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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Gay Marriage

Michele Bachmann gets glittered; activist says Obama deserves the same [Video]

Michele Bachmann gets glittered in MinnesotaRep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was showered with glitter as she left the stage Saturday at the AFP RightOnline Conference in Minneapolis.

The assailant, Rachel Lang, said that because her mission was to bring awareness to politicians who do not support same-sex marriage, President Obama was also on her sparkly to-do list.

"If he were here I'd glitter him too," she told a reporter who reminded her that Obama does not support people of the same sex getting hitched. "I think it would be harder to get that close to the president," said Lang, whose mother is a lesbian.

"My response to Michele Bachmann's hateful and anti-gay rhetoric was lighthearted, but these issues are very serious," Lang wrote in a statement. "Bachmann's support of groups like 'You Can Run But You Cannot Hide' show exactly how extremist she is -- she in no way represents the values of Minnesota and certainly does not represent the values of America."

Although Bachmann is the third Republican to get the glitter treatment (other GOP presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty were glittered previously), Lang explains that the cause is not a partisan one. "Any politician who doesn't want gays to be able get married should be glittered," she said.

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A first: Majority of Americans now supports same-sex marriage, Gallup finds

Same Sex Marriage a California couple Jade and Amber Fox wait for marriage license in Beverly Hills 2010

Thanks to a radical shift in thinking among independents and Democrats during the past year, for the first time in Gallup Poll tracking a clear majority of Americans now approves of gay marriage.

A new Gallup Poll released this morning finds that this month 53% of Americans say same-sex marriage should be recognized in law as equally valid with traditional male-female marriages.

The spurt in support of 9% in the past 12 months was the largest registered since Gallup first tracked the topic in 1996. Back then, only 27% supported same-sex marriage and two-thirds opposed.

Support for same-sex marriages had hovered in the low 40's since about 2004, until the latest figures, showing 59% of independents and 69% of Democrats now support the idea, while 28% of Republicans do. The GOP figure was unchanged from 2010.

The new statistics also show a predictable generational cleavage, with support for gay marriage highest among the youngest (70% among those 18 to 34), declining to 53% among those 35 to 54 years old and weakest among those over 55 (39%) -- although even that segment's support increased six points in the past 12 months. 

Support for gay marriage is higher among Catholics than Protestants, among the unmarried and among those who attend church less frequently.

Gallup was unable to determine what role, if any, last year's repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy had on the substantial shift in marriage opinion. A majority of Americans (now two-thirds) has supported that change since 2005.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times (Jade and Amber Fox wait to apply for a marriage license in Beverly Hills, 2010).

Arnold Schwarzenegger admits to adultery, Twitter erupts with jokes

Arnold

Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to The Times on Monday that he fathered a child with a household staffer some 10 years ago. The woman was an employee of the Schwarzeneggers' for 20 years who retired earlier this year.

Once Schwarzenegger stepped down as governor of California in January due to term limits, he broke the news of his love child to his wife, Maria Shriver. The couple acknowledged their separation to The Times earlier this month.

"After leaving the governor's office I told my wife about this event, which occurred over a decade ago," Schwarzenegger said Monday night in a statement to The Times. "I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family. There are no excuses and I take full responsibility for the hurt I have caused. I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry."

Although most of the online ribbing delivered through Twitter and blogs have poked fun at Schwarzenegger through lines he spoke in blockbuster films, one of the most piercing jabs was doled out by comic Fortune Feimster, who spotlighted the former governor's history of vetoing bills that would have supported same-sex marriages.

"Good thing Arnold Schwarzenegger has been upholding the sanctity of marriage since apparently us gay folks don't know how to," Feimster tweeted.

After the jump, many more messages about Schwarzenegger's latest drama......

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The bluer the Oregon county, the lower the gay-teen suicide rate

Crowds march along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood in the 40th LA Pride parade in 2010

In a newly released study primarily focused on gay-teen suicide rates in Oregon, some interesting details were discovered. The numbers of suicide attempts by gay teens went down by 20% in counties whose schools had anti-bullying, anti-discrimination policies and/or a Gay-Straight Alliance. The suicide rate was also lower when the proportion of Democrats was higher in the county.

A community that was supportive of gay teens not only curbed suicide among gays, the study found, but also lowered the rate of suicide attempts by heterosexual students by 9%.

Researchers led by Mark Hatzenbuehler looked at five aspects of the social environment surrounding gay, lesbian and bisexual youth on a countywide level: the proportion of schools with anti-bullying policies specifically protecting these students; the proportion of schools with a Gay-Straight Alliance; the proportion of schools with anti-discrimination policies that included sexual orientation; the proportion of same-sex couples; and the proportion of Democrats in the county. Then they rated each of Oregon's 34 counties based on the results of those findings.

The study found that a more supportive social environment was associated with 20% fewer suicide attempts than an unsupportive environment. A supportive environment was also associated with a 9% lower rate of attempted suicide among heterosexual students.

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Sunday shows: McConnell, Kerry, Bachmann, Daley

William DaleyABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour": Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with Chrystia Freeland, David Muir, Mort Zuckerman and Leo Gerard.

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt": Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.).

CBS' "Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer": Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS": Part II of "Restoring the American Dream, Getting Back to No. 1" with Niall Ferguson, Hans Rosling and Benjamin Barber, Chrystia Freeland and Eliot Spitzer.

CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley": Reps. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Ali Errishi and Stephen Hadley.

"Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace": Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Margie Phelps, attorney for Westboro Baptist Church; with Kevin Madden; Chris Stirewalt; Nina Easton; and Juan Williams.

NBC's "Meet the Press with David Gregory": Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and William Daley, White House chief of staff.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: William Daley, the new White House chief of staff.     Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Obama State Department deletes 'Mother, 'Father' from forms for more correct 'Parent One, 'Parent Two'

current State Dept Passport application Parent Lines

No more "Mother" and "Father" for the Obama administration's State Department.

The department has announced that it is replacing the traditional parental designations on its passport applications (see above) with the more contemporaneously correct "Parent One" and "Parent Two."

This takes effect when new forms come out Feb. 1.

This might sound like some kind of psychotic cyber society eliminating family distinctions in favor of PC federal bureaucratic numbers. However, the State Department denies that this change is Democratic political correctness ignoring some obvious biological realities and distinctions. "Hello, Parent One? This is Child Three calling."

The State Department calls the changes "improvements," saying they're intended to provide "a gender neutral description of a child's parents" and to recognize "different types of families." A spokeswoman said the new terms "recognize changes in medical science and reproductive technology."

Regardless, the official federal change at the halfway point of Barack Obama's presidential term is delighting gay rights groups.

Deleting the customary "mother" and "father" terminology, says Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council, "allows many different types of families to be able to go and apply for a passport for their child without feeling like the government doesn’t recognize their family.” Chrisler's group has long lobbied for the changes.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council disagrees, you'll not be surprised to learn. "Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an ‘improvement’ for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth,” he told Fox Radio.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Hawaii-bound, Obama signals his opposition to gay marriage 'evolving'

President Obama leaves for Hawaii 12-22-10

President Obama's news conference, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Good afternoon.  I know everybody is itching to get out of here and spend some time with their families.  I am, too.  I noticed some of you colleagues have been reporting from Hawaii over the last week.  But I just wanted to say a few words about the progress that we’ve made on some important issues over these last few weeks.

A lot of folks in this town predicted that after the midterm elections, Washington would be headed for more partisanship and more gridlock.  And instead, this has been a season of progress for the American people.  That progress is reflecting -- is a reflection of the message that voters sent in November -- a message that said it’s time to find common ground on challenges facing our country.  That’s a message that I will take to heart in the New Year, and I hope my Democratic and Republican friends will do the same.

First of all, I am glad that Democrats and Republicans came together to approve my....

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Taking a break from suing states, Obama's Justice Department wins hundreds of awards from itself

Democrats Eric Holder attorney general and his boss president barack obama

Reassuring news today for those who worried that the Obama administration's Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder had been overwhelmed by their workload:

Dropping the Black Panther voter intimidation case.

Not closingDemocrat attorney general eric Holder the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Suing Arizona for trying to do the federal job of securing the porous Mexican border against drug and human smugglers.

Fighting in federal court to uphold the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law on gays in the military that Obama often says he really, really opposes and will certainly change someday on his watch.

Ditto for the department's ongoing legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Even though top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett got caught on an interview video recently kinda letting the cat out of the bag about the White House view of gay being a lifestyle choice.

But she apologized for the revelation.

The nation's top law enforcement officer has never seen a podium he couldn't use.

Somehow in his otherwise crippling schedule that took him to China last month, Holder managed to squeeze in time to preside today over another of his department's awards ceremonies.HolderpodiumlkleftLiuJinAFPGtty10-10

There was even one unconfirmed report that Holder got caught smiling. But only for a moment.

The awards list is impressive, including some exceptional heroism awards for brave anti-drug folks dangerously deployed in Afghanistan where the gunfire is worse even than in Washington, D.C..

There were more than 300 awards.

They involved included employees honored for distinguished service, lifetime service, exceptional service, cooperative service, excellence in legal advice, information technology, management, handling of legislation, appeals services, asset forfeiture, fraud fighting, legal services, dispute resolution and for being a good new employee.

The president himself could not make the ceremony. He was doing what this president chooses to do five days before midterm elections -- go on Comedy Central, since all the nation's other problems are so well under control.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press; Department of Justice; Liu Jin / AFP / Getty Images.

Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett declares being gay is a lifestyle choice (video), then apologizes

Democrat president Barack Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in a New York meeting For most of the 634 days Barack Obama has been president of these 57 United States, he and his voluble sidekick from Delaware have pleaded with the gay community to give them time, trust us, be patient, we understand, you'll be happy with us later, you know where we stand over the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Obama has often promised that valuable element of his political base that, by golly, as soon as possible he was going to get rid of that freedom-clogging subterfuge that keeps gays closeted during their military service for fear of being discharged.

But, you know, the military is still conducting another review. And the Democrat-controlled Senate declined to repeal the law.

It's just the kind of unrest that the Democrat does not need within his political base as he barnstorms the country (today Delaware, Saturday Boston, Sunday Ohio) to arouse demoralized Democrats for the already challenging midterm elections on Nov. 2.

Well, this week Obama was handed a golden opportunity to finally dump DADT for good when, as The Ticket reported here, California's District Judge Virginia Phillips threw the whole policy out as unconstitutional, totally banned it from that day henceforth, despite President Clinton having signed the legislation in 1993.

But then Thursday the Obama administration decided to appeal the judge's order. And, again, the president tried to explain how he was really opposed to "don't ask, don't tell," although his decision to appeal its ban made it seem that he was for it before he was against it.

In a televised townhall Obama said, ""I don't think (being gay) it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain makeup, and we're all children of God." And, once more, the president sought patience from the gay community.

However, GetEQUAL, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group, called the appeal ....

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Don't ask, Don't tell ban creates hot political problem for Obama just before crucial midterm elections

Florida protestors against the Obama administration's Dont Ask Dont Tell policy toward gays in the military greet the president Monday during his Miami fundraising trip

Don't ask, don't tell was totally banned by a federal judge near Los Angeles Tuesday, creating a major political predicament for Democratic President Barack Obama just 20 days before crucial midterm elections that already augured ill for his party.

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell military policy tolerates gay members of the armed forces as long as they remain silent about their sexual orientation.

It was actually instituted by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Democratic president in 1993 as a reform to prevent the military from actively seeking out gays in the services and discharging them. It has since come to be seen as a form of discrimination and a hot topic in liberal circles where politicians such as Obama have vowed to end it but have not done so.

Some 13,000 military members have been discharged under that policy since 1993.

However, there's been little movement toward actually ending the policy. A repeal effort is underway in Congress; the Democratic House passed a repeal this year, but the Democratic Senate did not.

Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have repeatedly appealed for patience within....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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