I would have loved to be in the room when this went down.
Rethug Virginia Senator (with presidential ambitions) George Allen was at a public event and young gay man stood up and politely asked questions that showed Allen his ass. Remember, Allen supported FMA. He also at first backed the addition of sexual orientation to federal hate crimes legislation, then famously retracted his support, his spokesman citing the Senator’s concern about “a chilling effect on First Amendment rights” and the “elevation of sexual orientation to civil rights status.
Yes, that lunacy would confirm that he’s running in ’08. Anyway, here is part of the brave, brilliant takedown by Tullysatre:
“I wanted to speak with you in regards to a Hate Crimes bill that was introduced in Congress not too long ago.” He nodded at me as I continued, “This bill sought to add ‘sexual orientation’ to the country’s list of types of people that are victims of hate crimes. I myself have been victim to threats and assaults of hate crime based on the fact that I am gay, and I am a Virginian. Only two weeks ago my friend was in Richmond when he walked out of a restraint with his partner another person called him a ‘faggot’, drew a knife, and attacked my friend. Luckily, my friend lived – others are not so lucky. Last year, you supported legislation which sought to add ‘sexual orientation’ to the nation’s hate crime list, and for that I thank you – but later this year you said that you regret your support for this bill and would not support this bill in the future, why is that?”
Allen got caught with his pants down, defending that slavery was OK because the majority of the public was in favor of it at the time – majority rule, civil rights be damned.
Senator Allen kept his smile, kept his poise, and prepared one of those typical political responses. He told me a story, that once he was at a Gay Pride Festival in Philadelphia, and there was a peaceful group reciting verses from the Bible across the street. They were arrested for assault. He believes in religious freedom, and believes religious freedom of expression is ideal in this country. I agree. Senator Allen continued to say that he believes sexual orientation is not a civil right Everyone broke into thunderous applause. I doubt the crowd understood – Senator Allen seemed to turn the table making my statement appear as if I was advocating for “special” rights, which of course is far from the truth.
“Well Senator,” I began. “I too believe religious freedom of expression is part of what this country was founded upon – it is a beautiful thing to be able to express your views, however sexual orientation is not a civil right, it is a part of someone, and gay citizens are being denied basic civil liberty, very basic rights that most citizens are granted.” The Senator said something along the lines of disagreement. “If you believe that this is how gay citizens should be treated,” I continued, “I am assuming that is why you supported the Federal Marriage Amendment.”
Senator Allen seemed a bit tense. He continued to say that his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment was merely the passing of legislation that the people of this country wanted – to protect the values that this country upholds. Senator Allen was consistent with repeating this message at least five times in about ten different ways, including citation of statistics and specific references. Senator Allen even began to speak of what was and what was not constitutional – including actions from activist judges, as well as a separate case where Massachusetts became the first and only state to approve same-sex marriage…which according to him was in contrast of what the people believed.
“Senator Allen,” I began, leaving a bit of a pause, “I think we both can agree that what the majority may think, is not necessarily always constitutional. Take a look at history – slavery for example, that was supported by a majority of our citizens at one time, but it by far was not constitutional, and it by far was invading the basic freedom of citizens in this country. We can not say that majority rule is necessarily constitutional when it comes to issues of human rights and basic civil liberty.
You have to go read the rest.
Allen continued trying to defend his position, and then got spooked when he saw a NYT reporter in the room. Tullysatre was swamped with reporters after stepping down from the podium.
Hat tip, AmericaBlog