatives that face us. It’s a civil rights issue.”

(Senator Gill’s speech, which I recorded, was historic and beautiful, and wise. You can read it, and listen to it in its entirety, here.)

You go on to accuse “LGBTQ Inc.” (which, let me state, you neglect to define as our leadership organizations or the community as a whole — which is so fractured that getting even a plurality of us to agree on much of anything would be a strong achievement,) of “constantly blaming Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back.”

Um, in a word, “no.”

Not New York, not New Jersey, and no, not even Maine.

I don’t believe the majority of, as you so disparagingly put it, “LGBT Inc.” – be it HRC, or David Mixner (whom you quote) or the larger LGBTQ community – is blaming “Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back.” That’s just plain false.

You write,

“…somehow a mere 13.5 percent of the population is responsible for 100 percent of the problems.

“The math alone should render this philosophy farcical.”

Elections (and that anyone is actually voting on our rights is an abomination, but a conversation for another day,) aren’t won or lost on 13.5 percentage points; they’re generally won or lost on two or three or five, maybe eight percentage points. Prop 8 passed by a 4.48 percentage point margin. So yes, while no one is “blaming” African-Americans for Prop 8, 13.5 percent of the population can have an adverse – or positive – affect on a vote. But it could be any 13.5 percent of the population. Or eight percent of the population. Or, yes, 4.48 percent of the population.

That 4.48 percentage margin didn’t just come from the African-American community. And after the media dropped that slant, so did the American public.

If you have an issue with the numbers, talk to the people who designate the all-to-simplistic categories to which we are assigned.

By the way, who can we “blame” for Prop 8 passing? Aside from ourselves, here’s what I wrote the day after the election,

“Looking at exit poll data, a composite of the person who voted “yes” to ban same-sex marriage in California is someone who is married (60%), and has children (68%), attends church weekly (84%), does not work full-time (57%), is an Independent or Republican (66%), and voted for Bush in 2004 (80%). This person also is likely to live in the suburbs (59%), and is very worried about another terrorist attack (65%).

“None of these results should be surprising. Nor should these, given what we know about voting groups overall. 75% of black women, 54% of latin men, and 51% of white men voted to ban same-sex marriage. Overall, 70% of blacks supported the ban.”

Numbers don’t lie, Mr. Kaufman. BUT – and this is extremely important: How we, as journalists, explain them, how we present them, how we shape them, IS important. Equally important is doing the work to make those numbers change, in our favor.

Yes, immediately after California’s Prop 8 vote, the media unfairly focused on the narrative that black voters who came out to vote for Obama, voted for Prop 8 as well. That said, and despite your attempt to ignore the facts, there is a larger percentage of the overall Black community that is against marriage equality than is the average American. That is a fact that is undeniable, as polls show.

And that it is a fact merely means the LGBTQ community hasn’t succeeded in reaching out the the black community – just as we did not succeed in California in reaching out to the faith-based community. Yes, we all have work to do.

I’m sure, sir, you are doing your part in that regard. And I am doing mine. It’s a pity you’ve chosen to lash out at such a wide swath of the very support, the very community we both have to improve our chances of winning our common battle.

I appreciate your attempt to liberate the overlapping groups that comprise what we so easily refer to as the African-American community. Yes, as we all work to achieve equality for everyone, we see how deep centuries of oppression and inequality go.

I’ll leave you with yet another response to your own misguided missive. You write, “The most tragic element of Marriage Equality’s Civil Rights rip-off is that it’s simply so unnecessary.”

Rip-off? No. Categorized differently, perhaps as “shared commonality,” then, unnecessary? Still no. Listen to the words of none other than NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, who, like Senator Gill, spoke at the New Jersey State Senate’s Judiciary Committee to support the same sex marriage bill. His words, as well as Senator Gill’s, were historic and beautiful, and wise.

A few quotes:

“I believe gay rights are civil rights.”

“As my late neighbor and friend Coretta Scott King said in 1998, ‘homophobia is like racism and anti-semitism, and other forms of bigotry…'”

(I recorded Mr. Bond’s words also. You can listen to them here. I hope everyone does. They are inspirational.)

Bottom line, Mr. Kaufman, the LGBTQ community and our supporters are not proffering that there was a “Civil Rights movement [that] battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites.” We’re saying (if I may be so bold as to convey what I see as the feelings of many in our community) that our struggles for civil rights share an inherent commonality with the African-American struggle for civil rights. Yes, our battles are different. Yes, the injustices our communities have endured are different. But, there is commonality. And it is that commonality we need to focus on, if both our communities are to grow and grow away from our injustices.

You begin by attacking Andrew Sullivan; I’ll end by offering this: If Mr. Sullivan, for whom I have great respect, claims, as you write, “the Civil Rights movement battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites,” (and did you, Mr. Kaufman, challenge him on that point?) then your issue is with Mr. Sullivan’s understanding of American history, not with the LGBTQ community. I hope in the future, you will pick your fights where they belong.

If, as you write, “everyone loses in the battle for ‘most-oppressed’ status,” I welcome you to work with all the oppressed, not against us.

I welcome your – and everyone’s – thoughts.


Pam Spaulding has her own take on Kaufman’s piece. Here’s a taste:

Who’s the Homo-Tom? (Personally, I think that’s a bit harsh.)

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‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’



Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.

Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.

Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”

When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”

“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.

“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.

READ MORE: ‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert

But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.

He refused to answer.

Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.

“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”

At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.

Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.

But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”

The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.

At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert



The first of 19 co-defendants in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ RICO and election interference case against Donald Trump has pleaded guilty in what is being described as a “plea deal.”

“Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state,” NBC News reports. “Under the terms of the deal, he’s being sentenced to five years probation.”

CNN previously reported “Hall, a bail bondsman and pro-Trump poll-watcher in Atlanta, spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office when voting systems were breached in January 2021. The breach was connected to efforts by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists to find voter fraud. Hall was captured on surveillance video at the office, on the day of the breach. He testified before the grand jury in Fulton County case and acknowledged that he gained access to a voting machine.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a professor of law and frequent MSNBC contributor, says Hall “was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell on Jan 7 for the Coffee County scheme involving voting machines. If he’s cooperating, it’s a bad sign for her.”

Hall’s plea deal “spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell,” says former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU Law professor of law. Goodman posted a graphic showing the overlap in charges against Hall and Powell, which he called “alleged joint actions.”

See the graphic above or at this link.


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Far-Right Republicans Kill GOP Bill to Keep Government Running in ‘Embarrassing Failure’ for McCarthy: Report



With a shutdown less than 36 hours away, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon voted against their party’s own legislation to kept the federal government running. Democrats opposed the content of the bill and voted against it. Just 21 far-right members of the GOP conference were able to effectively force what appears to be an all but inevitable shutdown at midnight on Saturday.

“HARDLINE HOUSE RS take down stopgap funding bill. 21 GOP no votes. 232-198,” reported Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman just before 2 PM Friday.

NBC News reported that a “band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.”

READ MORE: Will McConnell and Senate Republicans Use Feinstein’s Passing to Grind Biden’s Judicial Confirmations to a Halt?

“Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown. The vote failed,” NBC added. “The embarrassing failure of the GOP measure once again highlights the dilemma for McCarthy as his hard-liners strongly oppose a short-term bill even if it includes conservative priorities. It leaves Congress on a path to a shutdown, with no apparent offramp to avoiding it — or to quickly reopen the government.”

A bipartisan group of at least 75 U.S. Senators has passed two bills this week that would keep the government running. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has refused to allow it to come to the floor for a vote.




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