TV & Radio
女性のマイアーズ氏を指名＝最高裁判事に－米大統領 (時事 2005/10/04)
米大統領：最高裁判事に女性の大統領法律顧問指名 (毎日 2005/10/03)
2005年10月03日23時06分 - 朝日
米大統領、側近を最高裁判事に指名 (日本経済 2005/10/03)
米最高裁判事 マイヤーズ氏指名 大統領「厳格に法解釈」 (産経 2005/10/04)
米大統領、最高裁判事に女性で側近のマイヤーズ氏指名 (読売 2005/10/04)
米大統領、マイヤーズ大統領法律顧問を最高裁判事に指名2005年 10月 4日 火曜日 06:12 JST
［ワシントン ３日 ロイター］ ブッシュ米大統領は３日、大統領法律顧問のハリエット・マイヤーズ氏（６０）を連邦最高裁判事に指名した。
最高裁判事に女性法律顧問 米大統領が指名 (共同 2005/10/03)
Web posted at: 21:42 JST
Bush Chooses Miers for Supreme Court
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
President Bush chose Harriet Miers, White House counsel and a loyal member of the president's inner circle, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, senior administration officials said Monday.
If confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, Miers, 60, would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the nation's highest court. Miers, who has never been a judge, was the first woman to serve as president of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association.
Without a judicial record, it's difficult to know whether Miers would dramatically move the court to the right. The lack of a judicial paper trail may also make it more difficult for Democrats to find ground upon which to fight her nomination.
Democrats are under pressure from liberal interest groups to fight Bush's second Supreme Court pick. The minority party in the Senate was evenly split on the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts, who was to open the Supreme Court term shortly after Bush announces Miers.
White House officials, who revealed Bush's pick on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to pre-empt the president, said Miers is conservative enough to satisfy the president's supporters and does not have a lengthy legal record that could embolden Democrats.
"There's every indication that she's very similar to Judge Roberts — judicial restraint, limited role of the court, basically a judicial conservative," said Republican consultant Greg Mueller, who works for several conservative advocacy leaders.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the president offered the job to Miers Sunday night over dinner in the residence. He met with Miers on four occasions during the past couple weeks, McClellan said.
Both Democratic and Republican senators recommended Miers as a possible nominee, he said. Senators also suggested that Bush consider picking someone who was not a judge so the bench would be flush with justices from all walks of life.
"Harriet Miers, like Justice O'Connor, has been a trailblazer and a pioneer," said Rick Garnett, a law professor at Notre Dame and former law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. "Like Justice O'Connor, Ms. Miers has broken through barriers in the law, serving as a leader and role model, and impressing everyone with her decency and her sharp intellect. She would be a worthy and appropriate successor to Justice O'Connor, and would carry to the court a commitment to constitutionalism, judicial restraint, and the rule of law."
Rehnquist, whose death paved way for Roberts' nomination, had not served as a judge before President Nixon put him on the Supreme Court.
Known for thoroughness and her low-profile, Miers is one of the first staff members to arrive at the White House in the morning and among the last to leave.
When Bush named her White House counsel in November 2004, the president described Miers as a lawyer with keen judgment and discerning intellect — "a trusted adviser on whom I have long relied for straightforward advice."
He also joked of Miers, "When it comes to a cross-examination, she can filet better than Mrs. Paul."
Miers has been leading the White House effort to help Bush choose nominees to the Supreme Court, so getting the nod herself duplicates a move that Bush made in 2000 when he tapped the man leading his search committee for a vice presidential running mate — Dick Cheney.
Conservatives call Miers a top-notch lawyer who understands the limited role they say judges should play in society. In nominating Miers, they say Bush is reaffirming his commitment to picking judges who will respect the letter of the law and not allow cultural or social trends sway their opinions.
"Harriet Miers is a top-notch lawyer who understands the limited role that judges play in our society," said Noel Francisco, former assistant White House counsel and deputy assistant attorney general during the Bush administration. "In nominating Ms. Miers, the president has reaffirmed his commitment to appointing judges who will respect the rule of law and not legislate from the bench."
With no record, liberals say the White House should be prepared for Miers to be peppered with questions during her Senate confirmation.
"Choosing somebody who is not a judge would put that much more of a premium on straight answers to questions because there would be that much less for senators and the public to go on when looking at such a nominee's judicial philosophy," says Elliot Mincberg, counsel with the liberal People for the American Way.
Formerly Bush's personal lawyer in Texas, Miers came with the president to the White House as his staff secretary, the person in charge of all the paperwork that crosses the Oval Office desk. Miers was promoted to deputy chief of staff in June 2003.
Miers, a single, soft-spoken woman who guards her personal privacy, has led a trailblazing career. She grew up in Dallas, earning her undergraduate and law degrees from Southern Methodist University.
As an attorney in Dallas, Miers became president in 1996 of Locke Purnell, Rain & Harrell a firm with more than 200 lawyers where she worked starting in 1972. After it merged a few years later, she became co-manager of Locke Liddell & Sapp.
When Bush was governor of Texas, she represented him in a case involving a fishing house. In 1995, he appointed her to a six-year term on the Texas Lottery Commission.
She also served as a member-at-large on the Dallas City Council. In 1992, she became the first women president of the Texas State Bar. She was the first woman of the Dallas Bar Association in 1985.
Pete Shane, a law professor at The Ohio State University, predicted that "it's going to be a long drawn-out exercise."
Noting criticism of Bush's choice of Michael Brown to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a man who was later demoted and then resigned after a sluggish governmental response to Hurricane Katrina, Shane said of Bush: "He's going to pick his best friend in the White House counsel's office to be on the Supreme Court? It seems like a flat-footed thing to do."
Yahoo! Supreme Court News
いわきのぶこ議員（小鳥ピヨピヨ(a cheeping little bird)）
The New York Times
The American Church and the Ban on Gay Priests (4 Letters)
Published: October 3, 2005
To the Editor:
Re "Americans Plan Rome Trip Over Ban on Gay Priests" (news article, Sept. 30):
It seems that many monks and priests want to remain gay. But if gays can be allowed as priests, why doesn't the church allow married people to become priests?
It seems to me, a Catholic from India, that in the West the priesthood has become just another profession. In the East, we look at priests as men who have renounced all worldly pleasures for a spiritual and holy life.
If someone is not capable of dedicating his life to God, let him not choose the priesthood.
New City, N.Y., Sept. 30, 2005
To the Editor:
When John L. Allen Jr. (Op-Ed, Sept. 27) says the Vatican statement "no gays in the priesthood" really means "this is not a good idea," he's glossing over the intolerance and authoritarianism of church policy.
Mr. Allen confuses the famously sunny Italian disposition with that of Vatican officials.
There are reasons involving the use of power and fear that men whom he sees in private as "strikingly patient and understanding" present themselves as otherwise in public.
Newton, Mass., Sept. 27, 2005
To the Editor:
John L. Allen Jr. highlights the essential difference between American Catholicism and that practiced in Europe. The American model has been influenced by Protestantism, while Catholicism in Europe has been much less so.
The European church is more forgiving, less dogmatic, and for this reason, debates over abortion, contraception and homosexuality are nowhere near as fractious in Europe.
Darien, Conn., Sept. 27, 2005
To the Editor:
John L. Allen Jr. is right about what will happen with the church's expected ban on gays in seminaries. Church leaders will ignore well-kept secrets and gay men will continue to serve, but in a shroud of darkness. As a response to the child abuse scandals, this is madness.
It's not a culture of homosexuality that lies at the root of child abuse; it's the culture of secrecy.
Boston, Sept. 27, 2005
When the Vatican Pays a Visit (5 Letters) - NY Times
米ハリケーン：エイズ患者の処方薬、入手困難に (毎日 2005/10/03)
A Civil Day For Gays
By DANIELA ALTIMARI
Hartford Courant Staff Writer
October 2 2005
From Hartford, where carnations and applause greeted newly joined couples, to tiny Washington, where two women who have been together for 38 years celebrated with cake and champagne, gays and lesbians ushered in Connecticut's landmark civil union law on Saturday.
"It's a historic day and we wanted to be part of it," said Lidia Agramonte, 47, who arrived at Hartford City Hall at 7:30 Saturday morning - 90 minutes before the doors opened - with her partner, Maria Gomez, 50. The New Britain couple held a small ceremony in Bushnell Park several hours later.
Hartford officials hung a rainbow flag over the entrance to city hall, set out a table laden with juice and coffee and were ready for hundreds of couples. Only 26 showed up. Among them was Art Feltman, a Democratic state representative from Hartford, and his longtime partner. The clerk's office was one of a dozen or so holding special Saturday hours to accommodate couples seeking civil union licenses on the day the law took effect.
Connecticut is the first state to grant legal recognition to gay couples without a directive from the courts. Massachusetts, which permits gays to marry, and Vermont, which authorizes civil unions, were reacting to judges' orders.
Two noon rallies outside the state Capitol protested the new law. One group felt civil unions should not be allowed and the other said that same-sex marriage should be permitted.
Inside Hartford City Hall the mood was jovial. Couples, some with children in tow, took numbers and waited their turns in the marble corridor outside the clerk's office. When a couple emerged with license in hand, they were greeted with applause and handed a red-and-white carnation.
The national press largely ignored Connecticut's historic day, in sharp contrast to the high-profile treatment given to Vermont and Massachusetts, which drew reporters from as far as Japan.
To state Rep. Michael Lawlor, one of the measure's chief proponents, the low-key reaction signifies the public's increasing level of comfort with same-sex relationships. "The big news of today is UConn beat Army, not civil unions," Lawlor, a Democrat from East Haven, said Saturday. "The people of Connecticut are comfortable with this."
It wasn't always so. Charlotte Johnson, 63, remembers a time when gays and lesbians were considered mentally ill. "We come from the era where the best thing for us was shock treatment," said Johnson, who has been with her partner, Joan Gauthey, 72, for 38 years. "We've come a long way."
On Saturday, the couple hosted a party with 200 guests in their hometown of Washington. Gauthey, a retired physical education teacher, began the festivities by blowing a coach's whistle. After Gauthey and Johnson recited vows and exchanged rings, the crowd tossed birdseed and blew bubbles. The cake, baked by a member of their church, was topped with a tiny statue of two brides.
Anne Bladen and Jill Barton of Hampton opted for a simpler celebration. They wore jeans and denim shirts as they briefly exchanged vows in the courtyard next to Hartford City Hall. Their 7-year-old son, Lucas, stood between them as Mayor Eddie Perez looked on.
"Do you, Jill, take this woman, Anne, to be your lawful joined partner, to love honor and cherish her through sickness and in health, through times of happiness and travail, until death do you part?" asked Kelvin Roldan, a justice of the peace who works in city hall.
The vows came long after the commitment. Bladen and Barton have been together for 15 years. They have weathered a major medical crisis together. They are raising a child together.
And yet, having the state's endorsement of their relationship does matter, they said. "It makes Connecticut feel like a safer place," said Bladen, standing in the warm October sunshine as Lucas chased pigeons nearby. "It's not marriage yet, but we'll take what we can get."
For many couples, the day was bittersweet. While thrilled to finally receive some legal recognition, they mourned the fact that the document they received was not a marriage license.
"It feels good but it doesn't feel like I think it will feel when we get married," Peter Tognalli of Manchester said after emerging from the city clerk's office with his partner, Bill Brindamour.
Civil unions provide many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but are not recognized by most other states and the federal government.
Brindamour, a retired school principal, said he was surprised by the depth of emotion he felt after receiving the civil union license. Still, he didn't cry.
"When it's marriage I'll be crying through the whole ceremony," Brindamour said. "I'll be a blubbering idiot."
To view a related video story, visit www.courant.com
Connecticut's First Same-Sex Unions Proceed Civilly
Little Hoopla Surrounds Occasion
By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 2, 2005; A03
HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 1 -- Connecticut became the third state to offer same-sex couples a legal way to unite, issuing its first licenses for "civil unions" Saturday in what seemed too low-key to be a milestone in a cultural fight that has divided the nation.
Here in Hartford -- where a rainbow flag hung outside City Hall and the clerk's office opened for special Saturday hours -- 26 couples came in to get licenses for the unions, which offer the same benefits as traditional marriage under state law.
Some, such as Pablo Santiago, 33, and Edgardo Rivera, 31, went directly to a justice of the peace and had the unions solemnized. Santiago and Rivera, of Hartford, had their ceremony in the atrium of City Hall, embracing after City Clerk Dan Carey said, "I now pronounce you partners in life."
"Wonderful," Santiago said afterward. "Everyone that's in love like we are should do the same thing."
Despite the smiles and occasional tears, this was nothing like the hoopla when Vermont began civil unions in 2000, or the midnight ceremonies that kicked off gay marriage in Massachusetts last year.
Couples acknowledged that, even as they did something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago, the thrill was not there. Full-fledged marriage was the ultimate goal, and this seemed more like an intermediate step.
"It feels good, but it doesn't feel like it will when we get married," said Peter Tognalli, 52, of Manchester, Conn., who had gotten a license with Bill Brindamour, 54, his partner of 27 years.
A few blocks away, in a deserted downtown that showed few signs of anything but Saturday going on, a Reclaim Connecticut Protest on the steps of the state capitol drew a few dozen opponents of civil unions.
Brian Brown, a leading opponent of civil unions in the state, told the crowd that much more political activism would be needed to fulfill their eventual goal: a constitutional amendment eliminating same-sex unions.
"This is a tragic day for our state's children," said Brown, whose organization, the Family Institute of Connecticut, contends that children develop best in a household with heterosexual parents. "We have a lot to do and a very short time to do it."
Connecticut, which had 7,386 households with same-sex couples in the 2000 Census, was the first state whose legislature approved gay unions on its own. Vermont and Massachusetts were forced to change their laws by order of their state supreme courts. Connecticut's unions bring no benefits under federal law, which does not recognize them.
It was difficult to gauge the number of couples who received licenses Saturday because the state government and many town halls were closed for the weekend. A spokesman for another large city, New Haven, said his town hall had been open but also was hardly overwhelmed: Ten couples applied for licenses.
The law here also includes a provision, added to satisfy conservatives, that explicitly defines the term "marriage" as only between a man and a woman.
The beginning of unions here comes at a polarized time in the national debate over same-sex marriage. Dozens of states have explicitly banned it, and opposition to same-sex unions in these areas has been credited with fueling conservative political strength.
But, in a few pockets of the country, proponents of same-sex nuptials feel they have the momentum. One such place is California, where legislators had approved same-sex marriage before the bill was vetoed last Thursday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
Another is here in the Northeast. The feeling among many gay and lesbian couples in Connecticut is that same-sex marriage will be a reality here very shortly -- perhaps because of a pending court case similar to the one that set off the changes in Massachusetts.
"The classic American pattern of civil rights advance is a patchwork" of change state by state, said Evan Wolfson, executive director of the New York-based group Freedom to Marry.
As this larger debate was taking place, in recent weeks Connecticut had focused on the mundane bureaucratic and ceremonial details of creating a new kind of romantic union.
There was confusion among justices of the peace, who would perform many of these ceremonies. They complained that they did not know what to say at the end: I now pronounce you -- what? United? Civilized?
Government had not quite worked out all the kinks, either, as was obvious when, at 9:30 a.m. (30 minutes later than scheduled), city officials beckoned Lidia Agramonte, 47, and Maria Gomez, 50, of New Britain, Conn., into the clerk's office.
The pair had been waiting outside City Hall since 7:30 a.m. Soon, they would wait some more, while clerks figured out how to feed their forms -- so new they were not in the computer system -- through a typewriter.
Then came the typos: two of them, each necessitating a delay while clerks blotted out the errors, then waved the forms to get them dry.
And then, with TV cameras rolling, Assistant Registrar Tanya Rivera stumbled on the unfamiliar wording, first asking where the partners were going to be "married."
She corrected herself: "unionized."
But Gomez had a quip ready.
"I'll take marriage," she said.
'The Time is Right'
Marie Wilson discusses America's changing attitudes toward women in politics—and the effect of shows like 'Commander in Chief'.
By Bao Ong
Updated: 6:45 p.m. ET Sept. 30, 2005
Sept. 30, 2005 - Is the United States finally ready for a woman president? ABC’s new drama, the much-hyped “Commander in Chief” has already cast Geena Davis in that role. And inside the real Beltway, Hillary Clinton undoubtedly is a leading contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination in 2008. Plus, the New York senator may find herself competing against another woman if Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice decides to throw her own hat into the ring.
Even if the 2008 race does not come down to a Hillary-Condi showdown, women undoubtedly have made enormous political strides since Geraldine Ferraro made it onto a White House ticket. One example: the perhaps-surprising number of female leaders—from the governor of Louisiana to the mayor of Galveston—who became familiar faces in television coverage of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast. That makes these gratifying times for Marie Wilson, 65. As president of The White House Project, a non-partisan organization helping advance women’s leadership, Wilson has been the inspiration for such initiatives as the “President Barbie” doll and Take Our Daughters to Work day. Now, she believes, the United States is at a tipping point—and that shows like “Commander in Chief” are reflections, not vanguards, of the current zeitgeist. She spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Bao Ong about what’s changed. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: What’s keeping voters from electing more women as governors or, indeed, as president?
Pipelines. Incumbency. There are a lot of unchallenged people [running for office]. Women don’t always run unless they’re invited. We need more women coming up from the pipeline of state government into the governorships. There’s this whole issue of toughness. Women have to face toughness without losing appeal.
How can the media and voters move beyond what you call the “hair, hemlines and husband” infatuation with women leaders?
America is so individualistic. When it’s one woman, she has to be man enough for the job. When you get more women in, they have to look beyond the “hair, hemlines and husband” aspect. So we need numbers to move to the agenda instead of being stuck on their gender.
Is this what you mean when you say that you can’t be what you can’t see?
If you don’t see someone doing that job, you can’t imagine another person in that place.
What do you think of the show “Commander in Chief?”
I think it’s well written. It’s well cast. Geena [Davis] has good presence. The tone of it feels just right.
Can this show prepare voters from a woman president?
I feel like it will be a tipping point. The time is right. The country is ready, it really is. It’s also why we have this show now. It’s a measure of this country’s readiness. I cry every time I see this show and I’m not just a weeper. It’s more than about a woman; [it’s about] human rights and democracy. People are going to see a new way about the role of government. Their hearts are going to be moved. And it’s when people’s hearts are moved that we get real change. You can’t exhort people to change. You have to start where they are—and they’re in front of their televisions.
Will it be a step backwards if “Commander in Chief” doesn’t get good enough ratings to stay on the air?
This is already a big step. It will encourage other shows. It can still educate people.
Your own political views were influenced when you were a child in Atlanta forced by a bus driver to move up front when you wanted to sit in back with a black woman.
Those of us who grew up in the South, I think, grew up with a strong sense of justice and injustice. You saw the oppression so clearly. You knew this wasn’t right. You knew at a very deep level. I remember being an activist at a very early age—not because I wanted to be an activist but because I just knew it was just wrong. Children have a very keen sense of justice.
Is this what drives you to keep fighting for women’s rights?
I’ve seen women make a difference. I felt like if we didn’t get these women into the seats of power and into the government, then we couldn’t retain the changes made as women entered public policy. The best way to do is to get a richly diverse critical mass of women into leadership in America, not only in the government but every sector to lead alongside men. You get more innovation because you have more different voices at the table. Men just don’t have to deal with war and be tough enough for the job themselves.
When Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson grab headlines all the time, how can young girls get the message from shows like “Commander in Chief?”
I think what girls want to be is powerful. They see these celebrities as powerful. And if they see that if they can really be powerful, in terms of making policy, I think that will change things for little girls. Women have gained power through beauty. When women can have real power, that will no longer be an issue.
What do you think about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s chances if she runs in 2008?
She’s a leader of the Democratic party. A lot depends on what’s happening in the country and world. She’s obviously certifiably credible, knowledgeable, a rock star, well-known. I think a lot depends on what’s going in the party, too. And who her opponent is if she runs.
Should a woman be nominated to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court?
It depends on the woman. We need women in leadership who support the issues. It’s only important if it’s a woman who leads. I’d have to see what she brings to the court. I don’t want a man in drag. I don’t want a person who won’t care.
What about getting other minority women into roles of leadership? Is that a different challenge?
We recently trained women in four states and roughly 40 percent of them were women of color. They understand what politics can do for them. They just need it demystified. Men see men [in politics] and they think, “I’ll learn on the job.” So the challenging part is telling [women] how you get in.
What gave you the inspiration for the President Barbie doll in 2000?
It was an accidental occasion. I was at [toy company] Mattel trying to get money but they didn’t give any. I turned around and said, ‘you should make that doll a President Barbie.’ When they said yes, nobody was more surprised than me. The only thing I couldn’t get them to do was make her feet flat. However, the second time they put her out, they said, “doll needs support,” which [sounds] more like a president [laughs.] The feminist community that I was part of didn’t speak for me several weeks. But the truth is most girls have Barbies. Why not have girls play with a Barbie that has power?
What tires you the most about critics of women’s rights?
It’s not the critics. What tires me is when I read another article on the front page of a leading New York paper that takes a narrow slice of women. Like [a New York Times report that said] women at Yale plan to drop out [of the work force when they] have children. Or, should Harvard invest in women who may not work full-time their whole life. It makes me crazy. It doesn’t look at the [other] 60 percent of women. Most women work because they have to. The social cultural ideal of women [as wife and mother] hasn’t changed in America. It feels like there’s always a push to push women back into these roles.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
© 2005 MSNBC.com
Dreier, rumored to be gay, floated as DeLay replacement
By EARTHA JANE MELZER
Friday, September 30, 2005 - Blade
Shortly after the public learned on Sept. 28 that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had been indicted for allegedly violating campaign finance laws, initial media reports suggested that his replacement would be Congressman David Dreier, who has refused to answer questions about his sexual orientation.
DeLay (R-Texas) announced Wednesday that he would temporarily step down from his post as majority leader, in accordance with House rules. Within hours, the Washington Post and other media outlets cited unnamed House Republicans to report that House Speaker Dennis Hastert has already selected Dreier, chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, to replace DeLay.
Dreier, now in his 13th term, has voted against most pro-gay legislation, though last year he opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have prohibited states from enacting gay marriage laws.
Last September, LA Weekly reported that Dreier has lived with his chief of staff, Brad Smith, and speculated that both men are gay and possibly a couple.
During an interview with gay journalist Michelangelo Signorile at the 2004 Republican National Convention, Dreier refused to say whether he is heterosexual, fueling longstanding rumors that Dreier is gay.
With media coverage focusing on Dreier, a number of gay bloggers and groups posted items questioning his sexual orientation in direct or indirect ways.
The Stonewall Democrats, a gay partisan group, issued a press release calling on Dreier “to be honest” and “openly discuss” his legislative agenda and whether he would allow the FMA to again come up for a House vote.
By late afternoon Wednesday, Hastert announced that Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) — not Dreier — would take over Delay’s leadership role and that Dreier and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) would share some of the responsibilities of majority leader.
Several prominent gay bloggers quickly speculated that the withdrawal of Dreier’s name for the top spot was related to the rumors of his sexual orientation.
The National Stonewall Democrats issued a second statement, criticizing Blunt as “flamboyantly out” in his opposition to gay rights and claiming Dreier was pulled from the position “after much speculation over [his] record.”
Asked to explain the coy language, the NSD’s John Marble said that when Dreier’s name was floated, there was a “moment of hope” that Republicans might head in a more moderate direction on social issues.
Now that Blunt will occupy the top spot, Marble said, “We know the Congress will continue the anti-gay tact of DeLay, and very well may take it a step to the right.”
The Log Cabin Republicans did not issue any public statements as of press time on Wednesday night.
Gay rumors apparently fostered GOP House revolt
Dreier’s chances to replace DeLay sunk by angry conservatives
By Dennis Vercher
Staff Writer - Dallas Voice
Shortly after he was indicted by a Texas grand jury, Represen-tative Tom DeLay announced Wednes-day that he was stepping down as House majority leader, as House rules require. Before the end of the day, several media outlets cited unidentified Republicans who said House Speaker Dennis Hastert would name Representative David Drier of Calif-ornia, chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, as De-Lay’s replacement.
Dreier, now in his 13th term, has steadfastly refused to speak about his sexual orientation in a number of interviews.
Last September, LA Weekly reported that the congressman, who had opposed most gay rights legislation that came before the House, was himself gay and lived with his chief of staff, Brad Smith, whom the newspaper speculated was Dreier’s partner.
As Dreier’s name hit the media Wednesday, a number of gay bloggers posted material questioning his sexual orientation.
Conservatives were angered that Hastert had not appointed one of their own to the temporary post. By late afternoon, the rising cloud proved too much for Hastert, and he announced that Representative Fred Blunt, a Republican of Missouri with impeccable conservative credentials who is serving his fifth term in the House, would temporarily replace DeLay, assisted by Dreier and Representative Eric Cantor, a Republican of Virginia.
Some prominent gay bloggers responded with speculation that Dreier fell from consideration because of rumors about his sexual orientation.
The National Stonewall Democrats issued a statement criticizing Blunt, whom the group said was “flamboyantly out” in opposing gay rights. The statement also claimed Dreier was removed from consideration “after much speculation over his record.”
This statement came after a previous statement the gay partisan group issued a day earlier, when Dreier was still considered the front-runner for the majority leader post.
In it, Stonewall Democrats leaders called on Dreier to “openly discuss his legislative agenda” for the House.
“As Majority Leader, Congressman Dreier will decide the fate of numerous pieces of legislation that impact the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Whether or not Republicans force the House of Representatives to take up a divisive anti-gay constitutional amendment is now up to David Dreier. Congressman Dreier should honestly answer whether he will continue to pursue the corrupt agenda of Tom Delay that sought to divide the American public and prohibit states from granting basic protections to millions of American families.”
A Harris County grand jury on Wednesday indicted DeLay and two associates on charges of criminal conspiracy. Because DeLay faces a potential two-year prison sentence if convicted, House rules required him to step down as House Majority Leader.