The Big Tent
It’s Time The Most Diverse Group In History Became One
As an independent voice in LGBT politics, I have the luxury and the responsibility to support those ideas that bring us closer to our goals. I received an email yesterday from Tacoma Washington resident and Board Chair of Tacoma Rainbow Center, Willie Painter. In it, he addresses an issue I have struggled with over the past few months: our diversity, which is our greatest strength, is under-utilized, untapped, and, as a result, is becoming our Achilles heel. Our diversity has led us to our recent wins in Vermont, Maine, even Iowa, but is also inhibiting our ability to address challenges with one clear voice in the battlegrounds of New Hampshire, New York, and especially California. In fact, California has become the “Groundhog Day” in our fight for equality: we continue to loose there, over and over, and we will continue to do so until we figure out how to move our message forward.
It’s no secret we lost California because we didn’t talk to the right people, use the right words, or use our greatest strength: our selves. That’s changing, and, while the travesty that is Proposition 8 has won and won again, we are moving towards the right message. But our adversaries are waging an all-out war, using the most heinous of all weapons: lies told about children, using children. It’s time we call NOM and others on this ugly tactic.
We have simple truths: we are the faceless, nameless, average, ordinary citizens who live simple lives, unknown to most, and we are the superstars of stage and screen, science, and services. Many of us want families, and children, and many of us do not. There is a strong meme wafting about the Internet right now, bemoaning the gentrification and assimilation of our outliers, our most colorful and unique members. But the more we wage these battles within our group, the more we risk taking our eye off the ball. Already, this week, we let the media control the conversation: instead of focusing our energies on next week’s fight in New Hampshire, or the three weeks left in our New York battle, or the work left to do on the Hate Crimes Bill, we let our anger over a lost Proposition 8 move our efforts. Now, we risk two losses: the one we have already lost over and over in California, and, in my opinion, the more important battle in New Hampshire. Why more important? Because our battle in New Hampshire was won, by the people already there. They won the war the right way: by being themselves, convincing their friends and neighbors without outside armies. And, since 2003, the majority of New Hampshire voters support gay marriage. For us to loose a tangible result of the battle in which we have already won hearts and minds is inexcusable.
All this brings me back to where I started. I received an email yesterday from Willie Painter, a man I have never met, never spoken with, and until yesterday had never even heard of. We have exchanged a few emails now. And now, I will share with you his message. And following it, the thoughts of two of our better-known LGBT orgainzations: Freedom To Marry, and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Dear LGBTQ organization leaders:
In the past 24 hours, I have been solicited for donations by Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, my state’s local Equal Rights Washington, and a handful of others! All these aforementioned organizations have communicated their opinions regarding the California Supreme Court’s decision in response to Prop. 8. All these aforementioned organizations have made a plea for funds to enable them to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ people in the fight for marriage equality. However, in all of these communications, there has been no indication that these wonderful, like-minded organizations (and presumably many other federal and state LGBTQ organizations with a mission that seeks equality under the law for LGBTQ citizens) are collaborating and using donations in a collective, leveraging way to most effectively fight for equality on behalf of all those of us who desire and seek to get married and have marriage rights legally recognized in every state, throughout the United States.
We are strongest when we collaborate, when like-minded organizations are completely transparent with one another and their respective stakeholders, and when donors know that their donations are maximized by the leveraged use of their precious funds. I believe that we will soon see a day when LGBTQ people have the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts in every state. That day will come much sooner when all LGBTQ organizations commit and actively work together in ways that leverage the collective power of their respective supporters/volunteers/donors. So, that is a challenge I offer to all those in leadership positions of our LGBTQ organizations throughout the United States. And I, hopefully just like all the other hundreds of thousands of US citizens just like me, want our day, the day of true and actual equality, to come sooner rather than later. And I am confident that the hundred of thousands of US citizens just like me will become more actively involved than ever when LGBTQ organizations throughout the United States unite on this common front that will define this remarkable period in our humanity.
I ask you leaders to strongly consider holding a summit to tie the bond that your respective organizations share–equality. Please seek to find a way to most effectively and collaboratively advocate on behalf of us LGBTQ people in the United States who, perhaps more than ever before, need your leadership during this pivotal time of our shared future, soon to be our shared history. Let’s together make the transition from future to history one that we can all be proud of.
I reached out to a few friends in the LGBTQ arena. I’m grateful to them for their responses:
“While we know all of our partners in the movement for the freedom to marry work hard to collaborate, itâ€™s also true that there should be more.Â With the progress recently achieved in the number of states joining Massachusetts and Connecticut in embracing marriage and the increasing efforts being made by our opponents to slow that progress through fear and innuendo, now is clearly the time for us all to work together as closely and forcefully as possible.Â We need to win more states and build the climate for change nationally, and that will only happen if we all individually talk about why marriage matters with our friends and family, neighbors and colleagues while helping to support a co-ordinated, collaborative movement of partner organizations, both gay and non-gay, in the struggle to end discrimination in marriage. “Â Â â€”Â Evan Wolfson, Freedom To Marry
“We agree that a collaborating movement is a stronger movement! The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked with numerous LGBT and non-LGBT organizations over the last 36 years. While each LGBT organization makes a unique contribution to our movement, we are proud of our extensive history of collaborative initiatives. For example, we:
work in partnership with SAGE (the premier LGBT organization working on aging issues) to address LGBT aging concerns and we receive collaborative funding for this work;
work in ongoing coalition with many national LGBT advocacy organizations in lobbying for pro-LGBT legislation and administration policy changes;
have hosted for over a decade the National Policy Roundtable (over 35 national LGBT organizations coordinating policy work and sharing strategies) and the National Religious Leadership Roundtable (a convening of over 65 faith leaders working to counter religious-based bigotry and promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people);
worked side by side with state, local and national organizations to win marriage equality in Massachusetts and Maine, and work with states across the country on nondiscrimination measures and marriage equality. And we have worked in partnership with organizations in California for over five years on marriage equality.
Our National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change has been called the â€œTown Square of the Movement,â€ where our colleagues come together to strategize about collaborative efforts, share resources and hone new skills and technologies. We invite advocates and activists from across the country to join us for next yearâ€™s Creating Change in Dallas, Texas.
We are honored to collaborate with so many talented and dynamic organizations.”
â€”Â Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
For the record, I agree with Willie: It’s time our LGBTQ organizations find a way to work together, publicly, to move the ball forward. Our diversity is most effective when it’s leveraged. Together.
So, what’s your thought? How do you feel our leaders are serving us? What do you feel are the necessary next steps for us to achieve full equality, in marriage and civil rights, for all LGBTQ peoples?
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‘We Are Not Going to Stand for It’: McCarthy Defends Trump – Vows to Use Jim Jordan’s Committee to Target Attorney General
The Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, barely hours after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed a 49-page, 37-felony count criminal indictment charging Donald Trump with violations of seven federal laws, decided to double-down on his defense of the ex-president by threatening to target the Attorney General of the United States and declaring House Republicans “are not going to stand for” the criminal prosecution of the ex-president.
McCarthy went on Fox News Friday afternoon, saying “this judgment is wrong by this DOJ. That they treated President Trump differently than they treat others. And it didn’t have to be this way. This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all – which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it.”
McCarthy: This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it. pic.twitter.com/B0Z1c81yOn
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 9, 2023
McCarthy, a California Republican who cobbled together a tenuous pact with far-right extremists to win his speakership on the 15th try, is incorrect on the facts.
RELATED: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
The Dept. of Justice does not pass judgment, the courts – in this case a jury, does. The Dept. of Justice did not treat Trump “differently,” except to give him multiple opportunities over an approximately two-year period to return national secrets he allegedly unlawfully removed, retained, and refused to return, even after being served with a subpoena and a search warrant.
What McCarthy does not do is claim Trump’s actions were legal or reasonable, because the damning indictment makes clear they are not.
Later, McCarthy took to Twitter to effectively declare he would target the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, who – for nearly a quarter century – served as a federal appeals court judge and chief judge before being nominated to serve at Main Justice.
(Garland was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the confirmation to move process forward.)
“Many officials, from Secretary Hillary Clinton to then-Senator Joe Biden, handled classified info after their time in office & were never charged,” tweeted the Speaker, not just wrongly, but grossly and dishonestly characterizing the allegations against Trump.
“Now Biden’s leading political opponent is indicted—a double standard that must be investigated,” he again dishonestly declared.
READ MORE: ‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision of the Special Counsel to ask a Florida grand jury for an indictment. Nor was the President even told before Trump was indicted – like every American, President Biden learned of the Trump indictment through news reports. Attorney General Garland did not sign off on the decision to ask a grand jury for an indictment.
McCarthy, meanwhile, vowed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and the House Republicans “will get answers.”
“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you. We will fulfill that obligation,” he declared.
McCarthy made those remarks atop a Friday letter from Jordan to Garland that begins: “The Biden Department of Justice is reportedly about to indict a former president and President Biden’s chief rival in the upcoming presidential election.”
“According to reports, the Department will indict President Donald Trump, despite declining to indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information and failing to indict President Biden for his mishandling of classified information.” (The letter does not mention former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not being charged for his mishandling of classified information.”
On Thursday a defiant and angry McCarthy, after Trump was indicted, wrote: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America.”
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him,” he said, which is egregiously false – Biden did not indict Trump, nor did his Attorney General or even Special Counsel; a grand jury of Florida citizens did.
“Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy charged, which is a legitimate claim and there is a current federal investigation underway. The difference is Biden did not take the documents, did not know they were among his papers, and immediately upon learning they were, contacted the National Archives to arrange their return.
Donald Trump, we now know, according to the indictment, packed some of the boxes himself, not only refused to return the documents but hid them from the Dept. of Justice and National Archives, lied about them, and kept them at times in public areas of his Florida resort and residence.
“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law,” McCarthy wrong declared, “stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
In response to McCarthy’s remarks, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted a photo from the DOJ’s indictment of Trump.
“These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this,” he charged.
These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this. pic.twitter.com/oFid5ViCdr
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 9, 2023
Watch the video and see Rep. Swalwell’s tweet above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are staying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Watch Live: Special Counsel Jack Smith Holds News Conference After Trump Criminal Indictment Unsealed
Special Counsel Jack Smith will hold a news conference Friday at 3:00 PM ET, after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed its 49-page 37-criminal count indictment against Donald Trump. The indictment also names a Trump aide.
Legal experts reviewing the indictment were stunned at not only the level of detail but the manner in which Trump treated classified documents, including allegedly storing them in boxes on the stage at Mar-a-Lago, in a bathroom, a shower, and a bedroom.
Former Dept. of Defense special Counsel Ryan Goodman, now an NYU professor of law, calls the indictment “devastating,” and concludes: “Extraordinary risks to U.S. national security. Foreign adversaries would pay tens of millions for that info.”
READ MORE: ‘Disgraced’ Trump-Appointed Florida Judge Initially Assigned to Oversee Ex-President’s Criminal Case: Report
Smith, who was appointed by Donald Trump as an acting U.S. Attorney, also prosecuted war crimes cases at The Hague. he also was the head of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section.
Watch video of his full news conference below or at this link.
WATCH: Complete statement from Special Counsel Jack Smith: “Today an indictment was unsealed charging Donald J. Trump with felony violations of our national security laws as well as participating in a conspiracy to obstruct justice.” pic.twitter.com/llUlrvpVe4
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 9, 2023
This article has been updated to include full video of the completed news conference.
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