Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury Links Anti-Gay Laws to Racism

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the global Anglican Communion, voiced support Tuesday for the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in a call for nations to respect the human rights of gay individuals in countries where they are often targeted for violence, also suggesting that anti-gay legislation is akin to racial discrimination.

Tony Perkins and Brian Brown Share the Lie

As RightWingWatch reported, in a radio interview yesterday hate group leader, Tony Perkins, said that "homosexual groups" want "to silence the church. They want the church to go away because they don’t want that moral voice in the community."

National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown told the same lie in a fund raising email. Brown's version was graphic:


The common theme is that gay rights somehow diminish First Amendment rights. We have seen this nonsensical hyperbole before. Perkins claimed in 2009 that the federal hate crimes law was intended to "muzzle" pastors from preaching the gospel. In his written testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee he concluded that the hate crimes law, if enacted, "would put us on a slippery slope toward the punishment of so-called hate speech as well."
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Another Minnesota Bigotry Minute

The inequality twinkie explains that Minnesota's proposed amendment banning "gay marriage" doesn't ban "gay marriage" because there is no such thing as "gay marriage" in Minnesota. I suppose that one has to be a theocrat to understand the "logic."


Stephen Pidgeon Continues to Hone His Personality Disorder

Attorney Stephen Pidgeon is a busy little bigot. When he is not trying to take away LGBT rights in Washington State, he indulges in a considerable amount of conspiracy-based crackpottery.

You may recall that Pidgeon was the the point man on Washington's Referendum 71 which appeared on the November 2009 ballot. It's purpose was to eliminate domestic partnerships. It obviously failed. Now, the wayward bird seems intent on orchestrating a referendum to overturn the recently passed marriage equality law.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chardon Ohio: Preventable Gun Tragedy

Handguns have a singular purpose; To injure or kill other human beings. T.J. Lane, the accused Chardon, Ohio high school shooter, is 17 years of age. Prosecutors claim that he chose victims at random

In order to get an Ohio driver's license he would need to complete driver's education and have a parental co-signer to assume responsibility. T.J. Lane is too young to vote or to purchase liquor. Lane would require parental consent to enlist in the armed services. He cannot even legally purchase a pack of cigarettes.

The "one million" anti-gay antisemites

OneMillionMoms isn't an organization. It's a website created by the SPLC designated hate-group, American Family Association. Were they really a million women strong, they would probably be fans of Ellen. Needless to say, J.C. Penney knew what they were dealing with and stuck with Ellen in a series of commercials with substantial production values despite AFA's protestations.

Next they went after Clorox:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Three thousand eight hundred citizens

Three thousand eight hundred citizens. They are doctors and lawyers, cops and nurses, factory workers, artists and bakers. Three thousand eight hundred citizens. That is roughly the number of gay people who have entered into roughly 1,900 marriages in New Hampshire over the last two years. Apparently, those three thousand eight hundred New Hampshire citizens (about 0.3% of the state's population) threaten the very fabric of New Hampshire society     or so it seems to some Republican legislators.

Civil unions are good enough for you people!

Only 32% of New Hampshire's citizens support repeal of marriage equality. You have to wonder what constituency these legislators, led by Representative David Bates, are pandering to. Do Maggie Gallagher, NOM, Opus Dei and the rest of the religious whack jobs really have this much control of the Republican Party? Apparently they do. What part of the Establishment Clause do they not understand? That part of the First Amendment seems neither ambiguous nor esoteric.
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Ellen D. for J.C. Penney

There goes Ellen DeGeneres     indoctrinating children into the homosexual lifestyle again. Notice the subtlety in this commercial. Don't we all know that a toga is a homosexual symbol? And just look at the men as they are portrayed. This is a disgrace that will sure cause the downfall of our civilization.


GLAAD has posted all six of these travesties. Enjoy!
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Maggie is Riding the Rickymobile

Maggie Gallagher is giving in to her bus fetish again; This time in Michigan in support of Mr. Frothy Mix. She offers some astonishing quotes to MIRS News in Lansing.
Rick Santorum’s ability to ignite the GOP base and appeal to blue-collar voters means he’s the best candidate to face President Barack Obama this fall . . . I think Santorum has a better shot in the general election.
I confess to being a conflicted homosexual. On one hand I would like Santorum to win the Michigan primary because it plays havoc with the Republican establishment. On the other hand, Santorum is just so spectacularly odious and a loss for Santorum is a loss for National Organization for Marriage.
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NOM: Supreme Court Refuses to Review Maine Election Laws

The Supreme Court today refused to consider whether Maine election disclosure laws unfairly affected the effort of anti-gay group, National Organization for Marriage.


NOM steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to another anti-gay group  Stand for Marriage in Maine. Maine has adopted laws that institute contribution limits, a public financing system for state-office candidates, and various reporting and disclosure requirements for groups that advocate for political issues. NOM has repeatedly refused to comply with various state disclosure laws     including Maine's.

A "People's Veto" in 2009 has left Maine as the only state in New England that does not recognize marriage equality. Marriage equality supporters have put the issue on the ballot again in 2012.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

NJ: Senate President Vows Marriage Equality Veto Override

Stephen M. Sweeney goes to the Huffington Post today regarding marriage equality and Governor Chris Christie's veto.

New Jersey nearly made it to the finish line. Unfortunately, a governor driven by national ambition derailed the fight for equality and fairness. But Governor Christie's veto only delayed the day and time when we finally establish marriage equality in the Garden State -- because it is going to happen in New Jersey, and we are going to override his veto.
Mr. Sweeney makes the point that, over time, marriage equality enjoys increasing acceptance     in spite of the usual suspects ginning up the usual hysteria. You can read the full piece here.

National marriage equality is inevitable. We are well past critical mass.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Mr. LaBarbera, Please Quantify

I generally ignore Peter LaBarbera. I hate to provide a sociopath with the attention required by his personality disorder. Nevertheless, this might be instructive. According to Mr. LaBarbera:

Former "Gays"...That there are lots of happy EX-homosexual men (like DL Foster); EX-lesbians (like Linda Jernigan and Yvette Schneider); and even EX-transsexuals (like Walt Heyer) who have overcome sexual/gender    confusion and troubled circumstances in their own lives -- usually through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

First, we need to determine exactly what an "ex-gay" is. If we have learned anything from people like John Smid and Exodus president, Alan Chambers, it is that an "ex-gay" is someone who has made a decision     for religious reasons     not to have gay sex. Their sexual orientation remains unchanged. It's nice to see pray-away-the-gayTM practitioners acknowledging what we have known all along. Since we have no idea what someone like DL Foster is doing in the privacy of his bedroom, we have to take him at his word.

Mr. LaBarbera; Exactly how many ex-gays are there? "Lots" doesn't really answer the question. We need some data:
  • How many people have entered (in say the last ten years) pray-away-the-gayTM programs?
  • How many complete the program?
  • Out of those, how many claim to be "ex-gay?"
  • Of those, what is the average amount of time since they "completed" the program?
  • How many have had gay sex since completion and at what frequency?

My hypothesis (which is nothing more than a educated guess):
  • There do exist some people who choose not to have sex for religious purposes.
  • Fewer than 1 in 1,000,000 gay people claim to be ex-gay.
  • 3% to 5% of those ex-gays have not had gay sex for any meaningful period of time.
Mr LaBarbera; Prove me wrong!

To suggest that any of these people are "happy" would be a major stretch. LaBarbera has no basis for that claim or, indeed, for any of his claims. There is no legitimate research and there never has been any research to justify such assertions. The paucity of data is intentional.

The entire ex-gay theme is a myth manufactured to justify discrimination against gay people.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Parents of Dead Bullied Child Permitted to Sue School Board President

A federal judge has ruled that the school board president of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in the Houston, TX metropolitan area, must face claims by a mother whose teenage son committed suicide. School officials are said to have ignored repeated complaints of bullying,

The federal lawsuit claims that Asher Brown, an eighth-grader at Hamilton Middle School, "was a victim of incessant bullying by a number of students,"

Things were already tough for Asher. He had Asperger's syndrome, spoke with a lisp and walked with a slight "sashay" because he was pigeon-toed. According to the complaint, "He was made fun of because of his size, because he had a lisp, because he was a Buddhist and because ostensibly he was gay."

According to the suit, "On numerous occasions someone would run up to Asher when he was running track, and a student would stop short in front of Asher, so that he  would run into that boy and simulate anal intercourse. Then someone would call out, 'Hey faggot, quit trying to fuck me. Hey guys, 'Asher is trying too butt-fuck me.'" The complaint alleges that these incidents were observed by the physical education and coaching staff on numerous occasions and that they failed to take any action, either to protect Asher or to reign in the behavior of the bullies. Asher filed complaints himself. Yet there was no record of any disciplinary action in any of the students' files.

Asher committed suicide in September of 2010     shortly after a bully kicked him down a flight of stairs. Sadly, even then the school's actions were nothing short of obscene. Another student witnessed the last incident of brutality and filed a complaint. The bully was punished by being sidelined for one football game.

It's as if the school said to the offender "fuck the little faggot but we have to do something." Surely, we must fear for the safety of LGBT students and perceived LGBT students at that school.
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Brian Brown thinks that his constituency is even dumber than he is

National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown will never be accused for being the sharpest knife in the drawer. However even he cannot possibly believe that his supporters are this stupid.

According to Brown, Same-Sex Marriage Activists Desperate to Avoid Supreme Court. The "proof" of his hypothesis?
The New York Times lets the cat out of the bag: "Many gay rights advocates breathed a sigh of relief. They had long been wary of the Proposition 8 suit, preferring a state-by-state litigation and lobbying strategy over betting the farm on a case that was likely to end up in the United States Supreme Court. Some said they hoped the justices would now decline to hear an idiosyncratic case affecting a single state."
First of all, exactly who is avoiding the Supreme Court? If the inequality folks were so confident, then why did they choose to appeal to the 9th Circuit en banc rather than directly to the Supreme Court.

"Let the cat out of the bag?" So Mr. Brown thinks that the Times is in on strategy sessions? Really? Neither the New York Times nor gay rights advocates are making decisions about the direction of this case. Apparently, Brown missed the part where the Times goes on to explain:
The winning lawyers, on the other hand, have long maintained that their ultimate destination is the Supreme Court, and it was not clear if they would be content with a victory limited to California. They said they would oppose a request for Supreme Court review, though perhaps not very strenuously. 

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision is clearly correct, applying Supreme Court precedent to the facts, and normally that would make it tougher to get Supreme Court review,” said one of the lawyers, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. “But we recognize that this case presents exceedingly important constitutional issues and that the Supreme Court is likely to take a close look at a petition from the antimarriage forces. We’re ready for whatever happens.”
The appeal to the 9th Circuit is a white flag. It signals that NOM and their allies are trying to delay, for as long as possible, the inevitable; That national marriage equality is now a foregone conclusion. The might as well be attempting to prevent the calendar from rolling over at the end of each month.

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Rick Santorum and Prenatal Testing

Rick and Isabella
Santorum - June, 2011
As odious as Rick Santorum is on LGBT issues, my heart goes out to the Santorum family. The Santorum's three-year old, Isabella, has a genetic disorder; trisomy 18. I don't know if the Santorums had genetic counseling or if his wife, Karen, had prenatal testing. Therefore, I don't know if they had a choice before, or when, Karen was pregnant with Isabella.
  • If the Santorums didn't have a choice, Rick has no right, whatsoever, to deny others the right to know.
  • If the Santorums did have a choice, Rick has no right to impose their choice on anyone else.
There are many emotional and financial factors involved in choosing whether or not to have a child with trisomy 18 or to terminate the pregnancy. Half of infants with this condition do not survive beyond the first week of life. Some children have survived to the teenage years, but with serious medical and developmental problems. Parents might end up with a 15-year old, in diapers and unable to walk or speak.

The point here is that parents have an absolute right     perhaps an obligation     to be fully informed. Furthermore, parents have an absolute right to terminate the pregnancy as Roe v Wade is still the law of the land.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Prop 8 Proponents Petition [Document] for En Banc Hearing

Astonishingly, the anti-gay Proposition 8 crowd is still pushing the idea that Walker's ruling should also be overturned because he is gay. I also find it odd that they are offering, as evidence, documents from Opus Dei's Witherspoon Institute     an organization that former members call a toxic cult.

You know what they say about people who repeat the same behavior expecting a different outcome.
Petition for Rehearing en Banc
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Prop 8 Turds Just Hit the Turbines

Summary: According to the most recent data available from the IRS     which is updated monthly     Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund is not a 501(c)3 organization and contributions are not tax deductible as claimed.

Nevertheless, here is the solicitation link from ProtectMarriage.com
and here is the information on the bottom of the page:

Contributions are tax-deductible, and will not be publicly disclosed. The Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund (EIN 26-3689861) is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For questions regarding the tax-deductibility and privacy of donations, please contact us at: info@protectmarriage.com. * * * * If you prefer to donate via a check or money order, please send your donation via U.S. Mail to: "Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund, PO Box 162849, Sacramento, CA 95816-2849."
Furthermore: Both National Organization for Marriage and Alliance Defense Fund show contributions to the The Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund on their 990 filing with EIN 26-3689861 as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

Methodology: First I went to the IRS non-profit search page. I searched by both EIN and by name and several parts of the name. Nothing found. Wanting to be more thorough, I downloaded the entire database (IRS Publication 78). I converted the text file to a spread sheet. Same result.

I searched Guidestar's database by both name and EIN. Again - nothing.

Over the last 45 days I have made two requests, to the address shown above, for copies of the organization's tax filing. I received no response. I contacted Andrew Pugno, ProtectMarriage.com organizer and attorney. He insisted that they required 30 days from receipt of my address to process sending the forms to me, refusing to email the PDF.

Potential for Error: Hey, it's a government agency. Who knows? I am only providing information that I believe is reliable.
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FRC hypocrisy - Shocking, I know

Tony Perkins' hate group,  Family Research Council sent out a missive yesterday that included the following:

Remind me again who's "distracting" Americans with social issues? After last week, that distinction belongs to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi(D-Calif.), who stepped well outside the mainstream by calling for a same-sex "marriage" plank in the 2012 Democratic platform.

Putting her party in an extremely awkward position, Rep. Pelosi insisted that Democrats bring her San Francisco values to the entire country with a first-ever endorsement of same-sex "marriage" at the party's national convention.

"San Francisco values" Really? Marriage equality is "well outside the mainstream?" If I want to see something far outside the mainstream, I just have to view the 2010 Texas Republican Party official platform. The outright bigotry reads like something that a hate group, like FRC, would author     perhaps they did.
Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NOM "ally" - Not so much

On February 14, NOM trumpeted:
Pro-SSM Prof. Harrison to Senate Pres. Sweeny: Let The People of New Jersey Have Their Say

Prof. Brigid Callahan Harrison, professor of political science and law at Montclair State University, who supports same-sex marriage, argues against New Jersey Senate Pres. Stephen Sweeny claiming "you don't put people's rights on the ballot, period" by saying he should trust the people of New Jersey.
Professor Harrison has now written about the effects of an  acrimonious campaign through a referendum:
One reader of last week's column, David Hart, noted that in gay-rights ballot campaigns in other states, opponents of gay marriage won these "contests largely by claiming that gays are a threat to children. Aside from being disgraceful, it is ironic that this all takes a toll on gay children. Huge sums of money would be poured into advertising that undermines gay dignity. We have enough insecure gay teens without inflicting more opprobrium on their 'lifestyle.' "

And Hart is right. The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, has aired scare-tactic ads throughout the country arguing that ensuring marriage equality will harm children's psyches, alter school curriculum and prevent individuals from practicing their faith and undertaking their livelihoods.
Read the full article

Somehow I doubt that NOM will link to the new opinion piece.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Reparative thgerapy that I endorse

I have a theory.  My hypothesis is that some of the most unpleasant, neurotic, anal retentive, inflexible and generally obnoxious people that we have to deal with in day-to-day life are closeted gays. The pressure of pretending to be straight really takes a toll on one's psyche.

So I want to start a group called Suodoxe. Wayne Besen can head up the New York Metro chapter. Our mission is to reorient nasty closeted gay fundamentalists. As openly gay citizens they still have religious choices.

So trust me boys and girls. Life is much better as an openly gay person than as some tight-assed fundamentalist. It sure is less frustrating.
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Prop 8 legal fees and contrasts in transparency

Attorneys working to overturn Prop 8 have contributed significant resources pro bono. This according to The Recorder, a California legal news source.

David Boies' firm; Boies, Schiller & Flexner, originally accepted a payment for legal fees at a discounted rate. The firm returned those fees and now considers the case strictly pro bono. It has accepted close to a half million dollars in travel and other expenses.

According to AFER's IRS filings, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (Ted Olson's firm) has received $2.7 million in legal fees. However, the majority of the work is being done pro bono     the largest such effort in the firm's history. One of the partners is quoted saying:
. . . the AFER Board made clear that they viewed this as something that went well beyond the ordinary pro bono case — a long-term, comprehensive, multi-faceted strategy to strike down Proposition 8 and win marriage equality nationwide.
Absolutely nothing is known about the fees paid by proponents of Prop 8.

Thus far, neither I nor the reporter for The Recorder have been able to obtain tax filings from "Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund." The 2010 tax return of National Organization for Marriage Education Fund finally came on line at Guidestar. They donated $225,000 which is in addition to $75,000 donated by NOM. I have also found that Alliance Defense Fund donated $150,000.

The ADF tax return gave me a suite number at the physical address. This allowed me to track down David Bauer who was also the treasurer for ProtectMarriage.com. I contacted Bauer by email and requested the last two 990 filings.

In spite of the fact that they are still accepting tax-deductible contributions for the public; I have a sneaking suspicion that something is awry. I will try to verify the EIN with the IRS.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Opus NOM

In 2009 I first wrote of the obvious connections between National Organization for Marriage and Opus Dei. NOM's Brian Brown responded dismissively on August 28 in their weekly email newsletter: ". . . another blogger accused us of being a front group for a Catholic religious order. "

He refused to use the words "Opus Dei." Yet, the most interesting aspect of this was that Brown was denying that which was perfectly obvious.

For starters, NOM was physically housed, at the time, in the same Princeton office suite as the Witherspoon Institute which is an Opus Dei organization co-founded by then NOM Chairman, Robert George. The president of Witherspoon is Luis Tellez, an Opus Dei numerary (an ultra-conservative celibate member) who also happens to be on the board of NOM. Tellez is on the boards of numerous Opus Dei institutions (often with Robert George). At least five of these are, or were, housed in a suite adjoining the space shared by NOM and Witherspoon. So NOM was structured like all of the other Opus Dei entities in the Princeton area including its board of directors and its physical location.

There remains little or no doubt that NOM is an Opus Dei organization.

Sam Brownback
Before there was a National Organization for Marriage, the fight for inequality was waged by Witherspoon Institute directly. In 2006, it was then Sen. Sam Brownback (now governor of Kansas) who stridently pushed for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Brownback, a former evangelical Christian converted to Catholicism in 2002 through Opus Dei. He was sponsored by none other than Sen. Rick Santorum who was a strong vocal advocate of Opus Dei.

On the floor of the US Senate, Sam Brownback cited a Witherspoon paper titled The Ten Principles of Marriage. Brownback referred to this paper as "… an important statement of principles from top American scholars [to] be considered carefully by my colleagues." He then added that the sentiments expressed in the non-scientific treatise were so vital to our national dialog that they should "..help guide our debate on this issue." During his speech, Brownback made vague references to "a group of Princeton University scholars" as the authors.

I find it astonishing that a US Senator, on the Senate floor, was relying upon, and citing, a paper from an organization directly linked to Opus Dei, a strict, secretive, ultra-conservative religious group that some former members have described as a cult. Brownback has since conceded that he was converted to Catholicism through Opus Dei but claims that he is not a member of Opus Dei.

Robert "Robby"
George
Brownback's ally through all of this was none other than NOM's founder, Robert George. It was George who drafted the gay marriage ban that was ultimately defeated in the Senate. In 2005, George chaired a meeting of religious leaders that included Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins (George is also a board member of Perkins' Family Research Council) and a number of other right wing mullahs. Their mission was to prevent marriage equality from spreading beyond Massachusetts which began the previous spring.

So what conclusions can we draw from all of this?
  • A well organized effort to frustrate marriage equality has been in place for some time.
  • It is a religious endeavor that is well financed and well connected.
  • National Organization for Marriage is a Catholic Church/Opus Dei auxiliary.
  • In spite of what would seem overwhelming obstacles we have made significant progress.
NOM's 2010 tax return offers an interesting aside. Luis Tellez is spelled as  "Teller." Accidental? Probably but with these folks one never knows for sure.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

NOM: "Send me your money - NOW!"

National Organization for Marriage has a emitting penchant for "Feed me     Feed me!" emails. Each one has a screaming, urgent headline followed by the usual BS. You know; understatements and subtlety like "send me money or civilization, as we know it, will cease to exist." Today is no exception:
URGENT ALERT: Sustain the Veto! Contact your legislators today! The battle for marriage in New Jersey is far from over . . . this just might be its most critical hour.
These pricks need to figure out what their donors are beginning to figure out. Indeed, what even GOPers are figuring out:

National marriage equality is inevitable! Hopefully, this will become so clear this year that Brian and Maggie will need new hobbies.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

KIcked out when they come out

Our national shame. 20% of gay children still get kicked out of their homes when they come out to their parents. Creating homeless kids is profoundly sad. Surely, as a society, we can expect more of ourselves.



Oh those baffled bishops

Today, the US Conference of Bishops has an interesting piece on their anti-equality site, Marriage Unique for a Reason.  Therein, the provide some salient facts about St. Philip Howard:

  • Born June 28, 1557, in London 
  • Died October 19, 1595, in the Tower of London 
  • Canonized in 1970 by Pope Paul VI 
  • Father of one son 
  • Patron of betrayal victims and separated spouses
Ah those good old days in the sixteenth century:
  • Henry, VIII whacked two, and divorced three, of his six wives     a record even Newt must envy.
  • The professions were closed to women (doctors, lawyers and teachers were always men).
  • The overwhelming majority of women did not work at all.
  • Those women who did work were most often household servants.
  • Married women, while housewives, were also household servants.
  • Girls were unable to go to school.
  • Few children of either sex went to school in Tudor England.
  • Tudor England was a hierarchical society. Everyone, male and female, was expected to know his or her place and defer to his or her superiors.
  • A married woman could not own property.
  • Marriages where arranged by, and for, men.
  • Girls were often forced to marry at the age of 12 to men they might have never even met.
Marriage has remained unchanged for 2,000 years. Right?
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VanderSloot Exposed

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has a remarkably candid piece on Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho billionaire and the CEO of Melaleuca, Inc. VanderSloot, a devout Mormon, is best known for his support of Mitt Romney and his frivolous litigation against anyone who writes anything critical of him or his company (my state has an anti-SLAPP statute).

Quoting Mr. Greenwald:
[VanderSloot] has a history of virulent anti-gay activism, including the spearheading of a despicable billboard campaign condemning Idaho Public Television for a documentary, entitled It’s Elementary, that was designed to provide “a window into what really happens when teachers address lesbian and gay issues with their students in age-appropriate ways” (the image on the left shows one of VanderSloot’s “homosexual lifestyle” billboards after it was defaced with the word “YES!”). VanderSloot denounced the documentary as a threat to children: “if this isn’t stopped, a lot of little kids will watch this program and create questions they’ve never had . . . little lives are going to be damaged permanently,” he said. In 2008, VanderSloot’s wife, Belinda, donated $100,000 to California’s anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 campaign.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

GOP Cowardice in New Jersey

Let us be clear about what is happening with New Jersey marriage equality. The state's Republican legislators and governor have miraculously changed their position from "opposed" to "put it to the voters." Depending upon the audience they are addressing, they are either defenders of marriage or champions of grassroots democracy. I suppose that it is nice work if you can get it.

Assuming that Christie does in fact veto the marriage equality bill     putting his church's bishops' interests ahead of his constituents     it's up to all of us to embarrass the hell out of all of them. There has to be a price for being a weasel.
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Brian Brown's intellectual tedium

We have all known, for some time, that National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.  Today, he seems to have gone out of his way today to demonstrate his witlessness. According to Brown:
Behold the Marriage Victories the Media is Trying to Hide!, NOM Marriage News, February 16, 2012
"Victory" number one, according to Brown, is "taking marriage to the people of Washington." Never mind that first they have to get enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot. Then they have to actually win the referendum; something that is going to be a challenge in the state that beat NOM in a ballot initiative to deny civil unions a couple of years ago. And this was Brown's number one choice? Choice.

"Victory" number two is Chris Christie's anticipated veto of the marriage equality bill that made it through the legislature today in New Jersey. First of all, you might want to give Christie a chance to actually veto the bill before chalking it up. Then one should consider that the legislature has a full two years to override the veto. If anything else, it should be clear that time is on the side of equality. Every day we pick up more support.

"Victory" number three is "The black church in Maryland stands up for marriage!" Semantics aside, a considerable number of clergy are proponents of marriage equality. Furthermore, it looks like we have the votes to get marriage equality through the legislature. You really should wait Brian lest you confirm your intellectual deficits.

"Victory" number 4 is "Will the New Hampshire legislature repeal gay marriage?" What is this? "Jeopardy?" While not the popular game show turning answers into questions, Brown's hopes hinge on an online poll. Oy veh. Just three weeks ago, Brown was shouting that the New Hampshire legislature would vote on February 1.

"Victory number five" is "A new marriage amendment in May for North Carolina?" We're still in the first round of Jeopardy I guess.  Brown might want to wait a few month for North Carolina to embarrass themselves (if that's what they choose to do).

Meanwhile, aside from Mr. Brown's lack of intellectual horsepower, DOMA is moving through the courts. DOMA's ultimate demise might well end the exemption to "full faith and credit" that it was originally intended to provide. Unlike Brown, I'll chalk that up as a win when it actually happens.

National marriage equality is inevitable.

Oh, and by the way, the media has thoroughly covered all of these issues.  Mr. Brown: What on earth are you talking about? Do you even know?
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Why a referendum is a terrible idea

In New Jersey, a marriage equality bill has now been approved by both houses of the legislature     neither by veto-proof majorities. Governor Chris Christie will presumably veto the bill this afternoon. Christie and some members of the legislature have called for a public referendum; something that they think will perpetuate inequality.

Our first reaction is always that matters of civil rights should not be subject to the whims of the electorate. That is true but I have a more immediate concern:

What is the potential effect of a hard fought referendum campaign on gay children?

We all know that such a campaign will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on TV commercials. Undoubtedly, NOM would bring back Frank Schubert to run a campaign based on the notion that gays present a threat to children. The reality is that our opponents will base a campaign on the general disparagement of gay people. They need to dehumanize us in order to make people feel it's OK to diminish our rights.

Gay children already have fragile egos. How much hate must they endure so that the GOP can continue to pander to the religious right? Just how much deprecation must they be subjected to so that a cynical governor can hedge his bets on his political future?

What is the potential outcome of all of this anti-gay drivel? Is it just temporary neuroses  or could it be something more tragic?
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. . . and now, some BS from Minnesota

What this woman is essentially saying (I think) is that gay people should not be able to marry because they don't crank out kids?

Would someone in Minnesota please ask this witch a couple of questions? 
  1. Why does she want to deny children of gay couples married parents?
  2. Furthermore, what does any of her drivel have to do with marriage equality?
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ICYMI "A Catholic case for same-sex marriage"

Yesterday, February 14, a priest and a nun penned an OpEd in the Washington Post. It begins:
This month in Maryland and the state of Washington, an extraordinary dynamic is playing itself out:  Two Catholic governors are prodding legislators to pass bills legalizing same-gender marriage. Like Govs. Andrew Cuomo in New York and Pat Quinn in Illinois — whose states recently legalized same-sex civil unions — Govs. Martin O’Malley and Christine Gregoire are acting against the strongly expressed opposition of their church’s bishops.

As Catholics who are involved in lesbian and gay ministry and outreach, we are aware that many people, some of them Catholics, believe that Catholics cannot faithfully disobey the public policies of the church’s hierarchy. But this is not the case.
Not surprisingly, the folks at National Organization for Marriage are neither amused nor pleased. Lifesitenews reports:
“It’s just their case,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, president and founder of The Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage. “There’s nothing Catholic about what they’re saying at all,” she told LifeSiteNews.com.
. . .
Dr. Morse, who testified in Olympia against Washington state’s same-sex marriage bill, said such a change would carry drastic consequences for the family and for society as a whole. “The natural reality of mother and father is being defined out of existence and being replaced with something that is a legal and social construct.” 
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Mindless Attempt at Cognitive Dissonance

"They" are going to keep doing this until we repeatedly demonstrate that it is preposterous nonsense. The only children affected by same-sex marriage recognition are those who are being raised by gay couples. They enjoy the improved stability and  security derived from having married parents.

Joseph Backholm of Family Policy Institute of Washington:
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman for good reason. Marriage is society’s way of bringing men and women together so that children can be raised by, and cared for by, their mother and father — the people responsible for bringing them into the world. It is the most-important, child-focused institution of society and we will fight to preserve it.
The explanation for this idiocy is that people like Backholm (whose father is a preacher) have a religious objection that they are attempting to secularize. There is no coherent argument supporting the notion that marriage equality has any effect, whatsoever, on so-called "traditional" marriage.
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What's Mr. LaBarbera Whining About Today?

Mr. LaBarbera has been a busy little bigot. He took time out of his "busy" schedule to take his hobby camera to the front of Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. There, he took a photo of a Gay Liberation Network sign referring to Archbishop George as "Arch-Bigot." Oh the horror of it all. The fact is that George is a bigot.

Then, Peter is doing some grass roots lobbying urging his merry little band to call their representatives to oppose marriage equality in Illinois. Frankly, I hope that Mr. and Mr. Goldberg purchase a home across the street from Peter but I digress.

In addition to his profound outrage over marriage equality in his home state, Peter wants his followers to request a repeal of civil unions:
. . . a tool of anti-religious oppression against Christians, and now it is revealed as a mere stepping-stone for the Homosexual Lobby’s real goal: the revolutionary redefinition of marriage — using the State to advance the absurd idea that sinful “unions” based on (changeable) homosexuality should be awarded equal status with natural marriage.
 That appears to be a determined effort to put as much hyperbolic and mindless nonsense into a single sentence as possible. Mission accomplished.

Exactly what part of the Establishment Clause does Mr. LaBarbera not understand?
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11 Minutes of Maggie Gallagher are 10 Too Many

National Organization for Marriage had this video on their blog implying that Maggie knocked it out of the park and confronted lies. Actually, Ms. Gallagher did not fare very well with this panel from Chris Hayes' show last Saturday. Moreover, she claims that NOM has never advocated "pray-away-the-gay." NOM has this shabby practice of linking to stuff that they support and then claiming innocence by virtue of the third party source. It's just BS. Things get interesting at around the seven minute mark if you are impatient.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Occasionally Florida Demonstrates Some Sanity

A bill created to privatize 27 Florida prisons died on the state Senate floor today in a 19-21 vote.

We need to learn how to argue better!

Salespeople for American business lose more sales to attempts to counter objections that don't exist than any other reason. We are doing the same thing with marriage equality. Moreover, we insist on repeating the same mistakes. The pervasive "argument" against marriage equality:

Children do best when raised by a mommy and a daddy!
We tend, almost uniformly, to respond with the studies on gay parenting. We can cite them chapter and verse. I have done it myself.

However, that's not the issue!

The correct response is: "What does that have to do with marriage equality?" [PAUSE] "Are you suggesting that gay marriage causes more married couples to divorce or to put more children up for adoption?"

The above is an argument based on fact. There is no correlation between gay marriage and who raises children. On the other hand, if we indulge them in what amounts to arguing gay adoption, there are competing opinions. In other words we lose the argument.
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NOM has a new ally?

[Gay issues] affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race.
Thus sayeth Libya's Delegate to the United Nations. Apparently those Robert George-Maggie Gallagher  talking points have considerable reach.

As for Libya     they have much progress to achieve in the post Qadaffi era.
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Monday, February 13, 2012

How much MONEY will NOM waste in Washington?

Eventually the folks at National Organization for Marriage will come to terms with the fact that national marriage equality is inevitable. Until then, they are content to plow through millions while earning a reputation as bigots.

Washington, DC—The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's largest and most influential group working to support traditional marriage, today announced it is joining with allies in Washington state to qualify a referendum blocking legislation that attempts to redefine marriage in the state.
If this does go to a ballot initiative, I doubt that NOM will fair any better than they did to prevent civil unions in Washington. Meanwhile they have their hands full and Brian Brown is coming unglued from the pressure.
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Michael J. Klarman: Gay Marriage is Invevitable

The sense of inevitability is NOM's greatest fear. In today's LA Times, Michael J. Klarman explains why marriage equality is inevitable. Mr. Klarman is a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of "Same-Sex Marriage Litigation and Political Backlash," to be published this fall.
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