Tag Archives: Basic Rights Oregon

Dr. Monica Wehby, the Hollow Candidate

22 Aug

Monica WehbyThe 2014 mid-term elections have conservatives salivating, and the Tea Party holds out hope they can gets folks to drink their rancid brew. With many Congressional Democrats retiring and a handful of red-state Democrats seen as highly vulnerable, the GOP is working hard to retake the Senate. If they succeed, President Obama’s final two years in office will make his first six look like a productive picnic. Despite the friendly playing field, conservative operatives are trying not to take anything for granted, noting the many deeply flawed candidates that have cost them probable seats in the past two cycles. (Remember these charm free folks: Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle?) To hedge their bets, they’re looking at less likely pickups and dumping huge amounts of money on some long-shots. The amount of money being poured into GOP hopeful Monica Wehby’s campaign is disturbing. I suspect there are many countries that run on budgets that are much less than what the Koch brothers are pouring into campaigns such as Wehby’s.

The support for Wehby is perplexing. She’s running against Senator Jeff Merkley, the first man to receive the Marilyn Epstein Pro-Choice Champion Award from the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, who is finishing his first term. He’s popular, effective, and honest, but as a Freshman may be vulnerable. Despite the conventional wisdom, Oregon is NOT a blue state, but rather a very purple state with a slight Democratic edge in statewide races. The Koch Brothers and their ilk (The top 1%) have decided that this makes Oregon a potential pickup, so they found themselves a candidate.

Sadly, they did a worse job of vetting their pick than Sen. John McCain (R – Angrytown) did when he chose half-term half-wit Sarah Palin as a running mate. Dr. Monica Wehby is a surgeon and a political newcomer. In a “throw the bums out” year with Congressional approval ratings at an all-time low, this telegenic candidate seems promising. Until she tries to pick a position on, well, anything. Sadly, a number of advertisements against Senator Merkley  are already in full swing.

Before winning the GOP primary, Wehby made headlines for her history of stalking ex-boyfriends. She spun that as proof that she’s a determined person who would work hard to get what she wants in the Senate. The two different and independent stalking cases are pretty serious and my first thought was: “Oy! I only hope she does not have a gun on her.”  She also gained some notoriety for fleeing press conferences and debates once she’d used up her carefully crafted talking points. When pressed about LGBT rights in a TV interview, she kept talking about marriage equality, even though the question was about anti-discrimination laws. She says she’s pro-life but would support a woman’s right to choose while celebrating laws like “partial birth” abortion bans. She says she supports equal pay for women while saying that laws that actually enforce equal pay are bad because they would make employers hire more men to avoid lawsuits. Really. Stammering, stunned, and wide-eyed, she clearly isn’t comfortable taking a position that hasn’t been fed to her by the Kochs and their cronies. Again, I am reminded of Charles Durning’s performance of Dance A Little Sidestep from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Suddenly that Koch money is showing up on the airwaves. Wehby’s new ads are everywhere, trying to make her sound like a smart fiscal conservative. She attacks Sen. Merkley for voting to raise the debt ceiling and for opposing a balanced budget amendment. With a homey but deeply flawed analogy between the Federal budget and household money management, she manages to avoid any real fiscal facts. Raising the debt ceiling was critical to avoiding another, worse financial meltdown if the US were seen to ignore its obligations. The debt that Sen. Merkley wisely voted to keep paying is mostly the result of the fiscal ineptitude of George W. Bush and two pointless, costly wars. The balanced budget amendment is a nightmarish concoction that would hamstring the government. Economists both liberal and conservative decry it as a disaster that should be avoided at all costs. As an experienced legislator, Sen. Merkley knows this. I continue to be shocked and mortified that such falsehoods are allowed to be aired!  I know that in Georgia the Koch money is spreading lies and attacking Democrat hopeful Michelle Nunn. Koch money is fueling elections across the entire country.

It’s clear that Dr. Wehby is intended to be the anti-Merkley. That’s certainly true. Sen Merkley is an experienced, talented legislator with a deep understanding of the issues and a true passion for the needs of Oregon’s citizens. Monica Wehby is a shallow political puppet pursuing a Senate seat just because. Oregon’s choice this November is clear.

Update: Wow! I’m rather appalled and nonplussed to see Ben West doing a commercial supporting Wehby. Mr. West, I’m curious as to how you would support Wehby when she was NOT pro-marriage equality until after it was a fait accompli?  I’m also curious that she was not at Gay Pride nor has she attended a Basic Rights Oregon function?  In the commercial you assert that she is for all families, but it seems rather obvious that she is only for white wealthy families, and now you her token gay friend.

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Hero of the Week Award: February 22, Oregon United For Marriage

22 Feb

OU4M_logoThis week a dedicated group of Oregonians began the official process of undoing a great injustice. In 2004, during the great wave of anti-equality measures across the nation, Oregon voters passed Measure 36, a constitutional amendment denying LGBT couples marriage equality. Although the margin was smaller than in most states, it was a decisive and depressing result.

Oregon United For Marriage (OU4M) is a new group allied with Basic Rights Oregon. Their goal is to place a measure on the November 2014 ballot to overturn the constitutional amendment and create true equality. The initial petition required 1,000 signatures; OU4M gathered over twice that many, including signatories like Gov. John Kitzhaber and former Gov. Barbara Roberts. They must now obtain approximately 100,000 signatures to get the measure certified for the ballot.

Oregon was one of the first states to issue same-sex marriage licences. In early 2004, Multnomah and Benton counties decided that the equal protection clause in the state constitution trumped the male/female language in the marriage statutes. That effort resulted in the backlash that passed Measure 36. Even in the wake of that defeat, the Oregon legislature created a “marriage in all but name” domestic partnership law championed by Senator Frank Morse (R – Albany). That separate but equal provision at least creates some basic rights and protections. With polls showing a huge 54 – 40 margin in favor of equality, the new measure should put Oregon on the right side of justice and history with the nine (and counting) other states.

Honorable mention this week goes to former Utah Governor and GOP Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman. In an article for American Conservative, he makes the case that if his party continues to oppose simple equality it will be “made irrelevant in the marketplace of ideas.”

While serving as governor of Utah, I pushed for civil unions and expanded reciprocal benefits for gay citizens. I did so not because of political pressure—indeed, at the time 70 percent of Utahns were opposed—but because as governor my role was to work for everybody […] That was four years ago. Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. […] There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.

Well said, Gov. Huntsman, and thank you.

Kudos to Our Heterosexual Women Allies!

8 Jul

The Next State For Marriage Equality

I need to thank my friend and fellow do-gooder, Christopher Gable for sharing this article with me and inspiring me to craft this article. I truly believe it will take the action and support of our heterosexual allies to help pave the way for marriage equality everywhere. I am fortunate enough to live in a state where we have some allies that are unveiling a campaign for marriage equality in Oregon.

The new non-profit organization, Straight Women For Marriage Equality is raising money and traveling all through Oregon to fight for the civil rights of the LGBT community.  Timi Parker, a retired school teacher living in Newberg, is a part of this non-profit organization.  I will let her words speak for themselves:

The bottom line for us is the golden rule…We should treat other people the way we want to be treated…For me, this conversation needs to be about what kind of a state we want this to be,” she said. “I’m 60 years old. I’d like to leave my grandchildren a much more equitable place.

We hope to see marriage equality pass in 2012 here in Oregon.  Basic Rights Oregon has already produced some fantastic and compelling commercials for marriage equality.  Click here to read the full article and to get involved.

The Often Overlooked “T” in LGBTQ: Interview with Kaig

8 Jun

Before we get to Kaig’s interview, I wanted to let everyone know that  Portland City Counil unanimously voted to end insurance exclusions against transgender City employees. I was able to attend the hearing this morning and was quite impressed with Mayor Adams and with Jeana Frazzini from Basic Rights Oregon.  I have to admit the testimony from a couple of very ignorant and bigoted people turned my stomach, but I was happy that these teabaggers were in the minority.  I was going to report some of the nasty comments they made, but I would rather not give them the air time.

Kaig is a 31 year old white transgendered male, born during the Reagan administration.  He identifies as Queer, rather than heterosexual (you will see his reasoning later in the interview–this is where I was able to learn a great deal from Kaig).  Kaig is originally from Seattle, but he lives in Portland.  He is close to his family of origin and receives a great deal of support from them. Like Haley and Jenn, Kaig is also a great do–gooder and a Co-Founder of TransActive. I want to thank him and acknowledge how much he is helping others that are not cisgendered.  Here is Kaig’s story.

What age were you aware of feeling different?

Some sort of awareness at 5 or 6– having an older brother I wanted to be like him. I have a memory of running around in swim trunks like him and realizing I would not be able to do this forever, that was about 5 or 6.  Then I went through adolescents knowing something was not right, but not knowing exactly what that was.  I was always  a masculine presenting athlete, even though I was not clear enough to say that I identified as a boy.

What age did you decide to take action?

When I was about 20, I came out to my parents as gay. The word lesbian never fit for me, which speaks to my gender identity.  I was in college and still really never thought about my gender identity.  I think I was 26 when I came out to my parents as trans.  I started going by male pronouns when I was 24 with my friends.  A lot of things relolve around my parents—after I came out to my parents both times I felt much better and relieved.  They were very supportive each time.  I was not real confident at first, but I was pretty sure, so I had to go for it.  It was the right thing to do. I have been on testosterone for three years and the first year was bizarre—I felt connected and disconnected to my body at the same time.  Ultimately this has lead to greater happiness.  Now, I’m very invisible to the Queer community and the trans community.  I look very gender conforming—I’m able to infiltrate different communities because of the way I look.  –It is a mixed blessing but it does open up different conversations.

When I came out the first time in my early 20s they did not shun me or do anything horrible—I got immediate support, but they did struggle with it, but we did not talk about it right away.  About six months to a year later, they processed their way through it. They were interested in relationships I was having; it took me awhile to get comfortable sharing with them.  The really strong support came out from them when I came out as trans.  They have been incredibly open and willing to hear about all sorts of ideas around gender and sexuality and masculinity.  They want to know things that I’m willing to share.  They refer to me as their son, as Kaig.  It took them about a year to get used to the pronoun change.  They have become much more politically aware of the issues that the LGBTQ community face.  My dad was Republican and conservative and he has changed that tune a lot—he is a fantastic fantastic man!

What do we, as the LGBT community, need to do to be more supportive?  

What do we, as the LGBT community, need to do to be more supportive?  I really think there needs to be the understanding that we are really one community. We are all in it for the same fight.  We all want to feel safe, we want equality, we want the same things.  I would love to see more attention being drawn to transphobia, and what does that means. I would love to see a more of a coming together of our community.  We need to have more conversations.  For the younger generation, it is important for everyone to remember that every trans person, or gender non-conforming person was once a child.  We need to give a chance and some space for kids that are going through gender identity transitions.

Thank you, Kaig for your candor, courage, and for educating all of us.  I hope, as you do, that we come together as a community and have many more conversations.

 

 

The Very Fragile Institution of Heterosexual Marriage

22 Apr

When people talk about the Sanctity of Marriage, I had no idea that Marriage Equality was so very dangerous!  Who knew that a marriage between a man and a woman was so precarious, so fragile, so susceptible to corruption?  My gay marriage is obviously very very very different indeed.  My husband and I are surrounded by heterosexual couples.  In fact, we had a heterosexual couple to our home for dinner last weekend and never once did it make either of us feel as though we had to turn heterosexual or that Mary and John’s union was threatening ours.  Now I see how my “gay” marriage must be so threatening to all straight couples and they all must be feeling the urge to GO GAY.  Thank you Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump for being the paradigm of successful hetero marriage and for explaining to me the threat of marriage equality.  PLEASE click here to see this very short youtube video of this young man as he very succinctly describes the false notion that marriage equality is a threat. PLEASE ALSO watch this WONDERFUL commercial now playing in Oregon.

Building Momentum for Marriage Equality: A Civil Rights Issue

30 Mar

Love is Love

On the heels of TSM article from March 18, my friend James Russell, from Truthout, gives us more good news. Perhaps we will see full marriage equality within my lifetime. Click here to see James’ article from Truthout. What is especially encouraging are the new ads on television from Basic Rights Oregon.

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