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On this day when a momentous series of cases related to gay marriage are being heard before the Supreme Court, I thought it time to reflect on a broader topic of leadership and motivation.
So often in life we let fear, old stories or myths prevent us from living from our heart and pursue what we love, cause us to be less tolerant, or keep us from leading in a strong compassionate way. Many times fear causing us to fight (against bullies) or flee (when imminent danger is around) is a good and valid response. But when fear and old stories cause us to freeze or to not lead in a heartfelt way, we know we are probably about to make a bad decision.
The bullies in our lives (and politics) will often repeat old stories about ourselves, themselves, or society in general in order to keep us from doing what our heart knows deep down is just and right. This happens many times in our relationships, in our jobs, or just in the interaction with friends and the people we care about. It causes our elected officials to freeze and not lead where the country deep down really desires to go. Leaders usually never lead, they usually follow where the country is already going. This happened in a profound way on the issue of gay marriage.
The strength of the anti gay marriage message as a successful wedge issue in politics a while back proved ineffective. I have written and talked about this before, but it bears repeating on this important day in our country’s history and for the world when nine folks in robes listened to arguments on both sides of the gay marriage issue. In 2004, voters were already ahead of our leaders, and the amendments on the ballots concerning the legality gay marriage had no effect on turnout.
Follow ABC’s Live Updates Here: Gay Marriage at the Supreme Court
Speaking from experience as the chief strategist in 2004 for President Bush, I saw in close detail how little gay marriage could influence turnout of conservatives or evangelicals. In 2003 and 2004, we did a series of public opinion tests on different messages related to the micro targeting project that would cause voter groups to turn out more in President Bush’s favor. We tested social issues as well as messages related to the economy, national security, taxes and the size of the federal government. Not a single social issue (which included gay marriage) fell on the effectiveness scale in the top eight messages.
Further, in analyzing the election returns in the aftermath of the 2004 presidential race an interesting set of data was revealed. In states that had gay marriage amendments on the ballot including key target states, there was no statistical difference in turnout of conservatives from states that did not have these amendments on the ballot. Gay marriage had no effect on turnout even among the most conservative potential voters in both the data before Election Day and the returns on Election Day.
The 2004 election already was showing voters were ahead of our leaders and especially ahead of consultants who grew up using wedge issues in the 1980s. They were repeating an old story that was no longer true. And this old story even scared Democratic politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as President Obama, all of who were against gay marriage as recently as the 2008 election. They bought into this old story and myth and were afraid to lead from a place of love and compassion, and reacted with fear. Not fear of reality, but fear of a myth.
INFOGRAPHIC: How Support For Gay Marriage Has Grown
This same type of fear also caused many leaders (and the media) not to stand up in the face of a disastrous war in Iraq. In that case they were afraid of being called weak or unpatriotic on defense, and because of that fear thousands of life’s were lost and more than a trillion dollars spent because many of us didn’t have the courage at the time to stand up and say no. Many Republicans use this fear to scare leaders from opposing a failed policy on war and military defense.
By Edith Honan
LOUISVILLE, Ky (Reuters) – In Kentucky, a Bible Belt state where voters have passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the movement to promote gay rights has two factions.
One seeks to overturn discrimination through a legislative path, admitting it faces long odds. The other wants to break down barriers to gay marriage with demonstrations and civil disobedience.
Chris Hartman, head of Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign, spends his time lobbying for a nondiscrimination law that would protect gays and lesbians from losing their jobs or being denied housing because of their sexual orientation.
He concedes that the law, which has been proposed every year for a decade and has never been brought to a vote, has little chance of passing any time soon.
Then there is Rev. Maurice Blanchard, who says he is less patient. He is calling for an historic gay rights march on the state capitol on March 26, the day the Supreme Court begins hearing two gay-marriage cases: one on a marriage ban in California and another on a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to the union of a man and a woman.
The issue has put the two men, both openly gay and in their early 30s, at loggerheads. Hartman says gay marriage is a non-starter for state lawmakers and talk of it will only set back negotiations for more moderate proposals, like a non-discrimination law.
“Marriage is on the forefront of many people’s minds, and it’s tough to go to the folks who are excited about relationship recognition and be the person to say, ‘But that’s not where our leaders are,’” said Hartman. “It’s not that it’s ambitious; it’s unrealistic.”
Blanchard, who was arrested with his partner in January when they refused to leave the Jefferson County clerk’s office after being denied a marriage license, likens his fight to the struggle for black civil rights and says there is no proper time to demand equality.
“I want the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) person who sees this event to feel affirmed: Faith is not against me and in fact it is the basis for calling for your rights,” Blanchard said.
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The Government’s gay marriage proposals do not go far enough, according to a poll of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The controversial introduction of same-sex marriage will be put to a Commons vote next week.
But in a survey, six out of 10 gay people said the Government’s plans would not create “equal marriage”, and that equality would only be achieved when churches, synagogues and mosques are required to carry out same-sex weddings.
The poll found that half of all LGBT people expect the courts to remove the remaining protections on places of worship.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) believed Prime Minister David Cameron was trying to extend marriage to LGBT people to make the Tories look more compassionate rather than because of his convictions.
The poll – which questioned more than 500 LGBT people – was commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage – an alliance of groups and individuals opposed to attempts to redefine marriage. The organisation’s campaign director Colin Hart described the results as a “wake-up call to the Government”.
He said: “These poll results should be a real eye opener for David Cameron. They show that the PM’s motives are not trusted. Just 15% of LGBT people believe his claims that he is making the change out of conviction.
“They also show that Mr Cameron’s plans to force this Bill through Parliament with little or no debate is not supported even by those who back the change, because they fear this might do more harm than good.
“So when will the Government listen to the growing number of MPs, peers, legal and constitution experts who are saying that this legislation will have all sorts of unintended consequences?
“Ordinary people – teachers, parents, foster carers and those who work in the public sector – who back the traditional definition of marriage face being treated like outcasts, disciplined or sacked from their jobs. r Cameron should either ditch this unpopular and unworkable legislation, or at the very least put it before the British public.”
PARIS (Reuters) – Several hundred thousand people are expected to march through Paris on Sunday against the planned legalization of same-sex marriage in the first mass protest against the unpopular President Francois Hollande.
Strongly backed by the Catholic hierarchy, lay activists have mobilized a hybrid coalition of church-going families, political conservatives, Muslims, evangelicals and even homosexuals opposed to gay marriage for the show of force.
So many are expected to converge on Paris from around France that police had organizers split it into three separate columns starting from different points around the city and meeting in the Champ de Mars park at the Eiffel Tower.
Frigide Barjot, an eccentric comedian leading the so-called “Demo for All,” insists the protest is pro-marriage rather than anti-gay and has banned all but its approved banners saying a child needs a father and a mother to develop properly.
“We’re all born of a man and a woman, but the law will say the opposite tomorrow,” she said last week. “It will say a child is born of a man and a man.”
Hollande, who promised to legalize gay marriage and adoption during his election campaign last spring, has a comfortable parliamentary majority to pass the law by June as planned.
But his clumsy handling of other promises, such as a 75 percent tax on the rich that was ruled unconstitutional or his faltering struggle against rising unemployment, has soured the public mood. A mass street protest can hardly help his image.
MARRIAGE OR JOBS FOR ALL?
Same-sex nuptials are already legal in 11 countries including Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Norway and South Africa, as well as nine U.S. states and Washington D.C.
Gay marriage opponents such as Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, head of the Catholic Church in France, have asked why Hollande is pushing through a divisive social reform called “marriage for all” when voters seem more concerned about “jobs for all.”
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By Alex Gabriel
“Look,” said David Cameron last week, in a voice much like Tony Blair’s when grilled on Newsnight. “I’m in favour of gay marriage, because I’m a massive supporter of marriage, and I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution.”
The comments were met with gushing praise from self-described progressives, and no doubt too with fountains of gay cash. In the 90 minutes following Barack Obama’s statement, “I think same sex couples should be able to get married”, a million pink dollars poured straight into his campaign for re-election. Cameron, ever the businessman, has clearly found a rhetoric which sells.
That’s not to say, of course, that his stance here is purely mercenary. “I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative,” he told us in his conference speech last year, “I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.” If any sincere, well-meant critique of the project has been drowned out, it belongs to those of us on the queer left who see the idea as deeply engrained in regressive Cameroon politics.
This June, American activists founded OccuPride, asking: “Why are we fighting for marriage equality while trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people are dying, losing their jobs and being locked up at dramatically higher rates than straight, cisgender populations? Why are we fighting for a few more documented monogamous couples to be let into an exclusionary institution instead of demanding health care, immigration [rights], respect, and autonomy for everyone?”
Three months before, the British Coalition for Equal Marriage released its ‘Homecoming’ advert. The video shows blue-eyed, milky-skinned soldiers disembarking from a plane, as wives and children wave Union Jacks like Bonfire Night sparklers. One proposes to his male partner on bended knee, accompanied by soaring piano music and the caption, ‘All men can be heroes all men can be husbands’.
If this is queer liberation, it’s the Enoch Powell version, complete with imperialist drum-beating, sexism and an all-white cast. (Though admittedly, far better skincare.)
To many of us, ‘equal marriage’ is an oxymoron. As vague abstractions like ‘acceptance’, ‘hate’ and ‘being who you are’ creep into the language of campaigners, robbing it of its political weight, let’s remind ourselves equality and marriage have rarely intertwined. I don’t just mean forced marriages: I mean financial security has evaded those who don’t opt for ‘commitment’, to the extent that single parents remain hardship-stricken; that social approval has as well, to the point of Ed Miliband’s press-appeasing wedding last year to Justine Thornton, when they’d been quite happily unmarried for years before.
Both Christian B&Bs to turn away gay couples in recent years did so because they were unmarried, meaning if no knot had been tied, heterosexual couples were denied a room at the inn as well. In Cameron’s Britain, too, tax benefits for the married that is, heavier taxes for everybody else are on the table. The function of marriage has always been to convey higher status, dividing lovers into haves and have-nots. Offer it to those in gay partnerships, and no part of that changes. ‘Equal marriage’ is rather like ‘Equal first class’: it only means anything if things are better for the people in it.
A social movement for the ‘right to marry’ now seems ironic, when activists last century spent so long pursuing their right not to do so. That doesn’t mean that choosing to get married is wrong, but it does mean Cameron’s position is unsurprising: for a ‘supporter of marriage’ who wants to put ‘commitment’ back at society’s core after our dalliance with free love and permissiveness, a chorus of angry people demanding wedding rings is more than slightly convenient.
WASHINGTON, November 5, 2012 (WAFA) Izumi Kobayashi, executive vice president of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) the political risk insurance arm of the World Bank Group will visit the West Bank and Gaza in early November to discuss opportunities for private sector investment, a MIGA press release said Monday.
It said the World Bank official will also raise awareness of how MIGAs investment guarantees can help investors mitigate perceived political risks.
While in the region, Kobayashi will meet with government officials, national investment authorities, banks, and private sector representatives.
She also plans to sign contracts for three projects in the West Bank and Gaza being supported by the MIGA-administered West Bank and Gaza Investment Guarantee Trust Fund.
The fund, sponsored by the government of Japan and the Palestinian Authority, aims at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza by providing political risk insurance to both local and foreign investors. It is designed to facilitate small and medium-size investments, with a special emphasis on projects with high employment-generating capacity.
Kobayashis visit underscores MIGAs commitment to supporting sustainable foreign direct investment (FDI) that will generate jobs and opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa, said the press release.
In 2011, MIGA announced it had mobilized $1 billion in insurance capacity precisely to retain and encourage FDI into the region. During fiscal year 2012, MIGA issued $442 million in investment guarantees supporting projects there.
I am looking forward to seeing the results of the projects we have supported over the last year, says Kobayashi, who will also visit Jordan and Iraq. And Im eager to explore how we can do more to support a diverse array of investments that will generate the jobs and opportunities that are so urgently needed in the region.
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