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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, June 11, 2003


Out For Dean

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, June 11, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I've been remiss in not posting this earlier... Reader Amanda Tempel sent me this link a few days ago. It's a list of openly gay politicians who have endorsed Howard Dean for President. They also have a webring that members of the online gay community can join to show their support.

The latest endorsement comes from Minnesota State Senator Scott Dibble:

"I am excited to add my support to electing Howard Dean as our next President. We are fighting for the soul of our country. In just a couple of years, we've seen unprecedented retreats on civil rights and civil liberties. Economic opportunities and justice have been deliberately eroded. We're witnessing the unprecedented squandering of international goodwill, and an unprovoked war justified by fabrications.

Howard Dean was the only candidate clearly articulating the foolishness of the current administration's war adventure, and the only one decrying a deficit-ridden tax cut designed only to benefit the wealthy. Howard Dean practices a politics of passion and conviction - a quality I especially appreciate from the state that gave this country Paul Wellstone. Howard Dean is standing up as an unabashed Democrat, fighting for values we share as Americans. He is the only candidate that is offering real proposals on health care, on the economy, on advancing civil rights for all, and on making health care available to everyone. His politics are built on the tough principles of pursuing what is possible, as his record as Governor of Vermont shows-signing civil unions into law and dramatically expanding healthcare coverage. His campaign is built on the energy of an amazing, unparalleled groundswell of grassroots support…again, carrying on a proud Wellstone tradition.

Howard Dean is the only candidate that can build on Democratic principles of fairness, inclusion and opportunity, to help Americans take their country back."

The folks at Out for Dean are asking the Dean Nation (that's us!) to notify them if we learn of any other politicians who can be added to the list.

While targeting the gay community is a no-brainer for the Dean campaign, I'd like to add a personal statement here. Reaching out to the gay community doesn't mean just reaching out to homosexuals. It also means reaching out to their families and friends, many of whom would like to see equal rights extended to our gay friends and relatives. Speaking personally, I've watched too many of my friends waste away in hospitals dying of AIDS, and seen the look of despair on their partner's faces when they were denied visitation rights. It's simply not fair to deny a gay couple something everyone else takes for granted. I've also seen too many of my friends denied access to health care just because they don't fit into the traditional family model. This again is not fair, especially considering that many companies are now extending insurance benefits to common law marriages and straight, live-in partners. And these same couples would gladly pay the marriage tax penalty (just like they do in Vermont) to be considered equal under the eyes of the law.

I know many couples who'd jump at the chance to legalise their unions. This should be common sense. The definition of the American family has shifted over the past few decades, yet our laws do not reflect that. Across the country, there are thousands of gay couples who are currently being denied the same benefits (and penalties) that everyone else enjoys. I believe that denying same-sex couples equal rights is tantamount to saying their relationships are not valued, are not normal, and are not worthy of recognition. Bills like the "Defense of Marriage Act" are designed not to protect the institution of marriage (which, if you ask me, isn't really threatened), but to deny one simple fact: modern families consist of more than a husband, wife, and 2.5 kids. DOMA not only denies the phenomenon of the shifting American family, but it also prevents recognition of many legitimate unions.

Put simply, denying a significant segment of our population these rights is just plain wrong, and I (as a friend of many lesbians and gays) welcome the progressive idea of civil unions.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.