Connect with us

News

Conservative struggle over gay rights emerges at CPAC

Santorum says he doesn’t ‘want to talk about redefining marriage’

Published

on

Rick Santorum, Republican Party, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, gay news, Washington Blade
Ralph Reed, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, gay news, Washington Blade

Ralph Reed speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — To witness the conservative movement’s struggle with the widely held perception that nationwide marriage equality is imminent, you need not look further than the stage of the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference.

After remaining silent on the first day of the conference, voices against same-sex marriage emerged on Friday, although they were restricted to certain conservative activists as others expressed conflict over the issue and elected Republican officials ignored LGBT rights altogether in their speeches.

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, was among the most vociferous in his opposition to same-sex marriage as he accused U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of committing a “brazen act of lawlessness” by counseling state attorneys general not to defend marriage laws against litigation.

It should be noted that during his speech to the National Association of Attorneys General, Holder said he believes it’s OK for state attorneys general not to defend a ban on same-sex marriage if they believe they’re unconstitutional, but he never instructed them to take that course of action.

“From now on, we’re going to accept — in 2014, 2016 and beyond — nothing beyond unapologetic, unalloyed ‘conservative’ that defends the principles upon which this nation was founded, including the biblical principles of freedom of religion, the sanctity of life and the sacred institution of marriage,” Reed continued.

Also injecting anti-gay sentiment before the estimated 8,500 attendees at CPAC was Oliver North, a Fox News commentator known for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration in the 1980s.

Ending his speech, North equated the conservative struggle to stop the advancement of marriage equality to abolitionists’ efforts in 19th century America to end slavery.

“Some say that we must ignore social issues, like the definition of marriage, the sanctity of life, religious freedoms,” North said. “I say those are not social issues, they are deeply moral and spiritual issues and should be part of America’s elections.”

Ollie North, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, gay news, Washington Blade

Oliver North speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

North also made a veiled criticism of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, saying the administration is treating U.S. troops like “laboratory rats” as part of a “social experiment.”

These conservative activists are pushing back against the advancement of marriage equality as numerous federal courts — most recently in Texas, Virginia, Kentucky, Utah and Oklahoma — have struck down state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage amid expectations the U.S. Supreme Court will deliver a final ruling on the issue in 2015.

The anticipated resolution of the marriage issue in the courts invoked the ire on stage of Eric Metaxas, a conservative pundit who insisted voters must decide the issue of marriage equality instead of judges.

“The idea of same-sex marriage, the idea of paying for contraceptions, we should let the voters decide,” Metexas said. “This is the United States of America. We don’t need the ‘Mandarins of Justice’ to make these decisions; we’re supposed to trust the voters to make those decisions, and let the voters decide.”

But those considered possible 2016 presidential candidates shied away from the issue of marriage equality.

Rick Santorum, Republican Party, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, gay news, Washington Blade

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Rick Santorum, known for his opposition to same-sex marriage and support for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, expressed regret on stage that he became known for that viewpoint over the course of his 2012 presidential bid.

“I don’t want to talk about redefining marriage; I want to talk about reclaiming marriage as a good for society and celebrating how important it is for our economy,” Santorum said to applause.

Santorum continued to discuss the importance of the institution of marriage itself, saying businesses could advance it by offering marriage counseling as a benefit.

Amid the (often disputed) perception that Pope Francis is more lenient on gay rights, particularly after his recent suggestion he could support civil unions, Santorum, who’s Catholic, commended the pontiff for saying the Catholic Church should steer away from social issues.

“He’s going out there and not talking about what the Christian faith is against, he’s going out there and talking about what we’re for,” Santorum said. “He hasn’t changed a single policy. He won’t change a single policy. But what he’ll do is he’ll go out there and talk about the good news to a hurting world because he believes that that’s what the world needs.”

One event at CPAC that demonstrated the tension within the conservative movement on marriage equality, although the discussion wasn’t completely dedicated to the issue, was a panel titled, “Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives Ever Get Along?”

One question debated was protecting religious liberties of individuals as marriage equality advances. The issue for panelists wasn’t so much whether there should be marriage equality, but whether it should be imposed by judicial fiat.

Michael Medved, a conservative pundit and host of “The Michael Medved Show,” said the issue has come down to religious liberty and insisted social conservatives and libertarians should agree that states should be able to decide for themselves the marriage issue without interference from the federal government.

“The idea that New York and California may have legitimated, or recognized, decided that those states should sponsor gay marriage doesn’t mean that Texas should be compelled by overreaching courts, or anyone else, to sponsor and legitimate gay marriage,” Medved said.

Alexander McCorbin, executive director of Students for Liberty, represented the opposite end of the conservative spectrum and said on the panel that marriage equality is “the civil rights issue of the 21st century.”

“There’s state-sponsored discrimination against various associations between individuals,” McCorbin said. “We’re talking about the denial of basic rights and privileges of individuals in committed relationships — the only difference being their sexual orientation.”

But McCorbin was rebuked on stage by Medved, who said believing a fundamental right to same-sex marriage is inconsistent with libertarianism.

“You are saying that nine unelected judges should impose their will and their judgement on the sovereign states, all 50 sovereign states and the citizens therein, in terms of something as fundamental to society as the definition of family and the definition of marriage,” Medved said.

Making a point that was derided by gay bloggers and the watchdog group Media Matters, Medved also said the idea that any state had prohibited same-sex marriage is “a liberal lie” — possibly because same-sex weddings have been allowed, even though 33 states don’t recognize them as valid.

But Medved also signaled he nonetheless supports adoption by same-sex parents, which triggered applause in the audience (although one observer could be heard booing).

Matthew Spaulding, associate vice president of Allen P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies & Citizenship, insisted that religious liberties for objectors must be upheld and denied any link between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage.

“The fact of one’s color of one’s skin is a coincidence,” Spaulding said. “It has nothing to do with your character, right? The difference between a male and a female is something that is self-evident and obvious that we need to deal, and we can’t shut aside and turn it over to judges to tell us what to do.”

No one who is gay, nor any LGBT political group, had a voice on the panel despite its attention to the marriage issue. In an op-ed penned earlier this week in the Daily Caller, Log Cabin Republicans executive director Gregory Angelo asserted he had sought participation on a CPAC panel this year, but was rebuffed because the American Conservative Union, which runs the event, never responded to the request.

libertarian, social conservative, same-sex marriage, Tom Minnery, CitizenLink, Matt Spaulding, Allen P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies & Citizenship, Matt Welch, Reason Magazine, Michael Medved, Michael Medved Show, Alexander McCorbin, Students for Liberty, gay news, Washington Blade, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference

Members of the CPAC panel, ‘Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives Ever Get Along?’ discussed same-sex marriage. From left, Tom Minnery of CitizenLink, Matt Spaulding of the Allen P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies & Citizenship, Matt Welch of Reason Magazine, Michael Medved of the ‘Michael Medved Show’ and Alexander McCorbin of Students for Liberty. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Ignoring the issue of marriage, prominent Republicans speaking before the panel chose to tackle other issues, although they weren’t afraid to take Obama to task.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a known opponent of LGBT rights including allowing openly gay people in the Boy Scouts, turned his attention to deriding the advancement of welfare states under the Obama administration.

“The vision that wins out — either this big-government, protectionist nanny state version offered by liberal leaders or the limited-government, unsubsidized, freedom state offered by conservative leaders — will determine the future of our nation,” Perry said.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has a reputation as a libertarian, delivered a speech criticizing the exposed data collection by the National Security Agency as he urged adherence to the U.S. Constitution.

“There is a great battle going on, it’s for the heart and soul of America,” Paul said. “The Fourth Amendment is equally as important as the Second Amendment, and conservatives cannot forget this.”

Even 2008 Republican presidential candidate turned Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee, known for championing social issues, was silent on stage about the issue of marriage equality, although he spoke more generally about upholding religious liberties in the country.

This struggle over gay rights emerges at CPAC following the publication this week of a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing a record-high 59 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, while only one-in-three Americans oppose it.

That support is even higher among young voters, which make up the preponderance of attendees at CPAC. The poll found three-quarters of Americans younger than 30 support same-sex marriage.

Following the speeches on Friday, Log Cabin’s Angelo said there’s only one way for the debate to end if the conservative movement wants to thrive.

“The conservative movement can keep its head in the sand at its own peril — with the potential to lose more votes — or it can acknowledge us as here to stay, and grow the base, especially among millennial voters,” Angelo said. “That’s where we’re at in this movement. We want conservatives to win, but they need to acknowledge us as part of that winning coalition.”

Rand Paul, Kentucky, Republican Party, United States Senate, U.S. Congress, libertarian, CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Chuck Anziulewicz

    March 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    The GOP may not embrace marriage equality anytime soon… but sooner or later they'll have to come to grips with the fact that vilifying Gay Americans is no longer a vote-getter for them. Back in 2009 a CBS News survey found that while only 18% of Americans over the age of 65 supported marriage equality for Gay couples, 41% of American under the age of 45 supported it. That was FIVE YEARS AGO, and the generational shift in attitudes among young people toward their Gay friends and family members is accelerating.

    Even conservative columnist Andrew Stuttaford grudgingly acknowledged this: "I fully understand (even if I do not agree with) the idea that same-sex unions are a threat to conventional marriage and I fully understand those who argue that opposition to gay marriage is a fundamental principle too important to be abandoned… for reasons of political expediency, but these findings should, I reckon, at least be some sort of warning to those who assume that the GOP's current position on this issue will continue to be a vote-winner."

    30 years ago most Americans were not aware of any Gay friends, family members, or co-workers. Today most Americans ARE aware, and they have become dramatically more accepting and supportive of the Gay people and Gay couples in their lives. And social networking sites like Facebook have made the proverbial "closet" virtually obsolete. The Republican Party ignores this growing acceptance at their own peril. Jobs and the economy are important, yes… but your friends and family members are PERSONAL.

  2. Junior Equality Mayema

    March 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Marriage equality is inevitable

  3. Robert

    March 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Im fairly conservative and oppose gay “marriage” or at least support states rights to decide. I do not believe it is unconstitutional discrimination to deny gay “marriage” at the state level and believe it is religious freedom under the constitution to be able to refuse service to gay “weddings”. I say this to tell you that I think this was a very good article and very fair and objective. Good work! Thank you.

  4. Edward Boss

    March 9, 2014 at 3:38 am

    At first I did not like the economics of the Democratic party but with all the prostilitizing and religious condemnation I've switched over. They have turned me against the church but not God and Jesus. It's like they want it that way and it will continue to cost them not just on the gay front, but on women's rights and anything that goes against their interpretation of the Biblical script literally which we all know has been edited, left out, and made to conform to control the people threw church and State. Everyone knows this and as the numbers of Christians diminish as they are with a more diverse religious base no longer will the Republicans ever grasp power again. I have wrote letters to congress men and spoke out every way possible and if everyone would it could be another inch against the marriage of Republicans and extremist christian fundamentalist. Yes!!

  5. Brian Ferri

    March 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

    The lost boys

  6. Robert Weissman

    March 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    here is the choice accept the LBGT community and SSM or loose the whole religious right wing nut crowd, What do you think will happen woth that? Most of the GOP base is the wing nut crowd right now

  7. Bart Baker

    March 10, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Let the dinosaurs drag themselves to the tar pits. What any of these people think (pretty much about anything…face it, only their BFFs care what these people think,) the rest of us laugh at them and move forward with our lives.

    It's my religious freedom to have my religion be nothing like theirs.

  8. Richard Harney

    March 10, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    “You are saying that nine unelected judges should impose their will and their judgement on the sovereign states, all 50 sovereign states and the citizens therein, in terms of something as fundamental to society as the definition of family and the definition of marriage,” Medved said.

    Would he rather elected judges do the same thing as was the case in Iowa 7-0. They weren't some far left activist judges as these creeps always seem to put it. Some of them were even Republican. I don't recall even one judge in the past 6 years ruling against same sex marriage. So you mean to tell me that it just so happens that ALL of these judges in deep red states are activist judges? Give me a break with that dumb stance.

Leave a Reply

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

Politics

Bob Dole dies at 98; anti-LGBTQ record is part of his legacy

Opposition to LGBTQ rights a part of former Senate majority leader’s legacy

Published

on

U.S. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) via 60 Minutes archival interview with Steve Kroft 1993 (Screenshot YouTube)

In a tweet Sunday morning the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced the death of former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) at the age of 98. Reaction was immediate from longtime friends, political allies of the Senator and others including President Biden who served with him in the U.S. Senate.

In a statement released by the White House, the president said of his friend and former Senate colleague; “Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation. And to me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves. […] Bob was a man to be admired by Americans. He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor. May God bless him, and may our nation draw upon his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time.”

The tributes to Dole that poured in Sunday from every segment of government, political, public and personal reflected his lifelong career of public service to Americans including his championing the rights of disabled Americans playing a key role in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. Dole himself was disabled, having been grievously wounded in combat while serving in the U.S. Army in the Italian campaign during World War II.

Dole earned two Purple Hearts and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service, but doctors weren’t sure he’d survive. He was hospitalized for three years. He suffered infections, grueling therapy, several operations and in one instance developed a blood clot that nearly killed him.

He spent the rest of his life struggling with disabilities caused by his war injuries, most noticeably loss of the use of his right arm.

After his recovery and convalescence he enrolled at the University of Arizona in Tucson on the GI Bill, and later transferred to Washburn University in his home state of Kansas. He graduated in 1952.

After college and while still in law school, Dole became active in local politics in his hometown of Russell, Kan. In his first run for elected office he won a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives. He served from 1951 to 1953 until he ran and was elected Russell County Attorney. He remained in that position until 1961, when he was first elected to Congress as a Republican.

In what he later said publicly were the two most important votes while serving in Congress, in 1964 he voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act, and in 1965 voted in favor of the Voting Rights Act.

During the turbulent era of the 1960’s marked by the Civil Rights movement and opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict, Dole ran for the U.S. Senate in 1969 and was was elected after defeating his fellow Republican, former Kansas Gov. Bill Avery, in the primary race.

From Jan. 3, 1969, until his departure from the Senate on June 11, 1996, Dole built a career that established his place as a power broker and deal maker in Republican politics with considerable influence across both parties garnering the respect of Democratic leaders including the late-U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

In the early 1970s, Dole served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1973 including during the 1972 election and Watergate break-in and he resided at the Watergate apartments at the time of the break-in.

An ardent supporter of then-President Richard Nixon, Dole stood by him during the Watergate scandal often clashing with other Republicans leaders who ultimately convinced Nixon to resign the office. In later years Dole still praised Nixon’s record as president, serving as a eulogist at the former president’s state funeral in 1994.

In a commentary for Politico magazine on April 27, 2017, Dole wrote; “I can say with confidence that the beginning of the 21st century is still the Age of Nixon; we’re still living in a world he played a role in shaping. Though our country has changed in many ways in the 43 years since Nixon’s resignation and 23 years since his death, the basic domestic policies and international order that he brought to fruition remain in place.”

While Dole was often seen as a moderate by some, in practice he was a hard nosed partisan Republican sometimes echoing Nixon’s attack impulses. In 1976, then-President Gerald Ford selected him as his running mate at the Republican National Convention.

During the Ford-Dole campaign run he blamed the deaths and injuries of 1.7 million American soldiers on “Democrat wars,” and derided the Democratic Party challenger, Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, as no more than a “Southern-fried McGovern.”

“I figured up the other day, if we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans, enough to fill the city of Detroit,” Dole said.

In a bit of political irony, he had partnered with U.S. Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.), who Nixon defeated in a landslide election in 1972, to help pass legislation making food stamps more accessible.

In 1980 he made a run for the White House on his own, ultimately deciding to withdraw after a poor showing in the Republican primary in New Hampshire against former California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Dole was re-elected to his third term as senator that year.

Dole went on to serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985, and in November of 1984, he was elected Senate majority leader. He then made another attempt for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, during that campaign his reputation as a political hardliner was cemented during an interview with then-NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

Dole exploded in apparent anger over a question posed about a television advert being run by the campaign of then Vice President George H.W. Bush, his Republican challenger for the nomination, that accused Dole of “straddling” on taxes. He snapped at Brokaw, saying Bush should “stop lying about my record.” He beat Bush in Iowa, but fell short again in New Hampshire and again he withdrew from the race.

During that campaign, the New York Times reported Dole strongly disagreed today with Congressman Jack Kemp on AIDS testing and urged that the issue of AIDS be kept out of the 1988 presidential race.

”To try to make this a Democratic or Republican issue is a loser,” said Dole. ”It’s a loser for the people involved, and it’s a loser for the people we’re trying to protect.”

On Feb. 22, 1989, during the session of the 101st Congress, the Hate Crimes Statistics Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. It had previously been introduced in the 99th and 100th Congresses. The act would require the Justice Department to collect and publish data about crimes motivated by hatred based on race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Then on June 27, 1989, the House passed the act by a 368-47 vote. It moved on to the Senate where as the then-minority leader, Dole signed on as a co-sponsor.

On Feb. 8, 1990,  the Senate passed the Act by a 92-4 vote and sent it to President George H.W. Bush who signed the bill into law on April 23, 1990.

The 1994 mid-term elections gave Republicans control of both the Senate and the House, mainly due to the fallout from President Bill Clinton’s policies and Dole became the senate majority leader for a second time.

Dole again decided to make another run for the presidency in 1995 and it was in the lead-in to that campaign his anti-LGBTQ positions on military service by gay and lesbians and same-sex marriage became clear.

In the Fall of 1995, Dole returned a $1,000 dollar campaign contribution from the Log Cabin Club, a pro-gay Republican organization that is now known as Log Cabin Republicans. That caused Congress’ only openly gay Republican member, U.S. Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-Wis.), to castigate Dole publicly in a letter that read; “One need not be anti-gay just to prove you are pro-family,” Gunderson wrote. “I know of no gay Republican (and frankly few gay Democrats) who seek any special class or privileges. All we seek is the end to blatant discrimination in America.”

Dole’s campaign returned the money, saying the Republican presidential contender was “100 percent” opposed to the Log Cabin Club’s agenda.

Gunderson, in his letter, also noted he had supported Dole’s past presidential efforts and had endorsed him before being asked. When first told of the donation controversy, Gunderson said he assumed his friends had mistaken Dole’s campaign for that of “other decidedly bigoted candidates. I was embarrassed to learn I was wrong,” he said.

Gunderson questioned whether Dole would reject the support of anyone who was gay. “If this is so, do you intend to now reject my support and request those on your staff who happen to be gay to resign?”

Eight months later in early May of 1996, in an effort to shore up support of his campaign from the Christian conservative movement within the Republican party, Dole signed on as the first co-sponsor of the Senate version of the Defense of Marriage Act. The legislation barred federal benefits for same-sex couples while allowing states the right to refuse recognition of such marriages that are recognized in other states.

In no small bit of irony one of the responses to Dole’s actions came from the Log Cabin Republicans. “The intolerant wing of the Republican Party is rearing it’s ugly head again,” said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. “What Dole is missing here is that he already has deep support among religious conservatives. There is a growing perception of the GOP Congress as intolerant, and Dole’s action yesterday only enhances such a view.”

Dole’s position on same-sex marriage was later derided by the Human Rights Campaign in an advert campaign, run only in the San Diego market during the GOP convention, that took aim at prominent Republicans who opposed same-sex marriages, but whose own marriages were not always accepted by mainstream society.

The HRC ads called out presidential nominee Dole and other Republicans for “wasting our time” and “trying to score political points by attacking gay Americans.”

One spot featured pictures of Dole with Elizabeth, his second wife, and U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) with his Asian American wife, Wendy. The ad notes that divorced people and couples of different ethnicities have not always been accepted wholly by society.

In the discussions and the political back and forth leading up to what ultimately became the ban on gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military, colloquially referred to as “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell,” “Serving is not a right,” Dole said. “It is a privilege in the United States. And there are certain restrictions.”

Dole, who had resigned from the Senate on June 11, 1996 to run his presidential campaign lost that fall. Clinton who was an incumbent, won in a 379–159 Electoral College landslide, capturing 49.2 percent of the vote against Dole’s 40.7 percent and Ross Perot’s 8.4 percent.

Dole at age 73 was the last World War II veteran to have been the presidential nominee of a major party. In 1997, months after losing the election Dole was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Clinton.

“Through it, we honor not just his individual achievement but his clear embodiment in the common values and beliefs that join us as a people,” Clinton said. “Values and beliefs that he has spent his life advancing. Sen. Dole, a grateful nation presents this award, with respect for the example you have set for Americans today and for Americans and generations yet to come.”

In the years that followed his political career Dole served as national chairman of the World War II Memorial raising funds for its construction. He was a popular spokesperson for Viagra, Visa, Dunkin’ Donuts and along with pop singer, Britney Spears, Pepsi-Cola. He continued to speak out for disabled Americans, and also established The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, housed on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, Kan.

In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed him to help lead a bipartisan commission to investigate a neglect scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Then alongside his wife Elizabeth Dole, in 2012, established the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which is designed to empower, support and honor the nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers.

Despite his many accomplishments, in 2014 he still attacked the rights of LGBTQ Americans to be married. Dole suggested that fellow Republican, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, didn’t support ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because Portman, who had a gay son, had come out in favor of gay marriage, the Daily Beast and other media outlets reported in July of 2014.

Dole also supported former President Donald Trump and endorsed Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 campaigns. In an interview with USA Today conducted for his 98th Birthday, Dole said he was “Trumped out”, and that Trump had lost the 2020 election despite his claims to the contrary. “He lost the election, and I regret that he did, but they did”, Dole stated, adding that Trump “never had one bit of fraud in all those lawsuits he filed and statements he made.”

********************

60 Minutes Archive: Bob Dole (Steve Kroft, 1993)

Continue Reading

En Espanol

Víctor Grajeda, primer diputado suplente abiertamente gay, llega al Congreso de Honduras

Sampedraño hace historia al ser electo por más de 100,000 votos

Published

on

Víctor Grajeda (Foto cortesía de Víctor Grajeda)

Reportar sin Miedo es el socio mediático del Washington Blade en Honduras. Esta nota salió en su sitio web el 30 de noviembre.

TEGUCIGALPA, HondurasMiles de personas LGBTIQ+ votaron este 28 de noviembre contra el Partido Nacional, que ha gobernado Honduras más de 12 años y en los últimos tres meses utilizó una campaña de odio, miedo y discriminación hacia la diversidad sexual y el derecho a decidir de las mujeres.

El voto de la diversidad sexual de Honduras benefició mayoritariamente a la candidata del partido de oposición Libertad y Refundación (Libre), Xiomara Castro, quien es considerada la casi segura ganadora de los comicios del 2021 en Honduras por más de 20 puntos arriba de su rival, el candidato por el Partido Nacional, Nasry Asfura.

El triunfo de Xiomara representa la esperanza de un cambio en temas de políticas y leyes, pero también un avance en derechos humanos, dijo a Reportar sin Miedo el presidente de la juventud del Partido Libre, Kevin Ramos.

“Vamos a construir una nueva era. Fuera los escuadrones de la muerte. Fuera la corrupción. Fuera el narcotráfico y el crimen organizado. Fuera las ZEDE. No más pobreza y más miseria en Honduras. Hasta la victoria siempre. Unido, pueblo. Juntos vamos a transformar este país”, expresó Castro en su primer discurso. Ella sería la primera presidenta del país en 200 años de independencia.

En el proceso electoral de 2021 sólo participaron cinco candidatxs LGBTIQ+. Por el departamento de Cortés, como aspirantes a diputado propietario se lanzaron Fredy Fúnez, Odalis Sarmiento por el PINU y Víctor Grajeda como diputado suplente del Partido Libre. Ninguna persona trans participó en el proceso.

Grajeda va encabezando los cuatro primeros lugares de las diputaciones de Cortés junto con su compañera de fórmula Silvia Ayala. Él es decorador y tiene un negocio junto con su pareja.

“En mi tiempo libre trabajo en decoración”, agrega este hombre abiertamente gay nacido en cuna humilde, quien tuvo que trabajar desde pequeño para sobrevivir en la violenta ciudad de San Pedro Sula.

Víctor lamenta la falta de diversidad que ofrecen los partidos políticos hondureños. Para él, la oportunidad de participar en este proceso es única. “No podía dejarla atrás. Nos permite crear una representación digna y transparente”. No ser un político de clóset es, para Víctor, desafiar al sistema. “Busco abrir espacios y descartar la disciminación por la orientación o la identidad sexual”, asegura.

Víctor aprovechó para agradecerle a la diputada electa Silvia Ayala por incluirlo en su plantilla ganadora. “Gracias a Silvia por hacerme parte de su fórmula”, dice el nuevo diputado suplente. “Ella desde el principio confió en mí y fue muy inclusiva al hacerme su candidato suplente”.

Grajeda promete promover leyes que penalicen los crímenes de odio, así como la creación de unidades especializadas para la investigación de estos delitos. Entre sus promesas también están crear programas de salud mental.

Al contrario de otros partidos políticos hondureños, Libertad y Refundación se ha caracterizado por abrir más sus puertas a la inclusión de personas LGBTIQ+ como la activista Kendra Jordany o la abogada Vienna Ávila, a quien Libre nombró secretaria de la diversidad sexual.

“Ciudadanas y ciudadanos, le apostamos a que Honduras se pueda convertir en un país de esperanza”, dijo Kevin Ramos. “Nosotros, como parte de la diversidad sexual, esperamos que cumpla sus promesas de ofrecer derechos a nuestra población”.

El fin de un gobierno de discriminación y odio

Con su voto, la población diversa pone un alto a los gobiernos nacionalistas, que en más de una década no han garantizado derechos para las personas trans y diversas.

El discurso de odio se pronuncia desde la misma cúpula del gobierno nacionalista encabezado por el presidente Juan Orlando Hernández. El mandatario llamó “enemigos de la independencia” a lxs miembrxs de la diversidad sexual de Honduras en un tristemente célebre discurso por el bicentenario de la independencia, el 15 de septiembre de 2021. 

Un reflejo de la visión heterocispatriarcal de los partidos políticos en Honduras es la cantidad de candidatxs de la diversidad sexual en los comicios de este año.

Entretanto, en Francisco Morazán, Miguel Caballero Leiva se presentó como aspirante a una diputación por el partido Unificación Democrática. Sin embargo, todavía no hay resultados de las posiciones electorales para saber el destino de estxs candidatxs.

La discriminación anti-LGBTIQ+ ejercida por el partido en el poder continúa a pesar de la sentencia condenatoria por el transfeminicidio de Vicky Hernández cometido la noche del 28 al 29 de junio de 2009.

Hernández, defensora de derechos humanos, se convirtió en la primera víctima del golpe de Estado que marcó la historia reciente de Honduras. El golpe de 2009 derrocó al entonces presidente Manuel Zelaya, esposo de la actual candidata presidencial Xiomara Castro.

Ni el gobierno de facto del empresario del transporte Roberto Micheletti ni las administraciones nacionalistas de Porfirio Lobo y Juan Orlando Hernández aclararon o buscaron castigar el crimen contra Vicky. Por el contrario, durante los 12 años de poder nacionalista aumentó desmedidamente la cantidad de crímenes de odio en Honduras.

Desde el 2009 hasta la fecha hay un registro de 389 muertes violentas contras personas LGBTI+. Solo en 2021 han sido asesinadas 16 personas: diez gays, tres transexuales y tres lesbianas, reporta Cattrachas en su Observatorio de Muertes Violentas.

Hubo un destello de esperanza a mediados de este año, cuando por fin la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos condenó al Estado de Honduras por el transfeminicidio de Vicky Hernández.

“Esta es la apertura para que vean que ninguna lucha es exclusiva de un grupo de personas”, dijo en aquella ocasión la coordinadora de Cattrachas, Indyra Mendoza.

Sin embargo, aunque el Estado dijo que iba a cumplir con la sentencia por el caso de Vicky Hernández, hasta el momento no ha pedido perdón a la familia ni cumplido con una serie de reparaciones de la condena de la Corte IDH.

Algunxs no pudieron votar contra el nacionalismo

A pesar del deseo de las personas trans de usar su voto para sacar del poder al Partido Nacional, algunas de ellas se quedaron sin esa posibilidad.

La directora de Oprouce, la líder trans Sasha Rodríguez, no pudo votar porque nunca recibió el nuevo Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI).

Igual que Rodríguez, miles de personas estaban habilitadas para votar, pero el Registro Nacional de las Personas no les entregó sus nuevas identidades, sin las cuales no podían votar, según las nuevas reglas electorales.

Los usuarios de redes sociales comentaron que los problemas en la entrega de los DNI eran otros de los trucos del oficialismo para seguir en el poder fraguando un supuesto fraude en las votaciones del 28 de noviembre. 

“El triunfo de Xiomara es una reivindicación como ciudadana”, dijo Sasha Rodríguez. “Ella ha sido una aliada de la población diversa y las personas LGBTIQ+ hablaron. Ya se cansaron de 12 años en el poder del Partido Nacional y su líder Juan Orlando Hernández, que se unió con los fundamentalistas religiosos, en especial los evangélicos, para seguir difundiendo mentiras y discriminaciones hacia todas”.

Rodríguez recordó el discurso de Hernández del pasado 15 de septiembre, donde manifestó su rechazo a los derechos de las personas diversas. En medio del ambiente electoral en Honduras asesinaron a Tatiana García en Santa Rosa de Copán. Ella era militante del partido de gobierno. También más de 10 personas trans sufrieron discriminación o fueron víctimas de agresiones.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A post shared by Red Lésbica Cattrachas (@redlesbicacattrachas)

La Red Lésbica Cattrachas denunció ante el Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) que el Partido Nacional junto a los antiderechos utilizaban sus discursos de odio para estigmatizar a las personas LGBTI+ y mujeres.

El CNE admitió el 23 de noviembre su denuncia por prejuicio de la dignidad humana, por promover el odio y la discriminación a grupos históricamente colocados en situación de vulnerabilidad.

La violencia en Honduras se extiende a lxs candidatxs pertenecientes a los grupos LGBTIQ+. El Observatorio Político de Cattrachas registró, hasta el 21 de noviembre, 33 muertes violentas de candidatas y candidatos. También denunció una serie de ataques y amenazas a diferentes sectores.

En un evento público, la coordinadora de la red, Indyra Mendoza, pidió un alto a la violencia política. “No hay elecciones libres si lxs candidatxs tienen miedo. Necesitamos que el país entero rechace las agresiones, necesitamos que defender derechos humanos no sea una condena”.

Cattrachas también denunció al exsecretario del presidente Hernández, el ministro Ebal Díaz, quien utilizó en sus campañas el video de una niña con discapacidad para manipular la opinión pública sobre el tema del aborto. «Es cruel que hagan política atacando a las mujeres y a las personas con discapacidad», señaló la red lésbica.

Violencia antes y durante las elecciones

El más reciente caso de violencia contra la población diversa de Honduras es el de Emeli Rachel Villafranca (23), quien fue salvajemente golpeada por cuatro hombres en Tegucigalpa, denunció la organización Arcoíris. A tres días antes de las elecciones, más de 20 organizaciones LGBTIQ+ presentaron una propuesta de reforma de ley ante el Registro Nacional de las Personas para que reconozca el cambio de nombre de las personas. Se recogieron 4,600 firmas a nivel nacional. En el marco de este evento se realizó una marcha exigiendo justicia, alto a la violencia y a los discursos de odio.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A post shared by Casa Arcoiris (@arcoirishn)

Personas LGBTIQ+ monitorean las elecciones

Al menos 30 mujeres trans distribuidas en la capital Tegucigalpa, en el centro de Honduras, y San Pedro Sula, en la costa norte, realizaron un proceso de observación ciudadana en centros de votación masivos. Las observadoras registraron incidencias de discriminación, problemas de identificación con el nombre registro al nacer y otras anomalías.

La directora de la Asociación Muñecas de Arcoíris, JLo Córdova, denunció que en su centro de votación sufrió discriminación al ejercer el sufragio porque fue llamada públicamente con el nombre registrado en su DNI. “Esto no debería ser. Recomendamos mejor capacitación en temas de diversidad y género a lxs integrantes de las mesas electorales”.

Por otro lado, tanto en San Pedro Sula y Tegucigalpa, más de 15 personas de diferentes organizaciones LGBTI+ realizaron el trabajo de observadoras electorales nacionales.

La activista lesbiana Seidy Irías dijo a Reportar sin Miedo que un país que no considera los derechos humanos de las personas con mayor vulnerabilidad no es una república. “Luchemos por un gobierno visible para todas las poblaciones”, dijo Seidy.

En las redes sociales se promovió el #VotoConOrgullo y la respuesta fue masiva. “Las juventudes demostramos que no somos de cristal, sino de diamantes en este proceso electoral, el cual fue un triunfo contundente para la democracia pacífica y participativa”, expresó el director de Honduras Diversa, Néstor Hernández.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

A post shared by Reportar Sin Miedo (@reportarsinmiedo)

El triunfo de Xiomara Castro representa para muchxs el rompimiento de una brecha de desigualdad. «Hoy, más de una niña se levantó creyendo que también puede ser presidenta», dijo el influencer Denisol Mehujael.

Continue Reading

Politics

Victory Fund honors Maine House speaker at D.C. conference

Ryan Fecteau is gay Catholic University alum

Published

on

Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau accepts the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award at the Victory Fund International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C. on Dec. 4, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Victory Fund on Saturday honored Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau on the last day of its International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C.

Fecteau — an openly gay Catholic University of America alum — won a seat in the Maine House of Representatives in 2014. He became the chamber’s speaker in 2020.

“Hate and intolerance will not derail us,” said Fecteau after Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith presented him with the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award, which is named after U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). “Our community will not be intimidated.”

The Victory Fund on Friday honored Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila, a gay man who is living with HIV.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular