Tag Archives: Minnesota

Bigot of the Week Award: May 17, Michele Bachmann (again…)

17 May
Bigot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

She’s baaaaaack! After her failed presidential bid and narrow victory to retain her House seat, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R – Wackytown) has been relatively quiet. (Mostly she’s been avoiding questions about campaign improprieties, but that’s another story…) As Minnesota became poised to be the 12th state to approve marriage equality for LGBT couples, however, she surged back into Big Ball of Crazy as she catapulted back into the media in her charm free form. Thanks to my niece Rocky for pointing out her latest rantings for this BWA.

She lamented briefly when her state was the first to reject a one-man-one-woman amendment last November. When the legislature enthusiastically embraced true equality, however, she became (more) unhinged. Calling equality the result of Demonic Powers (oh, those crazy demons!), she charged her listeners to engage in “spiritual warfare” against anyone who dares to suggest that LGBT Americans are legitimate citizens.

because it is one man, one woman – because God said it is. Not because it’s poll tested – because God said it is. And life – not because it’s poll tested, because God stands for life. He made us in his image and likeness. And if we tread too softly on issues, like taking on Islamic jihad, and if we fight too timidly, and if we strive too meekly, then I think we all understand we very easily could come face to face with defeat, and then our nation would in fact pay a great and a lasting price, one that none of us wants to face.

Wow! That’s a whole lot of things to hate in the name of God. Is god’s voice the only voice she hears in her head? She amped up the rhetoric as the bill headed to the Governor’s desk for a promised signature.

The Bible is very clear on this issue. Homosexuality is a sin, and God will punish communities that support it. Sodom and Gomorrah thought they could defy the will of God, and we all know what happened to them. If the governor signs this legislation into law the Minneapolis-St. Paul region will be next.

Bachmann has threatened to leave the state rather than hang around for the inevitable pillars of flame. Rumor has it that her husband, Marcus, will stay behind, and then who will backcomb our Michele’s hair?  Perhaps Michele will move to Tennessee and live with another Grand Dame of Hate, Anita Bryant. If the Supreme Court can do the right thing next month, maybe we can get her to leave the country.

Hero of the Week Award: February 15, Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota

15 Feb
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

This week a newly elected member of the 113th Congress took a stand against Citizens United — one of the worst decisions to come from a very biased U.S. Supreme Court — and put forward an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Rep. Rick Nolan (D – MN) is one of the Democrats who unseated a rabid Tea Party Republican in the November elections. He was in Congress before (1975 – 81), so he brings both experience and fresh eyes to the House.

Working with Rep. Mark Pocan (D – WI), Nolan crafted what he calls a “We the People” Amendment. It would clarify the Constitution by establishing two things.

  • Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and
  • Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.

What? You mean corporations are not human beings?  Scalia and his merry band will be sad to learn this. The full text is available at the Move to Amend website.

It is significant to note that during his time away from Congress Rep. Nolan served as president of the U.S. Export Corporation and the Minnesota World Trade Center. He is not anti-corporation but understands their limited and appropriate role. How wonderful to see him bring that experience to bear for the benefit of all.

A Constitutional amendment is a tall order and will take time and effort. It may even be a non-starter in Boehner’s House of Tears. Congress has the power to amend, however, to check the decisions of the Supreme Court. Thanks to Reps. Nolan and Pocan, however, the momentum has started.

Michele Bachmann: Minnesota, Is This the Best You Can Do?

3 Nov

Singing the Same Song

When I think of the many Tea Baggers I would like to see lose the election this year, Michele Bachmann has to be at the top of the list. It is bizarre how much Bachmann and Anita Bryant have in common and is a sad commentary on how far backwards our culture has gone.  Bryant and her bellicose band of bigots prevailed in the 1977 vote to discriminate against the LGBT community and make it illegal for us to adopt children.  Bryant formed her ironically named organization,  Save Our Children, along with the late Jerry Falwell (Falwell blamed “the gays and the women’s movement for 9/11). Bryant belonged to Northwest Baptist Church: she and this congregation were fighting both school desegregation and fighting against gays and lesbians, lest they be given the same rights as those minorities her confederates failed to keep out of their schools.  By 1980, it was clear the Orange Juice Queen was on the wrong side of history and both her career and voice died.  So what was her legacy?

Fast forward to the mid-term elections of 2010.  That ball of crazy ranting against gays and immigration, is that Anita Bryant? No, that is Michele Bachmann.  Yes, here is Bryant’s legacy.  Bachmann is evidence that Americans do not know history, thus we are repeating some very ugly bits.  In 1977, Bryant said:

As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.

In 2004, an amazingly similar and illiterate reproduction called Michele Bachmann said:

Little children will be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal and natural and perhaps they should try it.

Bachmann has gone further than Bryant and has reported that she is:

chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism.

Am I the only one terrified by this statement?  Are we really going to turn over our government to a person that hears the voice of god telling them to become president?  Is this a theocracy?

I encourage all of our brothers and sisters in Minnesota to think about what is best for their state and what is best for the country. When Michele Bachmann said: “the Blacks came here for the freedom,” I would hope this sets off a great alarm about how ignorant Bachmann is and has no sense of history.  If Minnesotans want another millionaire, racist, homophobic bigot to represent them, then you have your candidate, but if you are wanting social justice and a representative that has everyone’s best interest at heart, I strongly encourage you to vote for Jim Graves.

Marriage Equality Poised for Historic Gains in November

15 Sep

This November voters in four states are poised to make historic votes on marriage equality. Maine, Maryland and Washington have voter initiatives to create full marriage equality; Minnesota faces the latest in a decade-long string of state constitutional amendments to limit marriage to heterosexuals. What makes the 2012 elections especially interesting is the history of marriage equality votes. No state so far has adopted marriage equality through direct voter approval, depending instead on legislatures and courts. More significantly, all 28 states that have presented voters with constitutional amendments to ban equality have succeeded. It seems very likely that this November will see a major shift in these trends.

MAINE: In 2009, the Maine legislature approved marriage equality, replacing the existing limited civil union law. Anti-gay forces pushed the law to the ballot and defeated it 53-to-47. Since then, Mainers United for Marriage has worked diligently to change hearts and minds through a massive public education campaign. Question One on the November ballot will give voters a chance to re-establish full marriage equality in the state. The most recent poll shows the Question passing 57-to-35.

MARYLAND: Maryland also has limited civil union rights; it is also one of only three states that recognizes same sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Last March after strong lobbying from Marylanders for Marriage Equality and other groups, the legislature approved a marriage equality bill which was signed by the Governor. It was promptly referred to the ballot by anti-gay organizations as Question 6. Equality is polling strong in Maryland as well, at 57-to-37; it received a big boost — especially among the state’s African American population — when President Obama expressed his support in May.

WASHINGTON: Earlier this year Governor Christine Gregoire pushed the legislature to pass a marriage equality bill, which it did. As with Maryland, the bill was promptly referred to the voters as Referendum 74. Washington United for Marriage has mounted a strong public awareness campaign that also seems to be paying off. A poll released this week shows equality leading 56-to-33.

MINNESOTA: Unlike previous congressional election years, there is only one state with a marriage ban on the ballot this year. Minnesota is one of the few states with no law regarding same sex marriage at all. The Republican-led majority in the legislature passed an amendment in 2011 which requires approval by the voters. Minnesotans United for All Families is working hard to make their state the first to reject such an amendment. The vote on this measure is tighter, but the ban seems to be failing 43-to-49 in the latest polls.

True equality can only happen when the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is overturned and every citizen of every state has the right to marry the person they love. With every poll putting equality outside the margin of error and with most surviving even if all the undecideds swing negative, there is reason for optimism. Victory in just one state would be revolutionary; providing and protecting equality in all four would signal a sea change in American attitudes.

NFL Stars Tackle Homophobia

8 Sep

Ayanbadejo and Kluwe

What a delightful surprise! Not one but two NFL players have recently shown strong support for LGBT equality. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been a vocal supporter for some time, participating in HRC campaigns like NoH8. Because marriage equality is on the ballot in Maryland this year, he has supported Marylanders for Marriage Equality. Enter Maryland House of Delegates member Emmett C. Burns.

In a shocking display of homophobia and free speech trampling, Burns sent a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti demanding that Ayanbadejo “concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.” Ignoring the fact that civil rights matter for everyone, Burns illogically says that being a celebrity removes the right to have opinions (that disagree with his). That Burns is African American and ignores the intersections of oppression is even harder to believe.

The response to Burns has been wonderful, however. Ayanbadejo said he would like to “thank him more than anything for bringing national attention to the issue” and questioned Burns’ merit as an elected official. Then enter Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. Minnesota is facing a one-man-one-woman hate amendment this November and Kluwe has recorded three ads opposing the equality ban. He wrote an impassioned letter to Burns defending his NFL colleague and marriage equality. It’s a wonderful letter in full; here’s a good sample.

I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population—rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?

Well said, Mr. Kluwe, and thank you! Given the homophobia in most professional sports and the small number of athletes who are willing to be out and proud, players like Kluwe and Ayanbadejo are important heroes. Let’s hope their voices make life easier for the next generation of athletes and help establish better equality for all.

Pushing Back Against Bullying

23 Aug

Let’s put a stop to bullying

As the nation gradually heads back to school, it’s important to remember that the problem of bullying is still a major issue for many students. Last year saw an unprecedented number of kids commit suicide because they were bullied due to their real or perceived sexual orientation. Given the endorsement of anti-gay discrimination that came from the Boy Scouts, more bullies may feel empowered to act out their aggressions. Studies show that LGBT teens are still more harassed and depressed than their straight peers and violence against the LGBT community is up overall.

Fortunately, many are raising their voices against this tide, pushing for schools and communities to shut down bullying of any kind once and for all. In the past year or so, a number of voices have been raised against bullying: the It Gets Better project, a wonderful comic book called The Power Within, and families of victims have all made a difference. Two other wonderful efforts deserve our attention.

My friend and colleague Alison drew my attention to an important new film, Teach Your Children Well. Directed by Gary Takesian and narrated by Lily Tomlin, this documentary short consists of many important facts and interviews that demonstrate the ongoing problem of bullying.

The film’s primary goal is to bring homophobia and its harmful repercussions to light, and to hopefully effect a change in society’s consciousness such that the bullying and violence against our LGBT young people is greatly reduced – and ultimately eliminated. It is our intention that the message of this film expands beyond theaters and film festivals, reaching into the areas where these aggressive behaviors take place: our schools, homes and neighborhoods.

Regular TSM reader and commenter Daphiny drew my attention to this wonderful story. Kevin Curwick, a Minnesota teen, has responded to the problem of cyberbullying by creating a special Twitter account. @OsseoNiceThings celebrates accomplishments and positive qualities of Curwick’s classmates. Using social media to emphasize the good and drown out the negative has caught on, with many students around the nation creating similar accounts as Kevin’s story spreads.

These are important steps. We must all continue to shine a harsh light on the realities of bullying and not allow schools to fall back on  the “kids being kids” excuse. Until our communities are safe for all, they are safe for none.

Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 26, Susan Allen

26 Jun

Today we honor and celebrate the first openly gay Native American to serve in a state legislature. Susan Allen was born in 1963 on the Ute Reservation in Utah. She is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Allen graduated from Augsburg College in 1992. She later earned a J.D. from the University of New Mexico and an LL.M. from William Mitchell College of Law. Her law practice specializes in serving tribes, helping them draft tribal laws in a wide range of areas.

When state Representative Jeff Hayden was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2011, Allen was one of four candidates to run for his vacated seat. She won the nomination and the special election handily. She is one of three LGBT members of the Minnesota legislature, a larger number than most states.

Allen is a fierce advocate for equality for all. She campaigned on a six-point platform: Economy, Education, Tax Reform, Health Care, Social Justice, and Marriage Equality. One key part of her campaign website shows her honesty, integrity, and determination.

Minnesota’s strong progressive values are under threat in the current political climate with attempts to roll back established environmental protections and regulations in our state laws.   I will remain committed to Minnesota’s proud legacy of protecting the land, air, and water for current and future generations. We are also witnessing the hurtful social division created by an attempt to amend the state constitution to deny rights to a specific population within our community.   I will fight the concentrated assault on our GLBT community members and families and be a passionate advocate for equal rights for all Minnesotans.

Congratulations on your election, Rep. Allen. The nation needs more leaders like you, but what is with some of the very bigoted folk you have in Minnesota, like Michele Bachmann?

Marriage Equality: Minnesota

5 Jul

Sean Chapin, who is an amazing video producer and has been celebrated on TSM before, shared a brilliant video by a family in Minnesota that speaks to marriage equality.   The Reitan Family created a video that is honest, simple, and eloquent as they talk about their gay son and how very wrong it is to deny him the right to marry.

Watching this video is a great way to start your work week, with hope, and optimism–with a message from LGBT allies that show the world not everyone is a bigot like Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann!  Click here to watch the Retian Family video.

Hero of the Week Award: May 6

6 May

Hero of the Week

While Minnesota has to endure the big ball of crazy that is Michele Bachmann, now the religious right, not satisfied with the current ban on marriage equality, is trying to make the ban a constitutional amendment.  However, amid the absolute craziness of the functioning illiterate and the KKKristians, we have Rep. Steve Simon (D-MN) emerging as this weeks’ hero.  Simon said on Wednesday that being gay is a gift from God.  Simon’s challenge to his colleagues, most definitely, earned his this week’s HWA:

What I’m hearing today and what I heard on Friday was largely a religious justification for change in the Minnesota Constitution. I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s fair.

Simon went on to say:

How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?

Bravo, Rep. Simon.  Would that more of our political leaders show such courage and true leadership.  Click here to see the full article. Of course, I could not resist adding this bit from our Lady Gaga. A nod to my friend John Abbot for lending me KKKristians.

Bachmann’s “Final Solution”

1 May

Frau Bachmann's "Final Solution"

A few days ago, Michele (Proud I’ve never read a book) Bachmann gave a speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA).  In that speech, Bachmann said:

The right to keep and bear arms has to be protected because the Second Amendment is the final guarantor of all our constitutional rights.

I would like to know what Frau Bachmann means by “final guarantor”? Does she have any idea of the implications of that language? Is she encouraging Tea Baggers to start shooting those of us that disagree with the racist, illiterate, and violent Tea Party movement?  Is anyone else thinking about Gabrielle Giffords right now and the lessons we could be learning from that tragedy? Bachmann went on to say:

I trust that you’re locked and loaded, and I’m really sorry that I can’t be with you in Pittsburgh to soak up all the energy from you.

Really? This is the type of language coming from a Presidential candidate.  One can only imagine the nightmare for the world should Bachmann hold the position of President; she makes Qaddafi look sane and even jovial. Minnesota, what on earth were you thinking?  When do we finally evolve from the primitive philosophy of “might is right”?  Click here to read the full article.

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