January 17, 2007
Make Mine Pelosi with a Spitzer on the Side
It's happening already: positive change as a result of the overturn election last November. There she is, our first woman Speaker of the House, walking through the corridors of power with the media in tow. The most powerful woman in American politics to date. Third in line for the Presidency.
(Stranger things have happened, as we were reminded by the recent funeral of Gerald R. Ford. First Spiro Agnew was dumped and then Richard Milhouse Nixon himself 'resigned' in the crosshairs of impeachment. Had the congress not hastily approved Ford as a replacement veep, the number one job would have gone to the number three slot holder.)
Back in the halls of congress today, they press her for comments, the most pertinent issue being the war in Iraq. At last, as she turns to enter her office, a persistent reporter asks, "Do you approve of the President's desire for a surge of troops in Iraq?" Without missing a step, she looks directly at the camera and with a mixture of graciousness and firmness, she mouths a decisive "No." Then she whisks her lovely self into the sanctum sanctorum and it's over for now.
Like the seasoned professional that she is (her father was Mayor of Baltimore and she's been in politics since the age of six) she leaves us all wanting more. And, baby, we're going to get it.
Mrs. Pelosi is one of the strongest gay rights supporters in government. She has signed on as a sponsor to all 10 gay and AIDS related bills currently in the works. She is particularly supportive of ENDA (that's Employment Non-Discrimination Act) banning job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the private sector workplace. She is expected to bring that one up quickly, followed by the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act which would give the Feds the right to prosecute those who commit hate crimes based on the above mentioned criteria.
If codified, this law would, for example, mean that the bullies who murdered Matthew Shepard would also be facing some serious time in a Federal Pen. To quote Democratic Representative Pelosi, "We want you to know that we take great pride in our lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community in San Francisco." Music to gays ears after six years of diminishing rights under the Bush Administration and hatred from his pals in the Religious Right!
Back here in New York, it is expected that our new Governor, Eliot Spitzer, (who has been a longtime advocate for same sex marriage) will propose legislation supportive of the LGBT Community. Last July, immediately after the New York Court of Appeals ruled that gay couples do not have a constitutional right to marry, Spitzer declared he would both draft & propose legislation to legalize same sex marriage in New York State if he were elected Governor.
Here are a few words in which Spitzer makes his stand on gay rights perfectly clear: "No New Yorker should be deprived of the right to marry the person of their choice, regardless of gender. This is not about forcing any religion to perform or recognize gay marriage. It's simply about permitting gay and lesbian couples the right to live in stable, long-term married relationships."
Since a poll taken last April showed a majority of people across New York State support same-sex marriage, we can finally point with pride to our liberal Governor (with his brilliant intellect and his chiseled good looks) as representing what the people of this state truly believe. And it doesn't hurt to have Hillary Clinton looking out for our interests in the Senate.
So, this New Year, the old refrain of "Happy Days are Here Again" rang true as a bell throughout the gay community. We lived to vote again, as we knew we would, and how good it feels to be joined at the polls by the enormous amount of our supporters in the straight community.