Last week, a House Defense committee passed three anti-gay amendments as part of major Pentagon budget legislation and proved again why we in the LGBT community cannot trust the current Republicans in Congress to defend our rights or to even accept that the LGBT community deserves full civil and human rights. It is a sad day for America and I am sure a sad day for those in the Log Cabin Republicans who are fighting hard to make their party understand that it’s time for bigotry and homophobia to end.
One of the amendments was introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He billed the amendment as a means to ensure the uniform military leaders, whom he described as “the ones that are actually responsible for the men and women under their care,” are able to express their opinion before moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. It is amazing that a congressman and military man doesn’t understand the chain of command and that the one responsible for all the troops is the commander in chief — the president of the United States. The President who gave the go-ahead for the operation that finally found and killed Osama bin Laden. The president who is responsible and is being praised for taking the responsibility for those men’s lives in the field. What Rep. Hunter is actually doing is cloaking his homophobia and bigotry in language that is not even factual.
While these amendments would not have passed had the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and, I hope, will not pass in the Senate, I don’t understand why Democrats and particularly the DCCC and the DNC would still consider supporting the likes of Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) who sided with the bigots and homophobes on the committee on all three anti-gay votes and Kissell (D-NC) and Critz (D-PA) who sided with them on two votes. It is time that the Democratic Party stood up and said if you don’t stand up for our principles and platform and continue to vote against the civil and human rights of LGBT citizens you are on your own when it comes to fundraising. From everything I know, Rep. McIntyre gets elected because he is known as the “sand congressman,” bringing money to replenish the beaches on the Carolina coast. Well, let those with homes on the beach and businesses impacted by the beaches pay to elect him if they want to.
I have become more militant in my old age. It may be that there is less time left to suffer fools, but whatever the cause, it is my belief that we in the LGBT community must stand up for our rights and the rights of all minorities and call out those that vote to deny us those rights.
Even in our community some are still willing to give people passes on anti-gay votes. At an LGBT event on Wednesday evening there was a discussion about Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), his pecs and abs. Everyone agreed that the Congressman was pretty to look at. Then the discussion turned to what it often does with a sexy man. There were those who said he is gay and they have proof. A number of stories of this “proof” emerged and I questioned whether it was all only wishful thinking.
If it isn’t, then he should be “outed” because his anti-gay votes in Congress deny us our rights and in essence he is part of the reason young gays and lesbians at the least feel less than full human beings and at worst commit suicide. There were those there who felt even if he is gay they would give him a pass on his votes saying everyone is entitled to come out at their own pace. It is my belief that if you have the power, as a congressman does, to hurt the LGBT community, you lose the right to come out in your own time.
I have no reason to believe the congressman is gay and I take him at his word he isn’t and will continue to try to make him understand that voting to deprive me of my full human and civil rights is wrong. But the day any of that so-called “proof” is revealed, our community should demand he come out as well.
While the anti-gay amendments in this bill will likely not pass in the Senate, thanks to Democratic control and supportive Republicans, we need to be vigilant and continue to condemn loudly and often those who would continue to deny us our rights.