NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dear Cathy: Apology not accepted
Today's blogger

So I've read Cathy's letter to Chuck Bowen of Georgia Equality. I suppose she intended it as a conciliatory gesture, one of those non-apologies that common politicians specialize in - “I'm sorry you missed the implied subtext of my statement, which demonstrates, depending on your definition of 'demonstrate', that I am in fact not a duplicitous pandering swine like your average politician." We, the loyal Georgia Democrats who put our confidence in Cathy, deserved a lot more after the two-faced betrayal we got slapped in the face with on Wednesday. Cathy, if that's your apology, if that's your pathetic attempt to “clarify" your vicious comments from Wednesday, we are through.

There's been considerable discussion on Atlanta Public Affairs and BfD about the supposed narrowness of the focus on this one issue as a reason for severing ties with a beloved campaign. I maintain that it is one issue, and it's a lot more important than gay marriage. It's trust, and frankly I don't trust Cathy any more. It's one thing to be opposed to gay marriage, and even to support the constitutional amendment banning it. It's quite another to issue a statement that both directly contradicted a statement only two years ago, for no discernible reason other than naked political pandering, and gratuitously used words like “sacred" directly out of the rabid right's political playbook. That's the most vile kind of flip flop – I didn't tolerate it from John Kerry, and I sure as hell am not going to tolerate it from Cathy Cox. All those words in her apology sounded fine enough, except for the fact that in no way were those sentiments implied or even permitted by the language of her public statement. That's not a clarification, that's a frantic, desperate, and utterly transparent backpedal attempt. That bullshit won't wash with this former Cathy supporter.

I'm feeling particularly angry at this juncture, so allow me to annotate Cathy's letter to Chuck. My comments are interspersed in red.

Dear Chuck: What, is this just another business letter for you?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me I bet that was a fun conversation on the recent court decision that struck down Georgia's constitutional amendment defining marriage. Please know that I understand how emotional and personal an issue this is for gays and lesbians throughout our state. Your recent actions tell a different story. I don't believe you.

I have always believed that marriage should be defined as the union of one man and one woman. Fine. As you know, the leaders at the Capitol engaged in a campaign two years ago to write this definition into our state constitution, a process I thought unnecessary because Georgia law already set forth this definition. Yeah, that's what you said two years ago. Too bad you said something TOTALLY DIFFERENT on Wednesday. The tenor of that debate was, in many instances, divisive and counterproductive. Way to fan the flames! Just as with so many of the important challenges facing our state in recent years, rhetoric took the place of a reasonable and respectful discussion.

Now that this debate over a constitutional amendment has resurfaced, I felt it best to have the debate confined to this year – and this year alone. Yeah, and the fact that you apparently thought it would be politically expedient to shamelessly pander to the bigots in this state rather than remembering who your friends are (or used to be) is just an added side benefit, right? For that reason and God knows what others, I support Attorney General Baker's expedited appeal. And, if the state Supreme Court upholds Judge Russell's decision like it matters anyway, I would prefer that the legislature deal immediately with the issue in a special session thereby dooming you and all your Democratic colleagues who matter in Georgia to the same humiliating defeat we suffered in 2004 – smart! rather than have this matter overshadow all other important issues for the next two-and-one-half years which might not happen if you gave us a chance to take back the House or the Senate, which you seem not to be interested in, which is the next time a constitutional amendment could be voted upon.

I know we don't agree on the legal definition of marriage Really!, but I am committed to achieving equality for every Georgian Psst – You already contradicted yourself. Maybe that political claptrap would have flown before you opened your mouth, but that time is passed., regardless of where they're from or what they believe as long as they aren't gay. During this campaign, I will not tolerate rhetoric that divides us. Apparently unless you use the divisive rhetoric yourself... As Governor, not likely, I will work every day in months beginning with 'R' to change the tone and tune of government So is that why you issued a statement that could have come directly from the mouth of Sonny Perdue, or even Ralph Reed? Please. so that the interests of all Georgians are considered and dismissed in the process of writing, debating, and passing our laws.

I hope you still support changing the way government does business here in Georgia. I do. That's why I won't vote for you in the primary, not anymore. Together no, we will lead Georgia forward. We may not always agree on the issues, but I hope we can all agree that we must face the challenges of this state together Sounds great, so why did you turn Benedict Arnold on us?, with humility, mutual respect, and in a spirit that is reflective of our shared purpose.

Very Truly Yours, Spare us.

Cathy Cox
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posted by Ataru Atlanta at 5/20/2006 07:52:00 PM


Blogger Shelby said...

And I'm the hothead of the group? :-P

5/21/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Wait a tick.
"Taylor spokesman, Rick Dent, said, 'Mark Taylor's position on this issue has not changed. He believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and supports the amendment.'"

So, we don't have a pro gay marriage candidate? Big surprise in the south. Lame, but unsurprising. In that case, let's not set our own house on fire right before we need to start worrying about beating Sonny Perdue.

5/21/2006 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Shelby, the big problme is we did have one, it USED to be cathy until early last week. That was one of the great inspiring things for a lot of activists who were working on her campaign, like myself, but no longer.

And you're not the hothead, you're just the guy we like to pick on :)
kidding. Love ya, mean it.

5/21/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...


You were about you about it being very harsh, but Benson what are suppose to do now. In all honesty what are we suppose to do? Were do we go from here? This whole thing is a political nightmare and frankly now I have a massive headache from thinking about who I'm suppose to vote for now in the Democratic Primary. I can't imagine those people in LGBT community are feelings these days. I knew we should have started a Draft Page For Governor Campaign last Fall.


5/22/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Benson, that was an AWESOME post!! It was almost enough to make me cry for joy to see a straight ally so angry about this issue. Like you, I was furious when I read Cathy's statements sitting halfway across the world in an African dictatorship where being gay is illegal and will get you arrested (if you're a citizen here) and deported if you're a foreigner.

We are left with bad choices now. Ultimately, for me, the most important thing will be beating Sonny Perdue. On the one hand, Mark was never really an LGBT friend, but he was open about that. Then there's Cathy, who made us think she was a friend only to publically cut our throats when the opportunity arose. So that would tend to say to vote for Mark because at least you know where you stand. But I'm not convinced Mark can beat Sonny. That will be a decision I will probably have to make in the voting booth. If I think Cathy is the BEST shot we have at unseating Sonny, then I'll likely hold my nose and vote for her.

But she's facing consequences unforeseen from her base of support by her actions this past week. If it makes the primary a squeaker, then I hope the lesson will have been taught that you don't pretend to be friendly with a group and then pubically betray them the way Cathy has done with the LGBT community.

5/23/2006 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

A friend of mine was speaking to the Governor of Illinois yesterday, and this situation with Cathy came up. The direct quote from the Governor was, "Even I am not THAT stupid."

Hope may be lost in Georgia, but the rest of the country may be another matter entirely.

5/23/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Is it at all possible that instead of pretending to be friendly with a group before betraying them, Cathy's pretending to be a queer-basher before pulling a fast one on the homophobes? I mean, a girl's gotta get elected and all....

5/23/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A post from BFD:

A good friend mentioned a write in candidate for Governor as a protest vote in November since everyone has addressed the gay marriage issue in the same manner. Last night it occurred to me who I will write in for Governor in November as a tribute/protest vote: Correta Scott King who died January 30th and never gave up the struggle for human rights.

I cannot think of anyone better to write in as a tribute to her life and outspoken positions on racial and economic justice, women's and children's rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and ecological sanity (from her bio).

I can leave the voting booth this November happy with my choice for King.

5/24/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Yeah, real happy, till Sonny wins again and you realize you and your ilk totally Nadered it.

5/24/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/24/2006 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

SO WHAT that Cathy agrees with defining "marriage" as the union between a man and a woman. I am a straight supporter of gay rights, a voting Democrat, and I STILL don't understand the strong desire for fellow Dems in GEORGIA (emphasis added) to cut our legs out from under ourselves on an issue that is simply not going to fly in this state given the current political climate. What, please tell me, is wrong with finding an alternate word to try to define a union between gays and lesbians? It will be many years before the voting base in this state will be comfortable in letting go of the word "marriage" as it relates to the union of two heterosexual people. (The only other way I see it happening is if the U.S. Supreme Court - under Chief Justice Roberts - applies strict scrutiny to laws affecting homosexuals. Let's face it - it will take a different judiciary to accomplish that one.) So, my point is that maybe CATHY has a point... perhaps she doesn't agree with redefining the word "marriage" as the people of Georgia understand it. Let them have it - it's just a damn word - semantics! There are other ways to accomplish agendas without self-destruction and the undercutting of the only viable political candidate we have for governor now. Mark Taylor is anything but LGBT-friendly. Let's keep in mind that homosexual marriage is not the ONLY issue facing Georgia Democrats today. Yes, it is an important issue. But we're allowing it to be shoved to the forefront of this election when there are many other issues that, in my mind, are of equal or greater importance. If any of you folks have traveled outside of Atlanta lately, maybe you'll realize that we still live in the deep south. Let's choose our battles wisely and start focusing on the totality of the issues instead of letting the GOP use issues such as this against us for the sole purpose of bringing voters out of the woodwork to "vote against the gays." Let's focus on getting control of the house, senate, and governor's mansion and then we can push our agendas. Don't compromise your values, but for pete's sake use a little common sense!

5/24/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Benson said...

If Cathy were against this issue from the beginning, it would have been nice for her to just say that from the beginning. Maybe if she hadn't strung us along only to betray the LGBT community, we could stomach this bullshit better. If you want to blame someone for putting this issue at the forefront of this election, blame Cathy. I don't think it's unreasonable to demand a different position from Sonny Perdue from my candidate.

5/24/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

I understand your point completely, but I think it is unfair to compare Cathy to Purdue and Ralph Reed. It's definitely understandable for you to feel betrayed on this issue. I just wanted to point out that there is more to a gubernatorial election than gay marriage. My ultimate point is that these types of issues are exactly what divides the Democratic party and makes us extremely vulnerable to conservative propaganda. Get past this one issue and move on. I'm not going to vote against a candidate that I am aligned with on the majority of issues simply because she disagrees with me on one issue. There is no perfect candidate. I'm not trying to make excuses for her, but she is a politician - look at the language. She says that she believes that "marriage" is a sacred bond shared by a man and woman (paraphrased). That doesn't mean that she isn't in support of same-sex unions. Unfortunately, the word "marraige" has become an 8-letter politically suicidal term in the southern states. If you want to have a Democrat as governor (as well as Dems filling the house and senate), then you have to understand this fact. You are not going to educate the entire state on the perils of their narrow-mindedness within the final 5+ months remaining in this election year. So, she's using a little spin - it happens. At least she's not using Jesus to make millions of dollars and to reshape an entire political party. Aside from everything else, I think she would do a wonderful job as the Governor of Georgia. And - most importantly - she would do a better job than ANY of the other candidates.

5/25/2006 12:07:00 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

Perdue, not Purdue - I apologize. I'm guessing my mind is gearing up for college football season.

5/25/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Actually, Josh, Cathy goes further than just defining marriage as between one man and one woman. THAT is not the issue. The issue is the amendment had TWO parts that talked about two separate topics. The first part was the definition of marriage...big woo. I'm with you on the semantics there. It's childish to create something separate that has all the rights of marriage but "isn't marriage". In fact, the Supreme Court has said that "separate is inherently unequal". But let's put that aside.

The second part denies ANY recognition at ALL of ANYTHING arising from a same sex relationship. That can include wills, contracts, powers of attorney, etc. It even denies access to courts from abused same sex partners. It all but declares gays to be less than full citizens. Yet, the only question on the ballot was "Shall marriage be defined as ..." THAT was the illegal part and why the amendment was thrown out.

Cathy supports a special session to reintroduce both parts of the amendment, including the one declaring gays persona non grata in Georgia. This is not about marriage. It's about being treated as equal human beings, and getting rid of that 2nd part of the amendment. Everyone knows that the definition of marriage will be put into the constitution as between man and woman. But the horror that is part 2 doesn't have to stand. Yet, Cathy fully supports letting it stand.

If we can't trust her on this gay issue to not totally screw us in public as hard as she can, then how can we trust her on pro-choice, immigration, education, health care? Does she even have core principles? For crying out loud, her own sister is a lesbian, and she's throwing her under the bus too!

That said, I don't know what the answer is. We need to defeat Sonny. Period. And I no longer have my heart in this race except I want Sonny sent back to Houston County. THat's the most important thing. But I'll have to be convinced of which candidate will beat Sonny's butt.

5/25/2006 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Benson, you are officially my new hero. *sigh. I don't expect people to approve gay marriage, but I expected more sense of truth in our local democrats. Blah. My former Cathy Cox for Governor sticker, now says "This used to be a Cathy Cox for Governor sticker."

5/29/2006 03:37:00 AM  

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