Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Surely I am one of thousands today who glanced at the front page of the NYTimes and noted the ironic juxtaposition of two headline stories affecting the LGBT community--the good news from Vermont offset by very troubling developments in Iraq.

First, the good news. Marriage now legal in VT as a result of legislative action. Hooray for political courage and leadership!! So rare. How interesting that gay marriage sweeps thru the historically traditional and Puritan New England societies, whereas the go-go so-called cutting edge Californians remain behind the curve. (End of gloat...)

My good friend Evan, who leads the freedom to marry movement and is quoted in today's front page story, might disagree with me here, but I have always been an advocate of legislation to achieve marriage goals as opposed to court action. I think I understand most of the basic legal arguments for lawsuits in state courts etc. The California lawsuit in particular seems legitimate since, as readers know, I have much more faith in republican (small r) government than the mob psychology of pure democracy. Prop 8 should never have been on the Cali ballot in the first place. Yet there it was, and where were marriage proponents at the onset of the campaign? Politicking for the 'no' vote, which we lost. So, let's sue?!? I think not.

Vermont is a model for how it works. The challenge we have is at the state government level, not the courts.

Moving from the luxury problem of gay marriage rights to the life and death issue of being a gay man in Iraq (oddly, no mention of the lesbian community in the piece), I was horrified by the story of a young Iraqi hairdresser, who isolated himself at home for fear of walking the streets. The beatings, the killings, the disappearances--reminiscent of the history of many tyrannical societies (and dark periods in our own non-tyrannical society). A cross between the Middle Ages and Nazi Germany, perhaps? Choose your own analogy.


I hope the Obamites, in their rush to turn the final phase of the war and democratization back to the Iraqis, raise the issue of human rights and decency with the Iraqi government. And ensure passage of laws designed to protect minority rights and freedom of expression. I hope the issue of LGBT welfare in Iraq remains in the lens of the NYT, as it will in mine.

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