While the move was initially hailed as progress for the rights of gays in the military, today many see it as a liability.
Writing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" into law meant that no new President can eliminate the ban without first convincing a majority of Congress to go along — a far higher hurdle than Clinton faced. All the Democratic candidates favor lifting the ban; the GOP candidates support keeping it. "I think President Clinton meant well, but when he set out to implement his vision he ran into a buzz saw," says Aubrey Sarvis, an ex-GI and executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit group dedicating to lifting the ban. "I see very few, if any, good things about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' — it means you have to lie or deceive every day."
Hillary Clinton supporters will be working hard in the gay community tonight, drumming up support for their candidate. After a day full of door-to-door campaigning and CofC rallies, New York Assembly Member Danny O'Donnell and "Pushing Daisies" co-star Ellen Greene will be meeting LGBT voters out at Dudley's and Pantheon tonight.
Hillary answered a question on her online forum about GLBT youth and the high rates of depression and suicide. (At about 3:40).
She says there need to be more services, particularly efforts to educate teachers and peers. She also suggests mentoring.
"We've got to send a clear message that we value you as a total person," she said. "We want you to feel accepted and respected in your community. You will certainly have a president who feels that way."
I just saw this story in The Advocate (http://election2008.advocate.com/2008/01/speaking-your-t.html). I had the pleasure of working with Ken during our ballot campaign last year, and I have the utmost respect for him. He was more than a Board Member, he was one of a handful of people who volunteered his time and energy every time a need arose. Ken- if you're reading this, please know that you deserve all the best life has to offer. I feel better for having known you!
It seemed only fitting that I would conclude my reporting from
South Carolina with an entry about Ken Hubbard, an openly gay
African-American resident of Charleston who is presently in nursing
Hubbard, a 45-year-old Arkansas native who moved to SC nine years
ago, came out to his highly religious family when he was 32. Although
they had attended church almost every day of the week when he was
growing up, they weren’t living in a bubble. His mother and two sisters
apparently already knew and were simply waiting for Hubbard to get with
the program. “I told one of my sisters and she said, ‘And?’ I told the
other one and she said, 'So?'” Hubbard recalls.
He encountered a bit more tension with his two brothers, both of
whom are Pentecostal preachers. “It’s been a little rough -- they both
had to balance it with their faith,” says Hubbard, adding that one of
them still struggles a bit. Even so, when Hubbard was home for
Christmas, the brother that’s still adjusting took Hubbard to meet his
church elder. “He may not be fully comfortable, but if he takes me to
meet the Bishop, then he’s okay,” he says with a smile.
Hubbard just finished serving a year on the board of the NAACP’s
Charleston Chapter and is taking a break right now while he
concentrates on his studies. But long before working with the NAACP, he
was involved with both of the state’s gay organizations, the South
Carolina Equality Coalition and the Alliance For Full Acceptance. He
says he felt more compelled to get political about his sexuality
because it might otherwise be missed by others. “People will always see
me as a black man, but not all of them will see me as a gay black man,”
He joined the NAACP Board when AFFA members were working to build
alliances and Dot Scott, the rather fearless president of Charleston's
NAACP Chapter, told him that if gays and lesbians wanted her help, then
Hubbard should join her board. “It works both ways” is how he remembers
her saying it. (Hubbard gives her a lot of credit for having the
chutzpah to invite a gay man to sit on her board.)
Hubbard can count the number of out, established black peers he
knows in Charleston on less than two hands, and he knows another 15 or
so who are gay but not open about it. “The students and young adults
are getting much better,” he adds.
But for the older generations, it’s just easier not to discuss it
even if people know someone is gay. “It’s okay for people to know as
long we don’t have to talk about it,” Hubbard says, describing people’s
attitudes toward gays and lesbians. “But if it comes out in the open,
then I have to deal with my prejudices.”
Hubbard, whose unique openness makes him a widely sought after
commodity for all kinds of speaking engagements, said one seminar in
particular showed him the power of speaking out. At a diversity seminar
on a fundamentalist college campus in Spartanburg, SC, he was invited
to speak about his experiences as a gay black man. When he arrived to
the auditorium of 100-plus students, “it was already a hornet’s nest,”
he says. A dispute had broken out among the students once they realized
what the topic of discussion would be.
When the crowd began asking questions, “It’s fair to say, they were
disrespectful,” says Hubbard, who has a background in divinity and
served as a lay pastor at one point. He talked to them about
questioning how they could serve God in this situation, since no matter
what they said, “You’re not going to change my view about who I am.”
Things eventually reached a relative calm and then one
African-American boy stood up and said, “This is the first time that
I’ve ever told anyone that I’m gay, and I might not be able to do this
all the time, but I can take this first step.”
Says Hubbard, “That’s when I knew this is what I was meant to do –
open my big mouth. I can show people how to stand up with dignity.”
Hubbard’s faith beamed through him during our discussion, but he
admitted that religion had initially made it harder for him to embrace
his sexuality. “We all knew who was gay, but we just didn’t talk about
it,” he says of his church growing up. “That was etched in my mind.”
And lest we forget the presidential -- Hubbard is torn between
Clinton and Obama, but is leaning Obama at the moment. And for the
record, the Donnie McClurkin deal really didn’t bother him that much.
“It was a little disappointing, but (Obama) is a man, he’s going to
make mistakes. If I’m ever going to ask for forgiveness, I have to
forgive others.” Hubbard believes that removing McClurkin from the tour
would have been “cowering down” in a way. “I wish Obama would have come
out against Donnie and said, ‘Please don’t do this on my stage. You
need to take that message elsewhere,’” says Hubbard. “But Donnie
doesn’t define who God is to me,” he adds. “It’s my job to get on stage
and talk back.”
Having already barred gays and lesbians from marrying (going so far as to put it in the state’s constitution), South Carolina’s legislative conservatives are now looking to provide a tax cut for married couples. Just in case you thought it was just a coincidence that the state would propose this benefit just months after the constitutional change, the press release announcing the bill was full of these nuggets…
Today, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and the House Republican Caucus introduced a tax cut plan that shows their support of the traditional family by giving married couples a tax cut.
“We show our beliefs in the bills we pass,” said Speaker Harrell. “While other states have marriage tax penalties, we are showing our support of families by giving married couples a tax break. This tax cut applies to all married couples and defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.”
No, really, we get it!
The Marriage Tax Cut (H. 4550) complements the work of last year’s income tax cut that eliminated the bottom tax bracket for all workers. This plan cuts the income tax bracket back an additional one percent for all married couples.
“A tax cut for married couples is just the kind of pro-family legislation we need to be supporting,” said Rep. Ted Pitts (R - Lexington). “This plan is not designed to be a huge economic boost for getting married, but is intended to benefit those who maintain a family and shows our continued support of traditional family values in our state.”
Rep. Gloria Haskins (R - Greenville) said, “Today’s culture too often trivializes the act of marriage, we should be taking steps that support and strengthen this crucial family bond. This tax cut is a positive step in the right direction.”
The tax cut applies to any married couple filing jointly or separately. The bill reflects what our state Constitution says by defining a marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
It probably should come as no surprise that the press release on this bill came 20 minutes prior to a release on a road improvement bill. Ah, the sweet misguided priorities of our state.