Civil Rights

President Obama’s support for gay marriage demonstrates the moral leadership America needs

The manner in which those who would be president view the basic civil liberties and rights of all Americans regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation says all that we need to know about the moral character of those who would be president of the greatest nation on earth. In asserting his belief that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, President Obama demonstrated that he is a man on the side of all Americans, not just those who are “straight.”
One of the marks of true leadership is the ability and willingness to stand up for the rights of others in the face of opposition and regardless of the political consequences one may face.


As it went with Kerry, so it will go with Obama

If I recall correctly, last year when New York Gov. Mario Cuomo celebrated the legalization of gay marriage in New York, the same week, President Obama’s support in North Carolina dropped 14 percent. Two things: As Rick Perry said about Mitt Romney, how can you change your mind as a grown-up man about things so essential to life? It is not a change of mind; it is a change of feelings. Which may be worse. By what mechanism? Do we just change who we are, simple to conform to the floating standards? It is the curse of a very large country run purely on bright lights and sensory apparatus — TV, movies, movie stars and pounding music at every turn — constantly bombarding, and leaving in the end, so little to remain between the generations; so little to remain at all. Last year Obama opposed gay marriage. Last week he was “evolving.” (Wow.) Now he has evolved. There was, at the beginning, little to this man. Now there is less.


In the ‘war on women,’ it’s time to be decisive

Let’s be clear: There is no war on women. And it’s time to tone down the rhetoric.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans are actually attacking women. Calls for government-run, cradle-to-grave policies — from either the right or the left — are bad for women and their families; but they’re a far cry from an assault on women.
Ted Nugent’s (most recent) inflammatory comments, in which he referred to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi as “varmints,” ought to be condemned — and forcefully. This kind of rhetoric — whether it’s from Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann or Rush Limbaugh — is not only repulsive, but also distracting.


Five conservative Supreme Court men join Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Ron Paul in the war against women

In my latest column, Supreme Court on trial, I initiated a new discussion about how five conservative men on the Supreme Court have joined partisan Republicans in the war against laws and programs that serve women. In June we will remember the anniversary of the infamous 5-4 Supreme Court decision discrimination defeating women opposing against Wal-mart, when the five men joined fellow Republicans against efforts to win pay equity for women and end discrimination against women. It will not help Republicans to put South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is highly unpopular at home, on the presidential ticket with “war against women” politicians such as Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Ron Paul.


‘War on women’ narrative is risky business

Despite what feminist groups would have the White House believe, playing gender politics this election cycle is risky business. Democrats are hoping that by advancing the “war on women” narrative, they can drive the conversation away from the lagging economy and voters away from the GOP.
No doubt Democrats are worried. In 2010 Republicans managed to close the gender gap for the first time in the two decades, since analysts started recording the split. It’s hard to know exactly why women flocked to Republicans during the midterm election. It may have been a function of the high number of female candidates running on limited-government platforms; it may have been the influence of the Tea Party — a grassroots movement run largely by women — that motivated more female voters to the polls. Either way it sent a shockwave through Democratic circles.


Martin Luther King: Free market reformer

I wrote this last year and thought it was pretty good, so I am reposting it this year.

Barack Obama. Oprah Winfrey. Robert Johnson. Dick Parsons. Bill Cosby. Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods.

It goes without saying that all of these individuals owe a great deal to Martin Luther King Jr., who is remembered today on the anniversary of his birth.

Milton Friedman. Friedrich Hayek. Ayn Rand. Adam Smith. Ronald Reagan. Jack Kemp. Arthur Laffer. Dick Armey.

It might be less obvious that this second group owes every bit as big a debt to King’s legacy.


‘Cruel, racist and counterproductive’

A better definition of totalitarianism might be the desire by any means necessary to get people you don’t know and don’t like to do what you want them to do.

That would be The New York Times, virtually always, in how it writes about the South; that would be Hillary in Catholic Italy at the head of the gay parade — actually, that would be Hillary everywhere where “universal values” — meaning hers — are demanded: Every land is Hillaryland. It is the Phil Spector “wall of sound” syndrome which has cast the shadow these past 50 years: Our music is louder and we will play it everywhere and relentlessly and we will wear you down. And then we will send in the soldiers and the hillbilly preachers and the ambassadors and anthropologists and at the end of the world we will send in Hillary. And that would be Michele Bachmann in her strong support for DOMA, unconstitutional by any standard. It has always been a problem in an America without walls; in the Don Draper post-war creation where America is everywhere you can see, everything you can imagine; an America where everybody walks in everyone else’s garden.


Obama behind curve on same-sex marriage

In another sign that we’re finally starting to take the Constitution seriously when it comes to equal rights, New York has become the sixth, and largest, state to recognize same-sex marriage.

That’s largely because of the political leadership of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former President Clinton — plus the support of prominent Republicans, led by Dick Cheney, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush.

Notice who’s missing from that list: President Obama.

In response to my question at Monday’s White House briefing, press secretary Jay Carney gave two explanations.


SlutWalking misses the point of women’s liberation

Weinergate has overshadowed another sex scandal that in normal times would have grabbed headlines with its high titillation and controversy factors. The feminist left has launched a new movement known as “SlutWalk” in an attempt to advance the principle that no matter what women wear — or how they behave — rape is never OK.

SlutWalk was born in the wake of an unfortunate incident at Toronto’s York University, in which a police officer giving a sexual assault information session told students that if women wanted to avoid rape they shouldn’t dress like “sluts.” This insensitive bit of advice launched spontaneous protests that have morphed into a global SlutWalk movement. Today, scantily clad women — dressed only in underwear, lingerie, super-mini skirts and boots, or other such "slutty" outfits — are marching through cities to spread the message that “no means no” — no matter how provocative a woman's attire.


The debate over single-sex marriage

Most people have fixed positions on the merits of single-sex marriage. Fixed, if not contentious. For those who do not, or do but have an open mind, the discussion yesterday at the Cato Institute in Washington was enlightening.

A double odd couple of speakers discussed the recent Perry trial in California dealing with Prop 8 (and the federal DOMA), state and federal laws limiting the legality of single-sex marriage. Odd because the organizational sponsors were Cato’s Bob Levy and Center for American Progress CEO John Podesta; and the lead speakers were the two lawyers who argued the Perry case — conservative advocate Ted Olson and liberal lawyer David Boies (who opposed each other in the 2000 election case). All their commentaries were informative and persuasive.