D Gregory Smith

2010: When Official Republican Bigotry Went Unchecked

Filed By D Gregory Smith | December 30, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, flyover country, Glee, institutionalized bigotry, Institutionalized homophobia, institutionalized persecution, Lesbian, LGBT rights, Montana, Republican platform, Texas

For me, 2010 is/was about Republican political shaming of The Gays- and about the relative silence surrounding the issue. The Montana GOP approved a platform which included this blatant piece of ignorance and bigotry:

We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.

outrage.jpgDespite the fuss I made, that others made, the discomfort from one Montana Republican leader(no leader of the Democrats said a word), the platform plank is still there. Despite my letters to elected officials, to the Log Cabin Republicans, to advocacy groups, no one really paid much attention. In fact, I only got one lukewarm response - from GLAAD. The issue got mentioned a few times- including once by Rachel Maddow, then it seems, was forgotten.

It's sad. It's even more sad when you figure the Texas GOP into the equation. They, too have a "Jail The Gays" plank.

Why can't we get it together?

I tried to make the case that "Montana Matters"- a few nibbles, a few more voices added to the chorus, but still, nothing changed. I'm not sure I should be surprised, but it doesn't keep me from being disappointed.

I want us to be better than that. I want the LGBT community to speak out against this with one voice. I want Republican allies and Log Cabin Republicans to take a stand. I want straight allies and parents of LGBT children to speak up. I want Democrats to see this for what it is: blatant persecution and bigotry - and do something about it. I want to live in a world - or at least a state, where ugliness and hate don't win - not even one round.

I know. As my mother says "..and people in hell want ice water."

But they won this one. Again, I remind you, nothing changed. That plank is still there. In both states. Despite the amazing victories we've had this year, despite the DADT repeal, despite the increased awareness of LGBT bullying, despite the increased polling numbers for same-sex marriage, despite the popularity of Glee - institutionalized homophobia is alive and well.

They got away with it.

My resolution for 2011 is this: I will work to bring liberty and justice for all - even in the so-called "flyover" states. Because this phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance isn't true yet. Because the erosion of our humanity is happening right in front of our noses - and I find it troubling, offensive, perverse and distinctively un-American.

Don't you?


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I have complained heavily about the Iowa Gop platform to both LGBT and Straight Iowans. Its as if people are just afraid to stand up and call it what is hate speech not free speech. When words are so strong they lead both young and old alike to be bullied to the point of commiting suicide and no ones step up America is in trouble.

Just to shed a little light on the subject of political party platforms.

Platforms are the public statement of where a political party stands on issues. Depending on the state and the particular political party, platforms are developed and evolve over a period of time. Platforms are are adopted at a "platform convention" where delegates from local county parties gather to adopt a platform by voting on each of the planks (issue statements), there by adopting a platform. Voting is done by the appropriately appointed/elected delegates to the convention.

It is sad that both Montana and Texas have adopted platforms which oppose equality.

Trying to get the Montana and Texas GOP to take bake a platform is probably not possible no mater who one complains to or applies pressure to.

I think you should take a moment to read the Montana, Iowa, and Texas Democratic Party 2010 Platforms. All of them specifically support equality for LGBT people.

http://iowademocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2010platform.pdf

http://www.montanademocrats.org/sites/default/files/2010FullPlatformandResolutions.pdf

http://www.txdemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/TDP2010Platform.pdf

The choice is as stark as it clear.

I understand and agree with your outrage.

Political party platforms are by their nature the official party statement by the particular party rank & file who show up to participate.

GOProud, Log Cabin Republicans, and all the advocacy groups should strongly renounce these GOP platforms.

We've seen a flood of "It gets better" video clips in response to the tragic results of bullying, bigotry, and ignorance on LGBT youth. We've seen the violence of gay bashing and worse.

Official public statements like the one's found in the GOP Platforms mentioned should be renounced by everyone.

Not one of the three platforms linked to this comment use the gay and lesbian words, only fuzzy words such as "equality for all", etc.

The GOPers aren't bashful about using the words homosexual or homosexuality and linking them with words such as illegal.

Until we and our friends can directly use gay and lesbian without shrinking we'll continue to be seen as shady characters skulking down dark alleys.

Iowa Dem Platform:

"Immediately abolishing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy"

"We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act."

"We support:
13. Marriage equality.
14. Habeas corpus.
15. Miranda rights.
16. Adding "sexual orientation," "gender identity," "transgender" and "disability" to 177 anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws, human rights policies, anti-bullying 178 and civil rights statutes."

That does not sound too fuzzy?

Of course I agree with you about the need to stand up to the bigotry, Gregg.

On the other hand, I'm glad that the Iowa and the Texas GOP have their bigotry out there in black and white for all to see and judge. I think it's a whole lot better than the hypocrisy shown by the vast majority of the GOP (especially the closeted ones) who try to hide their true beliefs and feelings for the sake of votes.

There is absolutely no explaining the repulsive Log Cabin jerks, other than to think that they're more concerned with selfishly padding their own pockets, than with paying their fair share to the socioeconomic well-being of all Americans.

Here's the thing about party platforms--NO one, and I mean not one solitary soul, bases their fall votes on the platform.

I only discovered that fact after I worked on multiple state and national platform committees. I worked hard, as if it mattered. It was a completely worthless exercise.

Dennis is right. Give bigots enough rope. At least if they sign-off on a printed document, they cannot wiggle into different position later. As in John McCain's demand for a DADT military study as the final barometer on that issue.

Moving the goalposts is a too-common practice among today's political bigots. Of all stripes.

Let's get the goalposts down in writing. Or on film. Recorded for all to see.

That's so much harder to refute.

Here's an example: do you really think anyone in America, even the DADT repeal opponents, are OK with McCain's flip? Do you think America finally realizes that this slap-happy old grandpa is a sourpuss?

Even those who wanted DADT to remain on the books, know that one of their chief cheerleaders is a raving lunatic.

That was accomplished by giving McCain all the rope he needed.

Patience is tough in these public policy battles. For the MCCains among us (and they exist in BOTH parties), give 'em the rope they need to hang themselves.

Substitute "Jewish" for "homosexual" and you get "Crystal Night." Substitute "Muslim" for "homosexual" and you get the Crusades. Substitute "blond", or "left-handed", or "Baptist", and you get the next group that is on someone's "hate list". The time to stop this hatred is now; we all need to stand up for our rights as human beings and not let the haters win!

Excellent points, all.
But how do we get the full voice of LGBT persons, allies, etc to focus on the injustice/persecution issues?

I also, have worked on several resolution committees in Oklahoma at various levels to develop our Demo Party platform. We even have people who work dilegently to wreck the adoption process and keep the State Convention tied up with trivia in order to run out the clock and prevent the adoption by the delegates of a platform. We've even had candidates say the activists are their greatest obstacle to election!

Gregory, bro, the reason I can't get myself worked up over crap like this is because of (a) exactly as Rick Sutton said, let them hang themselves, and (b) no one is listening to these ugly troglodytes seriously.

Still ... if we want to be effective, we could try some of these tactics: (1) Pack the next set of platform committees and make sure these platform items do not get renewed. End of problem. (2) Even though Lawrence v. Texas makes sexual right to privacy the law of the land, we could still petition the Montana legislature to rescind the sodomy law that remains on their books. Some would say this is a waste of time, some would say the symbolism of repeal would be worth the effort. In the process, we would educate a lot of Montana citizens, and learn for sure whether the citizens of Montana care to follow the rest of the country into the 21st Century.

Just like dealing with bullies at school: If we are going to take a swing at them ... at least aim for a place where a good punch will cause a hurt they'll remember.

Yes Greg I do!

The problem you’ve pointed out is certainly not limited to Montana. I live in New Jersey where we have state laws against employment and housing discrimination as well as an LGBT inclusive anti hate crime statute.

Even when we have laws on the books getting them enforced is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish!

I have 2 dear friends, Neen and Mitz, a wonderful committed lesbian couple who live in North Jersey only a few miles from the New York State line. Nearly a year and a half ago a neighborhood male, in front of several witnesses and during a verbal argument spoke anti lesbian and gay slurs just before he shoved his arm under Neen’s crotch and threw her to the ground right in front of her house!

Because her assailant was friendly with the town’s police department Neen’s case was not only never investigated but the assailant was allowed to file a totally bogus counter complaint and recently got off Scott free in a municipal court trial. Neen still suffers from the physical injuries inflicted on her by this assailant.

I spent nearly a year trying to get the county prosecutor (a democratic appointee) and state investigators (under a democratic governor) to just interview witnesses because I knew from my experience in covering criminal cases as a broadcast journalist that this assailant should have been indicted and tried on several felony counts. I even attempted to get the ACLU of New Jersey while Neen and Mitz lobbied the National Center for Lesbian Rights for help but both organizations ignored us.

I lived in Arizona for 8 years 25 years ago and as someone who was born and raised in the northeast I can relate to what it feels like to live in a “flyover” state but believe me we have a long, long way to go in getting laws passed then enforced in all 50 states.

I noticed in your profile bio here on Bilerico you consider yourself an optimist like me. All too often it’s difficult remaining optimistic when so much is arrayed against us but don’t give up. Right now we feel like lone voices in a desolate wilderness but we must remain positive and committed. Everytime I think I have it bad I think about the generations of African American slaves, Native Americans and their descendants and I learn from their history to keep my chin up and not give up. We have a useful voice here at Bilerico and our writings are read and considered by those with authority. We will win someday and in the meantime, just like my dear friend Bob LeBlanc did as a gay Marine during 2 tours in Vietnam and the rest of his life to present day we must all live by the motto, “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!”

I liken our writings on Bilerico to Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” 230 plus years ago. We must keep smiling, writing and stay active in our respective communities.

I wish you and your partner a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

Your friend,

Pam

Thanks, Pam- your activism is inspiring, and I know there are thousands of others out there like you.
We just need to get them all together as a force- without the ideological bickering- and create changes we can all agree on.

Gregory,
You asked asked how do we get our friends and allies to standup.I say by calling a spade a spade. The Republican Party Platforms in States such as Montana, Texas, and Iowa should be enough to list the Republican Party as a hate group. If the Southern Poverty Law center can label the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage and others hate groups why not the Republican Party? We as a group should have stood up to the Religious Right and The Republican Party years ago. We cannot afford to keep counting on court victories as the Republican Party seeks to destroy our justice system. We must take them on in the court of public opinion and we must find a way for our voices to be heard. Every shred of evidence we need to win is listed in those platforms. What we must do is show the public how those policies are not just bad for us but how they are bad for them.We must also call them on their talk of Sharia Law when it is them looking to force Sharia Law on us.

My letters to the Southern Poverty Law Center were unanswered- anybody have an in?

I'm convinced it's about relationships and people we know in places that have some clout....