It's a new year and a new day, as they
would say. So happy new year, but keep those fingers crossed.
We're going to need a little luck and
lots of determination if we are to get past our political setbacks of
yesteryear. First up is the question: Is our Election Day silver
lining abandoning us?
It's hard to say, but social
conservatives have been singing the praises of President-elect Barack
Obama's choice of Rev. Rick Warren to give the nation's prayer at his
inauguration. That does not bode well for our side, which has been
busy pointing out the inconsistencies of choosing the Saddleback
megachurch leader who likened gay marriage to polygamy and supported
California's gay marriage ban.
This week, more conservatives who have
denounced gay unions – several called grassroots protests against
California's gay marriage ban “mob intimidation” – joined the
chorus of praise for Obama. Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins and
William Kristol join Rick Warren, Pat Robertson, Douglas Kmiec and
Richard Cizik in their endorsement.
The praise from the right appears to
have overpowered our outrage, possibly giving Obama a political gain
– watch out for that bus!
The new year brings a new high-profile
gay mayor. On January 1, Sam Adams became the first openly gay mayor to run one of the 30 largest cities in the United States. He has
been Mayor-elect since he won a majority vote (59%) over several
opponents in a mail-only May primary.
Adams, a Democrat, was endorsed in his
bid by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group committed to
increasing the number of openly GLBT elected officials at all levels
And a new gay marriage bill was introduced in New Hampshire this week. New Hampshire Representative
Jim Splaine's (Democrat) new bill amends the current civil unions law
Splaine, who is openly gay, is the
sponsor of the New Hampshire civil unions bill that passed in 2007.
But opponents of gay marriage in New
Hampshire have also announced plans to limit the influence of legal
gay marriages performed in states such as nearby Massachusetts and
State Rep. David Hess (Republican) says
he will introduce legislation that would repeal the part of the civil
unions bill that recognizes legal gay marriages performed elsewhere.
(Recognized as civil unions by the state.)
“Civil unions are not marriage, but a
legal concept generated in several states,” Hess said. “Same-sex
marriage is contrary to Christian traditions and every religious
concept of marriage between a man and a woman.”
“Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron,
because one of the primary functions of marriage is procreating,”
A similar argument is brewing in
Cleveland, where a newly-passed gay partner registry is facing possible repeal.
United Pastors in Mission, a group of
mostly black ministers led by president Rev. C. Jay Matthews of the
Mount Sinai Baptist Church and director Rev. Marvin McMickle of
Antioch Baptist Church, announced on Tuesday they would fight the
Cleveland's domestic partner registry
allows gay and straight couples to seek recognition of their union
from the city. Ohio passed one of the toughest gay marriage bans in
the country four years ago. To ensure that the registry does not run
afoul of the state's prohibition it lacks any force of law and
guarantees no protections whatsoever. Any benefits given to couples
would be strictly voluntary.
Over 70 cities and counties nationwide
offer gay domestic partner registries. Lawmakers in the Mormon
stronghold of Utah will take up the question next month.
Despite its limited use, the ministers
vowed to fight against it, calling its passage by city leaders an
attempt to circumvent the state's gay marriage ban.
“That lifestyle goes against God,”
Matthews told a Plain Dealer reporter.
It may be a different year, but haven't
we heard this chorus before?
And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news of documentaries
that explore the real-life consequences of homophobia being screened at
the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The Gay Slant is a weekly feature of On
Top Magazine. Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top and can be reached