Connect with us

National

Perry signs anti-gay marriage pledge

NOM praises Texas guv as ‘marriage champion’

Published

on

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry (Photo credit Sandy Wassenmiller)

The newest entry in the field of Republican presidential hopefuls — and current front-runner in the GOP field — has signed his name to an anti-gay pledge to oppose same-sex marriage if elected to the White House.

On Friday, the National Organization for Marriage announced Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who earlier this month officially declared his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, had penned his name to a document committing himself to various initiatives in opposition to same-sex marriage.

In a statement, Brian Brown, NOM’s president, praised Perry and called the thrice-elected Texas governor a “marriage champion” for signing the pledge.

“By doing so, Perry makes crystal clear that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, gay marriage is going to be a bigger issue in 2012 than it was in 2008, because the difference between the GOP nominee and President Obama is going to be large and clear,” Brown said. “We look forward to demonstrating that being for marriage is a winning position for a presidential candidate.”

The Perry campaign didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on the candidate’s signing of the pledge.

Other Republican presidential candidates signed the pledge prior to Perry’s entry into the race: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). NOM asserted that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had also agreed to sign his name to the pledge, but he has since exited the race.

By signing the document, Perry commits upon election as president to undertake several initiatives against same-sex marriage:

* supporting congressional passage and sending to the states a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage throughout the country;

* defending in court the Defense of Marriage of Act, a 1996 law that prohibit federal recognition of same-sex marriage;

* appointing judges and a U.S. attorney general who “will respect the original meaning” of the U.S. Constitution;

* supporting legislation allowing D.C. residents to vote on whether or not to abrogate the district’s same-sex marriage law;

* and appointing a presidential commission to “investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters.”

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said Perry’s signature on the anti-gay pledge demonstrates his presidency would be bad news for LGBT Americans.

“Rick Perry’s alignment with NOM and their McCarthy-esque pledge is yet further evidence that a President Perry would be terrible for LGBT equality,” Cole-Schwartz said.

Perry has long been opponent of same-sex marriage. In 2005, he helped pass a state constitutional amendment in Texas banning gay nuptials and civil unions. This year, after initially saying he was “fine” with New York legalizing same-sex marriage, Perry later reiterated support for a Federal Marriage Amendment, which would rescind the Empire State’s marriage law and prohibit same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Since officially entering the race, Perry has become leader in the polls among the Republican presidential candidates. Several polls have shown him with double-digit leads.

According to a Gallup poll published on Wednesday, Perry is 11 points ahead of other prospective Republican presidential candidates. Twenty-nine percent of responders said they’re most likely to support Perry, with Romney next, at 17 percent.

Similarly, according to data published Wednesday from Public Policy Polling, Perry has a full-third of responders’ support among Republican voters. Romney trailed behind with 13 points and Bachmann had 16 percent.

Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement Perry’s lead could be temporary because he’s just entered the race, but added the significant lead he has over other candidates may indicate he’ll stay on top longer.

“There have been a lot of flavors of the month in the Republican Presidential race and it’s possible that Rick Perry is just another of those,” Debnam said. “But his support right now is stronger than Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain or Donald Trump or Mike Huckabee’s ever was which suggests he should have more staying power.”

Sean Theriault, who’s gay and a political scientist at University of Texas, Austin, said LGBT people should be “fearful” of Perry’s lead in the polls because the Texas governor on marriage is “at least two steps to the right on this issue than [former President] George W. Bush.”

“If LGBT folks are disappointed in [President] Obama’s lack of progress on LGBT issues, they just don’t understand how politics works,” Theriault said. “To have a friend, who isn’t willing to go all the way to marriage, yet, in the White House is much, much, much better than having an opponent. I’m not certain that Perry would prioritize our issues as much as a President Bachmann, but I think the difference between them on the issues would be marginal at best.”

LGBT people have expressed disappointment with Obama for not being in favor of same-sex marriage — although he once voiced support for gay nuptials in 1996 questionnaire response and suggested his views on marriage could “evolve.” Obama has opposed a Federal Marriage Amendment and, starting this year, has litigated with LGBT advocates against DOMA in court.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Andrew

    August 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Does this man really think he is going to win? He is Bushes Clone.

  2. Andrew

    August 26, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I heard that he has dabbled in Man to Man fun before… Is this true?

  3. Norm

    August 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    the guys done-the american people will never elect someone beholden to a fringe rightwing group-thank god! 4 more years of Obama

    • sweetfunkystuff

      August 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm

      I don’t know, Norm. Mind, you, I’m far from a political scientist, but if the economy is still a shambles come 11/2012, I could see the American people takig their frustration out on Obama (even it this mess isn’t totally his fault), or staying home altogether, and putting a Republican candidate in office. Of course, I hope Obama is re-elected, but I don’t know… .

  4. Michael L.

    August 27, 2011 at 12:52 am

    You had better believe Perry will be the next President of the United States. Perry will do and say anything, literally… even if contradictory to his recent remarks and actions… just to secure the nomination of the Republican Party. Believe me, I do not trust Perry as Perry has stomped on the U.S. Constitution… and I will that space blank if Perry is the nominee.
    Perry signed the Dream Act giving illegals preferential in-state college tuition fees. Perry also criticized Arizona’s tough illegal immigration laws. However, like the old saying… white man speak with forked tongue… Perry now simply claims he has a tougher stance on immigration. No…Perry is and will always be weak on illegals immigration.
    Perry said recently he was ok with the New York law permitting gay marriage. Well since that doesn’t settle well with Christians, Perry now suddenly signed a pledge, that as President, he would support a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting gay marriage by the States. Perry is saying and doing literally anything to garner support from Christians. Perry is a politician just like Bush. Remember GH Bush’s infamous’ quote… ‘Read my lips’. Perry is a slick politician… Slick Rick! You and I were fooled by GW Bush and Bush’s big government spending and bailouts. Let’s not be conned again.
    Perry wants to look like a Christian. A Christian would not have signed a bill into law stripping voters in some TX counties that are without a groundwater conservation district of their right to VOTE against being forcibly placed into a neighboring water district. Perry did this to the people as he signed SB313 into law on June 17, 2011. It appears Perry does not believe in the saying… DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
    The DUE PROCESS Clause of the 14th Amendment guarantees the people that prior to their life, liberty, or property being taken from them, the people will get DUE PROCESS. (Voting has been shown as a liberty protected under the 14th Amendment.) Yet, the people of Texas were not afforded any form of Due Process prior to Perry signing SB313 into law and stripping voters of the right to vote in some Tx Counties. Perry has shredded the Constitution of the U.S. and his signed pledges are meaningless.
    Perry speaks of government overreach… yet Perry issued his own executive order mandating the questionable Gardasil vaccine to all sixth grade girls. Perry is the epitome of government overreach!
    Pass this along as people deserve the truth… before voting.
    If the Republicans regain control of the Senate and take even more seats in the House… it will be a big win. If the Republicans also win the Presidency, all bets are off. The system of checks and balances will be compromised if the Republicans control the White House and Congress as was the case of GW Bush in his first term. The Republican controlled White House and Congress spent money like drunken sailors! Let’s not go there again.
    Who am I. I received an award by AFP (Americans For Prosperity) in Austin for my conservative actions against more government debt.

  5. Mark

    August 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Norm, you write

    “the american people will never elect someone beholden to a fringe rightwing group-thank god!”

    Really? Did you forget George W. Bush? Oh never mind. It’s the american public we’re talking about. It has no memory.

  6. Jeremy Kalbacher

    August 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I really dont understand republicans, they are supposed to be for LESS government but seem to be for MORE government in almost every way except for helping the poor! Yet they get the poor to vote for them because they usually are more conservative and will vote solely on issues like this which dont effect them in the slightest bit, but i would think less government would mean less intrusion into private lives, and this amendment affects the individual… so unfortunate

  7. Jeremy Kalbacher

    October 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Although I’m voting for ron paul because he believes in personal liberty, which to myself is beyond important! thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

National

Colin Powell, leaving mixed legacy on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ dies at 84

Key figure once opposed gays in military, then backed review

Published

on

gay news, Washington Blade, Colin Powell, gay marriage
Colin Powell leaves behind a mixed legacy on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Colin Powell, the first ever Black secretary of state who served in top diplomatic and military roles in U.S. administrations, died Monday of coronavirus at age 84, leaving behind a mixed record on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The world continues to grapple with the pandemic and the public grows increasingly frustrated with its persistence as many remain unvaccinated despite the wide availability of vaccines. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to a statement released upon his death. Powell reportedly suffered from multiple myeloma, a condition that hampers an individual’s ability to combat blood infections.

Rising to the top of the military as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell supported in 1993 Congress moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that barred openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military.

During a key moment congressional testimony, Powell and other top military officials were asked whether or not allowing gay people in the military would be compatible with military readiness. Each official, including Powell,” responded “incompatible.” Congress would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that year.

Things changed when President Obama took office 15 years later and advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were eager to claim Powell’s voice among their ranks. After all, Powell was highly respected as a bipartisan voice after having served as secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush and endorsing Obama in the 2008 election.

After the Obama administration in 2010 announced it would conduct a review of the idea of allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, Powell came out in support of that process. Advocates of repeal called that a declaration of reversal, although the statement fell short of a full support for gay people serving openly in the military.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office, adding, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

Congress acted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the policy was lifted in 2011. At the time, Powell was widely considered a supporter of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and publicly counted among supporters of repeal, although the Blade couldn’t immediately find any statements from him to that effect.

In 2012, Powell had similar vaguely supportive words on same-sex marriage, saying he had “no problem with it” when asked about the issue.

“As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children,” Powell said. “And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”

The Blade also couldn’t immediately find any statement from Powell on transgender people serving in the military. After the Obama administration in 2016 lifted decades-old regulations against transgender service, former President Trump issued a ban by tweet the following year. President Biden reversed that ban and allowed transgender people to serve and enlist in the military in his first year in office.

Continue Reading

Texas

Texas House approves anti-trans youth sports bill

HB 25 now heads to state Senate

Published

on

GenderCool Project leader and Trans activist Landon Richie (Photo courtesy of Landon Richie)

Texas House Republicans were able to push through the anti-trans youth sports measure Thursday evening after hours of emotional and at times rancorous debate, passing the bill in a 76-54 vote along party lines.

Under the provisions of Texas House Bill 25, all trans student athletes in grades K-12 will be prohibited from competing on sports teams aligned with their gender identity. The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

The Texas Tribune reported that the University Interscholastic League, which governs school sports in Texas, already requires that an athlete’s gender be determined by the sex listed on their birth certificate. Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 has said the bill would simply “codify” existing UIL rules.

However, UIL recognizes any legally modified birth certificates. That policy could accommodate someone who may have had their birth certificate changed to match their gender identity, which can sometimes be an arduous process.

HB 25 would not allow recognition of these legally modified birth certificates unless changes were made because of a clerical error. It’s not clear though how it will be determined if a birth certificate has been legally modified or not. According to the UIL, the process for checking student birth certificates is left up to schools and districts, not the UIL the Tribune reported.

“To say that tonight’s passage of HB 25 is devastating is an understatement. For the past 10 grueling, exhausting, and deeply traumatic months, trans youth have been forced to debate their very existence—only to be met by the deaf ears and averted eyes of our state’s leaders,” Landon Richie, a GenderCool Project leader, University of Houston student and Transactivist told the Washington Blade after the vote.

“Make no mistake: This bill will not only have detrimental impacts on trans youth, who already suffer immense levels of harassment and bullying in schools, but also on cisgender youth who don’t conform to Texas’s idea of ‘male’ or ‘female.’ To trans kids everywhere: you belong, you are loved, you are valued, you are deserving of dignity, respect, care and the ability to live freely as your true and authentic selves, no matter where you are. We will never stop fighting for trans lives and a future where trans kids are unequivocally and unwaveringly celebrated for who they are,” Richie said.

“The cruelty of this bill is breathtaking, and the legislators who are pushing it forward are doing irreparable harm to our state. Texas is a place where people value freedom and respect for diversity. This bill is a betrayal of those cherished values, and future generations will look back on this moment in disbelief that elected officials supported such an absurd and hateful measure,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights told the Blade. “The families of these kids deserve better, and the burden is now on the rest of us to do everything in our power to stop this dangerous bill now,” he added.

During the debate on the measure, state Rep. James Talarico, (D-Round Rock), a former middle school teacher, began his remarks by apologizing to the trans kids and families who have gone to the Capitol time and time again this year. He tells the chamber he speaks now as a legislator, and educator, and a Christian.

He quoted Republican Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, the author of HB 25 who said “if one girl wins a game, it’s worth it.” He says he has a different moral yardstick. “If one trans kid dies for a trophy, this bill is grotesque.”

He ended speaking to his “fellow believers” in the chamber. “The worst part in these hearings have been in hearing the Bible used against trans kids to support these bills. Even tonight, ‘God’s law’ was used to present an amendment.” He then quoted the first two lines of the Bible, where God is referred to with two different Hebrew words, one masculine/one feminine. “God is non-binary.” He then prevented an interruption in the chamber and continued telling trans kids that he loves them.

Fellow Democratic state Rep. Jessica González, (D-Dallas County), vice-chair of the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus asked the chamber how many trans Texas kids they are willing to hurt. She reminded her fellow representatives that cisgender women and girls will also be hurt by the bill. She shared a personal story about being outed in high school by a friend, having her locker, home, and car vandalized and losing all of her friends. “Kids are cruel.”

González told lawmakers that her brother encouraged her to try out for soccer, and she was bullied with comments like “shouldn’t she be trying out for the boys’ team.” She went from feeling a bit accepted to being an outsider again. She then reflected on carrying those feelings into adulthood and said that this bill will have long-term affects on trans kids. She asked legislators to listen to the stories of the trans kids who have bravely testified, saying kids will contemplate suicide or complete suicide.

Representative Diego Bernal, (D-San Antonio), told the chamber that some representatives can’t wrap their heads around knowing that there is no problem but there is *real* harm to trans kids, and for whatever reason, that’s not enough it seems to stop moving these bills.

He said that he has heard “if they already have mental health issues and suicide ideation, this can’t make it worse” and “if the debate is harming them, let’s just vote.” The he breaks down the Texas statute’s definition of bullying, telling lawmakers, “The bullying statute doesn’t have an intent requirement. It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean to cause them harm. We are bullying these students. Know that by law … our own definitions and our own words, we are. And we don’t have to.”

“Texas lawmakers voted today to deliberately discriminate against transgender children. Excluding transgender students from participating in sports with their peers violates the Constitution and puts already vulnerable youth at serious risk of mental and emotional harm,” Adri Perez, policy and advocacy strategist at the ACLU of Texas said in a statement to the Blade.

“There is no evidence that transgender kids pose any threat. It is indefensible that legislators would force transgender youth and their families to travel to Austin to defend their own humanity, then blatantly ignore hours of testimony about the real damage this bill causes. Trans kids and their families deserve our love and support—they’ve been fighting this legislation for months. Texans will hold lawmakers accountable for their cruelty,” she added.

The statewide LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Texas in a tweet after the vote said; ” We will not stop fighting to protect transgender children.” Then added “We’ll continue to educate lawmakers—replacing misinformation with real stories—and demand the statewide and federal nondiscrimination protections we need to prevent further harms.”

Continue Reading

National

LGBTQ Youth web resource gone after Texas GOP candidate complained

Removal of the LGBTQ youth resource webpage appeared to be strictly political the Houston Chronicle reported

Published

on

Anti-LGBTQ Republican Don Huffines (Screenshot via Twitter)

AUSTIN – A late August video tweet from a wealthy Dallas-based real estate development company executive and conservative Republican gubernatorial challenger, blamed fellow Republican incumbent Texas Governor Greg Abbott for endorsing an LGBTQ+ agenda, because of the existence of a state online resource webpage for LGBTQ youth.

Within hours it was pulled down by the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, (DFPS) the agency responsible for the page.

In an article published Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that Don Huffines claimed tax dollars were being used to “advocate for transgender ideology.” Huffines also went on to say that DFPS was publishing “disturbing information about our youth.”

“They’re talking about helping empower and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, non-heterosexual behavior. I mean really? This is Texas. These are not Texas values. These are not Republican Party values, but these are obviously Greg Abbott’s values,” 

A message on the website states that the previous content is now under review.

According to the Chronicle, the website for the Texas Youth Connection, a division of Family and Protective Services that steers young people to various resources, including education, housing and those on its LGBTQ page as they prepare for life after foster care. It was replaced by a message that states, “The Texas Youth Connection website has been temporarily disabled for a comprehensive review of its content. This is being done to ensure that its information, resources, and referrals are current.”

LGBTQ+ activists and advocates are furious. Among the resources on the page for LGBTQ+ youth were critical information including for housing and information for suicide prevention and crisis assistance.

GenderCool Youth Leader, Trans rights activist and University of Houston student Landon Richie told the Blade Tuesday;

“This is deplorable. To Governor Abbott, LGBTQ+ youth are nothing more than pawns on a political chessboard. Despite his cries of protection and fairness in justification of this session’s unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ+ — especially trans — youth, it has never truly been about any of those things; it has always been about his power.

Now more than ever, LGBTQ+ youth deserve safety, protection, support, and affirmation from the state — this year alone, the Trevor Project received more than 10,800 crisis contacts from LGBTQ young people in Texas looking for support, as a result of this legislative session. LGBTQ+ youth deserve better than to be treated like they are as easily discardable as a webpage,” Richie said.

Shannon Minter, the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights reacted telling the Blade in an emailed statement:

“Helping LGBTQ youth and their families prevent suicide is not a partisan issue, and any elected official who seeks to make it one has lost any sense of shame. This action by Governor Abbott is appalling and will needlessly harm vulnerable children and families who urgently need support.”

Removal of the page appeared to be strictly political the Chronicle reported.

Patrick Crimmins, the department spokesman, told the Chronicle that the review “is still ongoing” but declined to answer questions seeking more detail about why the website was removed or whether it had anything to do with Huffines.

But Family and Protective Services communications obtained through a public records request show that agency employees discussed removing the “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation” page in response to Huffines’ tweet, shortly before taking it offline,” the paper wrote.

More telling was the events leading the page’s removal said the paper:

Thirteen minutes after Huffines’ video went up, media relations director Marissa Gonzales emailed a link to Crimmins, the agency’s communications director, under the subject line “Don Huffines video accusing Gov/DFPS of pushing liberal transgender agenda.”

FYI. This is starting to blow up on Twitter,” Gonzales wrote.

Crimmins then queried Darrell Azar, DFPS’ web and creative services director, about who oversees the page. “Darrell — please note we may need to take that page down, or somehow revise content,” he wrote.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth weighed in on the Chronicle’s reporting in an emailed statement to the Blade.

LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the child welfare system — and those who have been in foster care report significantly higher rates of attempting suicide. It is unconscionable that the Texas state government would actively remove vital suicide prevention resources from its website for the sole purpose of appeasing a rival politician. Mental health and suicide prevention are nonpartisan,” said Casey Pick, Senior Fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs. “This story sends a terrible message to LGBTQ youth in Texas and will only contribute to the internalization of stigma and shame. We should be expanding access to support services for this group, not erasing what resources LGBTQ youth have to reach out for help.” 

The Chronicle reported that the deleted webpage also included links to the Texas chapters of PFLAG, a nationwide LGBTQ organization; a “national youth talk line” to discuss gender and sexual identity and various other issues; and LGBTQ legal services.

Huffines said the page also linked to a website operated by the Human Rights Campaign, a politically active LGBTQ advocacy group that he called “the Planned Parenthood of LGBT issues.”

Data on Texas:

  • Between January 1 and August 30, 2021, The Trevor Project received more than 10,800 crisis contacts (calls, texts, and chats) from LGBTQ young people in Texas looking for support. More than 3,900 of those crisis contacts (36%) came from transgender or nonbinary youth.
  • Crisis contacts from LGBTQ young people in Texas seeking support have grown over 150% when compared to the same time period in 2020.
  • While this volume of crisis contacts can not be attributed to any one factor (or bill), a qualitative analysis of the crisis contacts found that:
    • Transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas have directly stated that they are feeling stressed, using self-harm, and considering suicide due to anti-LGBTQ laws being debated in their state.
    • Some transgender and nonbinary youth have expressed fear over losing access to sports that provide important acceptance in their lives.

Additional Research: 

  • The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
  • The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular