Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Uninformed Voters Could Help Defeat NC Amendment One

A new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling shows that support for Amendment One, the anti-gay constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and all domestic partnerships has hit an all time low, coming in at 54%.
The Raleigh News-Observer reports:
The constitutional amendment on marriage appears poised to pass, but a new poll shows support slipping two weeks before the May 8 primary. 
The Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday shows 54 percent of primary voters support making marriage between one man and one woman the only legal union recognized in North Carolina -- a four-percentage-point drop from a month ago.Black voters favor the amendment two-to-one and even Democratic primary voters are split evenly. The referendum needs a majority for approval. 
Opposition increased slightly to 40 percent from 38 percent, a nudge within the poll's 2.9 percent margin of error, according to PPP, a left-leaning polling firm based in Raleigh.The survey shows more primary voters are starting to understand the amendment would ban gay marriage and civil unions. But 10 percent still erroneously  think it legalizes gay marriage and another 27 percent are unsure what it would do.
So what exactly does this mean? Although the News-Observer seems to think that passage is a foregone conclusion, the devil may be in the details. As both pro and anti-Amendment One ads have begun airing across the Tar Heel state over the last week, voters are becoming more aware that it simply goes too far, impacting unmarried straight couples, as well as gay couples and will cost those families their employer-provided health insurance and endanger unmarried victims of domestic violence, by taking away their ability to obtain a protective order against the abusive men in their lives.

The trend over the last six  months has been decidedly against passage, once voters become informed about the implications. When you look at those last figures about uniformed voters, what you see is that 10% could vote against the amendment for the "wrong" reasons and that 27% are still reachable. But the question remains, once unmarried opposite-sex couples understand that their families are at risk too, will they vote against their own best interest just because they are against marriage equality? We'll find out in less than two weeks.

Education is key but it costs a lot of money. You can donate to help fight Amendment One here, at Protect All NC Families.


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Dear Hilary Rosen, Please Shut the F*** Up.

Democratic Strategist Hilary Rosen (public domain photo)
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in an effort to regain some lost ground with women voters who have been turned off by attacks on reproductive choice waged by his misogynistic party, said earlier this week that his wife Ann keeps him informed about women's economic concerns.

This was yet another feeble attempt by the bazillionaire/former Massachusetts governor to show the commoners that he feels their pain during these difficult economic times. Gotta give the guy an A for effort, even if nobody is buying the crap he's selling.

Enter talking head/Democratic strategist/out lesbian, Hilary Rosen, who set the 24/7 news cycle and the interwebs ablaze when said told CNN's Thursday morning viewers that Ann Romney, "has never worked a day in her life".

In response, Mrs. Romney made a statement pointing out that she has raised five sons and that being a stay-at-home mom is, in fact, hard work. From this point it got uglier and uglier, as each camp fired salvo after ridiculous salvo and the story took on a life of its own.

Rush Limbaugh weighed in, spending the majority of his three-hour show on a tirade about liberals driving a wedge between working and nonworking mothers:
Via Politico:
"This is big because it’s such a teachable moment. It’s such an illustration of who these people are, the left. It’s such an illustration of phonies of feminism. It is an illustration of the absolute hostility that the left has for women who stay at home."
Naturally, Sarah Palin, the Fox "News" answer to Snooki, offered her own bumper sticker opinion, saying Rosen's comments had "wakened the Mamma Grizzlies". Mamma Grizzlies sure do sleep a lot.

Coming to Rosen's defense is her former partner and power lesbian, Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of The Human Rights Campaign. Birch, who has two children with Rosen, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post Friday morning, where she wrote in part, "There is something just wrong with people twisting concerns for women and jobs into mom-on-mom conflict"

Really, Liz? I hope that's what you told your ex-wife as you were picking up/dropping off the kids last night, because that's exactly what she did.

It strikes me as the ultimate hypocrisy that two women, Rosen and Birch, who value and defend the right of women to make their own reproductive choices, to have the right to marry the one they love and raise their children as they see fit could be so disrespectful of a woman who exercised her own right to do the exact same thing. 

According to Rosen, freedom of choice is only worthy of respect and protection when we all make the same choices. If you ask me, that sounds more like a conservative Republican mindset than a liberal Democrat one. It's getting so you can't tell them apart any more.

Women work for the same reasons men work, to support themselves and their families. Most working moms don't have much of a choice in the matter. If a woman, or a man, is fortunate enough to have a spouse that makes a good enough salary that she/he can be the primary caregiver for their kids, isn't that a good thing? Isn't it better than turning them over to a stranger to raise? 

For the average married working mother, who is typically just getting by financially, when you factor in the cost of childcare, it's often less expensive for her to not work outside the home. 

But aside from all of this, as a gay man I have to ask, do we really need two prominent members of the LGBT community jumping into the War On Women and dragging the rest of us along with them? It's bad enough that Rosen's insensitive comments have made the Democrats look bad, but the antigay forces out there have already started using this incident to bolster their arguments that gays are a threat to traditional families.

Think Progress reports that Bill Donohue of the Catholic League sent out the following tweet on Thursday morning:
@CatholicLeague: Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.
Naturally, TP's Zack Ford, who reported on this, took the bait and made much of Donohue's implication that Rosen's children and parental credentials were somehow less than Romney's because her kids are adopted and the pissing contest goes on and on. So much for thinking and for progress.

Before the end of the day, Rosen shot off an unconvincing "my bad", saying, "I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."

Too late, Hil. That horse is out of the barn, has jumped the fence and is rolling around in the pig slop. 

The Republican War on Women is very real. The LGBT community has steadfastly fought alongside our straight and gay sisters to defeat every draconian attempt made by Republicans nationwide to strip away women's reproductive rights, including the demeaning and unwarranted, state-sanctioned rape known as  Trans-vaginal Ultrasound, proposed by legislators in Virginia and other states as a means of intimidating women who seek legal abortions. 

Ms. Rosen, you have trivialized political misogyny by participating in it and you've dragged your party and the LGBT community into the mud with you. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Disgraced Prop 8 Witness Opposes NC Amendment One

David Blankenhorn leaving 9th District Court
in January, 2010 after being ripped a new one. 
This one is just too good to pass up. In an Op Ed piece in this morning's Raleigh News and Observer, David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values and his wife, Elizabeth Marquardt, a NC native, have once again contradicted themselves on the subject of marriage equality by opposing Amendment One.

Blankenhorn, played with buffoonish perfection by John C. Riley in Dustin Lance Black's stage production "8", was one of only two so-called expert witnesses called by proponents of California's Prop 8 in the court challenge, Perry vs. Schwarzeneggar (now Perry vs. Brown).  The LA Times reported on the trial back in January 2010:
Under cross-examination by David Boies, an attorney for challengers of the ballot measure, Blankenhorn admitted he knew of no study that showed children reared by gay couples fared worse than those raised by heterosexual parents.
Blankenhorn also conceded that same-sex marriage would probably "improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children."
A spokeswoman for proponents of Proposition 8 said she did not know the context in which Blankenhorn made the statement in his book that same-sex marriage would make the United States "more American."
Yes, you read that right. In 2007 Blankenhorn wrote in a book that the U.S. would be "more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before."

This morning, The Raleigh News and Observer published a piece by Mr. and Mrs. All-Over-The-Map called, "Amendment goes too far", wherein they state their opposition to NC Amendment One. While they still maintain that marriage should be a heteros-only club, the self-contradicting duo writes:
"We believe that marriage is a uniquely important institution that unites mothers and fathers to their children.
But as marriage advocates, we oppose the state marriage amendment now being debated in North Carolina. We hope that when North Carolinians go to the polls on May 8 they will defeat this measure."
So despite being ripped to shreds on the witness stand and having no credible research to back up their claims, Blankenhorn and Marquardt continue to make their discredited arguments, under the guise of fairness. They are against Amendment One because it would ban domestic partnerships, which they see as a more "humane compromise". 

Humane? Really, Dave? What's next, mandatory spay and neuter laws for the gays? 

Thanks for your self-serving support, Dave and Liz, but we can do this without your help. 

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With Mr. Frothy out of the mix, will Amendment One fail?

Don't forget to flush on your way out.
As most of you have heard by now, Rick "Google Me" Santorum has "suspended" his presidential campaign after yet another disappointing round of primaries. Give the man some credit for finally realizing what we all knew from the get go, that he never had a snowball's chance in hell.

America is tired of extremism. In an era where even Liberals aren't liberal any more and the mainstream GOP refusing to use Marriage Equality as a wedge issue, are we beginning to see a hint of a glimmer of rationality in politics?

The Raleigh News and Observer reports today that Santorum's exit from the presidential race could mean trouble for the anti-gay Amendment One, which would cement bigotry into the NC constitution.
Michael Bitzer, a political expert at Catawba College in Salisbury, said North Carolina voters can still make a statement when early voting for the May 8 primary begins on April 19. Santorum and Gingrich – as well as Ron Paul – will appear on the ballot and may draw a protest vote.
The question is how bad Romney limps into the Tampa convention with the base of the Republican Party still not behind him,” Bitzer said.
At the state level, Santorum’s departure may also influence voter turnout in other campaigns. The former Pennsylvania senator’s social conservative voters would have boosted support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions. Likewise, other far-right conservative candidates could have drawn more votes.
“Without a driving factor of a presidential race at the top of the ticket, will (social conservatives) have a motivation to come out?” Bitzer asked.
What Bitzer fails to take into account is that exit polling and public opinion research throughout the GOP primary season has consistently shown two things. First, that Republicans, in general aren't thrilled with any of the choices they've been presented with this year. Voter turnout at the GOP primaries has been at record lows. Romney is too bland and he's got that whole Mormon thing scaring the hell out of the evangelicals and other extremists.

Second, that the other contenders, including the two that are left, are far too extreme, even for extremists and aren't electable. There is speculation that the Gingrich and Ron Paul campaigns might see a slight boost via protest votes from the folks who find Romney and his magic underwear just too icky, but not enough to make a significant difference. There is also the possibility that disillusioned GOP voters may just stay home.

When you take into account the rapidly declining support for Amendment One (60% are now opposed), plus Democratic Governor Bev Perdue's announcement earlier this year that she will not be seeking re-election, voter turnout among Democrats will be greater than NC Republicans anticipated when they approved the referendum back in September. Factor in the disaffected Republican base and the likelihood of passage seems less and less plausible.

While the defeat of Amendment One is far from guaranteed, it's safe to say that the tide has shifted in the Tarheel state and now is the time to keep the momentum going and fight harder than ever. Check out Protect All NC Families to see what you can do to help defeat Amendment One. Make a donation, pick up a yard sign, or volunteer.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Elon Poll: 60% Oppose NC Amendment One

A new Elon University poll released Monday shows that 60% of North Carolinians oppose Amendment One, the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban any legal recognition of same-sex relationships. With just over a month left before the vote, the poll reveals not only a majority of opposition to Amendment One, but a marked shift in support for either marriage equality or civil unions.
" for full marriage rights for same sex couples (38%) or support for civil unions or partnerships for same-sex couples (29%) among the state’s residents continues to increase over the four cycles since September 2011 that we have asked the question. Opposition to any legal recognition for same-sex couples continues to decrease and is now at 29%."
This is great news for LGBT's living in the south. North Carolina is the only southern state without a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heteros-only club. While same-sex marriage is already illegal in the Tar Heal State, defeating this ballot measure at the polls, with a Republican majority running the state for the first time in ten years, would send a message that same-sex marriage is not the wedge issue it once was.

Politico reported Friday that mainstream Republicans don't seem to have the stomach to fight gay marriage any more.
"It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference."

Just three weeks ago, polling showed only 54% opposition, but also revealed that a lot of voters don't understand exactly what Amendment One would do, if passed. Once they understood, they were opposed to it.

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