This is a useful survey of an all too easily forgotten and shameful era in our history…
History ChannelPublished on 21 Apr 2015
How We Got Gay | Discovery Channel HD Documentary 2015
- Standard YouTube Licence
by Jim Hightower
From 1956 until 2010, CBS television’s daytime lineup included America’s longest-running soap opera: “As the World Turns.” But times change, and now a real-life human drama of profound importance has debuted in America: “As the Generations Turn.”
It’s the inspiring story of our society’s continuing struggle to evolve toward dignity and mutual respect … as well as love. The moment came on June 26, 2015, when Justice Anthony Kennedy proclaimed from the ornate chamber of the Supreme Court: “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.”
Kennedy and Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor voted to make this higher level of inclusiveness the law of the land, but they are not the producers of it. Indeed, while the court’s ruling debuts a new day, it is the culmination of generations of painful struggle by brave gay and lesbian activists and advocates. And it is particularly the product of a defiant and determined LGBTQ movement for equality that arose from the brutal police riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York on June 28, 1969.
This democratic evolution from rank inequality literally came out of America’s closet, rising through only a few neighborhoods at first, but then entering the consciousness of today’s youth. Rejecting the shibboleths, ignorance, fears and bigotry that previously permitted such intolerable discrimination, young people have, in a remarkably short amount of time, created a generational shift in the nation’s consciousness.
The true Supremes are the people themselves, and it’s their awakening enlightenment that has transformed marriage equality from taboo to simple justice.
It is unfortunately true, however, that not everyone has evolved on the issue of equality in our Land of the Free.
The Supreme Court’s ruling that states can no longer ban same-sex marriage has set off a cacophony of howling hyperbole by the GOP’s far-out presidential wannabes.
“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court,” blustered Fox News political huckster Mike Huckabee. “Resist and reject judicial tyranny,” he bellowed. Huck even couched his cry for continued discrimination against gay people by likening it to Abe Lincoln’s principled refusal to honor the court’s 1857 ruling that African-Americans could not be citizens. Sure, Mike, you’re a modern-day Lincoln — except that he was opposing discrimination, while you’re demanding that government enforce it!
Then came the wild hair of the GOP’s presidential menagerie, Donnie Trump, trumpeting his keen insight that the court’s gay marriage decision is Jeb Bush’s fault. Really. The Donald explained that Jeb’s brother George appointed Chief Justice John Roberts to the court, so … there you have it. Shhhh — let’s not spoil Trump’s hallucination by telling him that Roberts actually voted against letting gays marry.
Now on to Scott Walker, widely touted by the GOP’s billionaires as the “serious” contender. Yet, he is seriously pushing a constitutional amendment to allow states to keep prohibiting same-sex marriages. “No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience,” said Walker, apparently oblivious to the fact that state governments have long been coercing LGBTQ people to do exactly that. And now Walker is promising, if elected, to coerce them right back into a life of unconscionable injustice.
Every one of the 13 Republican presidential candidates is marching backward into the bigoted past, piously thumbing their noses not only at millions of gays and lesbians and their families, but also at the ever-growing majority of Americans — especially young people — who support marriage equality.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
by Tomáš Tengely-EvansSun 28 Jun 2015
Tens of thousands marched through the streets of London yesterday, Saturday, for the annual Pride march. Young LGBT activists and trade unionists, including former miners, joined them.
Around 1,000 marched with Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) on the trade union bloc to chants of “LGSM fight the Tory scum again”.
Daniel came to the march from Pembrokeshire in Wales. He told Socialist Worker, “Here it’s about fighting for our rights.
“You wouldn’t get these sorts of chants on the corporate bloc with Barclays. They all seem so fake. There’s no passion.”
Rail workers from the RMT and Aslef unions joined teachers and lecturers from the NUT and UCU unions along with many other trade unionists.
There were also banners from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who led the Pride march 30 years ago.
Liz French from Kent NUM and Women Against Pit Closures (WAPC) told Socialist Worker, “The miners supported LGBT rights and the fight against apartheid.
“We’re still here showing solidarity with the working class—perhaps if we all stood up we could get rid of the corrupt bosses.”
Sixth form students in the Northern Community Feminist Society organised a coach from Pontefract, West Yorkshire.
Beth from the group was angry about the business hijacking of Pride. She told Socialist Worker, “It shouldn’t be corporate, but about standing up for everyone’s rights.
“You shouldn’t try and make money out of people’s rights—that’s not right.”
Anne Scargill from WAPC was also on the coach. She told Socialist Worker, “Something’s got to be done.
“I was on last Saturday’s People’s Assembly march and I was really surprised at the youth there. There’s a lot of young people here too.”
LGSM were supposed to lead off Pride this year. But they chose to go to “Bloc C” instead when the official organisers wouldn’t let trade unions march with them.
Student Becca told Socialist Worker, “It really pisses me off. I’ve always liked Pride, but it should be more about fighting.”
The trade union bloc was militant and caught the new mood of resistance against Tory austerity. Chants of “Defy Tory rule!” rang out.
Strikers from the National Gallery and Glasgow homelessness caseworker disputes raised solidarity on the march. National Gallery workers collected £337.82 on their picket line protest after the march.
One National Gallery striker told Socialist Worker, “I recently watched the film Pride, it’s such an amazing story of solidarity.
“We’re fighting the same battles now as we were then and this connects all those struggles.”
Liberals Are Cool
This is Vivian (91) and Alice (90), and they just got married. They’ve been dating for 72 years, and together they have visited all 50 US states, all the provinces of Canada, and been twice to England. Quote Alice: “We’ve had a good time”.
BY IAN MILLHISER POSTED ON FEBRUARY 26, 2014
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
The most remarkable thing about Arizona’s “License To Discriminate” bill is how quickly it became anathema, even among Republicans. Both 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called upon Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto this effort to protect businesses that want to discriminate against gay people. So did Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Indeed, three state senators who voted for this very bill urged Brewer to veto it before she finally did so on Wednesday, confessing that they “made a mistake” when they voted for it to become law.
The premise of the bill is that discrimination becomes acceptable so long as it is packaged inside a religious wrapper. As Arizona state Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R) explained, lawmakers introduced it in response to instances where anti-gay business owners in other states were “punished for their religious beliefs” after they denied service to gay customers in violation of a state anti-discrimination law.
Yet, while LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” they are hardly the first. To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . . . . [God] was the original segregationist.”
God Of The Segregationists
Theodore Bilbo was one of Mississippi’s great demagogues. After two non-consecutive terms as governor, Bilbo won a U.S. Senate seat campaigning against “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, [skunks] who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms” and a host of other, equally colorful foes. In a year where just 47 Mississippi voters cast a ballot for a communist candidate, Bilbo railed against a looming communist takeover of the state — and offered himself up as the solution to this red onslaught.
Bilbo was also a virulent racist. “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the n[*]ggers away from the polls,” Bilbo proclaimed during his successful reelection campaign in 1946. He was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan, telling Meet the Press that same year that “[n]o man can leave the Klan. He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.” During a filibuster of an anti-lynching bill, Bilbo claimed that the bill
will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon White Southern men will not tolerate.
For Senator Bilbo, however, racism was more that just an ideology, it was a sincerely held religious belief. In a book entitled Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, Bilbo wrote that “[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” Allowing “the blood of the races [to] mix,” according to Bilbo, was a direct attack on the “Divine plan of God.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God.”
Bilbo was one of the South’s most colorful racists, but he was hardly alone in his beliefs. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that “[t]he natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” This same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges.
In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.
Although the Supreme Court never considered whether Bilbo, Candler, Barnett or Byrd’s religious beliefs gave them a license to engage in race discrimination, a very similar case did reach the justices in 1983.
Bob Jones University excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s, when it began permitting black students to attend so long as they were married. In 1975, it amended this policy to permit unmarried African American students, but it continued to prohibit interracial dating, interracial marriage, or even being “affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage.” As a result, the Internal Revenue Service revoked Bob Jones’ tax-exempt status.
This decision, that the IRS would no longer give tax subsidies to racist schools even if they claimed that their racism was rooted in religious beliefs, quickly became a rallying point for the Christian Right. Indeed, according to Paul Weyrich, theseminal conservative activist who coined the term “moral majority,” the IRS’ move against schools like Bob Jones was the single most important issue driving the birth of modern day religious conservatism. According to Weyrich, “[i]t was not the school-prayer issue, and it was not the abortion issue,” that caused this “movement to surface.” Rather it was what Weyrich labeled the “federal government’s move against the Christian schools.”
When Bob Jones’ case reached the Supreme Court, the school argued that IRS’ regulations denying tax exemptions to racist institutions “cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.” But the justices did not bite. In an 8-1 decision by conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger, the Court explained that “[o]n occasion this Court has found certain governmental interests so compelling as to allow even regulations prohibiting religiously based conduct.” Prohibiting race discrimination is one of these interests.
My Liberty Stops At Your Body
Ultimately, the question facing anti-gay business owners, even if the bill Brewer vetoed had become law, is why it is acceptable to exclude gay people simply because of who they are, when we do not permit this sort of behavior by racists such as Bilbo or Byrd? And there is another, equally difficult question facing advocates of the kind of sweeping “religious liberty” protected by the Arizona bill — why should we allow people to impose their religious beliefs upon others?
One year before Bob Jones, the Court decided a case called United States v. Lee, which involved an Amish employer’s objection to paying Social Security taxes on religious grounds. As the Court explained in Lee, allowing people with religious objections to opt out of Social Security could undermine the viability of the entire program. “The design of the system requires support by mandatory contributions from covered employers and employees,” Burger wrote for the Court. “This mandatory participation is indispensable to the fiscal vitality of the social security system. . . . Moreover, a comprehensive national social security system providing for voluntary participation would be almost a contradiction in terms and difficult, if not impossible, to administer.”
Just as importantly, allowing religious employers to exempt themselves from the law would be fundamentally unfair to the employees who are supposed to benefit from those laws. “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.”
Lee, in other words, stands for the proposition that people of faith do not exist in a vacuum. Their businesses compete with other companies who are entitled to engage in this competition upon a level playing field. Their personnel decisions impact their employees, and their decision to refuse to do business with someone — especially for reasons such as race or sexual orientation — can fundamentally demean that individual and deny them their own right to participate equally in society.
This is why people like Theodore Bilbo should not be allowed to refuse to do business with African Americans, and it is why anti-gay business owners should not be given a special right to discriminate against LGBT consumers. And this is also something that the United States has understood for a very long time. Bob Jones and Lee are not new cases. A whole generation of Americans spent their entire professional careers enjoying the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious liberty is an important value and it rightfully belongs in our Constitution, but it we do not allow it to be used to destroy the rights of others.
The argument Gov. Brewer resolved Wednesday night with her veto stamp is no different than the argument Lyndon Johnson resolved when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Invidious discrimination is wrong. And it doesn’t matter why someone wants to discriminate.
By Steve M. 6/27/15
I know I should just relax and savor the Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide. But it’s been a devastating week for angry American reactionaries who think civilization as we know it is going to hell in a handbasket — yesterday’s Obamacare ruling, the sudden rethinking of Confederate symbols, and, let’s not forget, gruesome terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait. If you’re an American right-winger, all of this is connected. It’s a sign that we’ve mocked God and fallen out of his favor. It’s a sign that satanic forces are winning.
I wouldn’t give a crap what these people think except for the fact that they vote, they dominate many American states, and they own guns.
Their control over the political system at the state and local levels means, at the very least, that we’re not just going to transition seamlessly into an America where gay couples can marry anywhere. Granted, maybe there’ll only be a few pockets of resistance like this, in Alabama:Pike County out of marriage business for good after Supreme Court ruling
Pike County officials haven’t issued marriage licenses in months, and today Probate Judge Wes Allen announced that his office is now permanently out of the marriage business.
“My office discontinued issuing marriage licenses in February and I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business,” Allen wrote in a statement. “The policy of my office regarding marriage is no different today than it was yesterday.”
Couples — both gay and straight — who want to get married in Colbert, Washington and Henry Counties will have to wait a little while.
The probate offices closed this morning to review the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Alabama and across the nation. Colbert County Probate Judge Daniel Rosser would not say when the office would reopen, or whether it would ultimately issue licenses to same-sex couples….
Probate Judge Ryan Robertson of Cleburne County said he will stop performing marriages in his courthouse. He has not made any firm decision on whether he will issue marriage licenses.
Religious right leaders want resistance at the state level:
I think that won’t happen — but you never know:
UPDATE: Well, there it is:
More on that here.
UPDATE: “But on Friday, Paxton said in the headline of his statement that the state would be ‘following high court’s flawed ruling.'”)
When I think of the roadblocks to legal abortion devised by the right since Roe v. Wade,what astonishes me is the sheer creativity. Say what you will about conservatives, they have a genius for concocting ways around laws they don’t like. I can’t believe they won’t find ways around this one.
And as Greg Sargent says, they’re going to keep fighting Obamacare, too. They’re going to keep resisting the Medicaid expansion and they’re going to keep putting out propaganda designed to portray the law as a disaster. And yes, they will repeal it if they win the presidential election in 2016.
I’m glad that election is more than a year away — I don’t care how many times you say that the GOP field is a “clown car,” the domestic events of the past week have the potential to be massively inspiring to GOP voters, while conveying the impression to everyone else that liberalism is triumphant (which, to centrist voters, suggests that a return swing of the pendulum might be a good thing).
There’s a lot of chuckling over Antonin Scalia’s dissent in the same-sex marriage case, but I’m struck by this passage, in which he offers his party a talking point for the 2016 presidential election, on the subject of the makeup of the federal bench, and the Supreme Court in particular:
… the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis;they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.
A month ago, this argument would have rung hollow. Now I fear a lot of heartlanders might think it makes a lot of sense.
Right-wingers are really, really mad right now, in both senses of the word. I get nervous when they’re this mad.