Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let us mourn the fallen Iranian protesters:

May those who persist achieve their dreams. CNN news

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Cagle Cartoon by Rob Tornoe on Obama and Gay Marriage

Obama signs bill extending changes to coverage for Lesbian and Gay Federal Workers but not health benefits: I still want an apology

President Obama signed a bill today extending coverage to same sex spouses/domestic partners of federal workers. This I just found out *does not include health benefits which has to be passed by Congress but does cover long term health care and certain types of sick leave could be granted if requested to care for the children of a domestic partner or the Gay domestic partner her or himself among other possible extensions of rights and privileges, although I understand this bill only will be put in effect under the present administration, as soon as Obama leaves office the bill and its directives die. This is too little too late especially after knowing the details accompanying the issuance of a legal brief from the Justice Department defending the Defense of Marriage Act using terms i.e. incest and child molestation to keep Doma in place. Yes, this bill is progress but is limited in scope to only one narrow class of people, federal employees who are Lesbian or Gay.

Did I see Frank Kameny accept that pen from Obama after the signing? If so that was the only high point as far as I am concerned at this decorous event. Kameny was the first federal employee to fight his firing from the high level scientist job on the federal level. I need someone to let me know if that was him at the signing ceremony receiving the first pen. That part I liked if it is true. Or maybe pure fantasy on my part. I still will not give another dime to the DNC or for Obama purposes until I hear an apology regarding how Doma was defended or I hear of a significant development i.e. rescinding ofo "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or the end of DOMA coming about because of Obama or even a reversal on his Gay Marriage stance which is presently a No. I would also like to see an open Lesbian or Gay person in Obama's cabinet. I am not impressed. We were warned early on not to expect too much but this less than less than.

This does not mean I will support a Republican who is pro Gay Marriage. This does not mean I can't appreciate the good things Obama is trying to do with the economy, health care, or global warming though I think more could be done in those areas too
to alleviate the ways these issues impact the average person on the street. Still things are moving in the right direction but not for our community. So I plan to boycott any activity or fund raising requests re Obama until such time he gives us an apology for the DOMA fiasco or something bigger and more significant on the Presidential front regarding Gay Rights. The fact remains that as it appears now, Obama is playing both sides of the court when it comes to Gay Rights. I am still not satisfied. Please let me know if Frank Kameny was at that event?

Sharon Raphael, Long Beach
Longtime LGBT activist

* I just discovered this new bill which is supposed to pacify us does not include health care for partners of Lesbians and Gays.
This is a shock to learn meaning the bill is pretty slim pickings. updated from original 5:20 Wed. June 17

Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama's Justice Department Defends DOMA: My Thoughts

< This is not Justice

I was shocked to learn that two Department of Justice attorneys, Mormon leftovers from the Bush administration and with a history of defending homphobia, wrote a brief defending the Defense of Mariage Act and using terms i.e. incest and child molestation to rationalize their actions. Below is an excerpt from the Americablog by John Aravosis which goes into more detail about this despicable legal decision.

Some say Obama should have known better and others think he agrees with the arguments in this legal brief which speaks against our the federal court recognizing some Gay Marriages existing at the State court level. Obama must backtrack on this one and apologize to our community. I am not sure the damage this has caused can ever be undone unless Obama reverses himself and comes out for Gay Marriage which is unlikely. Some from our community and others are saying his decision is worse than what a lot of right wing Republicans are putting forth in the media on Gay Marriage. Even John McCain was quoted as saying if he had become President, he would be reconsidering his position on Gay Marriage. It is embarrassing that people like Cheney and politicians who worked with Rove seem more pro Gay Marriage than Obama.

I am clearly devastated by this state of affairs but feel this has been coming on since Obama took office. This is showdown time. I don't care if other issues have to take priority. The LGBT community must wake up, grow some spine, and get ahead of the Neanderthals on this issue. We must pressure the Obama folks to make a turn around or nothing will happen. It is a human rights issue. We deserve to be the priority especially given the shabby way we have been treated by Obama. I am very offended. By the way, my spouse and I were married and are still legally married in the State of California since Aug. 24, 2008. We are treated better by the average person we run into in our daily affairs than President Obama and his so called Justice Dept.

Sharon Raphael, Long Beach, Ca.

P.S. (NEW) Just read which includes big Gay donors to the Democratic Party saying they will stop giving money to the DNC as a result of the vicious, my words, anti-Gay legal brief that came down from Obama 's Justice Dept. on DOMA. Right on. Aravosis who write Americablog says (paraphrasing) he doesn't think any Gay person should ever give one dime to the Democrats again after this fiasco. Some believe all this was purposeful. I am still willing to hold out hope, there will be a big reversal on Obama;s part meaning he will do something and say something together with doing. He first must aplogize for letting these lawyers for so called Justice defame our name.

Below is an excerpt from AmericaBlog by John Aravosis 6/12/2009 09:44:00 AM

Obama defends DOMA in federal court. Says banning gay marriage is good for the federal budget. Invokes incest and marrying children.
by John Aravosis (DC) on 6/12/2009 09:44:00 AM
UPDATE: Former top aide to President Clinton says DOJ had a choice, they did not have to file a brief in favor of DOMA.

UPDATE: Mormon Bush holdover helped write and file anti-gay DOMA brief.

UPDATE: Gay groups rip Obama.

UPDATE: Are gay politicians going to continue hosting gay pride fundraiser for Joe Biden?

UPDATE: Obama spokesman caught lying to Politico.

Joe and I have been trying since last night to get a copy of the government's brief just filed in this case. This is not the GLAD case that we've written about previously, it's another in California.

We just got the brief from reader Lavi Soloway. It's pretty despicable, and gratuitously homophobic. It reads as if it were written by one of George Bush's top political appointees. I cannot state strongly enough how damaging this brief is to us. Obama didn't just argue a technicality about the case, he argued that DOMA is reasonable. That DOMA is constitutional. That DOMA wasn't motivated by any anti-gay animus. He argued why our Supreme Court victories in Roemer and Lawrence shouldn't be interpreted to give us rights in any other area (which hurts us in countless other cases and battles). He argued that DOMA doesn't discriminate against us because it also discriminates about straight unmarried couples (ignoring the fact that they can get married and we can't).