Sunday, August 31, 2014

Liberty Ridge Farm ceases all marriage celebrations rather than host same-sex weddings

Liberty Ridge Farm
Self-manufactured “victim” alert: Owners Robert and Cynthia Gifford have decided that their catering and event venue, Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke New York, will no longer host wedding ceremonies. They took this action to avoid having to host same-sex marriage festivities.

Their ADF attorney, James Trainor, is quoted saying:
Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Top Italian bishop says that the Church must welcome 'unconventional couples'

Bishop Nunzio Galantino
ROME (RNS) The Catholic Church should make “unconventional couples” feel at home instead of making them targets of “de facto discrimination,” the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.

“Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice,” said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, an apparent reference to divorced and remarried Catholics.

“The burden of exclusion from the sacraments is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination,” he said Wednesday (Aug. 27) in an address to a national conference on liturgy in the Italian hill town of Orvieto.

Robby George and Ryan Anderson are now having a collective stroke.

Todd Starnes continues to demonstrates how dumb he is

Fox's culture warrior, Todd Starnes, is well known for his factual inaccuracies. Check out this bit of confusion and intent to mislead:
Kyle Tucker is sixteen years old. He’s a Boy Scout from Avondale, Arizona.

For his Eagle Scout project, Kyle decided to install an American flag pole at his charter high school.
[…]

Coffee Stirrers: NOM Lost its appeal to intervene in Oregon

National Organization for Marriage
DC/Philadelphia based National Organization for Marriage lost an appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene meddle in Oregon.

Last year several gay couples sued to have the state's marriage equality ban struck down as unconstitutional.  Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum refused to defend the ban and joined the couples in asking U.S. District Judge Michael McShane to throw it out.

Much like the Proposition 8 case that left nobody with legal standing to appeal Judge McShane's ruling.

NOM asked to offer a defense of the ban on behalf of its members in Oregon. The judge ruled they lacked standing to intervene in the case. The Ninth CCA affirmed the lower court on Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An increasingly irrelevant Brian Brown struggling for importance

At National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown has a new post title Why I Think We'll Win? Therein is the usual misleading and hyperbolic lead-up to the usual money-beg:
Although it has been a mild summer, things are heating up in the fight to defend marriage.
In just a few months, we will be facing a potential turning point in the political arena, as NOM will be working with many other groups to retake the United States Senate and hold politicians accountable to you, the voters, for their policy positions related to the institution of marriage.

And a few short months after that, NOM will be leading the charge to make a national statement that will be heard around the country and the world as the United States Supreme Court likely hears arguments in a case that could well become the Roe v Wade of marriage.

But here's the thing about that potential case: this time around, we have a very good chance to WIN!

Won't you please help NOM gear up for the November elections and pending litigation with a generous donation of $35, $50, $100 or even $500 right away?

Exactly what did the 7th Circuit imply about adoption?

Judge Richard A. Posner
According to Chrisian News Network:
[Judge] Posner frequently steered the argument toward homosexual adoption, arguing that states should allow homosexuals to adopt, and that if they foster or adopt children, then they should be allowed to “marry” for the children’s sake.

“Come on!” Posner exclaimed. “What’s the offsetting benefit to harm kids? Who’s helped?”
Not exactly.

Liberty Counsel's Staver hints at insurrection

Mat Staver
Matt Staver
Today, Mat Staver tells Charlie Butts of American Family Association that judges are destroying public trust in the judiciary because of their rulings in favor of marriage equality. Seriously?

Sometimes it is hard to believe that Mat Staver is a licensed attorney. While Liberty University's law school is a fourth-tier institution (madrasa would be a better description), it is still remarkable that Staver is its dean. Mr. Staver believes that we live in some alternate reality — an Iranian style theocracy with a different set of mullahs. Apparently the Establishment Clause has a secret preamble that reads “At the discretion of conservative Christians …”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Some thoughts about the sexual orientation continuum - and homophobia

English: Gender symbols, sexual orientation: h...Indulge me. Sexual orientation is presumably a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends. I suspect that very few people are at those extreme ends. 

If the continuum is a ten-point scale, with zero being homosexual and ten being heterosexual, I suspect that I am somewhere between two and three. I have some attractions to women but have no desire, or passion, to act on those attractions. Hence, I identify as homosexual. Attraction and passion are very different feelings.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another tragic teen suicide

Riley Moscatel
Riley Moscatel
According to the The Philadelphia Inquirer, Riley Matthew Moscatel, 17 killed himself Friday afternoon after explaining in a message: “I'm a prisoner of my own body.” This afternoon, surveillance cameras recorded Moscatel stepping in front of an Amtrak train near to his home in Croydon, Pennsylvania.

“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” he posted in an Instagram picture just before. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I'm a prisoner of my own body. You see me having a successful future, I can't see me at my graduation day. I say my hearts beating, but it's beating slower and slower each day... I've had enough.”


American Vision claims that gays are going to die out

along with abortionists and Islam.

American Vision observes that conservative Christians out-breed liberals. That is probably true. Religious conservatives do tend to have more kids. According to other sources they cite, pro-lifers have 20% to 27% more children per family than pro-choice advocates. That sounds reasonable even though they have not accounted for the fact that pro-choicers outnumber anti-choicers. I won't quibble with the Christian mathematics. Their conclusions are another matter:

CFC: 1 cup NOM + 1 cup FRC + 2 cups Batcrap

Anthony Verdugo - Florida Christian Family Coalition
Anthony Verdugo - Christian Family Coalition
Anthony Verdugo, head of Florida's Christian Family Coalition has a way with words. He has a way of combining words into imaginative (although hardly original) hyperbolic phrases that have a certain unhinged quality to them. 

Lately Verdugo has been pushing the idea that a majority of African-Americans voted for Florida's same-sex marriage ban. Therefore, if a judge deems the ban unconstitutional then he or she is a racist. I guess that you have to be Verdugo to appreciate the “logic.” Verdugo is also wed to the notion that any judicial decision that he does not like must be “corrupt,” thus subjecting the jurist to impeachment.

Morse: It's raining elites

Jennifer Roback Morse
Jennifer Roback Morse
I have never been quite sure what an “elite” is. Apparently Jennifer Roback Morse, former National Organization for Marriage executive and head of the Ruth Institute, knows more than I do. Morse is on a roll in an email that was sent out yesterday.

Friday, August 22, 2014

NOM is upset that New York enforces its laws

National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown would like to create a form of apartheid in the United States to exclude gay people from society. Today he is really, really upset that the State of New York enforces its non-discrimination ordinances. Brown calls it “Coercive Big Government Run Amok.” Yet the law is unambiguous; Public accommodations may not discriminate on the basis of race, religion … or sexual orientation.

I wrote about Liberty Ridge Farm on October 18 and October 24, 2012. These aren't Christian farmers. The farm is a full service event operation. According to their website:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The folks at NOM are creating their own 'reality'

Liar - Liar
Are the leaders of National Organization for Marriage collectively delusional, blatantly dishonest or desperate? It seems likely that all three apply. As religious fundamentalists and a proxy for the Catholic Church they honestly believe that God is on their side. They consistently misstate facts to suit their agenda and, after so many legal losses following losses at the polls in 2012, they must be desperate. NOM only exists for as long as big donors are willing to pay for it to exist.

If one looks at this objectively, there is absolutely nothing that NOM can do to affect either the rising tide of public opinion in favor of equality or what the Supreme Court will, or won't, do.

In other words, NOM now exists solely to raise money to continue to exist. It has no other real purpose; At least none that it could realize.

FRC's Travis Weber worships his god AND Robby George

Travis S. Weber
Travis S. Weber
Travis S. Weber is the Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council. Today he has commented on Robert George's essay regarding Victoria Beeching. I wrote about George's piece yesterday noting its shallowness and intellectual dishonesty.

Before I get to Weber's commentary, a re-cap on the players. You can skip the next paragraph if you know about Weber, Beeching and George.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Robby George struggles with Plato, Victoria Beeching

Robert P. George
Yesterday, Robert P. George wrote a fanciful piece for First Things about the recent coming out of Victoria Beeching. One senses that George felt that the commentary was obligatory on behalf of the Catholic Church.

Beeching, who has a degree in theology from Oxford, is a popular Christian rock musician. She is currently pursuing a PhD from Durham University in England. Beeching is a frequent commentator on British radio and TV.

Robert P. George, a presumed Opus Deist, is a tenured professor at Princeton University. George is a co-founder of National Organization for Marriage and has been a reliable advocate for gay inequality on behalf of the Catholic Church. When George has something (self) “important” to say he often does so on the conservative Catholic blog First Things. According to the professor:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Five-decade study offers bleak outcome for adults who were bullied as children

According to a 50-year study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry children who are bullied continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health and economic outcomes. This is especially true for individuals who are frequently bullied.

These include increased levels of psychological stress at ages 23 and 50 with higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, substance dependency and suicide. Overall, childhood bullying is associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship and poor quality of life (including cognitive impairment) at age 50.

We, in the LGBT community, need to be especially mindful of the effects of bullying. The study did not examine the sexual orientation of victims. However, LGBT children are far more likely to be bullied than their peers.

Schlafly: 'Libertarian Support for Gay Marriage Rooted in Communist Attack on Family'

The corpse pretending to be Phyllis Schlafly is red baiting or gay baiting or … something. In an Op-Ed in the Christian Post, Schlafly explores the works of some prominent laissez-faire enthusiasts. She then answers a rhetorical query:
If nothing in Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard or Ayn Rand supports the abolition, redefinition, or privatization of marriage, then where did those ideas come from? The answer is that they came from writers on the left -- most significantly, from The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and published in 1848.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thinking about Robin Williams - Mental illness is not a character flaw

Robin Williams' tragic death was entirely preventable. As a society we need to stop relegating mental illness to something different from any other illness. Chronic depression is as potentially lethal as stage five cancer. There are medically appropriate treatments for both.

Today, Christian movie critic, Ted Baehr, had the temerity to claim that Williams would not have killed himself had he come to Christ. Tell that to Rick Warren whose son recently committed suicide. Does Mr. Baehr have an advanced degree in psychology? Has he done a hospital residency? When it comes to mental illness a great many ignorant people claim to know a great deal more than they do.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

NOM now thinks that they can influence SCOTUS

This afternoon's press release is headlined “National Organization for Marriage Calls for Supreme Court Stay of Decision Striking Down Virginia's Marriage Amendment.” Seriously? Are these people that dense that they believe that they can affect a decision by the United States Supreme Court?

Perhaps, given the statement from Bryan Brown that follows, they do think that they have some sway over the Court:

When did conservative Christian organizations cynically determine that their members were idiots?

Conservative Christian organizations routinely assume that their constituencies are spectacularly stupid. Consider; “Off The Mark: Target Publicly Opposes Natural Marriage.” That is the title of a blog post of Citizens for Community Values. According to the post (which is lacking an author attribution):
Do you shop at Target or Starbucks? You should know that they and others are publicly opposed to Natural Marriage. To see a comprehensive list of where companies stand on marriage, life, and other important issues, go to 2ndvote.com.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gov't reminds court that NOM LOST its case against the IRS

On August 8, 2014 the US Attorney filed a response to a request by National Organization for Marriage for reimbursement of nearly $700,000 in attorneys' fees. The fees, which are supported by time logs and affidavits from the lawyers involved, were allegedly disbursed in connection with NOM's litigation against the Internal Revenue Service.

The government's response is that the United States was the prevailing party in the litigation. NOM, therefore, is entitled to $0 which relieves the court of having to perform substantive analysis of the sums involved.

In a settlement of this matter, NOM agreed to receive $50,000 in damages. Therefore, any reimbursement below $650,000 (in round numbers) represents a direct loss to NOM. That presupposes that all of the sums were actually disbursed and are not contingent on reimbursement. With the sometimes truth-challenged John Eastman involved, one never knows for sure.

MN: Pro-Equality GOPer Survives Primary Challenge

Unfortunately named State Representative Jenifer Loon has survived a GOP primary challenge that was a direct result of her vote in favor of marriage equality. Rep. Loon was opposed by Sheila Kihne who had the support of the state's conservative Christians. According to the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council:
Sheila Kihne, a resident of Eden Prairie, is running for the state House seat currently held by Jenifer Loon.

Sheila is a good example of what it means to TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON in Minnesota this year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

As usual, NOM has the Tennessee decision all wrong

Brian Brown - NOM
Oink!
National Organization for Marriage is in apparent ecstasy following a Tennessee decision upholding the state's ban on same-sex marriage. I'll get to NOM's take shortly. First the basic facts.

Last week Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr. ruled that Tennessee's same-sex marriage ban does not violate the US Constitution. It constitutes the first loss for marriage equality supporters since the 2013 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor.

According to Tony Perkins we are intolerant when we are victimized

“We don't serve your kind here!”

W.W. Bridal Boutique, in Bloomsburg, PA turned away a lesbian couple seeking gowns for their wedding. The owner of the store, Victoria Miller, claimed that providing the merchandise would violate her Christian faith. “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do,” the self-righteous shopkeepeer told reporters, “and providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God's law.” One wonders how many of God's laws they break every day. Using that standard they would have to inquire about whether or not brides are virgins. Is either intended spouse divorced? Any Jews on line to pay? And so on.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Brian Brown's latest missive: Self-delusion and pathological prevarication

Brian Brown, head of National Organization for Marriage, leaves Friday afternoon for his painfully verbose bloviation of the week. Shabbat Shalom Mr. Brown. Last week's inept selection of sophistry is titled Case Closed? Not Even Close. Once again Mr. Brown wants to convince people (at least those who donate to his cause) that NOM is still relevant and that marriage equality is anything but a certainty. Mr. Brown is probably trying to convince himself that he is still relevant in spite of NOM's failure rate.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Personally, I would like to thank Rick Wiles for latest bit of gay hate

Rick Wiles
Rick Wiles
Rick Wiles claims that Ebola could 'solve' the homosexuality problem. The Christian shock jock is no stranger to controversy. He has previously claimed that gay rights are part of some conspiracy whereby Obama’s “super gay male soldiers” will turn America into “a hellacious place to live” where “you’re going to have to go underground to be a Christian.”

This week's offering is truly special:

Matt Barber explains the Target boycott for you

J. Matt Barber - Liberty Council
According to the news blog of American Family Association, Liberty Council's J. Matt Barber has something to say about Target Stores (American Family Association and Liberty Council are designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center). I call them “bigoted” but I digress.

According to Mr. Barber:
Target, just like other corporations across the country, should at least remain neutral in this ongoing culture war. And at best, they should be endorsing the age old institution of natural marriage, which is the cornerstone to any healthy society.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

NOM is boycotting Target (yawn)

National Organization for Marriage seems determined to further embarrass themselves with yet another silly boycott. The purpose of a boycott is to use economic leverage to alter a company's behavior. With respect to NOM's targeting companies like General Mills and Starbucks they failed on both counts. They haven't impacted sales and they certainly haven't modified the pro-equality stance of these organizations.

So what is pissing off the bigots at NOM?

NOM's Brian Brown: "We're not bigots" - Seriously?

Brian S. Brown - National Organization for Marriage
Brian S. Brown
In an interview for the Guardian Brian S. Brown, head of National Organization for Marriage, said “We’re not bigots. It’s not bigotry to stand for marriage.”

I would disagree. Brown is a bigot because he was personally responsible for the Proposition 8 campaign in California which was won with a strong undercurrent that gay people are a threat to children. That is bigotry per se. Furthermore, Mr. Brown is incapable of uttering a sentence without a misleading construct. NOM does not “stand for marriage.” NOM stands for banning same-sex marriage at the behest of the Catholic Church.


Do we really need the "Gay Games?"

Gay Games 9
Gay Games 9 takes place from August 9 to 16, 2014 in Cleveland and Akron Ohio. It is a big-money production with diverse corporate sponsors plus many prominent LGBT organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.

The games are expected to attract close to 10,000 participants and another 20,000 guests and spectators. I am sure that it is great for the local economy. State and local chapters of the Chamber of Commerce are probably big supporters. While a great deal of money flows through the games, no one at the Federation of Gay Games is getting rich off of the spectacle (the Federation has no paid staff).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NOM has run out of bad arguments

Brian S. Brown - National Organization for Marriage
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage has never had a coherent argument in support of their endeavor to ban same-sex marriage. NOM is merely a proxy for the Catholic Church expressing a religious objection. They have tried numerous theoretical and illogical themes and they have been dismissed by every court that has heard a marriage case since United States v. Windsor. NOM issued a press release today verbosely titled “National Organization for Marriage Urges Appellate High Court to Rule in Favor of Traditional Marriage; Calls on US Supreme Court to Grant Review of Utah Decision.”

NOMmers starting to realize the inevitability of marriage equality - with ineptitude

For at least a day (or, perhaps, an hour) National Organization for Marriage is realizing that, to continue to exist, they must be more than just the Catholic organization that failed miserably at banning same-sex marriage. Trotting out some self-manufactured victims:

CBN: "Celibate Gay Christians Shake up Homosexual Debate"


English: Gender symbols, sexual orientation: h...
More tedium from the Christian right. When did sexual orientation become a debate? With grudging concession to the fact that sexual orientation is immutable (at least on Wednesdays) they are suggesting that gay people can, and should, be chaste. According to CBN:
Now there's a growing movement among believers who struggle with same-sex attraction, with some calling themselves "gay Christians" who focus on celibacy instead of transformation.

They say you can be gay and Christian as long as you're celibate.
Please. I doubt that this is really a movement, let alone one that is growing.

So what is a "marriage" anyway?

Edie Windsor
The purpose of, and for, marriage is to create a marital estate. Marriage discrimination activists define marriage, not to characterize the institution, but to delineate it in a way that disqualifies same-sex marriage.

If one peruses the amicus briefs in United States v. Windsor those who support marriage discrimination collectively assert that the purpose of  marriage is to crank out children. This “responsible procreation” argument took shape as a direct result of the marriage equality movement. They further assert that marriage is the way that the government encourages “responsible procreation,” whatever that means.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

FL's Christian Family Coalition: "Your rights are under attack!"

Anita Bryant at a rally to repeal
Dade County's gay rights ordinance
MIAMI HERALD FILE PHOTO
The Christian Family Coalition of Florida is permanently docked at Anita Bryant's mooring. They are becoming increasingly unhinged as they continue to lose their battle for marriage discrimination in the courts. It is now three in a row in Florida over less than three weeks. CFC's latest email blast begins; “Another outlaw judge overthrows Florida's constitutional respect for marriage! Racist ruling will not stand!

Racist? Seriously? Do people actually believe this nonsense? According to CFC:
Judge Cohen's corrupt decision is a judicial lynching of 8 million voters who cast their ballots in 2008 and fully expected to have their votes respected, among them, 64% of Hispanic voters and 71% of African-American voters.

Monday, August 4, 2014

PFOX: New Website - Same Old Bullshit

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) has a new website. According to them it is designed to be “an encouraging resource for ex-gays, gays and their families and friends who are searching for hope, truth and answers to their desire to leave the homosexual lifestyle.” Sure.

Yet another victory for equality in Florida

Now it's three! This time a Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale area) judge has ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. This comes on the heels of similar victories over the past few weeks in Monroe County and Miami-Dade County.

Broward Circuit Judge Dale Cohen struck down Florida’s marriage ban in Broward County and ruled the state must recognize the lawful same-sex marriages of other states. The case involves a lesbian, Heather Brassne, who is in a 2002 Vermont civil union that she seeks to dissolve. Florida's same-sex marriage ban prohibits recognition of the relationship and, therefore, is unable to grant her a divorce.

Michael Brown continues to promote his anti-gay hyperbole

Michael Brown - Windbag
Michael Brown, a virulent anti-gay bigot, is now claiming that he can read minds. At Charisma News he writes:
According to a 2011 Gallup poll, Americans thought that 25 percent of the population was gay. … The reality is that less than 2 percent of the population is gay (meaning fewer than one in 50 people), and many gay leaders know this is true.

People of America, you have been duped.
How on earth would Mr. Brown know what gay leaders supposedly know. The notion that the citizenry has been duped is just rhetorical nonsense. There are two points that Mr. Brown fails to consider:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Just how offensive can the Washington Times be?

Quite spectacularly when they give it a go.

The Washington Times was founded by Sun Myung Moon to challenge the “the liberal media bias™” of the Washington Post. Around 2009 the Unification Church stopped funding the paper. Then, in 2010, it was sold to a group with close ties to the church. The Unification Church is no friend of the LGBT community.