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Politics & Pop Culture from a homocon.

Tag Archives: Ted Olsen

Dallas Morning News Endorses Marriage Equality


the_dallas_morning_news_logoThis newspaper applauds the Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear arguments in two same-sex marriage cases — one on California’s Proposition 8, which bans such marriages, and one regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage has been percolating at the state level for several years, leading to a patchwork of laws that create more confusion than clarity. The court can undo that confusion by determining the constitutional parameters of this issue.

We urge the Supreme Court to affirm the right of gay couples to marry based upon the fundamental American ideal of equality before the law. It is critical that the court also make clear that such a ruling won’t require churches whose doctrines oppose same-sex marriage to perform such ceremonies.

Debating the reversal of centuries of views about the institution of marriage cannot be considered without upheaval, and we recognize that the notion of gays and lesbians marrying can divide families, friends and, especially, generations. But the growing support for same-sex marriage, including within families whose gay members have changed the way these unions are seen, makes the embrace of gay marriage less of a radical shift.

Polls show that American attitudes have shifted dramatically on the subject. Surveys by organizations such as Gallup reveal that half or more of Americans support the concept of gay marriage. Equality in marriage laws is particularly embraced by younger Americans, including some younger evangelicals.

Even leading conservatives favor gay marriage. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is among the most notable. So, too, is former Bush solicitor general Ted Olson, who will lead the team arguing in favor of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

Olson contends that the federal government lacks the right to deny gay couples the opportunity to marry. He also will argue that the ban denies gay couples the right to due process. As the Republican wrote in Newsweek, “This bedrock principle of equality is central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives alike.”

We respect that some religious traditions see same-sex unions as an affront to their canons, scriptures and traditions. The First Amendment protects such places of worship from being compelled to conduct same-sex marriages. Additionally, the justices should take care to carve out strong and significant protections so that the institutions’ religious liberties, for instance their tax-exempt status, are not circumscribed.

In 2004, this newspaper opposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. We have backed efforts to outlaw discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation. Now, we believe that the Supreme Court should conclude that equality under the law includes the right of gay couples to wed.

What’s at stake before the Supreme Court is how a secular society should respond to the growing demand for same-sex marriage. That is where Olson’s arguments seem so persuasive. How can a secular government grant marriage rights to some but not others?


Gay Republicans Prove Winning is a Two-Party Fight

NOTE: This piece is currently running as an op-ed at the Washington Blade.

The witching hour is upon us. I’m not talking about Halloween, but the event that occurs just 48 hours later — Election Day.  With mere days to go, the ever expanding political map has nearly 100 Democrat-held seats in play, with the Republican Party poised to retake the House of Representatives, according to most pundits and prognosticators.

To my LGBT family, sorry to say this, but “I told you so!” While some groups have said that we need to be patient with this White House and this Congress, time is quickly running out.

To my Republican brothers & sisters, it is time to start talking about what we stand for!  It is no longer okay to only be “AGAINST” everything.

Weeks ago, Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics forecasted that the House would flip to the GOP after November 2.   He went even further by saying that the Senate could see a 50-50 split.  It is important to note that Dr. Sabato, well respected on both sides of the political aisle, has called more than 98% of the contests correctly over the decade-long life of his Crystal Ball.

Back in January  I asked, “What is there to show for the progress of the LGBT movement under Democratic control?”  I fear the answer to this question today is the same as it was nine months ago.  Not much.

While many within our community continue to blindly mock and ridicule gay Republicans as being self-loathing, among other hollow insults, they simultaneously refuse to see that strength through diversity means just that – diversity in everything, including political thought.

This diversity in thought led conservative icon Ted Olsen to craft a conservative constitutional argument in the Prop 8 case in California.  And most recently, it is the Log Cabin Republicans, who six years ago during the Bush Administration brought a suit against the military that two weeks ago halted all discharges worldwide under DADT.  It is Republicans who are winning the argument for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

And while it is very true that the GOP has a dismal record on LGBT issues, Republican leaders are engaging gays and lesbians on issues where we at least have common ground.  No, I’m not talking about a pundit speaking at a party in New York City this summer.  I’m talking about elected GOP officials speaking directly to gay Republicans.

Last month, the chairmen of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee spoke at the National Dinner for the Log Cabin Republicans.  They did so against the request of several conservative groups asking them to withdraw.

No, their records on traditional LGBT issues aren’t stellar in the least.  However, they are engaging us on issues where we can come together.  While DOMA, ENDA, and DADT are at the forefront of our movement, there are other issues that we can and should talk about, such as immigration reform and taxes, just to name two.

Nationally, the outcome of this mid-term election will produce many things.  It will produce heartache, malaise, and distrust.  But I also hope it will produce a sense of working with both political parties.  This can be done by helping to elect more gay and gay-friendly Republican candidates.  There are more than a dozen endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans.  Locally, all four Republican city council candidates are gay-friendly.  And two of them, Marc Morgan (Ward 1) and Tim Day (Ward 5) are gay Republicans.

Even before the holy war attacks on marriage equality during the Bush years, there weren’t many groups willing to work with the GOP on our issues.  I hope the last two years of total Democratic control will show these groups that they cannot afford to make that same mistake again.  We need to engage both parties, and change hearts and minds one person at a time.  If we don’t, we’ll get another Democratic Speaker under a Democratic President telling us “NOT NOW!”

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