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Texas GOP’er John Cornyn to Attend Gay Fundraiser

July 31, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

John Cornyn - Senator for TexasJohn Cornyn, the junior Senator from Texas with a staunchly anti-gay voting record, has announced that he will attend a fundraiser held by the Log Cabin Republicans, whose mission is to support “fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans.”  The Senator is in charge of getting Republicans elected to the U.S. Senate.

Although Cornyn is a U.S. Senator, he’s still a republican from Texas.  The Texas Republican Party, in their official platform, have called for re-enactment of the Texas Sodomy Law, which was also known as the Homosexual Conduct Law and would result in criminalizing gay sex.  The platform also seeks felony penalties for civil officials who perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.  The Platform caused LGBT rights activists to protest republican events in Texas earlier this month.

Cornyn’s decision to accept the invitation, in this bloggers opinion, is likely to mitigate damages caused to the Texas Republicans because of the platform; however, LGBT people make now mistake, in spite of this move, Texas’ Republicans aren’t going to save us from inequality.  In fact, Cornyn, and the overwhelming majority of republicans, are opposed to marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the firing of LGBT people based solely on their sexual orientation.  Cornyn, in response to inquiries about his acceptance offered this as one reason for attending:

I don’t want people to misunderstand and think that I don’t respect the dignity of every human being regardless of sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, Cornyn’s definitions of respect and dignity doesn’t include providing every human being equal opportunity and treatment under the law, a lesson Cornyn and his fellow Texas Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, have yet to learn.

Wait, Did Kay Bailey Hutchison Just Say I am a Phone Sex Operator?

June 10, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

Anyone who has attempted to organize an event on a shoe-string budget knows the importance of free services.  Many of these services are available on the web.  There are sites that provide free  , business cards, email marketing tools and even teleconferencing services.  I’ve used many of such freebies on the net in order to organize rallies, protests and conferences.  One of the most important tools that I’ve found is free telephone conferencing.

While I’m perfectly capable of joining in a couple of people on a call, I can’t join in the large number of people it sometimes requires to get the activism ball rolling, in spite of the nearly limitless powers of my Android mobile phone. To accomplish this, I signed up for an account with freeconference.com, a telecommunications provider which assigns a “call-in” number and “pin code” to me for use whenever I need it.  I love the service.  It’s convenient, easy to use and doesn’t cost me a small fortune like the teleconferencing services from AT&T.

Recently, the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee jeopardized my ability to use these services for free.  In response to a proposal that would eliminate this free and much needed service, freeconference.com and its subsidiary, Global Conference Partners, launched a campaign asking the users of the service to contact their representatives and let them know how important the service is to them.  I was one of the 100,000 users that responded in the first week.  While Lamar Smith and John Cornyn responded in typical political fashion with something to the affect of, “You’re comments are noted and considered,” Kay Bailey Hutchison took it a bit further… perhaps too far.  In fact, after reading her response I wasn’t sure if she was calling me a phone sex operator or a mob boss for telecommunications fraud.

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, wireless and long distance carriers pay access fees to local exchange carriers for calls to those carriers’ local subscribers.  Rural carrier are allowed to charge significantly higher access fees than carriers in more urban areas, based on the rationale that rural areas have lower call volume, but higher infrastructure costs.

In order to increase their call volume, rural carriers sometimes work with phone sex and conference call providers to route their calls and then share the profit of the fees collected.  This is known as ‘traffic pumping,’ and is a source of gaming that results in higher costs for companies and consumers.

Obviously, I appreciate Kay Bailey Hutchison’s position that routing calls through a rural access point to charge higher access fees should be properly monitored, but here’s what tripped me up a bit.  I never mentioned phone sex.  In fact, as soon as I read those words, it became clear to me how the republicans remain in power.  The issue of grassroots organizers being able to use a telephone conferencing service at no charge was suddenly about phone sex… morality.  The issue, which concerned me because I can’t afford huge teleconferencing fees, was now “Do you really want phone sex operators routing your teleconference?”

This same tactic is being used in Uganda to promote the anti-homosexuality bill.  Martin Ssempa has learned well from the American evangelicals who have visited the .  His declarations that not murdering and/or imprisoning homosexuals will result in homosexuals “eating the poo poo of our children” have taken a human rights issue out of context (and ridiculously out of context) and turned it into a sexual morality argument.  After all, straight people eat poo poo to.

But in the spirit of fair play, let’s use the republican evangelical logic and create some arguments that would support LGBT issues:

  • Not allowing same-sex marriage increases divorce rates.
  • If same-sex marriage is banned, men will drink the breast milk of their wives.
  • Banning gays in the military will result in heterosexual orgies.
  • Forbidding same-sex couples from uniting with their foreign partner means they will seek out an American to corrupt.
  • Firing LGBT people for their sexual orientation/gender identity results in increased homelessness. (oh wait… that one is too logical).

I think you get the point.  If you are arguing something you can’t win, find a way to turn it into a sexual and/or morality issue and “ta da” you’re a right-winger.

Kay Bailey Hutchison Says No to Civil Rights (not just gays either!)

May 08, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Hate Crimes, LGBT News

No Kay - It's not O.KayThe Senator from Texas, who hopes to win over voters and become the next Governor of Texas in 2010, has a history of voting against legislation regarding civil equality.  In fact, the ACLU scores the senator at only 25% when it comes to her voting record on civil rights, the Human Rights Campaign scored her at 0%, and the NAACP scored her at only 18%.  Here’s a snippet of her record:

  • Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (S. J. Res. 1)
  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (S. 625, 2002 and S.2549, 2000)
  • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business.(S.1173, 1997)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (HR 3396, 1996)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.  (S. 2056, 1996)
  • Voted YES on loosening restrictions for cell phone wiretapping. (S. 1510, 2001)

In spite of Senator Hutchison’s anti-civil-rights votes, I still felt compelled to attempt to sway her opinion.  I therefore sent her an email regarding the current Senate Bill 1103 (H.R. 1913) requesting she support the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  The following is her response:

Thank you for contacting me regarding hate crime legislation.  I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

In the 110th Congress, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. 1105, the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  This legislation would have provided federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes.  The bill defined a hate crime as a violent crime motivated by a prejudice based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.  When the language was offered as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill, I voted against including it. The language was removed prior to final passage of the measure.

On April 2, 2009, Representative John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.  This measure contains provisions similar to those contained in S. 1105 and equivalent legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1952, both of which were introduced during the previous Congress.

I continue to believe that all violent crimes should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, regardless of the underlying motivation.  Should legislation regarding hate crimes come before the full Senate, you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind.

I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Sincerely,
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

A review of her voting record and the above email response indicates that Ms. Hutchison’s opinions on civil rights issues have not changed during her tenure in public office and apparently, will not change.  If you are a member of a minority group, including women, this record should be appalling to you.  I encourage those supporting Ms. Hutchison to cease that support.  Please contact Ms. Hutchison’s office and let her know that we will know longer stand idly by while she strips rights from the American people.