Wednesday, July 06, 2011

CA Gay Ed Bill Debate Vid;
Ammiano: 'I Will Not be Erased'

One of the SF Chronicle's reporters in their Sacramento bureau, Wyatt Buchanan, wrote their excellent story today about Senate Bill 48 moving forward, and tells us a few things not mentioned in Equality California's self-serving release from yesterday:

After a long and intense debate, the bill, SB48, was approved on a nearly party-line vote by the Assembly with one Republican joining Democrats to vote in favor. The bill adds LGBT Americans, as well as people with disabilities, to an already existing list of groups that must be included in social science instruction. ...

Why didn't the gay Democrats at EQCA tell us about the hour-long debate, either before or after it happened, and why did they omit the fact that a single GOP lawmaker voted with us?

Probably because EQCA leaders fear keeping the community informed about their work in Sacramento, and forget about any heads up before any proceedings take place, urging gays to tune in the state government's public access cable channel. By the way, the Chronicle reports that the Republican who sided with us was Nathan Fletcher of San Diego, but the Democrats at EQCA are not in the business of building bipartisan backing for the gay agenda and praising GOP pols when they do the right thing.

Shame on EQCA for failing to inform us to watch the Assembly debate live yesterday. This group is way too comfortable keeping us in the dark when gay issues are debated in the capitol. Why can't EQCA get its act together in Sacramento and keep us fully up-to-date when LGBT issues are on the political agenda?

Out Sen. Mark Leno introduced SB 48 and out Assemblymember Tom Ammiano shepherded the bill in his chamber. The California Channel broadcast the Assembly's debate and vote, and today it is archived at the channel's site.

I'm the kind of gay sunshine activist who believes we need all political debates about our lives and legislation related to our liberation aired far and wide, and watched by any and all folks. Watching the debates keeps me abreast of so much political thinking and maneuvering, and allows me to see a human side to politicians.

Yesterday's debate in Sacramento can be viewed here, and the discussion starts at the 00:35:30 mark.

I viewed it, and shed a few tears listening to member Anthony J. Portantino, a heterosexual, talk about his openly gay brother enduring ruthless teasing and taunts in high school because of his sexual orientation. Reminded me of when I was bullied and ostracized in grammar and junior high school. Portantino speaks at about the 01:01:00 mark.

But the most moving section starts at the 01:24:40 mark when an emotional Ammiano, as the bill's shepherd, is given the final word before going to a vote. Ammiano identifies himself as a Gay-American, explains why it's necessary to say that and then tells our adversaries, speaking for all of us: "I will not be erased."

And that my friends, is what the debate and the bill come down too. Again, shame on EQCA for doing not a damn thing to show this important debate to Californians and Ammiano fighting for us with pride and righteous anger.

In closing, Ammiano, a professional stand-up comedian, scores a few humorous points. "My sexual orientation is gay; my sexual preference is Brad Pitt!"

You go, queen! Do yourself a huge favor and watch this debate. Kudos to Wyatt for his informative journalism, and to Tom, for just being Tom.

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