Equal Rights is the Responsibility of Every American
By Governor Howard Dean

Sunday 27 April 2003

George W. Bush ran for President on the promise that he would be ``a uniter, not a divider.'' Nothing could be further from the truth. Earlier this week, Senator Rick Santorum, the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. On Friday, President Bush praised Santorum as ``an inclusive man.'' With his praise, this President has once again demonstrated his willingness to follow the extremist Republican tradition of dividing our country for political gain. The President knows that his defense of Santorum's inflammatory words deeply offends millions of gay and lesbian Americans, their family and friends; his praise also raises grave concerns about this Administration's commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

Senator Santorum has called his repugnant remarks ``a legitimate public policy discussion.'' Senator Santorum is wrong. Equating the private, consensual activities of adults to the molestation of minors is not a policy discussion. It is gay-bashing, and it is immoral.

Senator Santorum asserted that the government has the right ``to limit individuals' wants and passions.'' While the government has the right to protect citizens from the harmful acts of others, as well as an obligation to promote the general welfare of all people, I do not believe that it is the proper role of government to step into the private bedrooms of consenting adults. The continuous assault by right-wing radicals on the privacy of ordinary Americans must stop.

Read the full article at truthout.

Sign a petition calling for Santorum's resignation at www.deanforamerica.com/petition.


Thanks to all of you who are hosting and attending house parties. I just paid a surprise visit to the people at the Lisbon, Iowa house party. This truly is a grassroots campaign and I appreciate all of your efforts! Keep up the good work, and perhaps I'll see you at a house party in the future.


BURLINGTON, VT- This Saturday, April 26th, marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Civil Unions bill in Vermont, recognizing civil unions under the law and extending equal rights to all Vermonters.

In celebration of this anniversary Governor Howard Dean will attend a number of "Stand-Up" events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York highlighting the importance of civil rights and celebrating his record of advocacy for equal rights under the law for individuals.

The Dean for America campaign will also be sponsoring a "National House Parties Day" on Saturday, April 26, to further celebrate this occasion. More than 50 house parties will be held nationwide, from Brunswick, Maine to San Diego, California. The parties will be held both in large cities, such as Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, and in smaller towns such as Ithaca, New York, and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Attendees of the house parties will participate in a teleconference with Governor Dean, view a campaign video about Governor Dean-which includes his recent speech that electrified the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting-and learn about his positions on critical issues.

"I am honored that so many people are coming together to support my candidacy," Dean said. "This campaign's strength is in its grassroots, and I am grateful to each person hosting a party or attending one. Their commitment will help me win the Democratic nomination, and help us take our country back."

Gov. Dean signed the Civil Unions law six months prior to his 2000 re-election when the law was unpopular in the polls. Upon signing the bill 3-years ago, Gov. Dean stated, "I believe that until every human being is treated with dignity, because they are a human being, and not because they belong in some category, then every American and every Vermonter is poorer because of it."


Dean blogger Rick Klau makes the Chicago Daily Herald today:

You can change the fate of a nation one canape at a time, Rick Klau believes.

The Naperville man is doing his part to shape America's future by hosting a fund-raiser today for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's presidential campaign.

Klau hopes between 20 and 30 people show up for a house party at which guests can talk to the Democratic leader in a teleconference.

The party runs from 3 to 5 p.m. and is one of up to 100 similar Dean fundraisers planned nationwide.

"What made me call his campaign office was that I wouldn't be happy if I just waited to vote," he said.

Klau describes Dean, a doctor, as a fiscal conservative who balanced Vermont's budget and created a "rainy day" fund. He's an advocate of civil rights and has fought for health care for children.

"He's an absolutely electrifying speaker," Klau said. "He has the ability to inspire."



Marty Jezer writes from a Vermonter's perspective over at Common Dreams:

In December 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court unanimously ruled that gay couples are entitled to equal rights and protections under the law.... [Dean] chose to make a stand in support of civil unions. And stand he did. Right-wing Republicans attempted to make civil unions the issue by which they would bring down moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats. The debate was ugly, but Dean was heroic. On radio phone-in shows and in speeches and public appearances, he took on the abuse, bigotry and phony science of the homophobic following and did not give an inch. He turned the debate and the election that followed into a referendum on human dignity and dignity won.

And we believe dignity will win again. Jezer sums up the answer he gives to people who ask him, as a Vermonter, what Howard Dean is like:

The bottom line with Howard Dean is that he’s a decent guy with backbone.


The Argus Online has an article out today about how college students are flocking to Howard Dean:

When Mom and Dad want their son or daughter to make the "Dean's list," this might not be what they have in mind.

College students across the nation are jumping aboard former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's Democratic presidential bandwagon, launching Students for Dean chapters on more than 80 campuses from coast to coast -- the largest student network so far in this nascent presidential election cycle.

"People are really upset with the political process and they're looking for a reason to get involved, they want a change," said Berkeley Students for Dean founder Adam Borelli, 20, a freshman from Ventura County. "He's the real deal ... and he's giving people confidence in the process."

Tomorrow, students across the country will Break for Dean.


From the AP:

WASHINGTON -- The White House said GOP Sen. Rick Santorum is doing a good job as party leader and is "an inclusive man," despite his controversial remarks on homosexuality.

"The president has confidence in the senator and believes he's doing a good job as senator" and in his No. 3 Senate GOP leadership post, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Friday.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Santorum compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. He also said the right to privacy does not exist in the Constitution.


We're making progress! The two people who searched my luggage at the George Bush airport in Houston, TX recognized Howard as "the guy who is running for President."


[I received this message from Kate O'Connor, the Governor's long-time friend and assistant, last night. Kate will be posting directly to the blog as she travels around the country with Howard Dean.]

Greetings from the campaign trail! We're in Houston, Texas for the National Conference of Black Mayors. Gov. Dean was greeted by a cheering crowd of people waving Dean signs! Most of the sign wavers came from Meet Up!!

Gov. Dean spoke to a crowd of about 200 people. He talked about balancing the budget, health care, diversity, and local issues. He got a good response.

We also attended a meet and greet organized by local activists. It was another great event. Over 100 people showed up!

Tomorrow morning we're off to Iowa!




Over at Aboutpolitics.com, the Dean Call to Action blog is the political site of the day.


A full transcript of Howard Dean's appearance at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is now available online. The appearance, from March 26th, was moderated by Joe Klein, and features questions from the audience. Joe Klein summed up the appearance in his closing remarks:

Let me just say in closing that as a journalist, I've seen an awful lot of politicians in recent years who have talked legislatees and focus group and market test, very few who speak [clear] English. I think that what we've seen here is a candidate who speaks English, and I look forward to hearing you speak more of it as we go down the road.


One of the wonderful things about blogs-- from our view, at least-- is it gives us the ability to read the often-eloquently expressed reasons that people support Howard Dean. We find these "endorsements" as meaningful as any, and so we're starting today a category called Blog Endorsements, in which we'll re-post excerpts of some of the entries from other blogs that endorse Howard Dean for President. (Send suggested links to deanforum@deanforamerica.com.)

This first entry we discovered two days ago. Melissa over at Planning a Sky writes:

I have sent away my very first political campaign donation, and obviously chosen the candidate I'm endorsing for the 2004 elections. I'd like my country back too, Dr. Dean. And I'd like it back with clean air and water and wildlife refuges and a job for my brother and retirement money for my parents and the ability to make my own choices about my own body and a balanced budget and background checks on gun purchases everywhere and more money spent rebuilding our country rather than the ones we bomb. I'd like Vermont in all fifty states. I'd like to know why there isn't a national uproar over the Patriot Act II, and why we aren't all fighting for "freedom, the First Amendment and, yes, baseball." We believe Howard Dean wants those things too, and therefore he has our support, both financially and politically.


In its lead editorial today, the Washington Post argues that Senator Rick Santorum's argument that his comments on homosexuality were limited to the context on the Texas sodomy case currently before the Supreme Court is "small comfort to those who oppose prejudice against homosexuals, now offensively lumped in by the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference with bigamists and those who practice incest." Yet even within the legal context, the Washington Post is alarmed by Santorum's "world view." They write:

This is not one of those offhand gaffes, like Sen. Trent Lott's comparison of homosexuals with alcoholics and kleptomaniacs. As is clear from the longer transcript of the interview, Mr. Santorum is espousing a worldview, and a disturbing one. On one side are defenders of the "healthy, stable, traditional family." On the other are practitioners of what he calls the "right-to-privacy lifestyle," by which he means an attitude that "as long as it's private, as long as it's consensual," it's okay, even if deviant. Mr. Santorum favors the former attitude, which is his right. But then he takes it a step further. This right-to-privacy lifestyle "destroys the basic unit of our society," he argues, and thus communities should be able to outlaw it if they wish....

So here we have a prominent Republican legislator advocating the right of states to sic their police on two consenting adults in their own home. You don't have to be pro-"anything" to know what's wrong with this



Andrew Sullivan, in a series of entries to his weblog yesterday, takes note that "Santorum is proposing a politics that would essentially abolish domestic sexual privacy." Sullivan quotes the original text of the AP interview in which Senator Santorum compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery:

The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions [Santorum said]. I disagree with that.

Sullivan responds:

Wow. I've long heard of people talking about individual rights against the government. I have rarely heard about the government's rights against the individual. And from a Republican! Notice how Santorum uses the pronoun "we" when referring to the state. He's been in power too long. Has Santorum heard of limited government? It was once a conservative idea, you know, Senator.


Tomorrow, Thursday, April 24th, the Ms. Foundation for Women launches Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day. Click here to find out more information.


Readers of the Dean Call to Action blog know that Governor Dean has responded decisively to Senator Santorum's offensive anti-gay remarks.

Readers of my blog, LeftLeaner.com, know that one of the few organizations to defend Santorum has a history of using anti-gay rhetoric. And as right-wing fundamentalists like Gary Bauer ("I think that while some elites may be upset by those comments, they're pretty much in the mainstream of where most of the country is") rush to portray Santorum's position as widely held, I've also pointed out that Santorum doesn't seem to respect the opinions of the voters who elected him in the first place.

Let's take a look at what some other notable names in the blogosphere have written about the Santorum situation:

Daily Kos dissects Santorum's "bigotry eruption." Kos has also posted a disturbing fund-raising letter, written by Santorum, demonstrating the GOP Senator's fanatical opposition to same-sex unions.

Atrios doesn't mince any words when commenting on Santorum's description of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Over at the new and improved CalPundit (adjust your bookmarks!), Kevin Drum argues that Santorum's remarks are just one example of the "many horribly bigoted comments about gays from Republican politicians — comments that go much further than even some conservative voters are willing to tolerate."

Liberal Oasis sees the Santorum debacle as part of a larger pattern of GOP ineptness and insensitivity.

Noho-Missives finds himself in agreement with the Volokh Conspiracy for a change, as Santorum brings liberals and Libertarians together.

Andrew Sullivan doesn't pull any punches: "I think (Santorum) thinks that a gay man's sex life is the moral equivalent of -- no, worse than -- an animal's. And this is the young face of the Republican Party in the Senate."

--Left Leaner


As Dean Wireless members have known for over an hour (hint, hint), Howard Dean will be on Wolf Blitzer Reports on CNN tonight at 5 pm EDT. The Governor will likely appear in the first half of the show. Tune in to watch-- and click here to send email questions for Howard Dean during the broadcast.


Yesterday, I called on President Bush and the Republican Party leadership to condemn Senator Rick Santorum for his deeply offensive remarks comparing homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. As additional reports have come to light, revealing a disturbing history of inflammatory, anti-gay rhetoric by Senator Santorum, the deafening silence of President Bush and his party has become inexcusable.

Sen. Santorum has refused to apologize for his repugnant remarks, calling his comments “a legitimate public policy discussion.” Gay-bashing is not a legitimate public policy discussion; it is immoral. Rick Santorum’s failure to recognize that attacking people because of who they are is morally wrong makes him unfit for a leadership position in the United States Senate. Today I call on Rick Santorum to resign from his post as Republican Conference Chairman.

Once again, I call on President Bush to repudiate Sen. Santorum’s remarks. The President of the United States must represent all Americans, regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation. In a nation dedicated to equality under the law, everyone must be equal under the law. By refusing to stand up for gay Americans under attack by members of his own party’s leadership, this President sends a message that intolerance and bigotry is acceptable. That is not acceptable.

-Howard Dean



In an interview published yesterday with the Associated Press, Rick Santorum, the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. I am outraged by Senator Santorum’s remarks.

That a leader of the Republican Party would make such insensitive and divisive comments—comments that are derogatory and meant to harm an entire group of Americans, their friends and their families—is not only outrageous, but deeply offensive.

The silence with which President Bush and the Republican Party leadership have greeted Sen. Santorum’s remarks is deafening. It is the same silence that greeted Senator Lott’s offensive remarks in December. It is a silence that implicitly condones a policy of domestic divisiveness, a policy that seeks to divide Americans again and again on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

It is a policy that must end, and it is a policy that will end with a Dean Presidency. This Saturday, April 26th, marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Civil Unions bill in Vermont. I signed that bill because I believe no human being should be treated with less dignity than others simply because that person belongs to a different category or group. I also believe that, as Americans, it is our duty to speak up when others are treated wrongly—especially when others are treated wrongly by a member of the Senate leadership.

I urge all Americans, and members of both parties, to join me in condemning Sen. Santorum’s remarks. They are unacceptable, and silence is an unacceptable response. By standing up against such divisive rhetoric—whether one is gay, lesbian, or straight—we can begin to achieve the American ideal of equal rights for all people.

Howard Dean



Do you want to know when Howard Dean is going to be on television? Do you want to be the first to know when Dean for America has an important press release or announcement to make? Do you want to hear important voice messages from Howard Dean himself? Checking this blog is one way to stay in touch, but when you're offline or on the road, you can get the latest news by joining the Dean Wireless Network.

How does it work? It's simple-- all you need is a cell phone that can receive text messages. Click on the link above to be taken to the Howard Dean 2004 Upoc group. Click on "join this group now." Click on "Register now" and follow the simple instructions under "Sign up." That's it! You're ready to receive text and voices messages from Dean for America on your phone.

The FAQ's:

Does this cost money? No. The service is free. Receiving text messages may be an additional charge depending on your cellular service, but it's usually only a few pennies per message received.
Will anyone else be able to text message me? No. Your information will not be made available to anyone else and only Dean for America or Howard Dean can send messages to this group.
Am I going to receive a bunch of messages at inconvenient times? No. We will not spam you or send irrelevant messages. But we'll notify you of late-breaking stories related to the Dean campaign and last-minute upcoming appearances that you won't want to miss.
Give me an example. Okay. Click here to hear a welcoming message that Howard Dean sent out to initial members on April 7th (it was forwarded again ten days later). On April 17th, Dean Wireless members were the first to know about Howard Dean's op-ed in Common Dreams-- a story that became one of the most-linked to stories on the Internet over the past weekend.
What else? Dean Wireless is an important organizing tool. You can read more about the achievements of such SMS/text message groups by checking out Howard Rheingold's blog.


Howard Dean will address the National Conference of Black Mayors on Thursday, April 24th in Houston. While the event is closed to the general public, supporters are invited to greet the Governor when he arrives at 5 pm at the InterContinental Hotel, 2222 West Loop South. Bring homemade signs to demonstrate to Texans the broad support for Governor Dean in the Lone Star State.