Pam Spaulding's blog

The Empty Wig's flipped: proposes naming AIDS bill after Jesse Helms

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend.

Good god. Perhaps all that work on Liddy has caused something to snap. Out of all the people to try to honor in an Act dedicated to fighting AIDS, Elizabeth Dole spits in the face of LGBTs by proposing the now-dead Jesse Helms be added to the "Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008." Here's the Congressional Record:

SA 5074. Mrs. DOLE submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by her to the bill S. 2731, to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 to provide assistance to foreign countries to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows: On page 1, line 5, strike ''and Henry J. Hyde'' and insert '', Henry J. Hyde, and Jesse Helms''.

Thousands died because of Helms's bigotry. There are so many reasons why Liddy needs to be defeated, and this only adds to the pile.

That not-so-little N&O article on Pam's House Blend

It seems my email and voicemail were full of reactions to today's Raleigh News & Observer's profile of me by Sadia Latifi, "Blogger gets respect: Durham resident writes on progressive issues."

It's a good look at the blog, with quite a bit of personal background that people may not know about me -- my father's side of the family has deep roots in Durham's political history, and the reporter gave a good summary of it.

Actually most of the information I gave to Ms. Latifi I didn't think wouldn't make it into the article. You know, you sit down with the reporter for a couple of hours and figure they'll pick a few quotes here and there and it will end up a little squib somewhere in the back of the paper, but it's a full-blown feature piece...with photos (argh!). But at least it gives non-bloggers a peek into my world. I have no idea what you all think, so I'm putting a diary up for your reactions (both to the article and the info in it).

It's pretty amusing that more people in DC know me for my political blogging than people here in my own home state.

Bye, Jesse, you left quite a legacy

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend

Jesse Helms has died. As a native and current resident of North Carolina, even today many people I run into outside of this state who know little about it -- recognize the name Jesse Helms. He leaves a long, dark trail of professional racial bigotry (he opposed the MLK national holiday, and civil rights legislation) and homophobia (that list is so long, you don't know where to begin).

Former U.S. Sen. Jesse A. Helms, the son of a Monroe police chief who rose to national prominence as one of the leading lions of the American right, died early this morning. He was 86.

During a political career that began with his election to the Raleigh City Council in the late 1950s and included 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Jesse Alexander Helms endeared himself to conservatives throughout the country.

Helms became known as "Senator No" for his constant battles against everything from increased government spending to civil rights legislation to communism to the National Endowment for the Arts.

I viewed the late Senator many a time when he was a commentator on WRAL. For me, as a young child of color, his blunt, unforgiving, unacceptable views were distressing and surreal to watch.

We tied the knot four years ago today

July 1, 2004

Eleven o'clock in the morning at the

Apricot Cat and Black Dog Bed & Breakfast

in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This post is a flashback describing our trip to lovely Vancouver to tie the knot back in 2004. Who knew that we would see the day when our marriage would be recognized in the United States? Our marriage is recognized in a few states (and as a civil union or domestic partnership in others), but we're second class citizens in NC. Here at home we still have no hate crimes or employment protections (never mind benefits); there isn't even an anti-bullying law that protects LGBT students yet (more on a critical vote today here).

As Kate and I take time to celebrate our union, we also celebrate all the recent marriages in California; may the voters in that state turn away the disgusting amendment that will be on the ballot in November and preserve marriage equality in the Golden State. Good luck as well to Arizona and Florida advocates of our right to marry -- may those voters turn away the hate amendments at the polls as well.

Marriage equality continues to thrive in small pockets in our country, and one of the best ways we can cultivate support and effect change is to bring those marriages back home where these commitments are not legally recognized. Not to challenge the legal wrong, mind you (it's going to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the end), but to become visible married couples in our communities - living marriage out of the closet before our friends, neighbors, and work colleagues.

Visibility challenges assumptions; show willingness to explain to potential allies how your legal-somewhere-else marriage is denied where you live.

The fact is we will prove by example that our relationships will not cause an end to anyone else's marriage or destroy society, and it will move all of us closer to full civil equality.


That year we wrote Senator Elizabeth Dole and the White House about our opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment and received these responses (note how the form letter from Dole addressed us as "Catharine and Pamela Spaulding" -- what an irony!). Dole | Bush


I love you, Katie...

Our blast-from-the-past photo album is up at my pad.

Asheville coalition to oppose notorious conference that hawks 'ex-gay' therapy

My friend Wayne Besen at Truth Wins Out, a non-profit founded to combat the junk science and propaganda of the infamous professional "ex-gay" movement, is joining forces with a coalition of North Carolina organizations to produce a counter-symposium to the conference being held by Exodus International in Asheville in July.

While you might find the idea of "praying away the gay" outlandish, the fact is that Exodus and other "ex-gay" organizations prey upon individuals who are coming to terms with their sexual orientation; many are often in conflict because of the anti-gay messages the have received from fundamentalist family and friends.

Blogging from the 2008 NC Democratic Party Convention

This is a cross-post from my blog, Pam's House Blend (which will be updated a bit more frequently), so I have to go into a bit more detail about things for my general audience.


At the New Bern Convention Center, as the festivities and business begin.

I'm in New Bern, NC for the North Carolina Democratic Party State Convention. Of course I know that most regular Blenders won't find this post exciting, since I usually blog about national politics, LGBT issues, race, the religious loonies, etc. I wanted to attend the NC state party convention because 1) it is a landmark presidential election; 2) it's a way to see democracy in action, as well as my state's inner party workings; and 3) it's a micro-version of what I and the rest of the baristas will experience covering the national convention in Denver.

2008 Blogging for LGBT Families day

Today is the Third Annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day, an occasion to celebrate the beauty of non-traditional families. Kate and I are a child-free couple, but we're doting aunts, and completely out of the closet to those we love. It means that nieces and nephews will grow up knowing us without a thought to our orientation, that it's not a dark family secret or a guessing game.

The existence of thriving LGBT families of all shapes and sizes is a grave threat to the Dominionists who see life and love through a very narrow religious worldview, as if morality and good child-rearing is only present in a mother/father parented family. Even though all sorts of configurations of families exist -- grandparents raising children, single parents, etc. -- we have seen an obsessive focus by the right on denying LGBTs the ability to adopt or foster children, and to deny committed same-sex couples to marry, even though these are culturally and socially stabilizing institutions.

My call from the DNCC on blogger credentials for the Denver convention

(See my earlier post, Democratic National Convention state blog selection dustup.)

I've laid off commenting about the dustup regarding the announcement of the 55 blogs selected for the DemConvention State Blogger Corps over the last few days in the hope of receiving more information regarding the program and handling of the fallout. There were actually two points of contention about the selection process that have been covered unevenly in the blogosphere.

1) Lack of racial diversity in the state pools selected (given the overall composition of the Dem party), and the fact that there is a different level of access to the state delegation given to these blogs on the floor at the Dem National Convention versus the general blogger pool, which will be announced this week;

2) The charge that there were political factors that went into the decision-making process for state blogs that resulted in highly qualified state blogs not making the final cut. This was the suggestion that state parties were consulted and were able to give thumbs up or down to specific blogs that may have been hard on the state parties.

Item number two has already been heavily covered in the progressive blogosphere, while outside of black blogs, the first item has been largely and curiously ignored by the top-tier blogs. As is the norm on such things, my position seems to straddle that group of progressive blogs. On the one hand, I think the problem is due to 1) an inability of state blogs to include more minority contributors; 2) some may not have thought about a lack of minority perspective on state and local issues as important; 3) those state blogs have truly tried by haven't seen interest from POC who are well-versed in state and local issues who are able to/want to contribute to a state blog.

On the other hand, some of the black/brown bloggers have seen the selection results and have tossed "Jim Crow" charges out there -- meaning overt, purposeful exclusion. I don't see purposeful exclusion, what I see is a DNCC that wanted blogs represented at the convention in an unprecedented way, but was unable to see or fully address the minority representation problem (and we're not only talking about racial minorities) it was going to create with its selection system.

The bottom line is that the lack of minority participation at the state blogger level is real, and it is a problem for the Democratic Party as well as the blogosphere.

However, both reactions aren't particularly helpful in terms of improving dialogue long term -- the defense shields go up, and nothing positive usually comes of this. It's been frustrating to see it all unfold.

I was contacted by Aaron Myers, the director of online communications for the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, and spoke with him a couple of days ago to ask him about the credentialing process, the details in level of access, and some logistics, in an effort to get some information on the record. My notes are below the fold.

Discussing California, marriage equality and its impact on NC on WUNC's The State of Things

Here is the audio of the show:

Today I was a guest on NPR's The State of Things (WUNC), hosted by Frank Stasio, to discuss the impact of the California Supreme Court ruling and its impact on the NC amendment effort. Also on the "Same-Sex Marriage and NC" segment were Wake Forest University Professor of political science John Dinan, and Steven Petrow, the past president of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

I think there was consensus that the ruling -- and the upcoming ballot initiative, is being watched closely by other states, some for guidance on how to extend marriage equality, and others, like North Carolina, which already has a state DOMA and an onerous amendment has been introduced for the fourth time into the state Senate by good old boy Sen. James Forrester.

Marriage is the union of one man and one woman at one time. This is the only marriage that shall be recognized as valid in this State. The uniting of two persons of the same sex or the uniting of more than two persons of any sex in a marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar relationship within or outside of this State shall not be valid or recognized in this State. This Constitution shall not be construed to require that marital status or the rights, privileges, benefits, or other legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried individuals or groups.

The significance of the California ruling is that, unlike Massachusetts, the Golden State does not have a no residency requirement for obtaining a civil marriage license -- and that means North Carolinian same-sex couples would be able to marry -- and contest the constitutionality of the state DOMA here. Steven Petrow mentioned that fact that the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund has asked the California Supreme Court for a stay issuing same-sex marriage licenses until after the election -- and the outcome of the November ballot initiative.

More below the fold.


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