Skip to comments.For nation's LGBT, Obama's quiet snub of Scouts a reminder struggle for equality far from over
Posted on 07/31/2010 11:14:24 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
President Barack Obama, citing "scheduling conflict," will not attend the taxpayer-funded Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in Virginia today, an absence which drew criticism from conservative news media for what they described as the "political decision" not to attend the anti-gay, anti-atheist group's publicly-funded 100th annual gathering.
An equal rights activist, however, belittled Obama's absence from the 45,000 scouts-attended Jamboree as, "a victory for scheduling conflicts."
"Scouting for All" president, Howard Metzer, told Fox News the President was right to snub the scouts for their anti-gay policy, but Obama did not cite the group's discriminatory policy as his reason for not attending. If there was a moral stand against discrimination taken by this administration, it wasn't admitting to it.
While there has been great progress in the struggle by gays and lesbians to achieve full citizenship and equal treatment under the law, President Obama's avoidance of participating in the scouts taxpayer-funded annual pilgrimage to Virginia is a reminder of how far the nation's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community has come, but also how far it has to go.
It would be difficult to overestimate the political and social significance of LGBT victories like John Perez' ascension within this State Assembly when he became the nation's first openly gay Speaker Pro Tem.
Where only a few years earlier the LGBT community's only political influence came through backing "substantive representation" of progressive heterosexual candidates sympathetic to the community's needs, Speaker Perez' career high watermark may be indicative of a rising tide of acceptance of gays and lesbians in California society as a whole.
No longer seen as single-issue candidates, openly gay legislators like Tom Ammiano (D-SF), Mark Leno (D-SF) and Christine Kehoe (D-SD) not only advocate for equality for their community, they are known equally for their advancement of issues entirely unrelated to identity politics, from the legalization of marijuana, to property tax law reform, to universal healthcare to military veterans rights.
Perez' election as Speaker is evidence the gay and lesbian community is now successfully electing its own "descriptive representation" to office where those legislators garner the respect and support of their colleagues, capitol employees and lobbyists. In fact, in the 2009 California Progress Report's "Legislator of the Year" online survey, more than 2,600 readers, Leno maintained a lead throughout the polling that never waned. But instead of comments regarding rights for gays and lesbians, respondents offered comments like, Leno has fought for consumer rights like no other, wrote one reader, Principled, wrote another.
Leno responded to the tribute, The recognition is very humbling. Of course everything we do is a collaborative effort, so my good fortune is to be able to work with a progressive caucus and a courageous leader, Darrell Steinberg. Leno's victory came from broad support and his acknowledgment was a reflection of that.
But for LGBT legislators, it is the strong foundation of political support laid by decades of LGBT activists before them on which legislators like Ammiano, Leno, Kehoe and Speaker Perez stand today. The legislative wizardry of Senate Pro Tem David Roberti staffer, Stan Hadden, the energy and organization of the LGBT community's River City Democratic Club, LIFE lobby and Pillars social network group, established by an LGBT community just emerging as a political force, contributing wicked smart legislative staffers and lobbyists and political advisors like Dana Lillian Mitchell, Ron Gray, Ken Topper, Tim Warford, Dennis Mangers and Larry Hoover that built the networks and bridges within and around the capitol that helped make LGBT candidates electable today.
While the LGBT community has had some success in electing openly gay candidates to office, it is the substantive representation of its "straight allies" who remain the community's largest protection against conservative religious organizations like the nation's Evangelical and Catholic churches, as well as the Mormons, who have spent decades increasing their sphere of influence over school boards, athletic programs and youth organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) is one of those allies, having received a 100 percent support rating from the California equal rights lobby, Equality California. Along with Leno, Jones was the Assembly's winner of California Progress Report's 2009 Legislator of the Year. "I'm honored that the readers of the California Progress Report have recognized my work fighting for working people, civil rights, consumer protection, insurance regulation and the environment, responded Jones.
One respondent wrote this about the Assembly member, Dave is my moral compass, you can't say that about any other politician...local, state or national.
Jones is seen by the LGBT community as an ally who understands their struggle, so it was surprising to some in the community when the Assembly member late last year posted how his young son, Will, had done with his entry into the Boy Scouts annual Box Car Derby event.
BSA has discriminated against homosexual membership as scouts, scout leaders, and as parents of scouts for more than two decades after religious conservative groups like the evangelical group of James Dobson and Mormon Church (today nearly one third of all boy scout troops meet on Mormon Ward property) targeted the venerable association for control.
In 2000, the BSA went to the United States Supreme Court to defend its right to discriminate against homosexuals, atheists and agnostics based on their right to expressive association as evidenced in the scout's oath to be "morally straight," and "clean." By a single vote, the high court upheld the group's right to associate with other like-minded people by finding valid its argument that who its members are is synonymous with what the organization stands for.
The court's dissenting opinion found no basis for the ruling, asserting that the discrimination was based not on what those denied association do, but on how they are perceived by scout leaders.
In Boy Scouts v. Dale, dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens found in favor of the New Jersey law requiring groups using public facilities not discriminate against any group of taxpayers. "Every state law prohibiting discrimination is designed to replace prejudice with principle."
Stevens' point was that the Boy Scouts' ban on gay members did not follow from its founding principles and that the scout oath to be "clean" and "morally straight" did not, as argued by the scout's counsel, refer to being morally heterosexual. "It is plain as the light of day that neither one of these principles'morally straight' and 'clean'says the slightest thing about homosexuality. Indeed, neither term in the Boy Scouts' Law and Oath expresses any position whatsoever on sexual matters." Stevens found proof in the scouts leadership handbook which required scout leaders from ever discussing matters of sex to scouts, saying such discussions should be left to the home and schools.
"The court determined that the scouts had a right to expressive association because who a member was affected what message the organization was sending," Jon Davidson, legal director at Lambda Legal and former head of the ACLU's lesbian and gay rights project director of southern california, told CPR. Davidson, who has been working on cases involving Boy Scouts for 22 years, emphasized that each case reached conclusions based on different issues. However, in every case citing expressive association, as in Dale v. Boy Scouts, "Where there is a denial of a fundamental right to associate, the courts must find a compelling reason," to deny someone that association." Not every case arguing expressive association [like the case involving the Bohemian Grove's refusal to employ women because some members liked to "freely urinate in the woods,"] are found to have compelling reasons [in the case ruling against the Bohemian Grove, the Grove member's wish to urinate in public was not a compelling reason to deny women the right to employment].
"In the case of Dale v. Boy Scouts, what's interesting is the majority ruling did not even attempt to cite a compelling reason," said Davidson. But while the scout's counsel had argued the policy mirrored that of the military's, he doesn't believe any repeal of Dont Ask, Don't Tell would bring legal reason to overturn the 2000 finding because the court did not rely on the point to make its decision.
There are many personal associations that stand in contradiction to political principle, one example being the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy's support for women's reproductive choice and his devout Catholicism. Thus, Jones involvement with the scouts might not seem to be an issue to many in the LGBT community, but Davidson says what is new in the evolving battle for equal rights for gays and lesbians is homosexuality and families headed up by same sex couples are more visible than in the past where everything was going the way of these anti gay forces and now they have more to fight against."
Davidson says one disturbing strategy appears to be emerging: these organizations are defending their right to discriminate by portraying themselves as victims of discrimination. "There is this kind of messaging going on by conservative churches and organizations that somehow they're the victims."
That message was received by the people of Maine when Portland's Catholic Diocese spokesperson and campaign manager, Mark Mutty, for "Yes on 1" an initiative to deny same-sex couples the right to marry in that state, came before a trusting Susan Sharon on her Maine Public Broadcasting radio program to claim "we've been discriminated against" in our effort to rent headquarter space "because of our religious beliefs," said Mutty. "Really?" responded Sharon, without asking Mutty for any proof of what essentially would have been an illegal act. Months later I was able to reach Mutty back at the Portland Diocese, where he backed away from his firsthand account of the incident, instead claiming he "had heard" staff looking for the property experienced discrimination. When the California Progress Report (CPR) finally reached those two individuals, neither were able to produce a name, email, property address, rental ad or phone number of any example of the discrimination Mutty claimed the organization experienced while on air with Sharon. "We played to win," Mutty told CPR. "Certainly, both sides did. I'm not going to say we played dirty," said the church's religious spokesman, "but we definitely intended to do whatever we needed to to win this fight."
Jones staff would not respond to questions about the Jones family involvement with the organization, though they did admit the Assembly member does all of his own facebook postings. The Jones capitol and insurance commissioner offices said only, "We understand you have contacted the other office and we have nothing more to say on this matter."
Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California, says Jones association with the Scouts is news to the group, and surprising, given that Jones "has publicly opposed honoring the scouts." But Kors believes that the entirety of Jones record justifies LGBT support for him as a candidate.
Both Stonewall Democratic Club in Sacramento and Equality California have endorsed Jones for Insurance Commissioner.
"He always supported us on that, and on marriage equality," said Kors. "His opponent refused even to complete our questionnaire."
Kors doesn't discount Jones' association with the scouts, however. "We would hope that he advocates changes to the policy and all parents would look to find alternatives to the boy scouts," said Kors. Although the organization promotes itself as a "venerable institution," it's association with Mormon Wards and evangelist James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" organization which was cited as principle in Hawaii governor Linda Lingle's veto of a civil unions bill this month, have many contending the scouts remain a century old organization in name only.
Kors said he thinks that his organization's scorecard might need to be amended to reflect a legislator's personal associations. "I think its important to raise this type of question with legislators," said Kors. "This is definitely an issue I will raise with the PAC. If legislators are involved with organizations that openly discriminate, it should raise cause for concern."
Citing recent CPR coverage on a Massachusetts Catholic school's expulsion of an 8 year old boy because his parents were a legally married same-sex couple, Kors said, "I think it's deplorable what these organizations do. They're not just punishing children, they are punishing LGBT families by sending the message that they are not equal, not okay and not welcome." Kors finds such a message to any child to be, "reprehensible" and unworthy of any group contending it represents the compassionate teachings of Jesus Christ or the best interest of children, as in the case of both the Boy Scouts or America and the Catholic and Mormon churches.
Darrick Lawson, an openly gay chiropractor who will hold a fundraiser for Jones at his home August 18, said he was not aware of Jones association with the scouts, but that he will "respect the privacy of the Assemblyman as this is a family matter." Lawson, like Kors, hopes Jones appreciates what it means for the children of same-sex couples and for LGBT youth to be denied the participation his son enjoys, but Lawson remains a supporter of Jones for his work "as a council member and as an assemblyman."
Jones joined with seven of his fellow Assembly Democrats in blocking a resolution congratulating the Scouts on their 100th anniversary July 30, 2010.
Homosexuals are nothing but trouble.
Major victory for Scouting to not have the socialist gay loving godless thugwimp show up - he was too busy yucking with the girlies in View and subverting American Freedoms.
“Major victory for Scouting to not have the socialist gay loving godless thugwimp show up “
I could not have said it any better.
I was a scout when we had a real POTUS...
Oh, soooo long ago.
ON THE INTERNET:
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009 [PROCLAMATION]
WHITEHOUSE.GOV - “BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION” ^ | June 1, 2009 | n/a
Posted on June 1, 2009 10:21:16 PM PDT by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary
___________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 1, 2009
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.
Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.
The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.
My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.
These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
“REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN DINNER”
WHITEHOUSE.gov ^ | October 10, 2009 | n/a
Posted on October 11, 2009 6:35:56 PM PDT by Cindy
SNIPPET: “Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.
I believe the future is bright for that young person.”
An odd statement:
“Kors finds such a message to any child to be, “reprehensible” and unworthy of any group contending it represents the compassionate teachings of Jesus Christ or the best interest of children, as in the case of both the Boy Scouts or America and the Catholic and Mormon churches.”
From Nov 10 of 2009 the lds folks issued this statment —
SALT LAKE CITY — At Tuesday night’s Salt Lake City Council meeting, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement showing its support of the city’s proposed non-discrimination regulations.
The statement by the LDS Church reflects a position stated by the high-ranking church authorities more than a year ago.
“We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage between a man and a woman. And there’s a huge difference between those two points,” Elder L. Whitney Clayton, of the Presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy told KSL News.
One day after last year’s election — in which the Church supported California’s Proposition 8 — Elder Clayton stressed the support of traditional marriage.
The Church’s First Presidency also released a statement, which reads, in part, that the Church “does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights or probate rights.”
“The LDS Church says it does not oppose same-sex couples receiving such rights as hospitalization and medical care, fair housing rights, or probate rights,” Mike Thompson, with Equality Utah, said in 2008.
I was more than a little shocked that such a supposed pro-family outfit would support deviant sex and devient sex arragments.
I guess PC has even hit SLC....
I think that he is proving (in his mind) that he is Reagan II. Reagan never went to the Boy Scout stuff either so Obama probably thought if Reagan can get away with it so could he. I would love to know when the view was scheduled. If it was before the boy scout invitation than fine but if it was after than it should be questioned.
I don’t think that Boy Scouts is “taxpayer funded” as in our tax dollars goes to the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts are an independant organization which recieves no tax dollars but donations from individuals and companies. That line in the beginning of the article is misleading.
Never once did I ever care if someone is or was gay, what you do in your private life I do not care. But when you bring your perverted weirdness into the public then you should be punished.
Gays are dangerous because of their rabid support of perversion and America hatred, after all they are Democrats.
Placemark, gotta ping this out.
people who can’t have what want,will try to destroy it so others can’t have it
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They don't want "equality", they want complete dominance. Anyone who doesn't see that is wearing coke bottle dark glass moral blinders. OTOH they scream that homosexuals shoudl be priests, then they slam the Catholic Church because it allowed homosexuals into the priesthood, and now they want homosexual Scout Masters. Those promoting the homoseuxal agenda are truly Evil and Insane. And so-called "Liber(al)tarians" who think that there should be no laws or restrictions regarding homosexuality are part of the problem. They are wearing not only Moral Blinders but have pulled on the accompanying Reality Blinders. Actually can't have one without the other.
Actually DADT is no good. It needs to be repealed and replaced with what the military had before:
“Ask, and if they give the wrong answer, out the door”.
The homosexuals both male and female in the military right now cause huge problems. They are not tossed out near enough.