Rainbow Rascal
Covering the Spectrum of "Wut?" from a Gay Perspective

Jun
04

I was reading this piece at Washington Post’s PostPartisan by Jonathan Capehart. Capehart describes the grumbling in the gay community over President Obama’s perceived inaction on LGBT issues. Capehart goes on to call for Obama to “deliver an address on gay rights akin to his landmark speeches on the Middle East, national security, abortion and race.”

The LGBT community doesn’t need more of Obama’s lip service. We’ve heard his incredibly well delivered speeches. We’ve heard his promises. Most importantly, we’ve seen his absolute failure to support our community and cause. He, himself, does NOT view us as equal. Obama has told us that he “believe[s] that marriage is between one man and one woman.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has reminded us that “We all know where the president stands on this issue.”

I’ve heard enough of Obama’s promises. He can keep his change since it appears to be more of the same. He can keep his speech until such time as he can say, “All members of the LGBT community are citizens of this country and all are equal, enjoying all of the rights and benefits and subject to the same responsibilities as every other citizen.”

Jun
01

Dear President Obama:

I am writing to demand that you, as my elected official, act now to achieve full civil rights for gays and lesbians without further delay. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A right delayed is a right denied.” Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable!

I will take this opportunity to remind you of your promise as a Presidential candidate in June 2007:

“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.” (emphasis added)

It is apparent from this and other statements by you that you are aware of the problems encountered by gay and lesbian Americans. Despite your awareness, you continue to perpetuate the injustices suffered by the gay and lesbian Americans that elected you.

Among the issues which you have promised to address are 1) supporting full federal rights of gay and lesbian couples, 2) fighting workplace discrimination, 3) repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and 4) expanding adoption rights. The lack of action on these issues by you and the Congress is reprehensible. The “change” about which you so eloquently spoke during the campaign appears to belong that the old adage of “the more things change; the more they stay the same.” I am quite certain that you would not advise Rosa Parks to move from her seat, so don’t suggest that the gay and lesbian citizens of America should “wait their turn” for full civil rights.

I will specifically address the issue of federal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships as it is the issue most applicable to me and my partner. You have said that you support “civil unions.” As President of the United States and as a constitutional scholar, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! Separate is NEVER equal! My partner and I have been in a committed relationship for nearly 13 years. Our relationship is no less deserving of federal recognition than the relationship between your mother and father was when you were born r the relationship between you and your wife.

I urge you to support full civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans so that all of us can be protected equally by our government.  I will be watching throughout the year to see how you advocate on these issues that mean so much to me, my partner and this great nation.

No Delays! No Excuses! Full civil rights NOW,

Rainbow Rascal

May
31

Calls are being made for a march on Washington: here by David Mixner, here by Cleve Jones via Twitter, and many others. I fully support this call and will be there on October 10 & 11. Mixner has called for 12,000 people to march from the Pentagon to the White House on Friday. This represents the approximate number of people that have been discharged under DADT. Jones has suggested keeping it simple with one message: “Full Equality Now – full and equal protection under the law for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.”

I would like to take this opportunity to make a suggestion of my own: On one of the days, surround the three branches of government: executive (White House), legislative (Capitol) and judicial (Supreme Court). Surround each building with a continuous line of people and march! March until there are grooves in the sidewalks! March all day, march all night! Imagine a continuous line of LGBT individuals and their supporters confronting all three branches of our government. Can you hear the cry at the White House? “Full Equality Now!” Can you hear the cry at the Capitol? “Full Equality Now!” Can you hear the cry at the Supreme Court? “Full Equality Now!”

“Full Equality Now!” No Delays! No Excuses!

May
30

Pam’s Houseblend linked to an interesting post by Nadine at Equality Florida Blog which asked, “Do we really mean it?”

I think many of us do. I know I do. I have known I was gay since I was 7 years old when I decided that Tommy from next door was going to be my husband. I didn’t quite know what that meant, but I knew that a “husband” was someone that you cared deeply about. Although our “relationship” lasted several months until Tommy’s parents moved away, taking the person that I cared about most deeply away from me forever. I would never be the same.

In the more than 30 years since that, I have been looked down upon by my own family, called faggot so many times I sometimes thought it was my name, threatened by rednecks, harrassed by Fred Phelps, told by my government that I can’t love who I love, told by my society that my relationship is immoral and not to be recognized, and I have been loved back by someone that I love. Is it easy? No, it’s very painful when, after 12 years, my “mother-in-law” speaks about me as “Tom’s buddy.” “What the fuck does that mean?,” I want to scream. Instead, I maintain a pleasant smile with the rage boiling deep inside so that the man for whom I care deeply can spend a short time with his elderly parents. (Tom is not Tommy grown up.)

“What could be worse than this,” you ask? My own community telling me that it’s not time for my right to love and be recognized. For more than 20 years, I have dreamed of the day when I no longer had to feel as if I was less than a person, somehow less worthy than the average people around me. I used to participate in the LGBT rights movement; back when Kansas and Missouri still had sodomy laws for which I could have been jailed or fined. Even then, the LGBT “leaders” insisted that we must be careful so that we don’t suffer any setbacks. Nearly 20 years later, I still hear “Wait, it’s not time yet.” “Wait, the court is stacked against us.” “Wait, it will be worth it when it comes.” Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

When will the waiting end?!? Another 20 years? Another 30 years? Will it end before I die? I ask myself. I ask my community. I ask my society. And the answer is always “wait.” It is no longer time to wait in my mind. Because waiting, as Martin Luther King, Jr described, means never. My community is afraid. I am afraid. Afraid as if I was still living my life in the closet. How long until the fear goes away? More waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. How long until…More waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It’s not time yet they say.

Recently, I have a new question burning: What am I waiting for? Am I waiting for equal rights? Am I waiting for freedom? Am I waiting to die? I’m waiting for my government to live up to its standards, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. They contain the highest ideal: the notion that ALL men are created equal. The notion that everyone of us has the freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The notion that each of us is imbued with unalienable rights, rights that I do not have to ask for, rights that no one has to grant me, rights that just are for all of us.

The last 3 years have been challenging for me. I have been living separately from Tom while doing post-doctoral research in another state. We visit frequently, but it’s not the same as it was when we lived together. I’m looking for employment now so that we can be together again. It will be different this time. We are not married in the eyes of government, but that WILL. NOT. STOP. ME. from demanding that my love for him be honored. We exchanged rings years ago, that neither of us wore in public. NO MORE! When I introduced him, I would say Tom and leave the other person to figure out our relationship for themself. NO MORE! You see, even though I am “out,” Tom and I have been living in a glass closet of our own construction. NO MORE! We have never wanted to offend anyone with our relationship. Wait, what?!? What are you saying, Jim?!? “offend anyone with your relationship!?!” So you allow yourself to be offended, you allow people to view your relationship as less than it should be. NO MORE! You allow society to put you into this glass closet. Everyone knows but no one wants to “see it.” NO MORE!

Since first reading about The Dallas Principles, this knot has been building. It is a knot of anger, of rage, of disappointment…at and in myself! One of my instructors once said, “To be intimidated by someone, you must let them.” I didn’t get it then; I get it now! People don’t discriminate against me. I LET THEM! ME, I LET THEM! NO MORE! My government? I let it discriminate against me. The Declaration of Independence tells me: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” NO MORE! I will not consent to suffering discrimination any longer. Marriage is not legal in either of the states in which my husband and I live. I do NOT care! I will demand my sovereign right as a citizen of these United States to be treated equally with all other citizens. If this government recognizes relationships, I will force it to recognize mine. Every form, every questionnaire, every time someone asks me, I WILL reply that I AM married. No longer will I subjugate myself and my life to anything less than being equal. I. WILL. NOT. DO. IT!!!!

So, YES! I really mean “No Delays! No Excuses!” I will commit to living my life according to The Dallas Principles, beginning now, this very minute. When this is posted, I will begin a letter to all of my elected officials at the city, county, state, and federal levels. I will demand that they act NOW. “Wait” is no longer an acceptable answer. Now IS the time, the time for all of us to be treated equally.

May
30

I’m not usually a fan of the Huffington Post since they allow so much irrational drivel to seep in.

However, Trevor Neilson got it right in this piece.

Even better one of the sexiest men alive (beside my partner) gets it here.

May
30

So I’ve been doing some more digging into this Smelt case, which I have already decided is just a train wreck waiting to happen. This is confirmed by an article in the Orange County Register. Some highlights from the piece:

Christopher Hammer and Arthur Smelt, both 49, are a “high profile couple from Mission Viejo.” They first sued for the right to be married in 2004 and haven’t given up since their initial suit was thrown out by the court. They were married while gay marriage was legal in CA, so they currently have a recognized marriage in CA in addition to their cut-rate ambulance chasing lawyer.

“The only proper body to hear the Mission Viejo couple’s lawsuit is the U.S. Supreme Court, [Gilbert] said.” Now, I actually agree with this.

“In addition to pursuing the federal lawsuit on behalf of Smelt and Hammer, Gilbert announced he is spearheading a campaign to get an initiative put on the 2010 ballot.” Wow, competing with the big boys in more ways than one. Let’s hope he doesn’t confuse people into saying, “No thanks, I’ve already signed the initiative petition.”

“That initiative, he said, would call for splitting California into two states. Gilbert’s concept of a “New California” will include a new constitution “that will guarantee and recognize the fundamental rights of all people” — specifically, the fundamental right of same-gender marriage.” Now this is real evidence of “crackpot-icity!” Does guy think CA is like TX? I guess he’s not the only one to think this way. Bill Maze has the same idea here.

May
29

…I am a reasonable person.  (Most of the time.) It’s a very interesting time in the world of gay civil rights litigation and here’s my take on it:

So you might have heard that California honored gay marriage. Well, they did…for a while. The California Supreme Court (CASC) ruled in In Re: Marriage Cases (IRMC) that same sex couples had a fundamental right to enter into the civil institution known as marriage. Of course, the religious nutcases were highly incensed! The sky fairy cults, led by the mormons and Cat-licks, initiated a voter-driven constitutional amendment known as Proposition 8 using the exact same words that CASC had previously ruled unconstitutional: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Lo and behold, the mormons sent millions of dollars (and lied about it, but that’s for another day) and who knows how many “saints” to fight this affront to marriage. On 11/04/2008, the CA electorate passed Prop 8 by a margin of 52-48%. The measure took effect on 11/05/2008.

A suit was filed to force removal of the constitutional amendment which was quickly elevated to CASC for adjudication. Well, oral argument by the LGBT rights groups didn’t go so well. In fact, Ken Starr really used them to clean the gum off the bottom of his shoes. It really wasn’t pretty. (In fact, I think I could have done better with a couple of weeks of preparation.) A couple of days after the anniversary of Harvey Milk’s murder, CASC handed down its opinion that Prop 8 was upheld but that the 18K+ marriages that had been licensed by the state between its IRMC ruling and passage of Prop 8 would remain valid. WOW! This opinion read like I was watching the contortionists from a Cirque du Soleil show. It really was a half-assed ruling…but, of course, the legal reasoning in the complaint was pretty half-assed as well. The action was argued on purely procedural grounds with precedent stacked at first glance against the LGBT right. (If you haven’t read more detailed analysis of the Prop 8 decision, let me know and I can do so.)

And the gays protested…sort of. Some people showed up at CASC and in the Castro (and maybe even a few other towns) and blocked traffic. Police arrested 175 people, starting with clergy. (They should never have let those bastards out.) Despite being just a couple of days past the anniversary of the “White Night” riots, the gays barely managed to make it on the evening news.

Enter Ted Olson, David Boies and Richard Gilbert. Wait, who? Ted Olson and David Boies who squared off in Bush v Gore have teamed up to form the UFC championship tag-team in the gay marriage arena. The Ol-Boies did NOT receive a warm reception from the alphabet soup of LGBT rights groups, (ASRG) who promptly issued a press release denouncing suits in federal court as the way to obtaining same-sex marriage rights. Moreover, the ASRG released two publications (one new and one updated): “Make Change, not Lawsuits” and “Why the ballot box and not the courts should be the next step on marriage in California.” ASRG warned that “ill-timed lawsuits could set the fight for marriage back by decades” and stressed that their state-by-state “strategic advocacy” approach was working. (Not! you’ll hear my take on that some time.) The Ol-Boies went on the TV publicity circuit (Press conference, Larry King, AC360, MSNBC, and other’s that I can’t remember right now) to explain why the suit was NOW was the right time to sue at the federal level and really made a compelling case for no further delay in seeking justice.

A little bit about Perry et al v Schwarzenegger et al: Plaintiffs are one lesbian and one gay couple from CA who have been denied marriage licenses because of Prop 8. The lawsuit is being sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a new organization started by Chad Griffin, who produced “Outrage.” They are asking the court to overturn both Prop 8 and the state statute to the same effect, including a preliminary injunction to that effect on grounds that Prop 8 infringes on the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. The filings are well written and the reasoning is very compelling. Exactly what one would expect from professionals like Olson and Boies. Not surprisingly, the Alliance Defense Fund has motioned for intervenor status on behalf of “Yes on 8” and other “pro-marriage” groups. All in all, Perry is going to be a battle of the titans with the Ol-Boies facing off against ADF’s Tim Chandler.

In contrast, Smelt v United States, well, smells like a dead smelt that has been sitting in the sun for a few days. The plaintiffs are a gay couple from Orange County, CA who married in July 2008 and who “suffer severe emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, a loss of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a denial of equal protection of the laws, a denial of due process of law, a denial of the exercise of freedom of speech, a denial of freedom of association, a denial of privacy rights and a denial of the right to travel to establish residency anywhere in the United States with full recognition of the legality of Plaintiffs’ marriage.” It appears that they are financing the suit themselves and you’ll see why in a second if you haven’t figured it out already.

The suit asks not only that Prop 8 be overturned, but that both the “Federal Definition of Marriage Act” and the “Federal Defense of Marriage Act” be ruled unconstitutional as well. It seems as if plaintiffs’ attorney, Richard C Gilbert, flipped through several civil rights suits and copy/pasted any constitutional-sounding rights/clauses that he could find: equal protection, due process, full faith and credit, “right to privacy”, 9th amendment “right of reservation of all rights not enumerated to the people”, right to travel, and right to free speech. I’m surprised he didn’t add the establishment clause and the right to dream in color. Mr. Gilbert also pays homage to “Vice President Cheney” by including a quote from the former VP: “Freedom means freedom for everyone.” Well, now, isn’t that nice. Mr. Gilbert also seems to have a stutter when typing as fully three paragraphs on p7 of the complaint are identical. Finally, Mr. Gilbert asks for “Costs, including but not limited to attorneys’ fees.” Obviously, Mr. Gilbert is not quite the Juridical Rock Star that Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies are. Indeed, he doesn’t even know where to file his suit as the United States had to remove the suit from Orange County Superior Court to the Southern Division of the California Central District Court.

I mentioned that I thought the plaintiffs were paying for this themselves and here’s why: On Mr. Gilbert’s website, he boasts that his “fees are half what other firms charge.” I suppose this is a good thing if he actually manages to win and the taxpayers have to pay his “costs” but does one really want a “discount lawyer” arguing constitutional law and civil rights issues? It seems that this Orange County couple lost their asses in the financial market since the complaint bears a “fee waiver pending” notation. Perhaps he charged his clients the filing fee but is choosing to keep it for himself by asking for a waiver. I do hope that the plaintiffs are receiving a discount for each typo that is present in the complaint as there are many.

So we know that Mr. Gilbert produces a less than stellar product and that his clients are either poor or getting ripped off BUT let’s talk about the firm. Mr. Gilbert appears to be a partner at Santa Anna[sic]’s “Gilbert & Marlowe, we’re a different kind of law firm.” Well, yes, you are! Gilbert’s “skilled Orange County attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, including working on numerous precedent-setting cases in family law, same-sex marriage, medical marijuana usage, and others.” All two of them listed in the attorney profiles?!? Moreover, Gilberts’ attorneys have been “NAMED ‘BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA’ by Harvard Law School Graduates.” I’m glad to know though that “money shouldn’t stand in the way of getting the help you need.*” (“*Conditions do apply”)

And how about Mr. Gilbert, the man? He’s a real peach born way back in 1951 in NY, NY! Mr. Gilbert’s practice is limited to “100%” litigation in the areas of “Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Custody & Visitation, Family Law, Personal Injury — Defense, Personal Injury — Plaintiff [and] Toxic Torts.” Mr. Gilbert received his degree from “Western State University College of Law” in Fullerton, California way back in 1977 and was admitted to the CA bar in 1979 (SBN 85912). Is it just me or does it seem that Mr. Gilbert might have had to sit the bar exam more than once? Mr. Gilbert also lists education at Whittier College School of Law, Los Angeles, California but doesn’t describe what or when he might have studied there. You might have noticed my emphasis on “way back” and thought, “What is the Rascal doing?”

Well, I checked the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to see how Mr. Gilbert’s website might have changed over the years and to see if I could glean anything further about him. The most recent page archive listed was May 2006: Interestingly, I noted the following differences 1) between 2006 and 2009, the firms “collective experience” grew from “90” to “more than 100 years.” 2) between 2006 and 2009, “constitutional law” moved up in prominence in Mr. Gilbert’s practice areas 3) in Dec 2004, Mr. Gilbert listed his education as “Harvard Law School (PIL)” but that is no longer listed in 2009…hmmm. Let’s look at that a little more closely. Quick! Google. It seems “PIL” indicates he may have attended the “Program for Instruction of Lawyers” 4) Waaayyyyybaaack, as far as the wayback machine goes in this case. Jul 2003. A very quickly scrolling, somewhat nauseating, line of text tells me that Gilbert and Marlowe have been criminal defense and family law “attorneys for 24 years”, which jives with graduating in 1979 as both he and his partner, Diana Marlowe, did. Hmmmm….6 years further down the road to 2009 and suddenly we move from 48 years (24 each) to “more than 100 years.” Doesn’t 48 +12=60? Must have been that light speed scrolling text that altered time.

Well, enough with the discrepancies already. I’ve proved to myself that Mr. Gilbert misrepresents both his education and experience. In addition, he likely overestimates his areas of competency. Just because you CAN practice constitutional law in the area of same-sex marriage doesn’t mean you SHOULD! I’m certain that ambulance chasing is great for Personal Injury suits, but I think Mr. Gilbert should leave suits like Smelt to the good Ol-Boies.

May
29

So here’s the deal:  I’m gay but not your average homo.  I’ve been floating around the blogosphere for a while but haven’t really found someone that thinks completely like me. SO, I thought I’d give a try at this blogging thing.  Hopefully, people will randomly stop by to read/criticize/agree with what I’ve written. I’ve found over the years that being exposed to a wide variety of ideas is the best way to really grow yourself, figure out what you think and confirm those thoughts.

I’ll tell you more about me over time, but for now I’m going to post my first post about SMELT….