Canary in the Coal Mine by Maria Lupinacci

 I can't remember exactly when I started reading Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents but it couldn't have been too long after its inception because I had already added it to 2 Political Junkies' blogroll just a little over three months from its birth.

So why did we choose to add a blog that centered on LGBT issues to our very political blogroll on our very political blog?

Well, aside from PLG being an excellent blog overall, aside from it often covering political issues, and aside from being happy to include a blog with a perspective that was other than straight white male, there was the Canary in the Coal Mine consideration. From Wikipedia:

The classic example of animals serving as sentinels is the canary in the coal mine. Well into the 20th century, coal miners in the United Kingdom and the United States brought canaries into coal mines as an early-warning signal for toxic gases including methane and carbon monoxide. The birds, being more sensitive, would become sick before the miners, who would then have a chance to escape or put on protective respirators.

We sometimes hear complaints on Democratic blogs about single issue voters — why can't the feminists just shut up about abortion when health care reform is at stake? Or, why get all worked up over then candidate Obama including gospel singer and preacher Donnie “Homosexuality is a choice that can be cured” McClurkin for a statewide tour when Obama would so obviously be so much better for gays (and everyone else) than John McCain?

But, I say if you really want to know how progressive a candidate will be — if you want to know if you can truly trust them (on any issue) — there's no better way than to find out just how gay friendly they are.

Of course, the pols who are real homophobes are also the ones who seem most likely to be vying for the title of Wingnut of the Year. Here in good ol' PA that would be folks like state Senator John “We allow gays to exist” Eichelberger or state Rep. Daryl “Domestic Violence Awareness Month has a homosexual agenda” Metcalfe.

But the canary test (their stand on LGBT issues) is really most useful when its used on Democrats/Liberals. Take John Edwards. During the presidential primaries he looked pretty good. Great on economic issues with his “Two Americas” meme, but I could never really warm up to the guy and could never really put my finger on why. One thing I knew that made me feel creepy about him was his statement that he was uncomfortable around gays. Not only don't I get that in this day and age, I really didn't get his need to say it. It seems especially grotesque to me now that he had concerns about others' sex lives while he was having his own underground affair. My mistrust in him was validated when it came out that he had the exceedingly bad judgement to think that he could hide an affair while running for the highest office in the land — a secret that would have imploded any Dem chance of winning in 2008 if he had been the nominee.

President Obama as a “fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans”? If the McClurkin incident didn't tip you off, his picking Prop. 8 proponent Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration was telegraphing his lack of urgency in, say, addressing Don't Ask Don't Tell…or in my mind his less than fierce advocacy for, say, getting the the best we could have in Health Care Reform.

Couple a Democratic politician's stand on gay rights with their take on choice for women's reproductive rights and if they're negative on both you may as well stick a big, fat R beside their name because you know that they can't be trusted not to throw someone or something else you care about under the bus. It's just a matter of time…or money.

Or to put it another way, if you can trust someone to look out for the one group left who it's perfectly legal to discriminate against; if you can trust someone to risk condemnation from their own religious leaders on behalf of basic fairness for a group that they aren't a member of, well then, baby, you can trust them to get most things right — to fight for us all — immigrant, feminist, environmentalist, atheist, etc., and you get my support.
 
And, there's no better local blog to find out the real ins and outs of where a politician stands on LGBT issues than Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. They're a daily read for me and many others.
 
Congratulations on four years of blogging and thanks for keeping us all in the loop!

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With no irony, I believe that Maria is my hero.  I loved her from the moment I stumbled across the junkies.  We began an IM chat and soon became friends in real life. She's one of the smartest bloggers in this region and certainly among the most creative.  I feel an undeniable twinge of pleasure when she links to a post of mine AND always confident that she has our backs on LGBTQ issues. 

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