Gay Marriage for Washington state?

Sources say Gregoire will publicly support gay marriage

Posted by Andrew Garber, The Seattle Times

Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to announce her support for gay marriage at a news conference Wednesday morning, according to sources close to the discussions.

The governor’s office won’t comment except to say there will be an 11 a.m. news conference on Wednesday to discuss “marriage equality.”

Leaders of Washington United for Marriage, a coalition of gay-rights, civil-liberties, labor and religious groups, announced in November they plan to pressure the Legislature this coming session to pass a marriage equality law in 2012.

Gregoire has supported giving gay and lesbian partners the same rights that married couples have today, but has never publicly endorsed same-sex marriage.

The Legislature is scheduled to go into session on Monday and wrap up by March 8. In addition to debating gay marriage, lawmakers have a $1.5 billion hole to fill in the state budget.

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Conservative takes on Fox News regarding Same-Sex Marriage

Seth’s Law Passes in CA

Seth’s Law, Measure Designed To Curb Anti-Gay Bullying, Passes California State Senate

First Posted: 9/2/11 07:12 PM ET Updated: 9/2/11 07:12 PM ET, The Huffington Post

On Friday, the California State Senate approved Seth’s Law (AB 9), a bill designed to crack down on the harassment of LGBT students in the state’s schools.

Named after the 13-year old Seth Walsh, the gay junior high student who took his own life last year after facing constant harassment from bullies at his school in Tehachapi, California, the bill was authored by State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

The National Center For Lesbian Rights reports:

AB 9 would ensure that every school in California implements updated anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and programs that include actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion. It would also empower students and parents to know what their rights are and how to advocate for them.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for taking this important step forward to ensuring that schools have the necessary tools to prevent any young person from being bullied, harassed or worse because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” said Ammiano in a press release. “As a former teacher, I know how important it is for our students to feel safe at school. We have a moral duty to our youth to prevent bullying and Seth’s Law will help schools protect students, and prevent and respond to bullying before a tragedy occurs.”

Time Magazine reports:

Under current law, requirements are vague, and only some schools address complaints of bullying. Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, says that means the bill will help combat a troubling trend: 80% of gay students nationwide report that school employees do little or nothing to stop antigay behavior when they witness it.

In a recent study by the California Safe Schools Coalition found that nearly half of of California students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual have been the victims of gender-based harassment—that number jumps to over 60 percent for transgender students.

HRC Hits The Road

Human Rights Campaign To Launch LGBT Bus Tour Through States That Ban Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage Doma Civil Rights
DAVID CRARY   07/25/11 05:06 PM ET   AP

As hundreds of jubilant gay couples became newlyweds in New York over the weekend, their well-wishers included many far-flung gays wistfully aware that their own states may never willingly allow same-sex marriage.

“The victories in other states are always a little bittersweet,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of the gay-rights group Equality Georgia. His state is one of 30 that have adopted constitutional amendments aimed at limiting marriage to one-man, one-woman unions.

In a few of those states – California, Oregon and Colorado, for example – activists hold out hope of repealing the bans. That outcome seems improbable, though, in many heartland and Southern states, and gay-rights leaders there are looking at more modest short-term goals.

They’ll soon get a boost from a leading national gay-rights group, the Human Rights Campaign. It plans to launch a bus tour, starting Aug. 12 in Salt Lake City and ending Oct. 30 in Orlando, Fla., which will carry it through 11 states that ban gay marriage.

Stops along the way are planned in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama – all with no statewide recognition of same-sex relationships and no state nondiscrimination laws protecting gays.

“We’re going into the belly of the beast,” said Fred Sainz, the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president for communications.

Activists on the bus tour will be hosting forums and workshops, offering advice on how gay communities can empower themselves politically even on conservative turf, notably through local ordinances and initiatives.

Even as New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, gay and transgender people in many places “continue to face tremendous obstacles,” said the campaign’s president, Joe Solmonese.

“The bus tour intends to draw attention to these challenges and ensure that this rising tide lifts all boats,” he said.

The tour will start from the Salt Lake City Pride Center, which provides advocacy and support services for gays across Utah.

Two years ago, Salt Lake became the first city in the state to offer housing and employment protections for gays and lesbians; it also has a “mutual commitment registry” that offers some local recognition to same-sex couples. Both measures exemplify goals that activists believe could be achievable in many communities in conservative states.

“We recognize that same-sex marriage may not be right around the corner,” said the Pride Center’s spokeswoman, Marina Gomberg. “But we see different areas where we can change our state and have changed our state.”

As for the news out of New York, Gomberg said, “It’s a boost of energy for me. A success in New York feels like a success here, because as a nation we’re making progress toward equality and acceptance.”

Conservative leaders in some of the states on the bus tour route expressed doubt that the advent of gay marriage in New York would have impact on their home turf.

“I don’t believe it’s a shot across the bow,” said Jerry Cox, head of the Arkansas Family Council. “I would say it’s an indication of how out of step New York is with the rest of the country.”

Any push for gay marriage in Arkansas would face a difficult time with either major party. Gov. Mike Beebe, a popular Democrat who won re-election last year, recently told a gay-rights group that he can’t see himself supporting same-sex marriage or civil unions.

With six states now recognizing same-sex marriage, there will be increasing pressure on Congress and the courts to dismantle the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to married gay couples. Even some conservatives believe the eventual endgame will be some move by Congress or the Supreme Court to require all states, including those with constitutional bans, to recognize such couples.

Such a prediction comes from Texas Gov. Rick Perry – who fought hard for a state amendment banning gay marriage – in his book, “Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America From Washington.”

“Gay marriage will soon be the policy of the United States, irrespective of federalism, the Constitution, or the wish of the American people,” he writes.

Kerry Messer of the conservative Missouri Family Network said only a federal court ruling could force his state to reverse a ban-gay-marriage amendment approved with 70 percent support in 2004.

“The attitudes haven’t changed since then,” Messer said. “If anything, I think they maybe have swung a little closer to the traditional marriage idea.”

The bus tour will end in Florida, a swing state in presidential elections but with a heavily Republican legislature that shows little interest in advancing gay rights. In 2008, an amendment banning gay marriage passed with 62 percent support.

Nonetheless, the state has a vibrant gay community and several of its cities have established domestic-partnership registries on a local basis.

Brian Winfield, communications director for the gay-rights group Equality Florida, said he and his longtime partner, Kim Byrd, are considering getting married in New York this winter, then returning to Florida even though their union wouldn’t be recognized there.

“Florida is moving in the direction of equality,” Winfield said. “We’ve been able to carve out some victories in a very difficult environment.”

As a prelude to the bus tour, the Human Rights Campaign conducted a national survey on Americans’ attitudes on gay-rights issues. The lead pollster, Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, said she was struck by the finding that acceptance of gays was virtually as high in the South as in other regions, even though Southern legislatures oppose gay rights.

“The elected officials tend to be more conservative than voters,” she said. “But what I think you’ll see is a diminishing of this issue as a wedge in electoral politics … It becomes something you don’t talk about.”

Recently released U.S. Census data shows that the number of same-sex couple households is surging across the country, including in the conservative states on the bus tour route. In Georgia, for example, the number of same-sex households increased from 19,288 in 2000 to 29,844 in 2010.

So far, that trend has not been reflected by passage of gay-rights measures in the legislature. However, Graham, of Equality Georgia, is hopeful that might change as more gay families surface in Atlanta’s northern suburbs and other areas that produce many of the state’s political leaders.

For now, Graham sees little chance of repealing the state constitution’s ban on gay marriage.

“However,” he said, “there’s going to come a point where Georgia’s efforts to attract new business will run up against the discriminatory laws that we have here.”

DADT Meets DOMA – Gay Military Spouses Won’t Receive Benefits

Military Gay Couples Won’t Enjoy Benefits

Military Gay Couples

By JULIE WATSON   07/17/11 03:35 PM ET   AP

SAN DIEGO — Gay service members from Army soldiers to Air Force officers are planning to celebrate the official end of the military’s 17-year policy that forced them to hide their sexual orientation with another official act – marriage.

A 27-year-old Air Force officer from Ohio said he can’t wait to wed his partner of two years and slip on a ring that he won’t have to take off or lie about when he goes to work each day once “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed. He plans to wed his boyfriend, a federal employee, in Washington D.C. where same-sex marriages are legal.

He asked not to be identified, following the advice of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national organization representing gay troops, including the Air Force officer, that has cautioned those on active duty from coming out until the ban is off the books.

“I owe it to him and myself,” the officer said of getting married. “I don’t want to do it in the dark. I think that taints what it’s supposed to be about – which is us, our families, and our government.”

But in the eyes of the military the marriage will not be recognized and the couple will still be denied most of the benefits the Defense Department gives to heterosexual couples to ease the costs of medical care, travel, housing and other living expenses.

The Pentagon says the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act – which defines marriage for federal program purposes as a legal union between a man and woman – prohibits the Defense Department from extending those benefits to gay couples, even if they are married legally in certain states.

That means housing allowances and off-base living space for gay service members with partners could be decided as if they were living alone. Base transfers would not take into account their spouses. If two gay service members are married to each other they may be transferred to two different states or regions of the world. For heterosexual couples, the military tries to avoid that from happening.

Gay activists and even some commanders say the discrepancy will create a two-tier system in an institution built on uniformity.

“It’s not going to work,” said Army Reserve Capt. R. Clarke Cooper, who heads up the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group that sued the Justice Department to stop the enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. “Taking care of our soldiers is necessary to ensure morale and unit cohesion. This creates a glaring stratification in the disbursement of support services and benefits.”

Cooper said he also plans to marry his boyfriend, a former Navy officer, in a post-repeal era.

The Obama administration has said it believes the ban could be fully lifted within weeks. A federal appeals court ruling July 6 ordered the government to immediately cease its enforcement. After the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider its order, the court on Friday reinstated the law but with a caveat that prevents the government from investigating or penalizing anyone who is openly gay.

The Justice Department in its motion argued ending the ban abruptly now would pre-empt the “orderly process” for rolling back the policy as outlined in the law passed and signed by the president in December.

The military’s staunchly traditional, tight-knit society, meanwhile, has been quickly adapting to the social revolution: Many gay officers say they have already come out to their commanders and fellow troops, and now discuss their weekend plans without a worry.

The Air Force officer says he has dropped the code words “Red Solo Cups” – the red plastic cups used at parties – that he slipped into conversations for years to tell his partner he loved him when troops were within earshot. He now feels comfortable saying “I love you” on the phone, no longer fearful he will be interrogated by peers.

One male soldier, who also asked not to be identified, said after Congress approved repealing the law, he listed his boyfriend on his Army forms as his emergency contact and primary beneficiary of his military life insurance in case he dies in Afghanistan.

He said when he was transferred to South Korea, he and his partner had to pay for his partner’s move.

“But we were able to stay together,” the soldier wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press from Afghanistan. “During the move, I realized I needed to make sure my partner in life was taken care of if something, the worst, ever happened to me, especially knowing I was about to deploy.”

The soldier said when he added his boyfriend’s name to the paperwork as a primary beneficiary and identified him as a friend, the non-commissioned officer in charge shut his office door and told him: “Unlike the inherent benefits to being married in the Army, such as housing and sustenance allowances, our life insurance and will don’t discriminate.”

Same-sex partners can be listed as the person to be notified in case a service member is killed, injured, or missing, but current regulations prevent anyone other than immediate family – not same-sex spouses – from learning the details of the death. Same-sex spouses also will not be eligible for travel allowances to attend repatriation ceremonies if their military spouses are killed in action.

Gay spouses also will be denied military ID cards. That means they will not be allowed on bases unless they are accompanied by a service member and they cannot shop at commissaries or exchanges that have reduced prices for groceries and clothing, nor can they be treated at military medical facilities. They also will be excluded from base programs providing recreation and other such kinds of support.

Military officials say some hardship cases may be handled on an individual basis. Activists warn such an approach will create an administrative nightmare and leave the military vulnerable to accusations of making inconsistent decisions that favor some and not others.

Military families enjoy assistance from the Defense Department to compensate for the hardship of having a mother or father or both deployed to war zones and moved frequently.

“It strains a relationship when you’re gone for over a year,” said Navy medical corpsman Andrew James, 27, who lived two years apart from his same-sex partner, who could not afford to move with him when he was transferred from San Diego to Washington. “But straight couples have support so their spouses are able to be taken care of, with financial issues, and also they are able to talk to the chain of command, whereas gays can’t. They don’t have any support at all financially or emotionally, and that is really devastating.”

He said he was lucky that his relationship survived and now that he is in the Reserves, they are together again in San Diego.

The benefits issue came up repeatedly during training sessions to prepare troops for the policy change.

“There are inconsistencies,” Maj. Daryl Desimone told a class of Marines at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, after being asked about benefits for gay military personnel. “Anyone who looks at it logically will see there are some things that need to be worked out in the future.”

The military’s policy denying benefits to same-sex couples could change if legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act prove successful. The Obama administration has said it will not defend DOMA in court.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed a legal brief in federal court in San Francisco in support of a lesbian federal employee’s lawsuit claiming the government wrongly denied health coverage to her same-sex spouse. The brief said the lawsuit should not be dismissed because DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and was motivated by hostility toward gays and lesbians.

A Step Backward

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ To Remain In Place, 9th Circuit Court Rules

Dadt Repeal Court Ruling
By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER   07/16/11 01:50 AM ET   AP

LOS ANGELES — A federal appeals court late Friday ordered the military to temporarily continue its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for openly gay service members, responding to a request from the Obama administration.

In its three-page decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the ruling was based on new information provided by the federal government, including a declaration from Major General Steven A. Hummer, who is leading the effort to repeal the policy.

The court said it was upholding an earlier ruling to keep the policy in place “in order to provide this court with an opportunity to consider fully the issues presented in the light of these previously undisclosed facts.”

Despite the delay in dismantling the controversial policy, the ruling bars the federal government from investigating, penalizing or discharging anyone pursuant to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The court of appeals had halted “don’t ask, don’t tell” July 6 but the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion Thursday saying ending the policy now would pre-empt the orderly process for rolling it back, per a law signed by President Barack Obama in December.

Friday’s ruling was supported by Servicemembers United, an organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, but the group’s executive director Alexander Nicholson voiced frustration over the slow process of dismantling “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“The situation with finally ending this outdated and discriminatory federal policy has become absolutely ridiculous,” said Nicholson. “It is simply not right to put the men and women of our armed forces through this circus any longer.”

The ruling didn’t elaborate on Hummer’s declaration. The Department of Justice said in a statement that it asked the court to reconsider its order “to avoid short-circuiting the repeal process established by Congress during the final stages of the implementation of the repeal.”

It said senior military leaders are expected to make their decision on certifying repeal within the next few weeks. In the meantime, the Justice Department said “it remains the policy of the Department of Defense not to ask service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline.”

The Justice Department noted that the Defense Department has discharged only one service member since Congress voted to repeal the policy, and that was done at the request of the service member.

Last year’s ruling by the appeals court stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans against the Department of Justice.

The gay rights group persuaded U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips to impose a worldwide injunction halting the ban last October, but the appeals court granted the government a stay, saying it wanted to give the military time to implement such a historical change.

The Log Cabin Republicans asked the court Friday to deny the motion, saying “an on-again, off-again status of the District Court’s injunction benefits no-one and plays havoc with the constitutional rights of American service members.”

The plaintiff said while only one service member has been discharged since the congressional vote, three others have been approved for discharge by the secretary of the Air Force but the processing of those actions have been “stopped in their tracks” by the court’s order. Granting the stay the government wants would allow it to act on those discharges and also allow it to put recent applicants from gay enlistees in limbo, the group said.

Justice Department attorneys said in their motion Thursday the grounds for keeping the stay in place are even stronger today than they were when this court initially entered the stay, and that disrupting the process set out by Congress would impose “significant immediate harms on the government.”

The chiefs of the military services submitted their recommendations on the repeal to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week. As soon as the Pentagon certifies that repealing the ban will have no effect on military readiness, the military has 60 days to implement the repeal, which could happen by September.

Lt. Col. Paul Hackett, a lawyer in the Marine Corps Reserve, said military officials are ready for the change and there is no need for a delay.

“We’re already taking steps to implement it,” he said. “Politicians do what politicians do for whatever their political need is. It’s an election year, so somebody is obviously taken that into consideration. I suspect that’s what driving this.”

Friday’s order lays out a schedule for anticipated objections and motions from both sides: the Log Cabin Republicans have until 5 p.m. Thursday to file opposition to today’s motion, and the federal government has until 5 p.m. the next day to file a reply supporting it.

The court also asks the federal government to explain by close of business Monday why the information on implementation of the Repeal Act wasn’t provided sooner.

U.S. Troops to March in San Diego Pride

San Diego Pride: Troops To March As Identifiable Group In Gay Parade For First Time

Gay Pride

By JULIE WATSON   07/15/11 02:04 PM ET   AP

 SAN DIEGO — Sean Sala felt so elated when Congress approved repealing the military’s ban on openly gay troops the 26-year-old sailor went on TV and revealed his sexual orientation publicly in what he calls his “Rosa Parks moment.”

Now the former Navy operations specialist, who finished his service last month, is organizing what is believed to be the first military contingent of hundreds of active-duty troops and veterans to lead a gay pride parade. The group will march Saturday in San Diego’s parade, the nation’s fifth largest.

The national Servicemembers Legal Defense Network – representing gay and lesbian active-duty military personnel – said they told Sala they are warning members that it is still a risk to come out as long as “don’t ask, don’t tell” is on the books.

“We communicated to him that anyone who participates is assuming a certain level of risk,” spokesman Zeke Stokes said. “We are looking forward to a time when LGBT service members can participate in these kinds of actions without any risk.”

Sala said it’s time for the gay and lesbian community to stop hiding in fear.

“This is not in any way a violation of military policy and it’s time for the country to move on – plain and simple,” he said.

Cpl. Jaime Rincon, 21, a Camp Pendleton Marine who plans to participate, said he is grateful Sala gave him the opportunity to march as a military member in a gay pride event.

“Finally someone is stepping up to the plate, someone has said: `We’re done hiding. Let’s do something about this. Let’s show everybody we’re proud of who we are and we’re proud of our branches of service,'” he said.

The Pentagon has said the military will not discharge anyone under the policy, for now, to comply with a July 6 federal appeals court order telling the U.S. government to cease enforcing the 17-year ban. Marine Corps officials said service members who are not in uniform are within their rights to participate in a gay pride parade.

But Stokes said going public now could be used against military personnel later if the military starts enforcing the policy again. The Department of Justice has filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider its order, saying ending the ban now would pre-empt the “orderly process” for rolling back the 17-year-old policy as outlined in the law passed and signed by the president in December. Pentagon officials have said they expect the ban to be officially lifted soon.

Sala said the parade group will be made up of gay and heterosexual service members in a show of unity.

The troops and veterans will wear T-shirts showing their branch of service. They will walk with two horses – one draped in an American flag and the other with the rainbow-colored Pride flag – to honor service members and those who have died for equality, Sala said.

Some will accompany a half-ton military vehicle as audio equipment belts out “Taps” and military fight songs to the expected crowd of thousands. They also will hold a 30-foot American flag and a banner with the military crest on it.

Gay Pride marches nationwide have been focusing on the repeal of the military’s ban but this will be the first with active-duty troops participating as an identifiable group, gay rights activists say.

Denver’s PrideFest in June was themed “These Colors Don’t Run” to honor gay and lesbian service members, and its grand marshal was the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which had a discharged military officer represent it. Some parades have featured floats covered with photos of fallen gay troops with their faces blacked out.

Sala said the group’s presence will send a strong message that the nation is at the end of an era of discrimination.

“People (service members) are flying in from out of state to be in this because they believe `don’t ask, don’t tell’ never should have been instituted,” Sala said. “It’s about humanity and coming to honor military troops regardless of their sexual orientation in a pride parade. It’s finally able to happen.”

Outing himself was a therapeutic and moving experience, a release of years of pent up feelings of anger and humiliation at having to hide a part of his identity, Sala said.

Sala said he spent six years feeling paranoid that any misstep would mean the end of his career.

He would skirt questions about his weekend plans. He remembers lying in his bunk on a Navy ship off the coast of Iran, feeling despair there was a law forcing him to keep his life secret. So in December when the Senate approved repealing that law, an empowered Sala agreed to an interview on CW6, a San Diego TV station.

The next day he felt the stares from his fellow sailors. He expected the worst from his captain, a conservative Christian, who called him into his office.

“He told me, `I don’t care. I never cared. You’re an excellent leader,'” Sala recalled. “It was very moving.”

Sala was amazed at the sense of lightness that overtook him.

“It burns away at your soul…to just constantly feed people false pretenses just to protect yourself,” he said.

After the initial shock, his fellow sailors congratulated him for his courage, Sala said.

“It created a tremendous amount of unity,” he said.

He finished his service June 30 and plans to study politics.

Sala said he hopes the government will sanction a military presence in next year’s pride event, just as the armed forces have done in Canada and Great Britain, where uniformed soldiers have marched down the streets of Toronto and London next to scantily clad men, drag queens and civil rights activists.

“We’ve gone from instituting pure discrimination to instituting equality, which is amazing,” he said. “I’m wondering why repeal is taking so long. I say many of those who are still against this have never even put on a uniform.”

Interview With Gov. Bill Haslam Regarding Non-Discrimination

Bill Haslam: ‘Gay rights is a broad topic’

By WilliamWilliams
Created 07/10/2011 – 9:05pm
Nashville City Paper

With his first legislative session behind him, Gov. Bill Haslam has been sitting down with the state’s political reporters over lunch to talk about whatever’s on their minds. The City Paper took the time to discuss two Nashville issues — the legislature’s overturning of the city’s anti-gay bias ordinance and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

On neither issue was Haslam the driving force. Conservative Christians were. But the governor acquiesced and eventually played a key role in both matters.

Haslam signed the state law invalidating Nashville’s ordinance, which would have required companies doing business with the city to adopt nondiscrimination policies. The governor acted even though the state’s major corporations and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry came out against the state law.

And Haslam pressured health departments in Nashville and Memphis to deny more than $1 million in federal money to Planned Parenthood after the legislature failed to do so in a confusing set of circumstances. (One state budget amendment defunded the nonprofit while another negated the first measure.)

That money goes for health exams, cancer screenings and family planning for low-income women — not for abortions, which are illegal to perform with federal funds. With Planned Parenthood out of the picture, the health departments now will try to perform those services themselves.

Here are excerpts of The City Paper interview with Haslam:

The City Paper: One of your top aides says you agonized over whether to sign the ban on gay nondiscrimination laws. Did you?

Haslam: What he said was that, of the things we had to decide, it was the hardest. That’s fair.

Did you think about vetoing it?

Yes, we thought about a lot of things there, mainly because there are conflicting principles. I really do think local governments should be able to decide most things for themselves. I really do think that. And it bugged me as a mayor [in Knoxville] when [state legislators in] Nashville told us stuff to do. The flip side is, I honestly believe that businesses have plenty of regulation coming down on them from government. If you asked most Tennesseans, including most people in this restaurant, they’d say there are plenty of regulations. So you had two pretty conflicting philosophies wrapped up in one thing. In the end, it passed by 70 percent in both houses, so I signed it.

What about gay rights? You have said you think businesses should adopt nondiscrimination policies that include gay people.

I think this. I’ve said a hundred times, I think the people who hire the best team are going to win. If you take any part of the population and say I’m not going to hire those people willfully, I don’t think that’s a really smart business plan. I think businesses should have diverse hiring practices. That’s really different, though, than having city governments tell businesses what their HR practices should be. Businesses are going to go out and hire the best people they can.

But what about the issue of gay rights?

During the campaign, I was real clear. I’m not in favor of gay marriage. Gay rights is a broad topic. How are you going to define it? I ran making myself clear about one key piece of what some people would define as gay rights.

OK, you’re against gay marriage. Would you be against the legislature passing
an anti-discrimination law that protects gay people?

What you’re asking is, why wouldn’t I add gays as a protected class? I just feel like there’s enough regulation coming down.

So you would be against adding gay people to that state law?

Probably would. That issue hasn’t come to me. But sitting here today, I probably would be.

When you say you favor businesses adopting nondiscrimination policies, that’s because you think it’s smart business? To you, it’s not a matter of conscience that people shouldn’t discriminate against gay people just because they happen to be gay?

Again, it depends. How are you defining discrimination? You could say I’m discriminating already because I’m saying I’m not for gay marriage. Is that discriminating?

Yes.

Is it? OK, then I’m drawing a line there. But I’m not going to draw a line when it comes to hiring practices that I’m involved in.

Why do you take these positions? Do you think the gay lifestyle is a choice?

Oh, I’m not going to go into all that discussion.

Why not?

In my role as governor, I just don’t think that’s a topic that we need to get into. I’ve told you what we decided to do on a key issue, and I’ve told you what my own hiring practices are.

Does it ever occur to you that some people might think now that in 40 years, you might look like a segregationist looks to us now? Are you on the wrong side of history here?

There are certain things that you believe regardless of where societal thought goes.

Do you have some religious objection to advancement of rights for gay people?

Again, it depends on what you mean by advancement of rights. I’ve already said I’m not in favor of gay marriage.

As far as the business regulation argument against the Metro ordinance, the businesses said they were for the ordinance, right?

They did literally after I signed it. They were for it before they were against it.

If they switched positions earlier would it have made a difference? 

No, probably not.

Let’s get real here. Business regulation, that’s not what this is about.

You’re trying to make the point that I have some deep, inbred hostility toward gays. If that’s where you’re going, the answer is no.

This is not a business issue. It’s a conservative Christian issue.

I disagree. It is a business issue in the sense that businesses keep having regulations put on them. Let’s say I’m a Muslim subcontractor who wants to work on the convention center, and I feel very strong that regulation shouldn’t be placed on me. Is that a Christian conservative issue?

The Family Action Council was the main impetus behind that bill. In fact, they were the only ones behind the bill.

I can’t go back to what Glen Casada was thinking. I can’t go there. But that wasn’t the hand I was dealt.

Let me ask you generally about social conservative issues. A trend is developing. You are saying one thing and doing another. You do what the social conservatives want you to do, but you say things that will please everyone else.

Like what?

On this gay issue, you said, ‘I’m for businesses adopting nondiscrimination polices.’ But you signed the bill.

I don’t think that’s saying one thing and doing another. If I’m running a business, I’m going to go out and hire the best people I can, period. On the other hand, I don’t know that I necessarily want the local city council telling me my HR practices. I don’t think that’s saying one thing and doing another at all.

—–

I wonder if it was a non-discrimination policy based on race or gender that came to Gov. Haslam’s desk, would he feel the same way?  If it’s really not based on the ‘gay thing’ and based on the ‘regulation thing’, then there should be no non-discrimination policies whatsoever, right?


New York Marriage Equality Will Lead to Anarchy?

Apparently that is what former New York Giants receiver, David Tyree, thinks. In an article posted by CNN on June 17, 2011, Tyree steps into the political scene by announcing his opposition to same-sex marriage in the form of an appearance in a video released by the National Organization for Marriage on the same day as the New York State Assembly approved the same-sex marriage bill.

The part that I found most intriguing about David Tyree’s opposition was his reasoning that “same-sex parents are ill-equipped to raise a child of the opposite sex.” I can only assume from this argument that Mr. Tyree is also opposed to single parent households, adoptive, biological, or step parents raising children of another race, ethnicity, or nationality, and a number of other barriers that prevent a parent from understanding exactly what their child is going through. Given that same-sex couples, along with those parents aforementioned, are already raising our nation’s well adjusted and healthy youth, I do not see the validity in this argument.