|John Aravosis co-headed StopDrLaura.com in 2000 after Laura Schlessinger called gays a ‚Äúbiological error.‚ÄĚ Schlessinger now supports same-sex unions as long as they‚Äôre not called ‚Äúmarriage.‚ÄĚ
Fifty-three percent of New York state residents support legalization of same-sex marriage and 39 percent oppose it, according to a Siena Research poll. Gov. David Paterson introduced a bill in the Legislature April 16 to legalize same-sex marriage.
The strongest support comes from women, Democrats, independent voters and young people. More opposed are older people, men, Republicans, Protestants, Latinos and blacks. The poll quizzed 682 voters and had an error margin of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Paterson‚Äôs bill should pass the Assembly easily, as an identical one did in 2007, but its prospects in the Senate, where its twin died in 2007, remain uncertain.
‚ÄúWe have a crisis of leadership today,‚ÄĚ Paterson said in introducing the measure. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to fill that vacuum today. (G)ay and lesbian New Yorkers ... have been the victims of what is a legal system that has systematically discriminated against them.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúFor too long, the gay and lesbian community have been told that their rights and freedoms have to wait,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe time has come to act.‚ÄĚ
Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and (starting Sept. 1) Vermont. New York state already recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who marry elsewhere. Gay couples also can marry in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.
Meghan McCain: Old-School Republicans ‚ÄėScared Shitless‚Äô
Speaking to the gay Log Cabin Republicans‚Äô national convention April 18, Meghan McCain, John McCain‚Äôs daughter, said ‚Äúold-school Republicans are scared shitless‚ÄĚ of the future. ‚ÄúToo many Republicans want to cling to past successes,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThere are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being more conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we‚Äôre seeing a war brewing in the Republican Party. But it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past.
‚ÄúMost of our nation wants our nation to succeed. Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past. And most of the old-school Republicans are scared shitless of that future.‚ÄĚ
A few days earlier, writing at The Daily Beast, McCain came out in support of same-sex marriage. ‚ÄúI believe that people who fall in love should have the option to get married,‚ÄĚ she wrote. ‚ÄúLest we forget, our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, grants the same rights to everyone in this country ‚ÄĒ ‚ÄėAll men are created equal.‚Äô If you think certain rights should not apply to certain people, then you are saying those people are not equal. People may always have a difference of opinion on certain lifestyles, but championing a position that wants to treat people unequally isn‚Äôt just un-Republican. At its fundamental core, it‚Äôs un-American.‚ÄĚ"
Also at the Log Cabin convention, John McCain‚Äôs presidential campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, came out in support of same-sex marriage. ‚ÄúThere is a sound conservative argument to be made for same-sex marriage,‚ÄĚ Schmidt said. ‚ÄúConservatives, more than liberals, insist that rights come with responsibilities. No other exercise of one‚Äôs liberty comes with greater responsibilities than marriage.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI‚Äôm confident American public opinion will continue to move on the question toward majority support, and sooner or later the Republican Party will catch up to it,‚ÄĚ he said.
In an interview with CNN at the convention, Schmidt said ‚Äúone of the things that has definitely impacted my views on (gay) issues and an evolution of thought over time is having a gay sibling.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúAs Americans get to know gay couples or have gay family members or work associates ... they come to understand that these relationships are deep and worth being respected and being protected,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄėDr. Laura‚Äô Sings a New Tune
‚ÄúDr. Laura‚ÄĚ Schlessinger is now in support of same-sex unions as long as they‚Äôre not called ‚Äúmarriage.‚ÄĚ Speaking to CNN‚Äôs Larry King on April 8, she said: ‚ÄúI am very big on human beings finding love, attachment and commitment and being faithful to it, because there‚Äôs more to benefit when there is real true commitment and faithfulness to it. I still believe ... that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman. So not calling it marriage works for me. But that two people would have that sort of commitment to me is very healthy and very positive thing in their lives and society as a whole. ... That‚Äôs (same-sex relationships) a beautiful thing and a healthy thing.‚ÄĚ
In 2000, gays campaigned relentlessly against Schlessinger‚Äôs radio and TV shows, convincing some 150 advertisers to bail from the programs. They quoted Schlessinger as having called gays ‚Äúaberrant,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúdeviant,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúdisordered‚ÄĚ and a ‚Äúbiological error.‚ÄĚ
The campaign ended in January 2001, with StopDrLaura.com co-organizer John Aravosis saying: ‚ÄúDr. Laura TV has been banished to the wee morning hours in all the top 10 markets, her ratings are abysmal, and she can get few advertisers any better than that lady with the tarot cards. Face it, folks, we all came together and we stopped Dr. Laura.‚ÄĚ
-assistance: Bill Kelley