What Will Obama and Holder Do About Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on Tuesday?

January 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm 85 comments

Update: Thanks to Kathleen, here’s the government’s reply brief in Log Cabin Republicans v. the United States of America, just filed.

A very important and timely piece from Karen. She raises some very important questions that need answering on implementation -Adam

Cross-posted from LGBTPOV

By Karen Ocamb

 

Attorney General Eric Holder at the memorial for Arizona shooting victims Jan 12, 2011

CORRECTED AND UPDATED: Eric Holder, a well-known civil rights advocate before becoming Attorney General, spoke briefly at the powerful memorial in Tucson for the victims of the Arizona shooting Wednesday night. He had a front row seat to President Obama’s inspiring message urging Americans to live up to the expectations of democracy held dear by 9 year old victim Christiana Green.

“I want to live up to her expectations,” President Obama said. “I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

At the core of that belief in democracy is the promise of full equality for all Americans. The next test for Obama and Holder, then, is not whether they rise above partisan bickering and exemplify civility in public discourse. Rather, it is whether they carve out an exception to that promise of full equality because, well, democracy is way more complicated than Christina Green imagines and it is incumbent upon them to keep up the delicate balance among promises made to little girls, to a community of second class citizens waiting for equality and to the US military.

We will find out on Tuesday, Jan. 18 – ironically, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day – when Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ) must tell the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals what they intend to do regarding the federal challenge to DADT, Log Cabin Republicans v. the United States of America, according to LCR attorney Earle Miller. (See all LCR legal filings here.) After all, how do you defend a law that no longer exists?

Despite the Sept. 9, 2010 ruling by District Court Judge Virginia Phillips that DADT violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution, despite Obama working with Congress to repeal the DADT statute in the lame duck session, DADT remains in effect as a regulatory policy and the DOJ continues to defend the ban against open service in court. Their main brief appealing Judge Phillips’ ruling is due on Jan. 24. The DOJ has asked the 9th Circuit to postpone hearing the LCR case indefinitely – or at least until repeal is implemented. That means – after Obama, Sec. Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff certify the repeal, with 60 days after that at least for full implementation.

The problem is: there is no precise timeline for when the process will be completed and in the meantime, DADT remains in effect with no executive order to stop investigations and discharges under the Pentagon’s pre-DADT ban.

And there is also the potential issue faced by the 9th Circuit if it decides to lift the regulatory ban on gays serving openly but not lift the ban on sodomy in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, despite the US Supreme Court finding that laws against sodomy are unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas. In March, 2010, Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson said that sodomy rules would be reviewed during the big Pentagon study of the implementation of the DADT repeal. Little has been made of that promise since then. And, as the Washington Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr. points out, there is little effort underway to repeal the military’s sodomy law that criminalizes consensual sodomy, whether gay or straight.

Nonetheless, at a news conference on Jan. 6, Sec. Gates promised to expedite the Pentagon’s process preparing

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates makes a point during a Jan. 6, 2011, Pentagon news conference with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (DOD photo/Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison)

the military for open service.

“Our goal here is to move as quickly, but as responsibly, as possible,” the American Forces Press Service reported Gates as saying. “I see this as a three-step process. The first is to finalize changes in regulations (and) policies (and) get clearer definition on benefits.”

The second phase is preparing training materials (including for chaplains) and the third phase is training servicemembers. “We’re trying to get the first two phases of that process done as quickly as possible,” Gates said. “My hope is that it can be done within a matter of a very few weeks, so that we can then move on to what is the real challenge, which is providing training to 2.2 million people.”

At the news conference, Mullen noted that the ban was still in place. “From my perspective,” Mullen said, “now is not the time to ‘come out,’ if you will….We’ll get through this. We’ll do it deliberately. We certainly are focused on this, and we won’t dawdle.”

Right. With all deliberate speed. But who’s putting together the materials and is there any LGBT input and oversight? What about input from antigay chaplains? Will that result in a behind-the-scenes debate that will slow and hamper the careful process? And then – how long will it take to train 2.2 million people? Who’s doing the training? Is there any oversight and accountability there?

To add to the DADT-specific questions, there is a more substantial problem of trusting the military in the first place.

Admiral Mullen at USC – Photo Karen Ocamb

Admiral Mullen – a charming leader with a clear concern about gays have to transgress their own sense of integrity to serve – has been flying around the country giving speeches to community groups with his wife – such as the one he gave at USC – urging the local community to welcome home soldiers suffering from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And yet there is the story of Specialist Jeff Hanks, the soldier from Fort Campbell who went AWOL last November seeking treatment for his PTSD, which he claimed the Army refused to acknowledge. And despite the diagnosis from four civilian doctors that Hanks suffers from PTSD and despite public support from anti-war groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War and Operation Recovery, after he turned himself in, the Army deployed Hanks back to Afghanistan on Sunday, Jan. 9 without treatment. (The Examiner has a good story on Hanks here.)

Why didn’t Mullen – who says he keeps up with the news and the troops on Twitter and Facebook – intervene if he’s telling civilians that PTSD is such a great concern? Incidentally, he still hasn’t released a statement about how servicemembers still under DADT can receive treatment for PTSD – especially is part of their PTSD is caused by DADT!

Another area of concern raised at that June 11, 2010 USC meeting with Mullen was the issue of sexual trauma experienced by women in the military. Six months later, on Dec. 15, the Service Women’s Action Network, with help from the ACLU, filed a federal complaint alleging that the Pentagon refused to release information showing the scope of sexual trauma in the military. The Court House News reported:

“Rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment ‘occur nearly twice as often within military ranks as they do within civilian life’ and are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in women veterans, but the Pentagon refuses to release information on it, or on its feeble efforts to help women who suffer from it, the Service Women’s Action Network says in a federal FOIA complaint.

Service members still are not adequately protected from MST [military sexual trauma] while they serve, and victims still are not adequately cared for after they leave,” the complaint states. “The government has resisted releasing information that might show the true scope of the problem or highlight its own negligence – information that must be known for the problem to be solved.”

The complaint alleges that “37 percent of military rape victims experience multiple rapes, and 14 percent experience gang rape….Due to underreporting, the prevalence of MST is likely far greater than current reports suggest. Fear, uncertainty, military dynamics, and military structure prevent victims from reporting approximately 80 percent of the unwanted or threatening sexual acts that they experience.

The MST crisis appears to be growing. DOD reports show that the number of reported sexual assaults increased 73 percent between 2004 and 2006. More recent DOD reports confirm this trend, showing that the number of assaults rose 11 percent between 2008 and 2009. …

In one recent study, 71 percent of female veterans seeking VA disability benefits for PTSD reported being sexually assaulted during their military service. Female service members have twice the levels of PTSD and depression as their male counterparts.”

The complaint also alleges that the government only prosecutes 8 percent of military sex offenders.” In civilian life, accused sex offenders are prosecuted 40 percent of the time.

As the Washington Post reported – citing statistics released by the Palm Center –“Women account for 14 percent of Army soldiers but received 48 percent of the Army’s “don’t ask” discharges in 2009,.” Women of color, lesbian or not, tended to account for a high percentage of the women discharged.

Also, though not brought up to Mullen at the USC meeting, Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center, estimates that “in absolute terms, there are about as many male-male as male-female rapes.”

There is reason to believe Mullen and Gates are aware that what’s happening in the military is not meeting up to their expectations. During an all-day leadership conference on Monday, Jan. 10, at the National Defense University at Fort McNair, Mullen called for self-examination.

According to the American Forces Press Service (AFPS), Mullen said the conference was “an opportunity to begin a conversation and debate about who we are, what we have become, and how that matches up to who we should be…..For something like this, which is at the heart of who we are, we can’t do enough self-examination.”

AFPS reported that Mullen was “echoing a message” Gates delivered at Duke University last September about a growing chasm between the American people and the military.

“Our underpinning, our authorities, everything we are, everything we do comes from the American people,” Mullen said. “And we cannot afford to be out of touch with them. … To the degree we are out of touch, I think is a very dangerous course.”

Though declining to specifically discuss “XO Movie Nights” Owen Honors, the recently fired commanding

Fired commanding officer Owen Honors

officer of the USS Enterprise, Mullen apparently alluded to the incident – which detailed videotaped sexist and homophobic skits produced by Honors – as an example of the need for self-examination.

“We have to have a true compass ethically,” Mullen said. “We have to have a true compass morally. We have to have a true compass inside our profession.”

But surely similar words have been said before – after the Tailhook scandal, for instance, or after the murders of Allen Schindler and Barry Winchell. Why should the public believe anything new or different should happen now – especially after the top military commander tours the country talking about PTSD while new cases of PTSD are being ignored by those under his command?

And what happens with the implementation of the repeal of DADT? As Servicemembers Legal Defense Network boardmember Tom Carpenter pointed out, the repeal law passed by Congress “is a skeleton of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA), the bill that had been advanced by leaders of repeal of DADT. The repeal statute was stripped of any nondiscrimination provisions and therefore will require the President to issue an executive order in order to provide for real equality.”

Will those new military materials explain that the LGBT community considers “faggot” an offensive term and prohibit its use? How will LGBT servicemembers be protected in the new military if many of its leaders think it’s just part of tradition to consider LGBT people immoral and therefore perhaps expendable? Without legal or regulatory protections, will openly LGBT people just subject themselves to yet another form of PTSD?

And how long will it take for the military to catch up with the public? How long will it be safe for the military to accept those people fired under DADT who shouted back at President Obama during the repeal signing ceremony when he asked them to re-enlist – “Recruit us now?”

How long will it be before the President, Attorney General Holder, the DOJ and the military live up to the expectations of 9 year old Christiana Green and the rest of us who believe in, have fought and are still waiting for real action to catch up with extraordinary words – let alone full equality?

Last Monday, Jan. 10, the lawyers in the LCR case against the government challenging the constitutionality of DADT case filed a brief with the 9th Circuit on why the court should deny the DOJ it’s request for a permanent stay.

LCR’s Clarke Cooper and attorney Dan Woods Photo courtesy LCR

“Passage of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Act of 2010 was an important step toward open service, but until open service is a reality, our legal battle remains necessary,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said in a press release. “As long as servicemembers are under threat of discharge and there is no clear timeline for certification, Log Cabin will stand for the constitutional rights of our men and women in uniform.”

“The White House and its lawyers at the Department of Justice are once again worlds apart,” said Dan Woods, Partner at White and Case, and lead attorney for Log Cabin Republicans v. USA. “Despite the President and Vice President’s insistence that this policy should be ended in an expedient manner, the Department of Justice has continued to throw up roadblocks. I reached out to my counterparts at the Department of Justice and offered to accept a stay if the government would agree to immediately end all discharges under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The Obama administration refused, and insists on continuing its enforcement of a policy that has been rejected by Congress, the military, and the American people. We are left with no choice but to continue our challenge to this failed and unconstitutional policy.”

“The issue at stake here is whether the administration will continue to fight to keep DADT alive, despite the court, the Congress, the military leadership, and the American people telling them that is the wrong thing to do,” LCR attorney Earle Miller told me in an email. “You would have thought the court’s injunction in October killed it, and then you would have thought that Congress’s ‘repeal’ in December killed it again – but like Rasputin, DADT just won’t die. By asking the 9th Circuit to stay the appeal and rejecting our request that investigations and discharges be halted while the appeal is pending, the administration seems inexplicably to be trying to preserve DADT as long as it can. DOJ has until next [Tuesday] to respond to our filing [Monday, Jan 10], and we will be keenly watching to see if they do the right thing and withdraw their request for a stay.”

In the meantime, LGBT servicemembers and their families continue to have to live a harmful lie. What would Christiana Green say about that?

One final point. Much has been made about how among the 13,000 LGBT servicemembers fired under DADT are Arab linguists. They might have been needed. In an exclusive investigative report early last September, ABC News reported that:

“More than one quarter of the translators working alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan failed language proficiency exams but were sent onto the battlefield anyway, according to a former employee of the company that holds contracts worth up to $1.4 billion to supply interpreters to the U.S. Army.

Civilian translators have for nearly a decade been playing a crucial if unsung role in the Afghanistan war, embedding with troops as they have moved through the countryside, helping soldiers gather information from local villagers, and attempting to spread the message of security, moderation and peace that undergirds the U.S. presence there. Some Afghan veterans have rated the value of a skilled interpreter as equal to that of a working weapon or sturdy body armor.

But a former top screener of translators heading to Afghanistan tells ABC News in an exclusive interview…that he believes many of the translators currently in the field cannot perform their function.

“There are many cases where soldiers have gone out into the field and have spoken to elders [who] handed messages to the interpreter that a possible ambush three miles up the road would occur. The interpreter cannot read the message and they are attacked,” Funk said. “We’re talking about soldiers lives here.”….

After being asked about the allegations, U.S. Army officials confirmed to ABC News they are investigating the company.”

On Aug. 23, 2010, Neil Shea published a piece in Foreign Policy magazine entitled “Failure to Communicate.” Shea wrote: “Translation is such an everyday act that it is routinely omitted from most discussion of strategy and success. But, badly done, it is fatally dangerous. And the messages lost through faulty translation in Afghanistan are sabotaging the mission there as badly as any physical enemy ever could.”

So the question of how the Obama Administration is going to respond to the LCR filing in the federal lawsuit challenging DADT on Monday is not only one of living up to the expectations of democracy but speaks to how deeply the President, the Commander-in-Chief and his civilian and military subordinates care about saving the military’s reputation and ultimately, saving American lives.

Entry filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Utter deception or utter delusion? Happy anniversary, P8TT

85 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peterplumber  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    ♂♂

    Reply
    • 2. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      I have a new Mac Mini (yay!) and can’t figure out how to do ASCII symbols with it yet (boo!). Just one more thing to figure out that’s different from Windows.

      Reply
      • 3. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

        √ = option+v

        Reply
      • 4. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        Meant for this to be up here for Ann

        § = option+6

        Reply
      • 5. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        Congrats on the new Mac Mini – I am so happy for you!

        http://www.nouilles.info/keyboard_shortcuts.html

        The table is halfway down the page – mac symbols have some oddity, like to do a tilde over an n you hold down the option and strike the ‘n’ key then hit the ‘n’ key without the option selected.

        Or, you do like I do and when you don’t know, just copy from the table and paste. : )

        Reply
        • 6. Straight For Equality  |  January 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm

          LLB, thanks for the link to the table.

          I usually just use the “Special Characters…” option under “Edit” in Chrome or Firefox browser. But if I learn the sequences from the table, that probably will be quicker.

          Reply
  • 7. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Hmm, that seems to be “paste” for me.

    Reply
    • 8. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Ack, I didn’t even get this in the right place.

      Thank you, Kathleen!

      Reply
      • 9. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm

        Usually command+v is past on a mac; option+v will give you the check sign.

        Reply
        • 10. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

          I’m not sure I have an option key. This is my old MS keyboard I’m using.

          Reply
          • 11. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

            Ah, there’s the rub. :)

          • 12. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

            Thanks for the help! Now I know more than I did, so it’s all good.

          • 13. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

            when you use a Windows keyboard with a Mac, the option and command keys are switched.

          • 14. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm

            and option key is the Alt key

          • 15. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm

            Control = Ctrl

            Option= Alt

            Command (the four leaf clover) = Windows

            Delete = Backspace

            Return = Enter

          • 16. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

            Gah. I’m on the PC again for the moment. The trackpad and keyboard stopped working through the KVM switch. I only set this up last night, clearly I have more bugs to work out.

            Thanks for the tips, Kathleen and LLB!

          • 17. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

            LOL, I had a scheduled call with a rep of IBM on a real estate lease matter, and when she didn’t call me at the appointed time (which was our arrangement) I called her.

            Her IBM computer had been frozen up by her brand new IBM keyboard, and so she couldn’t get my phone number out of the computer to call me.

            So I’m not the only one with computer problems today, but somehow I think I’d feel worse if I worked for a major computer manufacturer and couldn’t get my computer to work.

            /OT

  • 18. Don in Texas  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    My congratulations to Karen Ocamb for her superb reporting and excellently written article.

    Reply
    • 19. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      And mine, too. This is a great article.

      Reply
  • 20. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Many of the important documents in the case can be obtained from the Court’s website:
    http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000492

    … though they haven’t uploaded the amended response motion submitted by LCR:

    Reply
  • 21. Rhie  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Watchin

    Reply
  • 22. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    § = option+6

    Reply
    • 23. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      I think the problem might be that I’m using a KVM switch to use both the Mac Mini and my Windows PC with the same trackpad, keyboard, and monitor. I have definitely lost some of the snazzier functions on the trackpad, and the number lock on my number pad doesn’t seem to work, either. Woe is me. Still, this setup is pretty cool.

      Reply
  • 24. Sagesse  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Looking forward to reading and learning…. and the weekend.

    Reply
  • 25. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Do you hear that?…..That is the laughing of every Military that are our allies who allow open service….how hard is it to NOT fire somebody…It really is this simple…you don’t fire them….”Oh..you’re Gay?…Ok, back to work”…..(sighs) …. : I ….Ronnie

    Reply
    • 26. Manilow  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      agreed! you’d think we would have bigger issues to worry about with our forces spread out in two wars!

      Reply
      • 27. Mouse  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        The only reason to fear that openly gay servicemembers are going to rape you is because you are a morally bankrupt rapist who is projecting his own faults onto others.

        Maybe the military should focus on discharging people for the criminal actions they choose to commit, like rape, and stop punishing people for being who they are – now that doing so has been declared unconstitutional and the law that required it has been repealed.

        As Ronnie said, it really is that simple.

        Plan for not being a filthy bigot:
        Step 1) Don’t be a bigot.
        Step 2) Don’t need a step 2, step 1 is all there is to it.

        Reply
        • 28. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

          Actually, I think Step two should be: Repeat Step one every moment until Step one becomes your nature!

          Reply
  • 29. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    UPDATE in LCR v USA (DADT case)

    Government reply in support of its motion to hold appeal in abeyance:

    Reply
    • 30. Peterplumber  |  January 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      Well, it seems like that are talking out of both sides of their mouth.
      They say there is no need to proceed further with this case because congress repealed DADT anyway.
      They say that DADT will be fully repealed, certified and the 60 day waiting period will have passed by the time the court gets around to ruling. But their reason for the abeyance is so that the government can have an orderly repeal, rather than having repeal forced upon them immediately by the court.
      If they are sure the court case will take longer than the (already in process) orderly repeal, what are they concerned about? Let the case proceed!

      Reply
      • 31. bJason  |  January 15, 2011 at 5:21 am

        I think their concern is that a loss in court could force what the Act of Congress does not. Let’s remember, no where in the DADT Repeal Act of 2010 (H.R. 2965) is allowing open service required. The word homosexual appears ONLY in the title of Section 2. Read the Act here (very short):

        http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2965/text

        The DoD could easily be preparing training to disallow ANY service of gays/lesbians and it would be completely in line with the verbiage of the Repeal Act. I don’t think they ARE doing this but they could. Also, going this route, the DOJ could at any time in the future, change their policies to disallow open service. The Act would not restrict that.

        A DOJ loss in court would be much more of a “mandate” for open service that would be much more difficult to reverse in the future.

        Reply
    • 32. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      I THINK (hoping someone can confirm this) that this request will be decided by the motions panel in the 9th Circuit. for the month of January that is B. Fletcher, Reinhardt, and N.R. Smith.

      We know Reinhardt and Smith from the Prop 8 appeal. B. Fletcher must be Senior Circuit Judge (Carter appointee) Betty Binns Fletcher
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Binns_Fletcher

      Reply
      • 33. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 3:51 pm

        Betty Fletcher took senior status when her son William Fletcher was appointed to the 9th Circuit. I can’t remember if it was a rule or they just thought it would look better to not have mother and son be full-time judges in the same Circuit.

        /trivia

        Reply
    • 34. celdd  |  January 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      They are also asking for a month extension to when their briefs are due in case the judges rule the case can go forward. It’s at the end, just before the Conclusions.

      “The President signed the Repeal Act on December 22, 2010,and the government filed its abeyance motion on December 29, 2010.Log Cabin filed its opposition on January 10, 2011, and an “amended” opposition on January 13. The government’s opening brief is due onJanuary 24, 2011. In view of that timing, the government respectfully requests a 30-day extension of time within which to file its opening brief and excerpts of record, up to and including February 23, 2011,should the Court decide not to hold this appeal in abeyance in deferenceto the orderly process for repeal of § 654

      Reply
    • 35. bJason  |  January 15, 2011 at 4:29 am

      “Holding this appeal in abeyance is appropriate out of respect for the orderly process mandated by Congress and because when certification occurs no further briefing will be necessary.” – Gov’t. response, p. 2

      “No Immediate Effect on Current Policy- Section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect until such time that all of the requirements and certifications required by subsection (b) are met. If these requirements and certifications are not met, section 654 of title 10, United States Code, shall remain in effect.” – H.R. 2965 1(c)

      The DOJ is arguing “when” but the Act says “if” – not the same. “If” is not a mandate of Congress – “if”is a permission slip. I.e. Yes, you CAN let Mary go on the field trip (but you don’t HAVE to).

      The appeal should continue, uninterrupted.

      Reply
  • 36. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Will read in depth later.

    Reply
  • 37. Maggie4NoH8  |  January 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Today has me feeling hopeless…

    Reply
    • 38. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      I’m sorry Maggie4NoH8. I think this is going to eventually have a good outcome. It’s just a question of how long it will take to get there.

      In the meantime, here’s what I do to hold off despair. Otter videos:

      http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=otters&aq=f

      Reply
      • 39. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        I love the otter video where they are swimming together holding hands then break away and come back together. It’s a dance of love, otter style!

        Reply
  • 40. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    This one!

    Reply
    • 41. Manilow  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      OMG – I’m GUSHING at my desk at work. My cubemates think I’m crazy.

      Can I please (please please please) get an otter as a pet? Please!

      Reply
      • 42. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm

        I KNOW, huh???

        But before rushing off to get a pet otter be sure to watch the video “Pet Otters – Ferrets on Crack”

        Reply
        • 43. Peterplumber  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm

          Did anyone else notice that the otters are both MALES?

          Reply
    • 47. Maggie4NoH8  |  January 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      Oh now you guys have me all verklempt! THANKS!!!!!!!

      I used to have a ferrett – He was fantastic! His name was Jethro…

      Reply
      • 48. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

        I think ferrets are really cool!

        Reply
      • 49. Peterplumber  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

        Someone should send that otter video to Maggie Gallagher….and point out that they are two males holding hands

        Reply
      • 50. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

        Maggie4NoH8, are you by any chance Jewish? Whether you are or aren’t I want to thank you. You have helped me expand my Yiddish. I had to go ask My husband to translate “verklempt” because I couldn’t find it in the Yiddish dictionary I have. The way this one is set up, it has the English word in the index, but not the Yiddish one, and all of the entries are numbered. Not much help to me at all. And I am desperately trying to learn more than just “Traffic Yiddish,” LOL!

        Reply
        • 51. Peterplumber  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm

          Verklempt (adj) — choked with emotion (German verklemmt = emotionally inhibited in a convulsive way; stuck) farklempt, ferklempt Too emotional to talk. Ready to cry.

          “Now I am strating To get Verklempt !!!” Says Barbra Streisand during her 1994 US tour

          Reply
          • 52. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm

            I learned it from Coffee Talk

          • 53. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

            One of my childhood friends is of Polish extraction and I know “verklempt” and a few other choice words from her.

          • 54. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm

            Thanks, everybody. And yes, that is the translation Rabbi gave me. See, I was not raised with the knowledge of my Jewish heritage, so am coming to all of this fairly late in life. And it has been a wonderful adventure as I have discovered more each day.

  • 55. Rich  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    NOM just posted that they are very disappointed in the DOJ’s response as mentioned above. Something about dropping the contention that an important component of straight marriage is for procreation. Does anyone have a handle on NOM’s gripe?

    Reply
    • 56. Sagesse  |  January 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      The arguments used to support DOMA when it was passed included the procreation argument and others that were shot down in the Prop 8 trial. In the original DOMA trial the DOJ declined to defend these largely discredited reasons, and instead used the ‘rational bases’ summarized by Chris Geidner in the post earlier today. NOM still clings to the procreation argument. It’s not a good sign for them that the DOJ has abandoned it.

      Reply
    • 57. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Basically, NOM gets disappointed whenever anyoine tries to do the right thing and bring in rational arguments, because rational arguments never line up with NOM’s arguments. Their whole ball of wax during the Prop 8 Trial was that marriage is about procreation, that marriage has always been about procreation, and that marriage will always be about procreation. Thereofre, any argument that does not include some variation on procreation, responsible procreation, procreativeness, etc., is a disappointment to NOM.

      Reply
      • 58. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

        You forgot the “channeling procreation”; don’t forget the channeling. :)

        Reply
        • 59. Peterplumber  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

          It gets to be annoying. After reading all the prop 8 appeal 9th circuit briefs (the amicas came out of the woodwork!) I was sick of hearing it. But that’s their only rant….over & over & over again.
          I wanna ask them, like we all do, how does it hurt your marraige if I get married too? How does it hurt the children? How does it alter procreation? I am not gonna procreate whether I marry my domestic parter or not. Don’t force me to marry a woman and (gasp) have sex with her!
          I DON’T WANNA PROCREATE!!!!!

          Reply
          • 60. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

            And there are a lot of opposite-sex couples who don’t want to, either. It’s not the purpose of marriage in our society.

            BTW, Cooper started with this again during oral arguments and it was all I could do to not laugh loudly.

          • 61. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

            They are also forgetting about all of the couples who do have children already, and in the case of some life-long couples, grandchildren. Are they unaware of the fact that we will do all we can to protect our children and grandchildren from any type of predator, regardless of what type of predation they practice?

          • 62. Ann S.  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm

            We could have made it a drinking game, if not for being in the courtroom and all. Maybe some of the folks in the overflow room did!

          • 63. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm

            I know! Ah, good times. xoxo

          • 64. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

            Actuallhy, Ann, if you had used Coca-Cola or coffee instead of alcohol, it could still have been a good drinking game.

          • 65. TexasJoe  |  January 16, 2011 at 6:30 am

            Exactly – so if you “dont wanna procreate” then why do you need to get married?

            If you are looking for the civil benefits of marriage – you have that in domestic partnership.

          • 66. Ronnie  |  January 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

            “If you are looking for the civil benefits of marriage – you have that in domestic partnership.”

            No, we don’t…..pay attention….. : I ….Ronnie

          • 67. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 16, 2011 at 8:29 am

            @ TExas Joe. No, we do not have the civil benefits of marriage with a domestic partnership. First of all, with marriage, you are not taxed on adding your spouse to your group insurance at work. Next, when you are married, nobody questions your right to visit your spouse in the hospital. Third, when you have a marriage license, you can file both your federal and your state income taxes jointly and receive those benefits. There are 1,138 civil and legal benefits that are denied to domestic partnerships, no matter how they lie and tell you that it is the same as marriage. And then there is the fact that in order to file for a domestic partnership, you are required to prove that you have been living together for at least a year. How long did you have to prove you had been living with your wife before you filed for and received your marriage license. You really need to get your head out of the sand, wake up, smell the coffee and learn the truth of the matter.

          • 68. Peterplumber  |  January 16, 2011 at 9:12 am

            @ TexasJoe

            You can procreate without getting married, so why do you want me to procreate in order to get married?

          • 69. fiona64  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:36 am

            TexasJoe wrote: Exactly – so if you “dont wanna procreate” then why do you need to get married?

            If you are looking for the civil benefits of marriage – you have that in domestic partnership.

            No, actually, you don’t. There are differences even at the state level. For example:

            — You cannot have been in a previous domestic partnership within the past six months. Not so with marriage.
            — You have to pay taxes on benefits provided to your domestic partner. Not so with marriage.
            — You must be jointly domiciled in a domestic partnership (if one of you is deployed in the military, for example, your DP is invalidated). Not so with marriage.
            — Your DP is not valid outside the borders of the state wherein it was established. Not so with marriage.

            That’s not even an exhaustive list.

            Oh yeah, I don’t have (or want) kids. But no one tried to stop me getting married.

            Love,
            Fiona ( straight woman who has been in a DP *and* married, and knows the differences).

        • 70. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 8:12 pm

          You’re so right! I did forget about the channeling! I wonder if it is because I have not been around mystics very much in my life.

          Reply
  • 71. Manilow  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Any LA or LA area P8TT’ers planning on going to this? I will be there:

    http://www.eqcaevents.org/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=339

    Reply
    • 72. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      That’s the first I’ve heard of it. It sounds fun!! How do we find each other if I go?

      Reply
      • 73. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:52 pm

        Put a NOH8 tattoo on your cheek. Or maybe the P8TT logo from the site. This makes me wish we lived in the LA area!

        Reply
    • 74. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      Robert and I will be there. We just bought nose bleed seats. It ought to be a fun night – for the crowd, if not for the game. :)

      Reply
      • 75. Kathleen  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

        I’ll make a P8TT button or something to wear!

        Reply
  • 76. Michael  |  January 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I love each and every pro-equality heterosexual in this nation. We would not have the rights we do now, if it were not for these magnificent people. However, for the rest, I say this: You heterosexuals need to learn to work on the real issues in your lives, relationships and marriages instead of harrassing and mistreating gay Americans. Each time you deflect the focus to gay people, you ignore an opportunity to take responsibility for, and do something about, your real issues. For some, sadly, it’s so much easier to ignore sexual harassment, rape, divorce, etc. and point fingers at gay people instead. And so much more lucrative for those who do so.

    Reply
  • 77. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Judge Walker trivia. Gonna miss his sense of humour.

    Class Dismissed for Substitute Teacher Vaughn Walker

    http://legalpad.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/01/class-dismissed-for-substitute-teacher-vaughn-walker.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+legalpad_feed+%28Legal+Pad%29

    Reply
    • 78. Kathleen  |  January 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      Thank you for that, Sagesse. His humor (by any spelling) will indeed be missed. Reading the transcripts and his opinions made me want to know him as a person, not just a judge. Can anyone wrangle a dinner party invite? :)

      Reply
  • 79. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2011 at 6:43 am

    From the mouths of babes:

    ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy recognizes our freedoms

    http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20110115/OPINION10/110114056/1004/OPINION/%E2%80%98Don-t-ask–don-t-tell–policy-recognizes-our-freedoms

    Reply
    • 80. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

      And a true Christian at that. She states her belief, but also states that just because they are her beliefs does not mean that they should be codified into the legal system. She is not trying to impose her beliefs on anyone else, instead calling for common sense on this issue.

      Reply
      • 81. Steve  |  January 15, 2011 at 10:15 am

        Stop it with the No True Scotsman fallacy please. This isn’t the first time.

        Everyone thinks they are the “true faith” and that all others are wrong. And in the US, unobtrusive Christians are a distinct minority in most places.

        Reply
  • 82. Sagesse  |  January 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

    This probably won’t get far. Hunter’s homophobia is hereditary. His father voiced similarly obnoxious opinions when he was in Congress.

    Rep. Hunter attempts to block ‘Don’t Ask’ repeal

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/01/14/rep-hunter-attempts-to-block-dont-ask-repeal/

    Reply
    • 83. Kathleen  |  January 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      Of course he does. Ugh.

      Reply
  • 84. Martin Pal  |  January 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    About this paragraph in the article:

    “Though declining to specifically discuss “XO Movie Nights” Owen Honors, the recently fired commanding
    officer of the USS Enterprise, Mullen apparently alluded to the incident – which detailed videotaped sexist and homophobic skits produced by Honors – as an example of the need for self-examination.”

    I would suggest that jumping on this situation as a sexist and/or homophobic act is something gay groups
    should tread lightly on. By all accounts, gay people that I have heard from who served with Honors say he is one of the most accepting people in the military you’d ever want to meet. Furthermore, they have legitimate reason to believe this whole thing was started by service chaplains who were unhappy about the repeal of DADT and lashed out against Honors. Now, the rank and file who liked Honors are blaming, in the Norfolk media, gay people for this and creating intolerance against gay people that previously was not there. If the gay media and/or individuals want to jump on the bandwagon of “homopobia and intolerance,” I suggest picking battles that are obvious and not out of context. As a gay service member wrote to me, “The people who are pouncing on this are taking it out of context to create their own story, but the reality is that they are creating a problem in this instance where none existed. And it is not helping”

    From what I know, I agree. There are battles to be fought, but don’t make battles out of thin air just to make a statement.

    Reply
  • 85. Suzanne (not for much longer) O.  |  January 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I <3 you too, Michael. Your comment about real issues was positively splendid!

    Love,

    A straight woman currently divorcing the

    homophobic bigot she erred in marrying in 2006.

    Reply

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