It’s About ‘Franken’ Time!

Earlier today, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously dismissed former Senator Norm Coleman’s challenge to the November 4th election results and declared Al Franken the winner in the state’s Senate race.  Coleman later gave up any more challenges, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty will sign the election certificate making it official….and the earliest Sen.-elect Franken could take office is after the July 4th recess.

So am I bringing this little tid-bit of news up to all of you?  It’s quite simple.  With the election of Al Franken to the Senate, the Democrats now have the 60 votes they need to block a filibuster by Republicans against any pro-gay legislation.  Now, to me, any party (whether it be Democrats, Republicans, or some unknown political party that comes up in the future) having 60 votes to block filibusters is a scary thing.  It means the majority can do anything it wants without a check or having to listen to the minority party at all.  The battle lines could clearly be drawn starting next week as Congress throws the term ‘bi-partisan’ out the window and the Democrats in the Senate start doing what they want.  Again, this can be a very scary thing as political power usually becomes too great when a majority has an unchecked reign.  But that other small part is glad to see the 60th vote (thanks to Sen. Specter changing parties) as it gives us LGBT-Americans a chance to really start making changes and to start getting legislation done.

In the past couple of weeks, the LGBT community has grown very vocal with the way the Obama administration has been dealing with our issues….despite the fact that it’s only five months and that we didn’t have the 60th vote in the Senate to block filibusters from Republicans which could defeat measures and set us back.  But now, with this 60th Democrat Senator, it is time to shift our focus.  This is not the time to put our angst toward the President.  It should be directed at members of Congress as legislation has to go through them.  These are our elected officials…whom we have sent to represent our interests.  So therefore, it is time we hold them accountable and get legislation through and to the President’s desk so that he can sign it.

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act has already passed the House and is sitting in the Senate.  We need to be flooding every Democratic Senator’s office with phone calls, emails, and FAXes so that they know exactly where we stand, and what we expect of them.  We should also be focusing such tactics on moderate Republicans such as the two Republican senators from Maine….both of which votes with Democrats on the stimulus package.  Their state legislators votes in favor of gay marriage.  Let’s start pushing on them to break ranks and join us.   ENDA is up in the House, we should be calling, emailing, and FAXing members of the House that don’t support us to work to get them behind the legislation and get the bill to a vote.  Those of us with personal stories on either of these need to let them all know what we go through as a minority and as second-class citizens.

We are setting up the front lines, and we are going to drive the advance….all of us together.  With the Mattthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and ENDA underway and with our push, I believe we can victorious now on both fronts.  And I firmly believe that we can rally the troops behind repealing DOMA and DADT making sure that we get all of these pieces of legislation to the President’s desk for his signature.  And that is when all of our weight will be entirely upon him.

With the certification of Senator-elect Franken, we must show now that we are ready for the advance….that we are ready to do our part.  This is not a time to think that someone else will do this for you.  NO!!  You have to do this for you!!  They are your rights, so stand up with us.  United, now, we advance for change.  Now, we have the opportunity.  So start flooding email boxes of anyone (whether Democrats, Republicans, or Independents) who doesn’t support legislation for our community and let them know that as their constituents, they work for us and this is where we stand.  And you can keep sending the same email over and over again.  Tie up their phones with your stance.  Or even give their FAX machine a huge-ass paper jam.  Let the word go forth…that we are poised, and we are ALL ready to make sure our voice is heard.  Separate but equal didn’t work in the past, and it won’t now ( though Sen. Burris; D-IL  thinks its OK).  So contact your Congress-person and Senator and demand their support and back it up.  Pro-gay legislation depends on all of us to do our part.  Don’t leave it up to someone else.  Take charge of history.  Take charge of your life.  Take charge of your future….NOW!!

House of Representatives:



2 Responses to It’s About ‘Franken’ Time!

  1. Elizabeth Beier says:

    You are absolutely right
    I will do it after I read your other posts
    Seriously … if you and I don’t do this, who will?
    thank you James

  2. Elizabeth Beier says:


    I do think the 60 votes for the Dems is a good thing for LGBT Americans, HOWEVER, we cannot count on every single of those Dems to vote the right way. In New York right now, there are a lot of Democrats that seem to be turning away from gays on the marriage issue. I’m sure the same thing will hold true in national politics, and as you say, there will be a So 60 or no 60, it is up to us, as you say.

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