I've been critical of the President in the past for what seemed like slow progress on gay rights fronts. To that end, I had stopped giving money to the national Democratic party as a sign of my frustration. While it's hard to know whether or not a similar withdrawal of support on the part of gay and lesbian supporters made any impact, it does seem like the desired progress is being made.
First of all, it seems that the idiotic Don't Ask Don't Tell policy is on its way to repeal. Having passed in the House, repeal is on its way to the Senate, and it seems key votes are lining up the right way. (Sadly, the flagrantly unhinged 2008 GOP presidential nominee is not one of them.) I think there's plenty of reason to be optimistic.
On a similar note, this is very encouraging (via Political Animal):
I'm far less optimistic about repeal of DOMA, but am pleased to see that the President is doing his best within the constraints of the law.
President Obama on Wednesday extended a modest package of benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, a move that will make them eligible for day care, travel and relocation allowances, employee assistance programs and, in some cases, enable them to inherit retirement benefits.
But Mr. Obama lamented that federal law – the Defense of Marriage Act – prevents him from extending the full range of health and retirement benefits to federal employees. He called on Congress to pass legislation that would allow him to do so.
So, all in all, plenty of reason to be pleased with the Democrats. I may even give them money again.
Meanwhile, across the aisle...
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) spoke to about 300 constituents earlier this week at Dixie State University. His remarks included some advice for conservatives. (thanks to reader J.S.)
He said the Republicans need to organize and pull together just as unions, environmentalists, personal injury lawyers and gay rights activists do for Democrat candidates.
"Gays and lesbians don't pay tithing, their religion is politics," said Hatch.
Nice syntax there, Orrin. How are we on paying taxing?
There's ever so very much wrong with that fun little sentence. To begin with, one wonders why ol' Orrin would conflate our religious views with our politics. I don't actually know if gays and lesbians are more likely to be politically active than straight people. but it wouldn't surprise me. This probably has more to do with not wanting to be second-class citizens anymore, and less to do with some kind of religious transference.
Also, plenty of us gay types are very religious. Like, you know... this guy.
I have very close ties to the church. (People who know me personally know just how close, but I'll leave it at that for the purposes of a public forum like this one.) As much money as I've given to the various political causes I support over the past few years, the amount I gave to my church was much, much more. (How much more is, of course, none of your damn business.) And my last church had many, many gay and lesbian members, many of whom were among the most active.
Finally, it's probably true that a lot of gays and lesbians are no longer religious. Again, this probably has less to do with our being a bunch of God-hating hedonists and more to do with being unmistakeably unwelcome in a whole bunch of churches. (A certain Utah-based church springs to mind, though it's certainly not alone.) Perhaps if religion were not so flagrantly, consistently hostile to homosexuals, more of us would be active, tithing members with less cash to throw around at political rallies.