Jessica Hoffmann

At the Candidates' Forum (or, Outsider, Inside/What Is Out Is In, and Other Boundary Confusion)

Filed By Jessica Hoffmann | August 09, 2007 7:44 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: assimilation, Barack Obama, election campaigns, HRC/Logo debate, marriage, prison-industrial complex, Stonewall

I'm in. I'm sitting in the press room at the HRC presidential candidates' forum (along with Fox News, among others). I'll be live-blogging from here for the next couple hours. Keep refreshing Bilerico for my comments and analysis here; watch the forum itself here. (Go here for the plug-in to watch the livestream on a Mac.)

I'm already struck by the streamlined clarity of the HRC project we're all about to witness (equal rights to straightness for same-sex couples, basically). Of the 15 questions on the questionnaire they sent the candidates, 9 deal with benefits for coupledom. Then there's hate crimes and adoption, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and job discrimination. And finally (literally, right there at the end), HIV/AIDS funding (mostly treatment, a lil bit of prevention) and sex ed. So is it that the HRC is purely, simply an assimilationist project that poses no challenge to the norms that suggest (just for instance) that

  • marriage is the ultimate goal and project of (everyone's!) adult life
  • the link between domestically bound long-term coupledom and health care is reasonable and acceptable
  • the prison-industrial complex does a good job at addressing violence (what, hasn't it already?)

Or is it more like, "What else could you ask presidential candidates?" I mean, let's understand the role they're playing. (Though I am very intrigued by Barack Obama's seeming endorsement of Stonewall activism earlier today...) And hey, I'm not a hater, just a hoper.

(And, no, I did not leave my laptop unattended with the feds.)


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Thanks for covering this live for us, Jessica. We appreciate it.

I wondered how the security check would go. Was it like I said - they checked for any explosives or firearms in front of you and then handed it back? Or are you blogging from your watch? *grins*

I can't wait to see what you've thought of the debate. You know you can e-mail me or Jerame and we'll both assist in any way. We'll be watching online, so send away if you have questions. Especially since the phone got confiscated...

Have you met Pam or Karen yet?

It's totally the watch -- how'd you guess?
Thanks to whoever fixed my messy link on the first post! Maybe by the end of the night I'll be smoother on the technical end ...
And thanks for asking me to be here. I'm fascinated.

Jessica, I think we need to be a little more careful with our language here. I don't like the narrowly defined agenda that the HRC sets out ostensibly on our behalf, but I also don't think that it's okay to identify that agenda with "equal rights to straightness". People have a wide variety of reasons for identifying partner benefits as one of their top issues, and i don't think those of us who feel like we have a huge stake in obtaining marriage rights should feel like our claim to queerness is somehow deficient.

Actually, Jessica's definition of the HRC agenda was more narrow (and perhaps more accurate): "equal access to straightness for same-sex couples," although I think it would be quite accurate to amend this to "equal access to straightness for rich, white, same-sex couples."

Can someone explain to me why marriage is more important to rich people than poor people (I am poor).