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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

On 9/11. a gay man saved the White House 

I wonder how many Americans remember, or ever knew, that one of the heros of Flight 93, the airplane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field rather than into the White House or the Capital Building as the hijackers planned, was a rugby-playing lawyer/PR executive named Mark Bingham, who also happened to be proudly and openly gay.
There are two reasons I am remembering this now. First, rehashing the election is now going on in the progressive blogs, one point being that Kerry lost the spin cycle after the third debate because so many Americans were shocked when Kerry noted that Mary Cheney is gay -- many Americans, it appeared, considered this a "smear" because they hadn't known about her before. I think democrats looking for a short and pithy way to frame their issues for Americans should remind people about Bingham's heroism
And second, here in Canada, the Toronto Archbishop and Calgary Bishop are both trying to pressure Paul Martin to use the notwithstanding clause to deny marriage rights to gay couples.
These were rights that Bingham supported - he wanted to marry his own partner. Its a tragedy and a waste that he gave his life to save the White House, while the people in the White House whose lives he saved still continue to reject his basic humanity and his courage.
Here is the story of that flight, and what Bingham did. Here is the tribute site in his memory -
Mark Bingham, a tribute to a Wonderful Man, a Great Friend, a Loving Brother, and an American Hero

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