Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
June 17, 2011
We’re Not Just In Conversations: We Are The Conversation
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
One day we wondered if the general public can know about LGBT issues by reading just newspapers. We scoured our local paper for a couple of weeks to see what we could find. To our surprise there was at least one LGBT article in the paper’s main section, sometimes even the front page, almost every day for two weeks. That LGBT issues are discussed in the popular press is eye opening. We remember when newspapers struggled with new editorial rules on how to refer to a gay or lesbian person; how to refer to bisexual and transgender people led to lively debates.
Should Judge Walker Have Recused Himself?
You remember Proposition 8 when 52% of Californians voted to make same sex marriages illegal in our state. All kinds of lawsuits were filed after the proposition’s passing. The American Foundation for Equal Rights filed one in May 2009 in Federal Court to challenge the legality of the ban on same sex marriage. A little over a year later, Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the ban as being unconstitutional. Judge Walker is gay and is in a long-term relationship with a doctor. It didn’t take long for the anti-same sex marriage people to sue on grounds that Judge Walker had a conflict of interest and should have recused himself. This week his successor, Judge Ware—Judge Walker retired in February—rejected the argument and let stay the unconstitutionality of the ban. Between the filing of the suit and this week’s decision, a gold mine of information was exposed. There was the question: can a gay judge in a long-term relationship render a verdict that could ultimately benefit him? Yes, said Judge Ware and compared it to the question can a woman be impartial when judging a case where she seeks legal relief? The party that lost the case vowed they will appeal and cited that old saw: “Our legal team will appeal that decision and continue our tireless efforts to defend the will of the people . . . to preserve marriage as a union of a man and a woman (our underline).” Is a razor thin, 52% majority the will of the people or the tyranny of the majority? We still love the primary reason used by Judge Walker to overturn the ban:
Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.
Should Tracy Morgan Be Fired?
Comedian Tracy Morgan spouted incredible homophobic slurs during his show in Nashville earlier this month. Audience member Kevin Rogers reported on Morgan’s rant in a Facebook post; it is painful to read. Controversy followed swiftly and furiously. We first read it in the paper and then went to the web to look at everybody’s comments. He should be fired from his television show! He should apologize! Two comments were interesting and open up a number of investigative paths to follow and report on. Morgan contacted the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to help him out structuring his apologies. Some people were angry with that. One comment read that instead of helping him rehabilitate his reputation (if that is even possible), GLAAD should be getting him fired. Another wrote that he would never again contribute a single cent to GLAAD. Yet another was from a professional comedian who said that a rant similar to Morgan’s by a white person about black people would have caused immediate dismissal as several cases have already demonstrated. But homophobia is one of the last remaining areas where such a rant may still be tolerated, soon it won’t be.
We Are The Conversation
What a great change from even a few years ago. We are in the news all the time now. Surely those who still harbor ill will against LGBT people must feel the circle around them slowly getting smaller.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org