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View Article  Post Marriage Vote Chat - Frankel, PG, Trib, Arlia and more

Last night, State Representative Dan Frankel appeared on KDKA's John McIntire program to discuss the alleged marriage protection amendment.  Frankel was straightforward about the prospect that if the bill gets to the floor of the Senate for a vote, it will pass.  He reasoned that the same divisive fears and desperate pandering to the right wingers will be in the heart of the good Senators of Pennsylvania (obviously, my words and not his) resulting in yet another demonstration of the gay-panic defense that pervades politics these days.

I called in and asked Representative Frankel what a good gay Democrat is to do about all the guys on OUR side who voted in favor of the amendment ....Western PA reps such as Dave Levdansky, Joseph Markosek, Harry Readshaw, Anthony DeLuca and so forth. 

<There is no need to even mention Ken Ruffing of West Mifflin whose 16 visits from the police on domestic disturbances make him a fine candidate for his upcoming job with the PA Gambling thugs.- further proof that the crony system is alive and well>

Frankel told me that we need to work to ensure a Democrat majority in the house and senate and that this is a wakeup call to LGBT advocates and activists that we have to work much harder to build relationships with these officials so we can prove to them that their fears are groundless.   I was taken aback at how grubby that sounds, but he's probably right.  I guess its the Bob Casey trickle down effect; they are good on most issues and we can, hopefully, work with them on the others. 

That still doesn't sit right with me .... I need more.  What do you think --- vote 'em out or work with them?  I pretty pissed off right now at these guys. And I'm STUNNED that Mike Divin voted against the amendment, although I suspect he's either trying to appeal to moderate Democrats in his battle against Democrat Chelsa Wagner or he's just giving the big F to the Republican leadership. 

The PG continues to collect your opinion on the matter.  Please send an e-mail with your name and hometown to postscript@post-gazette.com.

 The Trib printed two letters this morning, one for and one against.  The "against" letter was so boring and trite, I won't bother to quote it.  But shout out to Melanie O. Paulick of Mt. Lebanon for her little missive. 

It is easy to point fingers at something that may be uncomfortable for us to consider, but it is much less easy for us to fix the problem with ourselves. If banning gay marriage because it would mean children don't have both a mother and a father is truly your argument, you'd better make sure you come from the perfect family.

Melanie, dear, that would mean that all the right wingers would have to put down their fetus signs, turn off The 700 Club and go out and mingle with the great unwashed sinners in the soup kitchens, the jails, the homeless shelters, the senior centers OR maybe open their perfect little homes to foster children <gasp>.   You know, the things Jesus would do.  They'd rather sit home, point their fingers and use their hypocritical prayers to judge us. 

Frankly, I'd rather hang with the great unwashed. 

And our good friend and frequent Correspondent commenter Bob Arlia of Cranberry got a few points into the PG article on the fractious culture politics in Harrisburg.

"The representatives who voted for this bill are religion-driven, fear-mongering terrorists," Robert Arlia of Cranberry said yesterday.

"Every terrorist in the world uses religion as the basis for their actions. What the House did is use religion as the excuse to be a terrorist to all the gay and lesbian people in this state," said Mr. Arlia, who's been in a committed relationship with his male partner for 23 years.

Amen, Brother Bob. 

View Article  More examples of right-wing values

These aren't really gay issues but just a few thoughts on the types of individuals the Republican party courts and their so-called values.

Diana Irey is running against John Murtha. Now I'm unsure of his views on gay issues, but he has been speaking out about what appears to have been war crimes committed by Marines in  Haditha. Murtha has been critical of the Marines and the handling of the war in general.

Well, Ms. Irey seems to be attempting to "swift-boat" Mr. Murtha by declaring that he is a "One-time Patriot" who "has lost his way." Ms. Irey then states that any discussion is a recruinting tool for the enemy. Hey, I'm all for the Marines having due process and their day in court, but if we learned anything from the Vietnam war, atrocities "comfort the enemy" and to cover them up or fail to talk about them doesn't help our military personnel. And she's representative of the so-called family values crew?

And, finally, there's Ann Coulter.storyvert.coulter.ap.jpg

You gotta love someone who has made a career -- and one guesses--a lot of money for being a hate-monger. Americans are sooo gullible. What amazes me about her is her shamless and unrelenting attack on liberals, you know, people like us who made it possible for her to have a career attacking --us. Ain't democracy grand!

The latest "liberals" to feel her wrath are the 9/11 widows whose only offense seems to be that they occasionally speak out about brother Bush. According to CNN, in her new book, which I won't dignify naming, she says:

"I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."

The article in CNN stated: "Her criticism was aimed at four New Jersey women whom she dubbed "The Witches of East Brunswick," after the town where two of them live. They have spent the years since the 2001 terror attacks supporting an independent commission to examine government failures before the attack, and in the 2004 presidential campaign they endorsed Democrat John Kerry."

Classy. Spoken like the kind of person I would want to be identified with. The most hilarious part of this was the segment on NBC news where some right-wing nut job tried to justify Coulter's crap by stating that these women have criticized our beloved "W." So somehow they deserve this? Amazing. These are the kinds of people that are helping shape public policy.

Ann Coulter is pathetic but she sure does know how to make a buck!

View Article  marriage protection amendment

Well, it was in the Post Gazette today, the so-called marriage protection amendment passed the state house and jubilant right-wing bigots all over the state are rejoicing. How very Christian.

This amendment was brought up and passed because gay/bi/transgendered folk are the last acceptable minority punching bags. We're the only group left that the right-wing haters (the same group of people that brought us the KKK way back when) can hate and discriminate against with impunity now that discriminating against blacks and jews is frowned upon.

Yes, we have to keep the world safe for the 24/48 hour marriage rights of people like Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline. The thing is, the heterosexuals are fouling their own nests without any help from the gay people of the world. We're not forcing them to get married and then divorced. Most of the gay people I know have been with their partners for at least 20 years or more. That's longer than most hetero marriages survive. And Rick Santorum and all the other so-called Christian people have yet to explain to anyone how gay people getting married will ruin their marriages. Makes you wonder about the strenth of their marriages doesn't it?

And speaking of hypocrisy to the most foul degree, one of the so-called Democrats that voted for the amendment was Ken Ruffing of West Mifflin (my partner's old stomping ground). Isn't this the same Ken Ruffing who was featured in an investigative segment a few weeks ago on KDKA? The person who Marty Griffin reported had had sixteen calls to his home for domestic troubles within the last year? And, beleive it or not, it's just too rich, while Mr. Griffin was there reporting, Ms. Ruffing had called the police on Mr. Ruffing! And he's a poster child for marriage? He has the nerve to deny me the right to marry? Hey, my partner and I have lived together almost two years and the police haven't been here yet. I guess to be worthy of marraige and family values we have alot of catching up to do.

View Article  PG Reader Comments on Anti-Homo Marriage Amendment

PG Readers Weigh In

The Post-Gazette would like to hear your opinion on the issue. Please send an e-mail with your name and hometown to postscript@post-gazette.com.

A few snippets ... its really quite interesting.

The Republican Party is misguided in its attempt to become the political weapon of organized religion. It is imperative that Republicans reclaim this party from the Religious Right.

-- Amesh Adalja, Butler

My only wish for you is a litter of gay children and grandchildren, maybe then you will see how much hatred and lack of understand hurts!

-- Christie S. Jeannette

I think governor Schwarzenegger said it best: "I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

-- Matt Kurczewski, Pittsburgh

How appropriate that the PA House's work of evil (discrimination) should coincide with the date of 666.

-- Robert Arlia, Cranberry

Not taking a stand on same-sex marriage would add grease to the slide our society is already on. This slide ends in the pit of Hell.

-- Joe Afflerbach

These corrupt riff raff, aka state legislature are desperately seeking an issue that will prevent their mass execution in November. They are beneath contempt!

-- Jack W., Lewisburg, Pa.

I do not have any problem with gays. I actually have some friends that are gay.

-- Paul S.

The same people that tell the government "GET OUT OF MY GUN SAFE" are also telling the government to get INTO everyone else's bedrooms and family structures. What a bunch of hypocrites.

-- Kim, Cranberry

Quit imposing your so-called rights on America

-- Roberta P., Hopewell

 

View Article  PG editoral page - a bit of heartening news ...

This is heartening.  Joseph Bute of Pine took the time to write in and question Bush's pandering to special interests while serious crises abound.  This is my favorite quote:

Facing a need to overcome serious and significant differences of opinion on the fate of more than 12 million immigrants in the United States, he has time to talk about his personal faith in heterosexuality.

Actually, his personal faith in rich, white, male heterosexuality.  But that's quibbling. 

Joseph, thanks for picking up your pen and keeping the PG readers aware of how much anti-anti-gay marriage amendment sentiment there is in Pennsylvania. 

Another interesting read is from Sarah H. Springer, M.D. medical director of International Adoption Health Services of Western Pennsylvania and chair of the section on adoption and foster care at the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Dr. Springer believes that marriage amendments will hurt children. 

When legal recognition of committed couples and families is denied, children lose health insurance, inheritance rights and the rights to have their parents make medical and educational decisions for them. Children can lose the right to have a parent present for their comfort in medical settings, and can lose the protection of support in the case of parental separations, which happen sometimes in homosexual relationships, just as they do in heterosexual marriages.

Defining marriage as only between a man and a woman could deny thousands of children who wait for foster and adoptive homes the availability of willing, capable, loving parents.

She reiterates that all the scientific research shows that children of homosexual families are just as happy and well-adjusted as kids in heterosexual families. 

As Dr. Springer notes, amendments aren't going to suddenly cure homosexuals.  We won't disappear and neither will our kids.  We will be forced to exist in a second-tier status within this society which of course means so will our children.  Haven't we been there already in America?  In fact, aren't we still there when it comes to racial divides within society? 

It is important that people of good conscience stand up for what is right for all children and families.

Proponents of these amendments argue that allowing gay marriages will harm traditional families. This was the same argument used in days gone by to oppose interfaith marriages and inter-racial marriages. These claims were based on nothing but fear and prejudice, and we have learned, of course, that diversity makes all of our lives richer.

Fear and prejudice seem to be American specialities.  With the homos attacking our marriages and the immigrants stealing our jobs and tax dollars, who has time to fear a government attacking our privacy, economy and environment?  Duh!

View Article  PA House Approves Marriage Amendment 136-61

In another stupefying example of right wing homo-hysteria, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed the anti-gay marriage amendment yesterday by a vote of 136-61. 

I'll comment later when I've had more coffee and swallowed my disgust.  Here's how they voted. (PG)  I'll keep you posted on the response from PA LGBT pols. 


 

 
 
HOW THEY VOTED
The state House last night approved a bill that would outlaw same-sex marriages in Pennsyvlania. Here's how Pittsburgh-area legislators voted:

Republicans -- Yes
Brian Ellis of Butler; John Maher of Upper St. Clair; Daryl Metcalfe of Cranberry; Mark Mustio of Moon; Jeff Pyle of Ford City; Jess Stairs of Mount Pleasant; Dick Stevenson of Grove City; Tom Stevenson of Mt. Lebanon; Mike Turzai of Bradford Woods.

Republicans -- No
Mike Diven of Brookline


Democrats -- Yes
H. William DeWeese of Waynesburg; Vince Biancucci of Aliquippa; James Casorio of Irwin; Peter Daley of California; Anthony DeLuca of Penn Hills; R. Ted Harhai of Monessen; Nick Kotik of Robinson; Victor Lescovitz of Midway; David Levdansky of Forward; Joseph Markosek of Monroeville; John Pallone of New Kensington; Joseph Petrarca of Vandergrift; Thomas Petrone of Crafton Heights; Sean Ramaley of Conway; Harry Readshaw of Carrick; Larry Roberts of Hopwood; Ken Ruffing of West Mifflin; James Shaner of Lemont Furnace; Thomas Tangretti of Greensburg.

Democrats -- No
Paul Costa of Wilkins; Frank Dermody of Oakmont; Dan Frankel of Squirrel Hill; Marc J. Gergely of White Oak; Frank Pistella of Bloomfield; Joseph Preston of East Liberty; Tim Solobay of Canonsburg; Mike Veon of Beaver Falls; Don Walko of North Side; Jake Wheatley of the Hill District.

Frank LaGrotta, D-Ellwood City, was absent.

 

View Article  Faith Coalition for Pennsylvania Families Forms, Stands Up for ALL families

Yesterday, a group of religious leaders formed a coalition to speak out in defense of Pennsylvania families.  Not just heterosexual families. (PG)

The new group, called the Faith Coalition For Pennsylvania Families, includes pastors and officials from two Presbyterian churches (one in Pittsburgh and one in Harrisburg), the Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers), some Baptist and United Church of Christ churches, an "independent Catholic" bishop from suburban Philadelphia, plus a nondenominational Christian church from Philadelphia and a Jewish Reformed temple in Lancaster.

Among the participants was Pittsburgh's own Reverend Janet Edwards from the Community of Reconciliation.  Janet presided at a lesbian wedding ceremony last June.

The coalition will work to defeat the proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. 

"I am flabbergasted at the thought that the state Constitution might be amended to make same-sex couples outcasts in the eyes of the state," said the Rev. James D. Brown of Market Square Presbyterian Church here. "I cannot believe this is what God intends."

Of course, the wingnuts at the American Family Association of Pennsylvania didn't miss a beat, issuing their own press release to condemn this coalition, including a list of details on the homosexual affiliations of the participating faith communities (duh!)

?Protecting traditional marriage and defining it as only between one man and one woman is not contrary to the beliefs of members of every major religion in the world.  The Bible is quite clear that marriage is between the opposite sexes and homosexual relationships are considered sinful,? stated Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA.

The AFA and some of their zombies will be gathering today in the Capitol to hold their own press conference denouncing gay marriage and state funding for family planning services. 

View Article  McIntire Looks Into Santorum Gay Peeping Story

As our friend and blogging colleague David posted over at 2 Political Junkies, a source  alleges that a Santorum operative snuck into a Stonewall Democrat VIP party Friday night to secretly record speeches.  When approached by the Stonewall Dems, he fled into the night as if the Allegheny County police had surrounded his bathroom.

OK, that was lame.

Anyway, tonight our other good friend John McIntire will talk with a rep from the Steel City Stonewall Demorat chapter about this invasion of privacy.  Tune into KDKA 1020 on your AM dial.

AND ... John will check in with your lesbian correspondent (that would be me) about the wild and wacky FMA situation. 

All in the 7 o'clock hour.  

 

View Article  Rendell Calls for Gay Community to Turn Out at Polls

Governor Rendell addressed the National Stonewall Democrats Convention on Sunday, urging the gay community to work on turning out voters to secure victory in what's believed to be will be a close election. (PG)

"You don't think there are people who are fanatical out there about saving Rick Santorum? I guarantee you there are," Mr. Rendell said.

Rendell referenced his own history of strong support for gay issues as proof positive that the vast majority of people are not one-issue voters.  Rendell also called for gays to exhibit tolerance.

"We're fighting for dignity and fairness and understanding, and as we fight, we have to demonstrate that same dignity and fairness and understanding," the governor told about 75 attendees at the National Stonewall Democrats convention.

He commended the LGBT community for building its influence, registering voters and supporting gay-friendly candidates.

Rendell is right on most of these issues.  But casual conversation with movers and shakers in the local party (conversations I've had) reveal a widespread awareness of the divide within the LGBT community. None of the political leaders are going to talk about it out loud or on the record, but I think its the real reason we haven't built enough momentum to squash the marriage amendment.  Its not the apathetic voters, its the continuous petty infighting driven by personal agendas rather than the common good.  (And those personal agendas will be the ones leaving more quasi-anonymous comments on this blog --- behavior that perfectly illustrates my point.)

So how do we as a community break out of this personality driven loop?  Where are the solutions? 

I look around at the various political themed LGBT organizations and feel like none are quite a good fit.  Steel City Stonewall Democrats worked the best for me and I still regret that it didn't work out as I hoped.  I've gone to high-end fundraisers, queer activist events, mainstream democrat events, feminist events, etc.  And within each context, I feel divided almost as if I have to leave some pretty core parts of my identity at the door. 

And I suspect I'm not the only one who feels like I'm not young/hip/old/rich/radical/mainstream enough. 

Back to Rendell, I'm glad he came to the convention.  In spite of what anonymous commenters imply, I did hope for the convention to be a success.  Rumor is that he will be at the PrideFest awareness march on June 17.  That's also good news. 

Maybe we can find a way to get it together for this election? 

View Article  Happy Marriage Protection Sunday

h/t to Pam's House Blend and Blog Asheville for this wonderful photo montage.  Click on the photo for the larger image. 

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