Sunday, November 14, 2004

Is It Militant for Gays to Want Rights?

Dear Friends,

I have enclosed a column written by Sacramento Bee Editor Ginger Rutland on 11/7/04 followed with an artcle which I wrote. While I generally agreed with Ms Rutland's reasons as to why John Kerry lost the election I found her comments about the gay communtiy rather caustic and unfounded so I wrote an op-ed piece refuting her allegations which is published in the Bee today.


Ginger Rutland: Moral majority - The Sacramento Bee
This story is taken from Forum at
Ginger Rutland: Moral majority -- Kerry ignored values, and it cost him
By Ginger Rutland -- Bee Columnist
Published 2:15 am PST Sunday, November 7, 2004

Ralph Nader may not have been a factor in the 2004 presidential election but Gavin Newsom was.

Last February, when the San Francisco mayor presided over a gay-marriage marathon on the steps of City Hall, he did more than almost anyone else to deliver the election to President Bush. Following Karl Rove's playbook to the letter, Newsom helped drive millions of evangelical Christians to the polls.In the face of the gay marriage controversy, John Kerry offered a carefully focus-grouped position: He was against gay marriage but he was also against a constitutional amendment to ban it. He was for civil union, whatever that is. But militant gays didn't want half answers. They wanted their status not just tolerated but celebrated.
You don't have to be a homophobic evangelical Christian to be troubled by the aggressive agenda pushed by some in the gay community.

Even tolerant, live-and-let-live parents residing in left-leaning precincts in midtownSacramento are troubled when their kids are offered class credit for marching in an AIDs parade that looks very much like a gay rights parade. They are dismayed when the Civil War is given short shrift in an American history class while the teacher devotes two weeks to a discussion of the Stonewall riots in New York that sparked the gay rights revolution.

I voted for Kerry and would do so again. But by failing to confront the moral values issue more forthrightly, he lost the presidency. I don't mean he should have denounced gays. I don't believe homosexuality is immoral. But he could have taken the opportunity to talk about promiscuity, about rampant sexual excess and its corrosive effects on society, whether gay or straight. He had ample opportunity.

In the midst of the campaign, Bill Cosby provided the perfect opening. When he criticized the violent, profanity-riddled lyrics of hip-hop music, it set off a fury in the white and black media. Tone-deaf and clueless, Kerry ignored it. He should have taken up Cosby's cause.

There was also the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction flap. Here, too, the cultural elite tittered and winked and droned on about hypocrisy. It showed that they were out of touch.
It wasn't the nanosecond glimpse of Jackson's breast that troubled so many Americans. The whole crotch-grabbing, sexually charged gyrations in that tasteless halftime show (not to mention the ceaseless Cialis commercials) at the Super Bowl, the most watched family show on television, horrified millions. I can just see Karl Rove licking his lips and rubbing his hands with glee. Again, a missed opportunity for Kerry.

I want to offer an illustrative anecdote here, and I plan to be explicit, so you might want to get the children out of the room. Channel surfing a week or so before the election, I landed on a rerun of "Sex in the City."

The nymphomaniac character in that series is having sex with a casual acquaintance. He's vigorously engaged; she's looking bored, her random thoughts, unheard by the man servicing her, provide the background audio.

Suddenly her voice stops, she smiles, lifts the blanket and announces aloud in delighted tones that her menstrual period has begun. The man on top of her screams. I didn't take notes so I'm not quoting precisely here, but he says something like, " "Oh no, not on my Italian silk sheets. They cost $2,000."You don't have to be a prude or an evangelical Christian to find that offensive. The crudeness stunned me.

"Sex in the City" is just one example of the soft pornography that litters our airwaves. Beer commercials are another. I've not studied the returns in Colorado, but I'm convinced that the Coors beer "twins" ads sunk Pete Coors' U.S. Senate bid.

It's not just white evangelicals who are alarmed by sexual excess. Most people of color - brown, Asian, Arab and those stalwarts of the Democratic party, my people, black Americans - are deeply conservative and troubled by a culture awash in violence and sex.

Much was made of the fact that President George W. Bush didn't meet with the congressional black caucus and genuflect before the nabobs of the NAACP. He till managed to double the number of black voters who supported him.Why? More than any other segment of the population, black Americans suffer the direct consequences of hedon ism, of casual sex, homosexual or heterosexual. In too many black neighborhoods, the rates of AIDs infection, unwed motherhood and absent fathers are at crisis levels.

African Americans understand better than most that these "Christian values" of abstinence and self control save lives and give their children the chance for a better future.

Still, one of the biggest, and for me, saddest, ironies of this elections is that Kerry was on the right side of the most important moral issue of the campaign: war. Yet he failed to talk about the war in moral terms. Kerry never said it is a sin to kill for oil. He never said it is a sin to profit from war.Instead he talked about strategy and tactics. Iraq, he said, was the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." He lamented the lost opportunity "at Tora Bora." He bemoaned the fact that "the president outsourced the war to Afghan warlords."

Kerry never talked about the president's disastrous domestic record in moral terms either. He should have. It is a sin that in the richest country in the word, children are homeless and hungry. It is a sin to deny health care to people or to despoil the earth.

I don't know why Kerry never did these things. I suspect it's cultural, that he is a hard-headed New Englander who has been schooled to keep his emotions to himself. His strict code, a code shared by the president's father, would not allow him to wear his religion or his morality on his sleeve.

I respect that. But that restraint comes with a price. In a contest over genuine morals, Kerry should have won handily over George W. Bush. Instead, he lost resoundingly.

I voted for John Kerry; I would vote for him again. I think he represents those values that reflect the true goodness of this country. To me, it's a tragedy he was not able to convey that simple but essential message to the American public.

About the writer: Reach Ginger Rutland at (916) 321-1917 or
This article is protected by copyright and should not be printed or distributed
for anything except personal use.
Copyright © The Sacramento Bee
Is it militant for gays to want rights? - The Sacramento Bee
This story is taken from Opinion at
Is it militant for gays to want rights?
By Jerry Sloan -- Special To The Bee
Published 2:15 am PST Sunday, November 14, 2004

In her column "Moral Majority" (Nov. 7), associate editor Ginger Rutland used some very loose facts and opinions regarding the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) communities that border on a vicious attack to arrive at her point as to why John Kerry and the Democrats lost the election.

First her use of the terms "militant" and "aggressive" is pejorative.

In the last 30 years or so, we have passed laws and had court decisions at both state and federal levels that have strengthened the fact that government will not discriminate against its citizens because of their gender. This has to include marriage.

Even though she qualifies it as "some" why does she label as "aggressive" or "militant" those people who want to claim their full rights of citizenship? Were the 4,000 couples standing in the rain in those long lines in San Francisco "militants"? In California until 1977, as noted in The Bee by Marjorie Lundstrom, same sex couples were entitled to apply for and receive a confidential marriage license. But in that year the legislature took that right away.

What is militant or aggressive about demanding that right be reinstated and Prop. 22 declared unconstitutional? In the 1960s if the question had been put on the ballot as to whether or not Negroes should be allowed to sit anywhere they wanted at the 5 and 10 lunch counter or sit anywhere they please on a bus, it would have been voted down six to one just as ban on same-sex marriage was affirmed by that figure on Election Day in Mississippi.

Dr. Martin Luther King did not crusade for half a loaf. He demanded full civil rights and equality for African-Americans and all citizens. Many at that time thought his demands and tactics were "militant" and "aggressive." Ms. Rutland's examples of an "aggressive agenda" are so weak they are an insult to one's intelligence. She should, as a trained reporter and editor, be ashamed to have cited them.

If she is referring to the annual AIDS march it should be no surprise that it would resemble a gay rights parade since from its beginning it was organized by the GLBT communities. If parents object to their children participating in it, they should have made more inquiries about it and excused their child.

How many parents objected? One or 30? And the cite of the teacher spending two weeks on the Stonewall Riots, if indeed it actually happened, is an isolated incident and certainly is not part of any "aggressive agenda pushed by some in the gay community." While Ms. Rutland magnanimously says she doesn't believe homosexuality is a sin, she is obviously "troubled" by the fact that GLBT people are demanding their rights and demanding them now.

She should read the poem "Democracy" by African-American poet Langston Hughes which I cite in part in closing.

"I tire so of hearing people say, Let things take their course.
"Tomorrow is another day.
"I do not need my freedom when I'm dead.
"I cannot live on tomorrow's bread."

About the writer: Jerry Sloan is president emeritus of the Lambda Community Fund and co-founder of the Lambda Freedom Fair and Project Tocsin. Reach him at
This article is protected by copyright and should not be printed or distributed for anything except personal use. Copyright © The Sacramento Bee


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