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Obama, DADT, DOMA and the War on LGBT People.

October 15, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...
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Lamar Smith (R-TX), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives – and my district’s representative – has asked the court to let him, and not the Obama administration’s Department of Justice (DoJ), appeal the ruling in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al., striking down key provisions of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Smith claims that the DoJ, “has clearly let the president’s policy preferences dictate its litigation strategy” and that, “DOMA … should receive a true defense rather than a hollow one designed to pacify political constituents.”  It’s no surprise that Smith’s actions are being supported by the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization of “Christian” lawyers.

But Lamar Smith doesn’t have to intervene.  The DoJ has already filed their appeal in this case indicating that our fierce advocate, President Barack Obama, will continue to defend the legislative acts he feels are unconstitutional.  According to a DoJ spokesperson: Tracy Schmaler, “The Justice Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged.”

And that appears to be exactly what the DoJ has done with the recent ruling and court order declaring the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy unconstitutional.

At some point, we need to recognize a fact.  There is no legal requirement or duty for the president to defend a statute.  While the DoJ keeps implying it, you’ll note they’ve never said it, because it isn’t true.

In fact, the Justice Department has recently refused to appeal a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  That ruling, issued Aug. 6, 2010, declared the regulations forcing individuals or small groups to obtain a permit for First Amendment-protected activities unconstitutional.

So why is it that the man who said: “My attitude is if people are being treated unfairly and unequally, then it needs to be fixed,” and who has been labeled as a fierce advocate of LGBT people, is defending DOMA and DADT?  Is it like Lamar Smith alleges and they aren’t going to defend the laws as aggressively as opponents of equality would hope? Alas, I’m afraid the only answer I have for you is this:

Obama is no Lady Gaga.

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Videos: Why We Marched – The National Equality March

October 21, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmDuring the National Equality March, I was one of numerous LGBTQ bloggers on the ground snagging pictures and interviews with people by way of iQreport.  I was determined to get as many stories as possible from all sorts of people, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotional flood that would overcome me as I saw the faces and heard the stories from the crowd.

Many of these stories happened off camera, like the man whose (would-be) husband was concerned about him appearing on video because he could lose his job, or the young boy who, after we talked with his family, wanted to do an interview of his own.  While the stories were varied and diverse, the message was the same – We aren’t going to just sit back and take it anymore.

Thanks to a lot of help from my elected videographer with an iPhone, we brought many of the videos included here to you via iQreport and my twitter feed as we were obtaining them (and as the network allowed).  I’ve compiled them into this one montage to answer the question, “Why we marched?”  It seems in the days leading up to the march many people were criticizing it – (i.e.: bad timing, bad use of resources, bad rationale, and heck we don’t even know why we are marching!?).  They talked about political strategy and said that nothing will change – but they failed to see exactly what it is that many fail to see when it comes to LGBT people – we are human.

The entire experience of the National Equality March has left me wanting to scram at those critics – sound my “barbaric yawp” at them and ask, “Why DIDN’T you march?!?”  But rather than be angry, I am grateful.  To all of the critics like Barney Frank who claimed to be with us but then told us we shouldn’t march, I simply want to tell them why I marched: I marched because of them.  I marched because I was tired of people in power telling me I can’t.  I marched to remind them that in order to get to “Yes We Can” we have to start with “Yes We Do.”  I marched for Barney Frank.

Photos from the National Equality March

October 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, iQreport

david mixnerI wanted to share some of my photographs from the National Equality March this weekend. I hope you enjoy them.  I met some fantastic people and had a wonderful dinner at The District Chophouse with Genia Stevens, Andrea, Lester Leavitt, Mickey, Jonathon, Jae, Elisa, and, of course, our very own, Jude.

We had a bit of time to just kick back and get to know each other in person on Saturday night, but Sunday came at us fast and there was a lot of work to be done.

The speakers were fabulous and a lot of memories were made.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing stories of those I met with video and photographs.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photographs.  More photographs and videos from myself and the other iQreporters are available at http://iQreport.usfreedomring.com.

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