D Gregory Smith

You Heard It Here First

Filed By D Gregory Smith | September 20, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Montana, morality, Republican hate noticed

It took almost three months, but the story about the hateful Montana GOP platform plank seeking the criminalization of gays has gone national.megaphone1.gif

The Associated Press ran a story over the weekend that was picked up by The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, NPR, and there was even a story on a Montana NBC affiliate station. And more newspapers, I'm told, will be running the story in the next few days.

Why is this important? I'll tell you why.

It's important because this is happening all the time. People in charge are doing things that most of the masses would not approve, crossing their fingers and hoping it will go unnoticed. It's happening when the Christianist agenda, even when unconstitutional, gets pushed into public policy through the side door. And this time they got caught.

It's important because most Montana Republicans didn't even know of the plank's existence, and many are outraged at the discovery. This is just the kind of sneaky right-wing evangelical behavior that erodes our rights- even if it is happening in rural America.

It's important because behind the scenes there were tireless individuals who wouldn't let this go. There were people who realized that this platform plank had an impact on the freedom of all Americans, and they kept the legs under this story. They shared the story on Facebook, they sent it to their friends and local news organizations, they wrote letters and made phone calls. There were even allies in the media, the GOP - maybe unsurprisingly not the Log Cabin Republicans - and local human rights organizations that knew this was important - not just for gay people, but for everyone.

It's important because it shows hard work, perseverance and a reasonable sense of moral outrage pays off. There's a realization that activism still works, that sitting on our collective asses and bitching to each other doesn't.

And that, my friends, is a victory.


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Not to confuse the GOP with the Tea Party movement, but:

The Tea Party is still in the process of defining itself. Some Tea Partiers think that the Tea Party is about nothing but (1) restriction on taxation, (2) limiting the size and reach of government, and (3) reducing/eliminating the national defict and debt.

Others, such as the AFA, think that the Tea Party is a re-formation of the old social conservatives planks of the 1980's --- they insist that Tea Partiers must be anti-abortion, against gay rights and gay marriage, support gun rights and the drug war, etc.

If we (LGBT people) are smart, we will do everything possible to encourage the definition of the Tea Party along economic lines, and encourage the Tea Party leaders to tell the crazy social conservatives to go find some other playmate whose scooter they can hijack.

It's called divide and conquer --- and the more economic conservatives we can get to tell the religious right-wing crazies to go fuck themselves, the more confused and frustrated the crazies will be, and the better off we will be.

We can only hope. I still think this whole splintering of conservatives will simply create more confusion, division and, in the end, ineffectiveness. But at least some conservatives are recognizing human rights as a legitimate issue.

Change.org now has a petition to tell the Montana GOP to take the hate out.

Sign it. All the cool kids are doing it.

http://gayrights.change.org/petitions/view/tell_montanas_gop_get_criminalization_of_homosexuality_out_of_party_platform

Unsurprisingly, the Texas GOP platform has a similar clause, recently inserted.

We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority
granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.
We support legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such.
And then there's the bit about not having any penalties for hate crimes against gays. That's not "additional" penalties, it's "any" penalties.

We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.

I have never understood this notion that Congress can designate a law immune from Supreme Court constitutional review --- but I also know that the power of constitutional review itself is not explicitly described in the Constitution, it was a principle asserted by John Marshall in Mulberry v. Madison and has been accepted by convention ever since.

What happens when Congress designates a law to be immune from the US Supreme Court, but SCOTUS then declares the law unconstitutional, including the part about no judicial review? Who trumps who?

Bottom line: Conservatives are trying to get around the fact that the only way to re-criminalize sodomy is via a constitutional amendment --- and they know that at this stage of history that would be hopeless.

Or they could somehow get SCOTUS to reverse Lawrence v. Texas, which also isn't very likely at this point.

I've never understood why some stories get legs and others languish. I really thought your post would make national news, but no one picked it up. Now everyone is talking about it - but not w you as a reference.

Other times news outlets will link right away and give proper credit.

It's a crap shoot.

At least they're talking. That's all I wanted.