In Troy, Michigan, two women and their kids confronted the mayor at a city council meeting. Last summer, that mayor posted to Facebook â€“ will people never learn? â€“ that she wanted to tear up her â€œI Love New Yorkâ€ carrying bag now that â€œqueersâ€ can marry there.
In New Hampshire, Mitt Romney sat down next to a Vietnam vet, hoping to score a few easy points with some rote declaration of thanks for his service. He wasnâ€™t expecting his sixty-something year old contemporary to come out to him, and then to directly ask him whether he supported the vetâ€™s right to marry his partner. (He doesnâ€™t.)
Somewhere in South Carolina, a Michele Bachmann book-signing stumbled into an awkward abyss when, at her urging, an eight-year-old boy leaned in to make himself heard and then told the clueless candidate that his mommy was â€œgay but she doesnâ€™t need fixing.â€
And just yesterday, Newt Gingrich, whose recent statements on the judiciary conclusively disqualify him from the Presidency and possibly even for citizenship, answered a gay manâ€™s question about how he planned to engage the gays if elected in a shocking way:Â by advising the guy to vote for Obama. (Gingrich is, unfortunately, headed for the worst flameout since Ed Muskie, thereby depriving me of countless hours of savoring a yummy stew of outrage and amusement. Is there anyone out there who still thinks heâ€™s a bright guy?)
These confrontations wouldnâ€™t have happened just a few years ago. Theyâ€™re sentinel events, highlighting the increasingly undeniable point that itâ€™s no longer possible to simply ignore us, or to try to achieve that same goal less directly by stuffing us back into the closet. We are everywhere, and even vets and book signings attended by kids arenâ€™t safe for this kind of casual bigotry any more. Even those in force fields built of ideological extremism (Bachmann) or piles of privilege (Romney) are finding, to call up a Star Trek standby, that their shield strength is â€œway down, captain.â€
But things will stay ugly for awhile, because these cosseted politicos are always the last to know that their orthodoxy has been defeated. So in his risible “Strong“Â video, Rick Perry wonders how gays can serve openly in the military while Christian children are â€“ and here Iâ€™m paraphrasing â€“ burned alive for even thinking about Christmas. In a recent email to the faithful, NOM President Brian Brown solicited contributions in an effort to keep same-sex marriage from â€œdestroyingâ€ marriage (as he knows it.) Yet as the rhetoric on the far right becomes increasingly hysterical, it becomes ever-more marginalized. So for every â€œlikeâ€ of Perryâ€™s YouTube video, there are more than thirty â€œdislikes.â€ 30 to 1! And the parodies of the video keep coming, in crazy proliferation. Not since NOMâ€™s â€œGathering Stormâ€ has a wingnut video betrayed such a tin ear, or inspired such lip-licking from parodists. It’s really too easy.
Thatâ€™s not to say that these videos donâ€™t do harm, though. Like the escalating idiocy of people like Newt Gingrich, they donâ€™t help the doomed candidates or causes, but they do enable and give comfort to those who defend bullying or, worse, the criminalization of gayness and the murder of LGBT people by repressive governments.
Am I building too shaky a bridge to bear this kind of weight? You might think so, but Rick Perry’s already crossed it. In response to the moving and eloquent speech on LGBT rights as human rights that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered in Geneva earlier this month, Rick Perry (who, as the Daily Show’s Jon Oliver memorably stated last week, has an Achilles Head) assailed the Obama Administration for â€œbeing out of touch with Americaâ€™s valuesâ€ and â€“ yes! â€“ â€œat war with people of faith in this country.â€ Listen to Clinton’s simple call for equality and justice — and basic public safety — for the world’s LGBT population and you’ll be astounded at Perry’s response. Given the content of her speech, Perry’s comments come something close to approval of violence and murder against us.
But when Perry, Gingrich, Bachmann and Rick Santorum (Remember him? Me neither.) collapse spectacularly, weâ€™ll be one step closer to the end of barely veiled gay-bashing. It won’t come too soon.
Were he born 10,000 years ago, John Culhane would not have survived to adulthood; he has no useful, practical skills. He is a law professor who writes about various and sundry topics, including: disaster compensation; tort law; public health law; literature; science; sports; his own personal life (when he can bear the humanity); and, especially, LGBT rights and issues. He teaches at the Widener University School of Law and is a Senior Fellow at the Thomas Jefferson School of Population Health.
He is also a contributor to Slate Magazine, and writes his own eclectic blog. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter if you’re blessed with lots of time.
John Culhane lives in the Powelton Village area of Philadelphia with his partner David and their twin daughters, Courtnee and Alexa. Each month, he awaits the third Saturday evening for the neighborhood Wine Club gathering.
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Pelosi Strikes Back After New House GOP Leadership, in Act of ‘Revenge’ Immediately Targets Top Democrats
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi is sending a strong message to House Republican Leadership after now-former Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s hand-picked acting replacement, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), evicted her and Steny Hoyer, the former Democratic House Majority Leader, from their Capitol Offices, in what reportedly is an act of “revenge.”
McHenry, a hard-core conservative, made clear his outrage over McCarthy’s ouster when he angrily gaveled out the House on Tuesday.
The Rep. Patrick McHenry gavel slam …. pic.twitter.com/TV1VGbkT7Y
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) October 3, 2023
In one of his first acts as “Speaker Pro Tempore,” McHenry, the longtime McCarthy ally who worked behind the scenes in January to help McCarthy get enough votes to become Speaker on the fifteenth try, ordered Pelosi late Tuesday night to vacate her office immediately.
“Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,” an aide to McHenry directed Pelosi.
Overnight, McHenry made the same demand of Hoyer.
Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reports the evictions are “revenge for Democrats voting with @mattgaetz to boot @SpeakerMcCarthy from the speakership.”
“Expect more of this, GOP sources tell us,” he adds.
Tuesday night, before the Hoyer eviction, Pelosi had responded with a brutal, damning statement, explaining that she had remained in California, mourning her longtime friend and colleague, the late Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Politico reported that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”
In a scratching rebuke, Pelosi said in her public statement, “With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol.”
“Office space doesn’t matter to me,” she added, “but it seems important to them.”
“Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”
Pelosi, in California, had not voted on removing McCarthy. She had not indicated how she would have voted, possibly out of respect for the office of Speaker of the House.
But after Hoyer was targeted for eviction, the Speaker Emerita issued an official announcement to be placed in the Congressional Record. As C-Span’s Craig Caplan reported Wednesday, Pelosi announced she would have voted to oust McCarthy.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in California yesterday for the late Senator Dianne Feinstein’s memorial services, announced in the Congressional Record she would have voted No against tabling Matt Gaetz’s effort to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker & Yes to oust him. pic.twitter.com/FFNbmqj9xP
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) October 4, 2023
Watch the video clip of McHenry above or at this link.
Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately
Within hours of Kevin McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House late Tuesday afternoon, his hand-picked acting successor, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ordered Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol Hill offices “by tomorrow.”
McHenry, whose title technically now is “Speaker Pro Tempore,” is a staunch McCarthy ally who worked diligently behind the scenes in January to help the now-former Speaker get elected on the fifteenth attempt, had an aide issue the order.
“‘Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,’ wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee,” Politico reported Tuesday night. “The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker ‘for speaker office use,’ the email said.”
Politico adds that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”
Pelosi, who was honored with the title “Speaker Emerita” in 2022 by the House Steering and Policy Committee in an effort to help unite the House, did not vote for or against McCarthy’s ouster. She remained in California to attend the funeral of her friend and colleague, the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
But Pelosi, the first and only woman Speaker of the House, who served from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023, did not take McHenry’s order lying down.
“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”
“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished,” She noted.
“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems important to them,” Pelosi added. “Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”
‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order
Just hours after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order and directed Donald Trump to remove his social media post targeting and attacking, by name, the judge’s law clerk, the ex-president Tuesday evening issued an attack targeting the legal system, and apparently, by extension, Attorney General Letitia James.
Judge Engoron’s Tuesday order barred Trump from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” as Politico reported. The judge’s gag order did not extend to any officer of the court, witnesses, or anyone else involved in Attorney General James’ $250 million civil fraud case against Trump.
“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said Tuesday afternoon. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”
Judge Engoron had announced in court: “This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.”
“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron added.
Politico described Trump’s social media post as “a message alleging [the law clerk] ‘is running this case against me.’ The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.”
“’How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!’ Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend.'”
And while the judge ordered the social media post taken down, there’s nothing that can be done about the email blast Trump sent to “millions” of his supporters that included the post, as The New York Times reported.
Tuesday evening, despite having already been given one gag order, Trump appeared to tear into the legal system and Attorney General Letitia James in a series of false claims.
After claiming James’ civil lawsuit against him was unconstitutional and election interference, Trump wrote the decision to apply that statute to him “was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know.”
“It is so unfair that I am being tried under Section 63(12), which is unconstitutionally being used to punish me because I am substantially leading Crooked Joe Biden in the polls,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “It is a Consumer Protection Statute, and not meant, at all, for Election Interference purposes, which is what this is all about! Under this Section of the law, I am not even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).This was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
As The New Yorker reported last week, the law Trump is referring to was “passed at the behest of one of” James’ “Republican predecessors, Jacob Javits.”
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