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Stonewall 25: Gay Rites

Gay Rites: A Wedding in Denmark, a Ceremony in New York
June 25, 1994

Sometimes you stay around long enough to see things you missed. Whole decades come back, and this is actually the most orienting thing that can happen in New York, a city that’s so utterly about people and time and the prestige certain individuals continually resonate. Jill Johnston, 64, and Ingrid Nyeboe, 46, are beaming, walk­ing up the stairs with a shower of confetti falling down on them. This is all taking place on one of several monitors in a large apartment in Soho one night last fall. For those new in town, Johnston is the author of the anarchic masterpiece of ’70s femi­nism, Lesbian Nation. She was also a leg­endary Voice columnist who made a career of being there and writing about it.

The event being communicated to us is their wedding, last June 27, in Odense, Denmark. Odense was the home of Hans Christian Andersen, author of The Emper­or’s New Clothes, who was gay, I’ve been told. The tape plays on and we see a Flux procession — two blue men carrying flowers. One is Geoff Hendricks, with his pants fall­ing down. There’s a batch of strangers in the ensuing crowd, a Great Dane, someone carrying a little red chair aloft, and soon we see the two women in white sitting down in front of some kind of civil servant. Jill says (I think) “I am” and nods. Ingrid says something in Danish. Later they’re in an art museum, and the happy couple sit in a blue Volkswagen that looks like it’s going no­where. They do look happy sitting there, waving and waving,

What’s going on? The party called “Wed­ding Party” in Soho was, like I said, one of those nights you’re glad you stayed here for. People kept walking in, Beth the young video artist and Lauren her sculptor ex­-lover (what are they doing together here?); there was Pauline Oliveros, Andrea Dwor­kin (omygod!), and numerous people from every walk (mostly art world) who qualified in some way as Fluxfriends or FOJs (Friends of Jill). An ex-lover of Ingrid’s spoke up too as the evening swept us along through recordings of bells from Riverside Church and poet-conceptual artist Alison Knowles did something with bread. Geoff Hendricks, Flux-meister (still blue), had a star shaved in the back of his head (“Stars for Jill and Ingrid”), and Jill got up and read a piece (“Deep Tapioca”) that reminded me of the public secrecy of her Voice columns but glimmered also with a confirmed poetry as solid as stone. Then all of us got up one by one and had a Polaroid taken of ourselves standing with a really silly knit hat on in front of a picture of a statue of Psyche. We handed over our wishes on pale green index cards that were then pinned over the classical image of love, and it was a confus­ing and sweet and inclusive-feeling night in New York.

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The domestic partnership announce­ments had been beaming into my mailbox all fall — Laura and Elizabeth’s full-color snapshot, Cydney and Val’s black on-beige-card stock. Over at Carmelita Tropicana’s, I saw Peggy and Lisa’s stuck on the refrigera­tor. How do you feel about lesbian mar­riage? I asked her. She gave me a long rambling speech about “rights” and then interrupted herself. “Look, I’m trying to date, honey.” In general, “marriage” is not a lesbian thing. Of the 11 couples who got hitched on October 1, 1989, the day mar­riage (or partnership) was legalized for ho­mosexuals in Denmark, all of the takers were men. Else Slange, head of Denmark’s gay organization, says she “has a personal ideological opposition” to marriage. And it’s not so much different here. The Mattachine Society had marriage on its agenda from the get-go; the Daughters of Bilitis were only just deciding to “come out” in the ’50s. You could say dykes are slow, but I think it’s more than that.

Today Tom Stoddard, lawyer and direc­tor of Lambda Legal Defense and Educa­tion Fund, who spoke at Ingrid and Jill’s wedding party, is at the helm of pushing marriage to the front of a national gay agenda. But Paula Ettelbrick, policy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, expresses a fear that a progressive agenda would be lost if marriage became “the” gay issue and suggests that “those who are most acceptable to the mainstream because of race, gender, and economic sta­tus are the most likely to want the right to marry.”

Her language begins to make marriage kind of heinous, referring to it as an “im­penetrable institution [that] gives those who marry an insider status of the most powerful kind” — which does ring true, not just in terms of my married friends’ hetero­sexuality, but how they get kind of close­-mouthed about things after they tie the knot. One feels a little out forevermore, at least until they part ways. Despite our sor­did reputation for moving in after the first date, lesbians are cultural loners, flinging ourselves into relationships because we know all too well how it feels to be the ”odd man out.” In general, lesbians often identify with (or are) economic outsiders, who would have little to gain from entering into this venerable institution, and many lesbi­ans are simply suspicious of a society that protects couples.

Denmark, according to Ingrid and Jill, protects every citizen.”I did it for the bene­fits,” laughed Jill, one Saturday when I visited the two. “I could go there and be a baby.” As a spouse of a Danish citizen, Johnston immediately qualified for a slew of benefits including a medical card, which in a socialist economy means a lot. The coun­try longest occupied by Germany during World War II, Denmark managed to save 80 per cent of its Jewry. The famous gesture of the Danish king putting on a yellow star is part of the national psychology, I’m told. Though it had colonies into the 20th centu­ry, Denmark’s moment as a true empire was over by 800. Today it’s a Lutheran country with a long tradition of compassion and caretaking. “Standing out is not good,” says Ingrid, who came to New York at 21, on the heels of her gay brother, to study theater. ‘”If you do something great, you are congratulated but also reminded that you are still one of us.” Appreciation of this flip­-flopped status resounds through Jill’s wed­ding poem: ‘The [Danish] queen must be a little like the Japanese emperor — a man with no family name and no passport who can’t vote or run for office. The people in these places have all the privileges.”

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Ingrid’s brother died of AIDS in 1989. Then Jill urged her to go back to Denmark where she hadn’t been for 10 years, her parents having both died in 1976. AIDS is cited again and again as the contributing factor in gay marriage, both in relation to inheritance, visiting rights, and leases, as well as being part of a larger emotive move in the gay community toward forming more permanent relationships — getting familial. ”As soon as I got involved with Ingrid I became a better mother,” says Jill of the new friendship that’s developed with her now adult children from a marriage in the ’5os. And Ingrid had been married too, back in the ’60s.

I went to a dinner party last weekend with seven lesbians, our ages ranging from late twenties to mid sixties, and six out of the seven had been married. To help some­one get a green card (maybe even making some money along the way), or for conven­tional reasons, whether seriously embarked upon or vaguely considered. Marriage, the institution, as it sits pretty in so many wom­en’s pasts, is almost the polar opposite of coming out, which is still so much about pushing away from the walls of the, okay, I’ll say it, Patriarchy.

“Women in prison, that’s who like to get married,” says Carmelita. What do you mean? “Women marrying women. It’s very popular in jail.” For months I’ve been poll­ing friends and acquaintances, dykes. What do you think of lesbian marriage? “It’s an oxymoron,” said Patty White. “Why can’t we just make our vows to the rocks and trees,” shrugged Nicole Eisenman, “why the State?” “So we can stop having sex, like them?” said Sarah Schulman. “Every­one knows that’s what happens to people who get married.” “Or live together,” I added. “Right, that’s why I never live with my girlfriends.” “You’d think they’d encourage us to get married just to stop us from having sex,” I suggested, and we both laughed and got off the phone.

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Hawaii is not that different from Den­mark. Now there’s a ludicrous statement. But let me keep going, okay? There are only minorities there (in Hawaii), no real major­ity, so their democratic tradition is structur­al. When Jerry Falwell came to town, they formed the Moral Majority of Hawaii with progressive goals and tried to sue him when he arrived for using their name. Sound familiar? It’s very much like putting on a star. In Hawaii the question is being framed in relation to gender rather than homosexual­ity — if a man can marry a woman, why can’t a woman? The state court will have to have a good answer for that.

According to Jill, the gates were wide open in the early ’70s and thousands of women were rushing through, coming out, and then they closed up by ’76 or so. I like her kind of history. The sweeping lives of individuals shine like symbols — “they appointed certain people,” she explains. Later, when I sat with her and Ingrid and watched their wedding on the monitor again, I suppose it was like sitting with any couple over their album. Then we’re looking at a map of Denmark, and it’s explained to me that Ingrid’s family drove five hours, from here to here — she points on these fish-­shaped slices of land that mean “nation”­ — and I’m shocked, I suppose, that cultures are so different that one country in the world, and then one state, could open the gates to such a basic human privilege, the ceremony of belonging (or owning), wheth­er we want it or not.

Meanwhile, at least one of the new do­mestic partnerships is making plans for a more formal ceremony. Cydney Wilkes (of Cydney and Val), a choreographer, wants to “score” her wedding, with lots of women kissing on cue and several other mass ges­tures, just across the river in Brooklyn, an event rivaling Ingrid and Jill’s Fluxus pa­rade. And me — I’ve gone around since the end of last year asking every lesbian I know if she wants to get married and of course it’s been a confusing proposal.

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I Always Cry at Weddings

I Always Cry at Weddings: After 20 Years of Waiting, City Hall
March 2, 1993

A married woman is her husband’s property, and property is theft. There was no question about this 20 years ago, at least among the crowd I ran with. Years later, as property became identity, many of my friends, women and men, told me they had misgivings about their stand, doubts centered around their children-to-be. And one or two ad­mitted that they sought the “commitment” marriage signi­fied, although they still hated the inequitable institution itself. Need I say that most of these men and women have gotten married, some married and divorced?

Me, I supported any and all of this from the sidelines: I was gay then, am gay now, and a faggot (very p.c. term at the time) could afford to be ideologically pure. But on March 1, 1993, l have the option to go to City Hall… oh, I mean we have the option, my long-suffering honey and I, to go to City Hall and register as domestic partners. Will we take it? Shall we pretend to tie some kind of knot?

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Anyone who’s read the papers knows that registered domestic partnership isn’t marriage and doesn’t confer the legal status, tax privileges, benefits, and general acclaim that marriage does. So is it ritual we want? John and I could have gotten “married” years ago, exchanging reli­gious or secular vows the way some lesbian and gay male couples have. In fact, I think my former dentist had a rabbi perform an ecumenical service in Central Park for his boyfriend and himself. That’s fine. If I had attended the ceremony, I would have cried: I always cry at weddings, any kind of wedding. But my partner and I mistrust the historical vestments of religion almost as much as we reject the deed-of-ownership certificate of marriage: this is one reason we get along.

Will good things happen when the unmarriable register at City Hall? If our partners die, we have a piece of paper to show we were family, so we won’t get thrown out of our rent-stabilized apartments. We’ll finally possess the inalien­able right to visit our loved ones in those cheerful city hospitals and prisons: gay city workers may also count on bereavement leave and unpaid family leave. Nevertheless, these workers are suing the city to have their domestic partners covered by municipal health plans, because the mayor doesn’t know how to keep a promise that has money attached. Of course, without health coverage that bereavement leave becomes increasingly pertinent.

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Money. Rights. When I came out, more than two decades ago, I found I could develop a sense of myself that allowed me to ask startlingly obvious questions, such as, why should anyone be paid less for the same work? Why can’t anyone capable adopt children? Why can’t my boyfriend (I didn’t have a boyfriend, but you know what I mean) be treated like any other spouse? Later, when I began to work at the Voice, others asked these questions with me and we won, in a 1982 union contract, the nation’s first health coverage for — lacking sweeter language — “spousal equivalents.”

I have spent more than 10 years in this ghetto of fairness, and I honestly can’t imagine private or public life any other way. The Village Voice has become a strange place to work because, gaywise, it seems like a hoped-for everywhere some number of years from now. Not wishing to be alone, my colleagues and I try to spread the practical word about our spousal equivalent coverage, knowing this is one way to make a banal son of bigotry disappear.

Is it dangerous to feel normal? There’s pleasure to be had, the kind you associate with a good dinner and warm bed. It’s seductive not to fight the world, to think about growing older able to enjoy at least a few of the promises of youth, when utopia looked merely like where you couldn’t live and what you couldn’t have. I’d get married in that utopia. They would throw rice, we would drive away.

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But this is not, definitely not, why I will be first on line on March 1. My partner and I are already committed to each other just fine, and I don’t feature monogamy as a universal recipe, anyway. Keep the rice. We are registering to cause trouble, and hope you do the same.

Our registration will goose the mayor in the right direc­tion; will provide private employers with the governmental imprimatur they seem to need to extend their benefits; and will take away the last excuse from insurers by showing that queer heads may too be counted as family. (It’s a good time to shake up insurers because, with the threat of government crackdown, they’ll do anything to survive.)

If executed with attitude and aplomb, our registration will be a ritual of equality at least and of power at best. When, in the misty future, things will have gone so far that photographers make livings from “registration albums” and bakeries offer ready stocks of “partner” cakes, then John and I will find our yellowed registration certificate, burn it like a draft card, and see what action fairness demands next. ■

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Conservatives Take Gay Couple’s Cake, Gripe They Can’t Eat It Too

Happy Pride Month, everyone. If you’re LGBTQ et alia, rest assured that even though your rights remain under attack — as a recent Supreme Court decision showed — conservatives are still terrified of you, and have gotten no better at explaining why anyone else should be.

The week kicked off with a finding for the plaintiff in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, reversing the commission’s finding that Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips had violated a gay couple’s rights by refusing to make and sell them a wedding cake.

News outlets explained that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion focused on the nature of the commission’s decision — specifically that it “disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable” and thus treated him unfairly — and was not comprehensive of all anti-gay discrimination cases. In this sense the ruling, they reported, was “narrow,” to which many conservatives on Twitter — including Donald Trump Jr. and Republican senator John Cornyn — replied, Whattaya mean narrow, the vote was 7-2! and attributed the characterization to, natch, #MediaBias.

Libertarians were expectedly sour about the narrowness of the ruling. Without an obvious First Amendment ruling in favor of bakers who refuse to make gay wedding cakes, groused Jacob Sullum at Reason, “bakers with religious objections to gay weddings will have no constitutional defense against demands that they nevertheless supply cakes for them, as long as the officials enforcing that expectation keep their prejudices under wraps.” But can liberals suppress their hatred of Christ convincingly enough to advance their gay agenda? It’ll be an effort, surely!

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But generally conservatives were happy that Phillips and Masterpiece didn’t have to make a wedding cake for the gays, and some expressed hope that someday anyone could say, “We don’t serve your kind here,” and get away with it.

National Review’s David French — longtime hardcore religious-right opponent not only of the gay marriage–legalizing Obergefell v. Hodges, but also of the birth control–legalizing Griswold v. Connecticut — said the ruling “strikes a blow for the dignity of the faithful,” and cheered that, though the court “essentially punted on the question” of Phillips’s First Amendment rights, it still found “Colorado was motivated by anti-religious animus” and, thus, “any ruling the commission imposes will have to apply on the same basis to different litigants, regardless of faith and regardless of the subjective ‘offensiveness’ of the message.… The Court not only prohibited favoritism, it imposed a high cost on censorship.”

If you’re wondering why that’s so exciting to French — whose obvious interest is not stopping censorship, but reversing gay rights — consider that the decision clears a path for other non–gay marriage cake-message court cases, any one of which could reopen the Masterpiece argument and perhaps win broader discrimination rights for anti–gay marriage businesses.

And maybe not just anti-gay businesses: Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire and, according to the New York Times, right-wing dreamboat, was pissed the decision didn’t address the “freedom of association” aspect of the case: “The Constitution was long understood to guarantee people the right to do business with whomever they chose,” Shapiro wrote. “That right has been abrogated in recent decades by anti-discrimination law — well-intentioned, but burdensome.”

If you’re wondering if Shapiro knows what this implies about the Civil Rights Act and public accommodation, I regret to tell you he does: “I think it’s idiotic not to bake a cake for a gay person, a black person, a Jew, or whomever,” Shapiro went on. “But I also think that’s an issue the government has no role policing, since I have no right to anyone else’s services at the outset. Capitalism does a rather fantastic job of policing such discrimination, given that other shopkeepers can cater to everyone…”

Well, at least he’s not trying to sugarcoat it. Nor was South Dakota state representative Michael Clark, who celebrated the Masterpiece decision by posting on Facebook, “If [a businessman] wants to turn away people of color, then that [sic] his choice.” (Clark, unlike Shapiro, later apologized.)

The American Conservative’s Rod Dreherevery bit as anti–gay rights as French, and then some — announced himself “stunned” and “grateful” at the decision, but also worried: “How would this ruling have gone if the Colorado commissioners had not been so blatantly bigoted in their comments about the Masterpiece case?… Masking your bigotry in that way is not hard to do, you know.” (If that’s the case, I wonder why Dreher doesn’t put more effort into it.)

Despite their SCOTUS victory, conservatives, being the drama queens they are, portrayed themselves as victims of an oppressive regime bent on forcing them to treat gay people like everyone else rather than pariahs as their religions demand.

When another court ruled against calligraphers who refused to do gay wedding invitations, Rod Dreher cried, “Thus is another Christian business severely damaged by gay bullies out to punish the wicked…gays and their allies are going to seek to destroy the livelihoods of all Christians who fail to give them what they want,” etc.

“Only an ignorant person could fail to see that over the last half-dozen years it is the opponents of sexual liberation who have become the outcasts,” cried R.R. Reno at First Things. “The rich and powerful have adopted the LGBT agenda as their most beloved cause. Corporate America lends its wealth and power. Higher education does as well. Just days before the Supreme Court handed down its decision, the FBI and CIA announced June 2018 as ‘LGBT Pride Month.’ ” The FBI! What would J. Edgar Hoover think?

Also, the gay couple in Masterpiece “do not belong to a vulnerable class of Americans,” scoffed Reno: “IRS data show that male-male married couples filing jointly have dramatically higher family incomes than other married couples, to say nothing of the disintegrating working-class families who don’t enjoy the benefits of marriage.” Rich homosexuals sneering out the window of their luxury cars at straight, salt-of-the-earth “working-class families” clustered in America’s creek bottoms: I predict that’ll be the next big Jon McNaughton painting.

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Later, when a CrossFit franchise in Indianapolis collapsed because employees and members quit in protest of the cancellation of a Gay Pride event — and CrossFit executive Russell Berger, who supported the cancellation, tweeted that “celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin” and denounced the “intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology,” and got fired for it — conservatives reacted as you might expect.

“If [CrossFit] are proud of you ‘no matter’ who you love, then why were they singling out their gay clients for a special workout?” asked RedState’s Alex Parker. “Sadly, CF’s respectful diversity does not apply to the only type that actually matters — diversity of thought.” Which is crucial to any exercise business. Parker also complained about “the crackdown of cultural Marxism — so-called ‘political correctness’ — onto what has become an intellectual police state,” whatever that means.

“Gay activists and their supporters among the gym’s employees destroyed this Christian’s business,” declared, you guessed it, Rod Dreher, who compared the situation to Czechoslovakia under Soviet tyranny. (“Those who ‘live within a lie,’ says [Vaclav] Havel, collaborate with the system and compromise their full humanity,” Dreher quoted from his own book The Benedict Option.)

Later Dreher carried a report, allegedly from one of his readers, that Tulsa, Oklahoma, had “renamed four blocks of a street in the city ‘Pride Street’ in honor of the LGBTQ community there,” and said he’d heard from “an old liberal friend” that “gay couples are now going to prom together” even in counties carried by Trump. “Questions to readers living in Red America,” he asked: “How certain are you that you see what’s happening right under your nose, among the young people in your kids’ school?”

Still later, in a post called “Coming Next: Woke Pederasty,” Dreher lamented, “Now, normalizing drag queens for children is the big woke thing. We’ve had Drag Queen Story Hours in libraries nationwide. Now Netflix is turning drag queens into animated superheroes, and RuPaul’s streaming service is turning drag queens into child superheroes.… Can’t you see what’s happening?… Law and politics cannot possibly be enough to keep sanity alive as Weimar America descends further into decadence.… Yeah, I know, ha-ha, the right-wing Christian is freaking out again. Fine, laugh. Doesn’t bother me…”

Now, these aren’t great days for tolerance in general, and it’s true that in the Age of Trump we can’t be sure that dumb, overheated rhetoric against any minority won’t catch fire with enough citizens to do real damage. But at this point and in this case, at least, we can take some comfort that the dumb, overheated rhetoric is coming from people who couldn’t lead flies to a hog lot.

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Michael Reagan’s Remarks Lead To Cancelation At Rape Crisis Event

After comparing gay marriage to bestiality and other horrors, Republican strategist Michael Reagan was canceled as the guest speaker at an upcoming Cleveland Rape Crisis Center luncheon.

Reagan (the adopted son of Ronald Reagan) had written that gay marriage “is a slippery slope leading to other alternative relationships and the unconstitutionality of any law based on morality. Think about polygamy, bestiality, and perhaps maybe murder.”

Oy.

Reagan has spoken out of behalf of the victims of sexual violence, so the organizers of the event were reluctant to have to cancel him, yet felt it was the right thing to do.

And I guess he loses out on a free lunch.

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White House Files Voluntary Amicus Brief, Demands SCOTUS Overturn Prop 8

Nothing like a Presidential push to get the ball rolling.

Yesterday was the deadline for parties to file amicus curae briefs — or “Here’s what we think you should do” memos — to the Supreme Court before the Nine hears the arguments facing DOMA and Prop 8 at the end of March. And, in this past week, they came flooding in.

At the start, over eight Republican figures signed a brief, showing their support for same-sex marriage in the name of conservatism. This notion was followed by the ACLU, California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and, most importantly, the White House (which also filed one against DOMA on Monday).

Warm up the bully pulpit.

FYI: In Supreme Court cases, the White House briefs are voluntary as a good measure of judicial restraint on the executive. But, in the brief, the Obama administration’s Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, stated the ways in which Prop 8 violates the Constitution. The main route of argument taken is one we’ve heard made by same-sex marriage advocates for a few years now: that the idea of marriage strictly for heterosexuals violates the equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment.

Also, the White House is taking it a step further with something called the “eight state solution.” This legal gesture suggests states that already have all the benefits of civil unions might as well go all the way and legalize same-sex marriage. Eight states currently do this; hence the name of the plan.

We’ll leave you with a clip from the brief:

“Throughout history, we have seen the unjust consequences of decisions and policies rooted in discrimination. The issues before the Supreme Court in this case and the Defense of Marriage Act case are not just important to the tens of thousands Americans who are being denied equal benefits and rights under our laws, but to our Nation as a whole.”

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“My Job Is Fucked”: NY Republicans Respond to Four More Years of “Obamunism”

New York Republican Party chairman Ed Cox started last night’s “victory party” in a ballroom at the Westin Grand Central hotel in midtown by assuring the roughly 300 attendees that he was confident that Mitt Romney would be the country’s next president.

By the end of the night, Cox looked like someone shit in his cereal — and he wasn’t the only one.

]
In the roughly four hours we spent celebrating a nonexistent victory
with the state’s GOP, we watched the mood go from jovial (read: tipsy)
to hopeful to worried. By 10:30 p.m., as it became clear that securing
the must-win states of Florida and Ohio for Romney was out of the
question, New York’s Republicans acted like teenage drama queens.

“My job is fucked,” one woman sobbed into a cell phone.

When
we asked her what she did for a living — thinking that she’s probably a
healthcare worker who might feel the wrath of the implementation of
Obama care — she responded, “I’m a manager at a hotel.”

Another man explained that he was “reluctant to call [Obama] evil,” but he leaves “aborted babies suffering in the sheets.”

He
then summed up the impending loss by claiming that “the Dems have a
better ground game — a get-out-the-vote game — than we do.”

Of course! It’s not unpopular policies — barging their way into people’s
bedrooms by telling gay people they can’t get married, or pissing off Hispanics (the largest emerging voter bloc in the
entire country) by failing to embrace comprehensive immigration-reform measures like the DREAM Act — that doomed Romney, it’s the lack of a “ground game.”

Another woman screeched that she doesn’t “understand how an unqualified person can be president — and he wins again!”

Must be the ground game.

Some
other observations from last night’s “victory party” include the
following: failed Senate candidate Wendy Long gave a concession speech.
But only about 20 people heard it — as she admitted defeat, the
majority of the attendees were sipping drinks and barely paying
attention. Missouri Senate candidate Todd “legitimate rape” Akin’s
inevitable defeat was no skin off the ass of New York Republicans —
there was barely a “sigh” as Fox News reported the loss. Even New York’s
right-wingers seem to think Akin’s an asshole.

The most apparent
observation we made during last night’s party was the lack of color —
and we’re not talking about the decorations. We counted approximately
nine black people. Nine. In New York City.

Just prior to Romney’s
concession speech, Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer appeared
on Fox News and said the following: “Republicans need to rethink how they address Hispanics.”

And
while the missed opportunity to embrace Hispanic voters probably led to
Romney’s only receiving about 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, that’s
just part of the problem Republicans must address before they try their
hand at national politics again.

GOP candidates could appeal to much of
mainstream America when it comes to economic and foreign policies. And
according to a lot of the polling taken before the election, they did.
But then idiots like Akin start talking about things like “legitimate
rape” and how a couple of dudes who love each other shouldn’t be
allowed to tie the knot because a fictitious book written thousands of
years ago says so.   

The hateful stupidity of the GOP’s social policies distracts from legitimate issues — and that’s why Mitt Romney lost last night.

But what do we know? It was probably just the “ground game.”

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Andrew Cuomo Actually Acknowledges Idiot Rabbi’s Gay Marriage/Hurricane Rant

Every time a natural disaster destroys entire communities, a handful of religious idiots blame it on gay people and the politicians who defend their civil rights. Hurricane Sandy is no exception.

In most cases, however, the moronic ramblings of fringe lunatics are routinely ignored by elected officials. That, however, is not the case with Hurricane Sandy.

In the aftermath of the storm, wing-nut Southern Christians claimed the hurricane was God’s way of punishing the New York State Legislature for voting in favor of gay marriage. But Southern Christians aren’t the only idiots who think unfortunate weather is divine punishment for defying God’s word (as it’s explained in thousands-of-years-old works of fiction).

Enter Rabbi Noson Leiter, the leader of the group Torah Jews for Decency, who is the latest homophobe to blame a storm on gays who occupy lower Manhattan — which he describes as “one of the national centers for homosexuality.”

“The Lord will not bring another flood to destroy the entire world, but
he can punish particular areas with that flood, and if we look at the
same-gender-marriage recognition movement that’s occurring, that’s
certainly a message for us to learn,” Leiter said during an October 30, radio interview.

For
some reason, New York pols — including Governor Andrew Cuomo — are
actually acknowledging Leiter’s rant as a rational thought worthy of a
response.

“The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that
sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s
embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant,”
Cuomo says in a press release issued this afternoon. “This catastrophic
storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of
hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is
particularly distasteful in times of tragedy. Our state is proud to
offer equal rights to all our citizens, and we will never tolerate the
use of a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to promote a divisive and bigoted
agenda. I call on Rabbi Leiter to apologize immediately for his hurtful
comments.”

As we mentioned, Leiter isn’t the first idiot to link
the hurricane to gay marriage. Yet, he’s the only one Cuomo has publicly
acknowledged.

Pastor Luke Robinson of Quinn Chapel AME Church
in Frederick, Maryland, recently blamed the storm on Mayor Mike
Bloomberg’s
dumping of $250,000 into Maryland’s gay marriage campaign.

“So here was the mayor of New York giving a quarter of a million
dollars, coming down to Maryland discussing [gay marriage],” Robinson said last week.
“While he’s here somebody whispers in the ear, you better go back home
and protect your stock because God is sending judgment. The thing came
through the area. You have to understand the season and the time. It’s
almost the end of hurricane season, but God sent one of the biggest
hurricanes ever.”

Not a peep out of the governor on that one.

The
only notable difference in the two comments is the fact that Leiter’s
were made on behalf of Neil DiCarlo, an upstate idiot running for the
state Senate on the Conservative Party ticket. DiCarlo opposes gay
marriage.

Regardless, there’s a proper way for politicians to
handle the ranting and raving of bigoted idiots: ignore them — we
didn’t even know this jerk opened his stupid mouth until Cuomo sent out a
press release about it. And now you know this jerk opened his stupid
mouth, too.

We sent Cuomo’s office an email asking why he chose to respond to this clown’s ramblings. We’re yet to hear back.

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Iranian Technology, Gays, Women’s Suffrage All Credited With Causing Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy was caused by Iranian technology that’s capable of controlling weather patterns to punish Iran’s enemies and the enemies of its friends. The reason the storm hit New York so hard is because God is punishing the Empire State for defying his word and allowing gay people to get married.

But what really caused the storm was “American arrogance” — it’s just nature’s way of giving the U.S. a “divine slap” for its godless policies, including allowing women to vote.

Those are just a few of the theories laid out on the blogosphere by morons who unfortunately are allowed Internet access.

The Iranian technology theory is provided by a pro-Syria group that claims Iran has “highly advanced technology” that can manipulate weather and create “superstorms” to hurt its enemies.

The best part: The group has “sources.”

“Sources confirmed to us that Hurricane Sandy that is slamming the U.S. was set off by highly advanced technologies developed by the heroic Iranian regime that supports the resistance, with coordination of our resistive Syrian regime,” the News Network of the Syrian Armed Forces posted on its Facebook page this week, according to a CNN translation.

The worst part is some people actually are buying this bullshit.

“Why are you surprised by such a heroic act that our special forces carried out with the help of the Iranian experts?,” one person commented. “Yes this is the great work of the brave lions of Syria in retaliation to the evil conspiracy against our great nation. We will have our victory even if it will take some time.”

As for the gays causing the hurricane, the logic is simple: God is punishing America because if its “pro-homosexual” policies.

“Obama is 100 percent behind the Muslim Brotherhood which has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem. Both candidates are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda. America is under political judgment and the church does not know it!,” religious nutjob/total fucking idiot chaplain John McTernan wrote in a rambling, idiotic blog posted on his website this week.

Of course, if you want the real reason the Northeast was hit with a crushing hurricane, look no further than Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“The fact that Ohio housewives will determine who should occupy the White House to decide on such weighty issues as dealing with the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear program or U.S. relations with Russia is quite amusing, and revealing,” a blogger for Crescent International — which bills itself as the newsmagazine of the Islamist movement — wrote earlier this week.

“This is what American democracy is all about. But for now, Hurricane Sandy, as a divine slap on the face of arrogance, is smashing its way through the Eastern Coast of the U.S.”

So there you have it — if you were wondering why your car was devoured by the East River, you have no electricity, or why New Jersey is still underwater, the fringe lunatics of the blogosphere have your answer.

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The Pros of a Billionaire-as-Mayor: Bloomberg to Donate $500k to Same-Sex Marriage Campaigns

After twelve years of Bloomberg, we all have more or less assimilated and/or recognized the personal wealth of the citizen-in-chief. His announcement on Day One to accept a dollar-a-year salary and opt out of living in Gracie Mansion was the beginning of a long-term acceptance that, yes, our Mayor has much more money than most of us. But that doesn’t mean we are not in awe when he flexes his financial strength (in a great way) every once in a while.

Like last April, when the Hozziner announced he would pull $30 million out of his wallet to fund educational programs to solve the achievement gap for disadvantaged African-American and Latino kids in New York. Or the following week, when he went to Baltimore and was like, “Yeah, I’ll give you $5 million for your education programs, too.” Or the $220,000 he donated to efforts to kick smokers to the curb abroad. You get the picture: Bloomberg Philanthrophies is legit.

And, yesterday, we witnessed another pro of having a billionaire-as-Mayor: Bloomberg announced that, in the time leading up to Election Day, he will donate a total of $500,000 to gay marriage campaigns in states where the issue is on the ballot come November 6th. This comes on top of a $250,000 donation he gave to a Maryland gay marriage intiative earlier this month, which means that this Mayor has pledged $750,000 to help homosexuals achieve the same civil rights as the rest of the citizenry.

Hey, gay marriage supporters in Maine, Minnesota and Washington! Meet Michael R. Bloomberg — your new best friend.

Yesterday, we reported on the SuperPAC that Bloomberg created last week to funnel funds into the pockets of centrist candidates that share his stances on gay marriage and gun control. This $500,000 donation is part of the larger total of $10 million that the Mayor promised before Election Day. Here’s how it plays out, by state:

  • $325,000 to efforts for a same-sex marriage amendment to Maine’s constitution and a ballot proposal to uphold the existing provision in Washington.
  • $125,000 to combat a provision that would strengthen the existing anti-sam-sex marriage law in Minnesota.

See! Guys, sometimes having a guy that is a gazillion times richer than you as your Mayor can be a damn good thing.

If there’s still another $8 million left in Bloomberg’s ballot initiative treasure chest, be sure to expect more announcements from the Mayor’s office. We here at the Voice will definitely let you know.

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Congressman Charlie Rangel’s No H8-er

Manhattan Congressman Charlie Rangel may be (but definitely is) a tax cheat. But he’s no hater.

The congressman yesterday announced that he’s joining 25 other members of Congress in their support for the NoH8 campaign, a “global art protest project” in opposition to California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage.

Oh, and of the 26 lawmakers involved in the campaign — according to Rangel’s office — not a single one is a Republican (although, Cindy and Meghan McCain — the wife and daughter of Senator John McCain — have lent their faces to the project).

]

“I believe that hatred of any kind has no place in America. I’m proud to
participate in a campaign that promotes the progress that our country
has made over the past few years with regard to the rights of the LGBT
community, Rangel says. “This is a wonderful way to support their
struggle for equality and to discourage discrimination based on who
people love.”

If you’re unfamiliar with NoH8, it’s described as “a photographic silent protest that feature subjects with duct tape over
their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Proposition 8
and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8″ painted on one
cheek in protest.”

The project was dreamed up by photographer Adam
Bouska and Jeff Parshley, and initially just included the faces of
everyday Californians. It quickly grew to include politicians, members
of the military, and celebrities.

So far, the campaign boasts more than 20,000 faces.

Rangel’s support was in honor of National Coming Out Day, which has been observed every October 11, since 1988.

“To witness the LGBT community gain the rights that they always deserved
has a way of teaching us what the great Coretta Scott King once
exclaimed: ‘Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really
won; you earn it and win it in every generation.'”

Below is the list of members of Congress who’ve signed on to the campaign — again, not a single Republican.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Lucille
Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep Michael Capuano
(D-MA), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Jim McGovern (D- MA), Rep. John
Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Sam
Farr (D-CA), Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep.
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
(D-TX), , Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
(D-FL), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-NJ), Rep. Raúl
Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep.
Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Rep. Susan A. Davis
(D-CA). Previously posing for NOH8 were Adam Schiff (D-CA), Dennis
Kucinich (D-OH), William Keating (D-MA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Earl
Blumenauer (D-OR), Nicki Tsongas (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lynn
Woolsey (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Jackie Speier (D-CA).