On June 6, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced to a cheering crowd at PrideFest that he was keeping the courthouse open that evening for same-sex couples to get married. Abele didn’t want lesbian and gay couples who’d been waiting for years to have to wait any longer after a federal judge overturned Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban earlier that day.
Gov. Scott Walker and his tea party acolytes despise government (even though Walker’s worked in it nearly his entire career). They preach that government is inherently tyrannical, wasteful, inefficient and corrupt. Their overriding agenda is to eliminate as many government agencies and regulations as possible and turn public functions — from school systems to prison systems to sewage systems — over to for-profit corporations.
LGBT Pride month is about far more than the word “pride” suggests. Just as the 1960s “black is beautiful” cultural movement sought to challenge white paradigms of beauty, LGBT Pride seeks to counter the myth that people whose sexual orientations and gender identities do not conform are damaged or evil. LGBT Pride is not about boasting or “flaunting” ourselves, as our critics on the religious right say. It’s about celebrating the very characteristics for which they’ve persecuted us for centuries. It’s about claiming our right to equality and to celebrating the disproportionate number of achievements people like us have contributed to science, industry, socio-political reform and the arts, despite our relatively small numbers and the discrimination we’ve endured.
After less than a month on the job, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned when an outcry erupted over his 2008 contribution of $1,000 to California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 campaign. The incident was a touchstone moment that divided equality supporters and prompted homophobes to claim that straight, white traditional marriage advocates are “the real bullying victims.”
Determined to protect their fossil-fuel backers from the financial consequences of the environmental policies put forward under President Barack Obama’s green energy agenda, House Republicans on July 11 attached a bevy of amendments to the fiscal 2015 energy and water spending bill.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen vigorously sought — and obtained — a stay of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb’s decision finding the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. A joyous week in Wisconsin that saw more than 550 same-sex couples marry came to an abrupt halt, and Van Hollen asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Crabb’s decision.
Unfortunately, as we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it’s disastrous when our leaders assign friends or financial supporters to key positions for which they’re wholly unqualified. Remember Michael D. Brown, who served as under secretary of emergency preparedness and response in George W. Bush’s administration? A Bush crony, he wasn’t even prepared to handle a traffic jam. His faltering response to Katrina amplified its devastation. Bush’s frat-boy shoutout to Brown as alligators swam the streets of New Orleans feasting on the bloated corpses of Katrina’s victims — “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” — ensured Brown a prominent place in crony history.