Friday, June 24, 2016
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
In the wake of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last week, this story has me quite riled up … here’s the gist of what happened — from my original blog post HERE:
In April 2015, in Huntington, West Virginia, Zackary Johnson and Casey Williams, after visiting friends, were walking back to their hotel when Casey pulled Zackary in for a quick kiss on the street.
At that moment, Marshall University football running back Steward Butler happened to be riding by in a car with friends and became so enraged at the sight of two men kissing that he leapt from the automobile and being shouting anti-gay slurs at the couple before punching both men in the head.
After his arrest, Butler claimed the confrontation was in self-defense, though it’s unclear how he was defending himself against two men kissing … unless he wanted to kiss one of them? Perhaps he’s one of those self-loathing closeted homosexuals and when he saw two men, in love, kissing on the street, he decided he couldn’t stand to see them doing that when he couldn’t, so he jumped from a moving car to tell them how much he hated them for kissing … with his fists.
Whatever his reasons … Butler was charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery, and was dismissed from the Marshall University football team. Good, right? Not so fast …
Butler, left, no longer faces any charges because West Virginia, like 19 other states, does not have a hate crime law that protects people targeted specifically because of their sexual orientation; and while the US Department of Justice is weighing its options in the case, some observers say it may not fit the federal definition of a hate crime.
In his decision in the case, Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Paul Farrell said West Virginia civil rights law protects people based on sex, not sexual orientation, and said he would drop the hate crime charges against Butler in 60 days, giving prosecutors time to appeal.
Farrell’s ruling leaves two options for prosecutors: hope for a favorable appeal with the state Supreme Court, or — if they lose — lobby for changes to state law with a Legislature that typically hasn’t added LGBT protections.
Now, I get it that Steward Butler physically assaulted two men because they were gay — which, let’s be queer, is a Hate Crime — and I get that West Virginia is one of those backwoods states that doesn’t believe gay Americans can be the victims of hate just for being gay but … isn’t this exactly why we need a federal law, superseding, overriding, and nullifying, every single state law about what constitutes a Hate Crime because, and I will say this again …
If I am walking down the street with Carlos and you come up and rob me and beat me and steal my wallet, that’s hateful, but …
If I am walking down the street with Carlos and you come up and rob me and beat me because I’m gay, that’s hate.
Spot the difference.
Hopefully, in light of what happened in Orlando, the prosecutors will be able to win on appeal and charge Butler with a Hate Crime, but if not, if that animal gets no jail, and no punishment for physically assaulting two men, let’s hope this case, and Orlando, are enough to move West Virginia lawmakers to add sexual orientation to their Hate Crimes statutes.
Hate is hate, no matter who the target.
Monday, June 20, 2016
I first heard about Pete Buttigieg a couple of years ago when he was re-elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana. I know, I know, why should I care about South Bend … or Indiana, but then Pete Buttigieg made it more interesting — see that post HERE.
So, let’s begin by dishing on Pete Buttigieg; he has a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard so he’s kinda smart, right? He was a Rhodes Scholar so that means something, doesn’t it? He’s also served his country by being a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve and, for seven months in 2014, he was deployed to Afghanistan; something few of our elected officials, including some presidents, haven’t done.
Oh, and in order to serve his country in Afghanistan he took a leave of absence from his job as mayor … an unpaid leave of absence.
He worked for two years as a consultant with McKinsey where, he says, keeping his eye on the goal of a political career, he could learn how money moves and how data is mined most effectively. He speaks Arabic; that oughta come in handy. He’s an accomplished musician who played piano with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra in 2013 for a special performance of “Rhapsody in Blue”?
He won the JFK. New Frontier Award, given annually to a few Americans under 40 whose commitment to public service is changing the country.
Oh, and he came out as a gay man, while running for a second term as mayor of South Bend, and handily won reelection with 80% of the vote … more than he won by the first time around.
Yup, he’s gay, but what happens when the gay Democrat — or, as I prefer to think of him, the Democrat who is gay — opts to run for higher office? Could Pete Buttigieg one day become America’s first gay president?
Sure, we’ve had a few openly gay and lesbian candidates run for Congress, and Oregon’s governor is a bisexual, but could a gay man, or heck, a gay woman, ever become president?
Pete Buttigieg, I think, from what I’ve read, doesn’t want to be the first gay president, but he might wanna be the first present who is openly gay; and that distinction, though subtle, is a distinction.
Buttigieg has not, since his coming out op-ed, spoken much about being gay, but he also didn’t pull the closet door closed again either. His partner, Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, moved in with Buttigieg this year and sometimes accompanies him to public events.
Still, Pete Buttigieg might have a tough road ahead of him, as evidenced by an innocuous event that took place recently. See, one day he stopped in at Glezman’s school to bring his partner a coffee, and that night he received a very angry email about children and The Gays and The Gay Agenda. Buttigieg wrote back saying what he did was no different than what a straight person would do:
“I didn’t go in there to discuss LGBT issues. I went in there to bring a cup of coffee to somebody that I love. But it was one of those moments when I realized we can’t quite go around as if it were the same.”
Not yet, anyway, though one day, and hopefully one day soon, maybe after Hillary’s eight years in the Oval, followed by Michelle’s eight years, we could have Pete Buttigieg in the White House … having Starbucks with his partner.