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Montana Tea Party Removes President Over Anti-Gay “Joke,” Group’s Secretary Resigns In Protest

Jim Burroway

September 7th, 2010

There has been a lot of talk about the Tea Party’s insurgence being a benign development as far as LGBT rights are concerned. When journalists ask national Tea Party officials what the movement’s position is concerning LGBT equality, they reliably demur, saying that the only thing they care about is the deficit — and lately, newer wedge issues like immigration and Muslim-Americans. Gays? No problem.

The problem I have with that is that everyone wants to tell you that the Tea Party is not a top-down movement, but a spontaneous uprising from among people who are disturbed that our president is an immigrant Muslim who plunged our nation into debt. Or something like that. So, if it’s really a spontaneous grass-roots movement, why is anyone bothering to ask Tea Party leaders? Shouldn’t they be talking to the grass roots? Like, say, the Plymouth Rock and South Boston Tea Parties?

Former Montana Tea Party President Tim Ravndal

Former Montana Tea Party President Tim Ravndal

Montana’s Tea Party, on the other hand, is trying to tilt the lever back away from social issues,  but not generating quite a bit of controversey within its own ranks. In a July facebook posting, Tim Ravndal, the President of Montana’s Big Sky Tea Party Association, responded to an ACLU lawsuit over domestic partnerships by writing that he thought marriage should be between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, his comments didn’t end there:

Then Ravndal expressed support for a commenter who (in apparent reference to the Matthew Shepard murder) said, “I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions.”

Answered Ravndal: “Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?”

To Montana’s Big Sky Tea Party’s credit, they booted Ravndal from the party following an emergency meeting.

We are extremely disappointed by Mr. Ravndal’s commentary,” wrote Walker, who could not be reached for this story. “The discussion in that Facebook conversation is entirely outside the position of the Big Sky Tea Party. Even though Mr. Ravndal was having a personal conversation and made no reference to our group, we felt strongly that swift and decisive action was required as we cannot accept that sort of behavior from within our membership, let alone from an officer of the corporation.

“We continually make it known that we will not tolerate bigoted dialog, behavior or messages at our functions, our meetings or within our ranks,” Walker continued. “If a person demonstrates bigotry relative to race, sex, ethnicity, etc. they are not welcome in our organization. The Tea Party movement is about standing up for individual freedom for everyone.”

In case you were wondering, I think we’re supposed to assume that sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are meant to fall under “etc.”

Kristi Allan-Gailushas

Kristi Allan-Gailushas

Not all Tea Partiers in Montana are on board with that decision. Kristi Allen-Gailushas, secretary of the Big Sky Tea Party Association and Republican nominee for a state legislative seat, announced that she is quitting the group over Ravndal’s removal. The Helena Independent Record reports that Allen-GAilushas may have facebook problems of her own. Following Ravandal’s removal, Allen-Gailushas posted to her facebook page, “The Gay community wants a war…they’ve got one!!”

The Montana GOP platform currently calls for “legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.” Apparently the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in Montana.

Comments

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Noah
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

If you look on his facebook page one of his activities is ” Not everything that pops into your head needs to be shared on Facebook”. Now he’s a hypocritical homophobe.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

I have said it repeatedly: They are just opportunistic. they “do not care” about the gay folk because it is not politically resonant this year. This year is the year of Beat the Muslims and the Mexicans.

As soon as a new wedge issue is needed, the fags will come to play and once again all the ills of the plant will be placed at our feet.

L. Junius Brutus
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

I remain baffled that there seems to be no issue that Lindoro can’t somehow relate to Muslims.

penguinsaur
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

And of course the usual republican defenders *the tea party is nothing but republicans* will claim that him being fired proves that they aren’t bigots at all. It’s exactly like when Mark Williams got caught writing that racist as hell letter. They fire him for being too honest, claim it proves they’re not racist and ignore that it was completely bloody obvious before then he was racist and they didn’t do a thing until he publicly embarrassed them. Well their is a difference, this isn’t big enough news that the teabaggers are gonna have their ally Andrew Breitbart edit a tape to frame an innocent black woman in an attempt to make a new scandal to distract the public from their racism.

As soon as the Republicans are back in power they’ll go back to treating gays like crap. They only claim otherwise now because it’s easier to win an election harping on president spineless and his failure to revive the economy.

Tone
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

This is beyond homophobia. We’re into kkk/aryan nations/westboro territory here. The Montana tea party could hardly ignore this given the utterly repugnant nature of the comment from their leader.

And how does Kristi Allan-Gailushas figure we’re to blame for his removal… she is declaring war on us? We’re the ones who were attacked, but in typical wing-nut style they attempt to blame us for our own oppression.

Erin
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

Lindoro is right. All the anti-Muslim rhetoric is another wedge issue, just like gay marriage was a couple years back (and some are still making it an issue.) Not sure of the purpose of your comment, Brutus, but I agree with her. It’s another scare tactic designed to divide people.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks Erin, it is HE, but don’t be sensitive about it. I am not offended.

Brutus is bitched up because he has been called for his xenophobic comments on other discussions. He thinks it is acceptable to use against Muslims language that when used by Westboro, NOM, The Family, The Republican Party (specially in 2004) and George Reckers toward us would be deemed unacceptable, bigotry, hate speech and God knows what else. His reasoning? Well, the majority of the people in the country agree with me, so it can not be hat speech or bigotry.

Now, he will accuse me of making this up, so do not believe me and read it for yourself. It is all in the comments section. Just look at any entry that deals with the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

After you read it for yourself, then make up your mind and if it is warranted, you can come back and publicly call me a liar.

L. Junius Brutus
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Erin: “Lindoro is right. ”

That would be the first time. But no, he is wrong, as usual.

“All the anti-Muslim rhetoric is another wedge issue, ”

There is no “anti-Muslim” rhetoric, and the fact that the Republicans are using this as a wedge issue is a testimony to the foolishness of Democrats, who putting themselves against 82.5% of the population without any moral justification.

“Not sure of the purpose of your comment, Brutus, ”

The purpose was to point out that comments from Lindoro are always about Islam. But then again, he is an ideologue whose goal is not to promote gay rights, but to demonize and attack everyone who holds a different view from Islam from him. The fact that he is always serving a particularist interest is something that needs to be pointed out.

Lindoro: “Brutus is bitched up”

Says the person who threatened to “slap” people until his hands were sore. I am not angry at you, you are a figure of comedy.

“because he has been called for his xenophobic comments on other discussions. ”

You didn’t “call” me. You don’t have my phone number, nor will you ever. Possibly, you mean “call out” – which you did not do. It was really hilarious how you tried to “argue” in the Ground Zero mosque thread. First you called everyone racist and ignorant, and threatened to slap them until your hands were sore. Then, when you failed to advance even a single good argument in favor of your position, and made several absurd ones, you abdicated and said that your high-minded philosophy and “higher and complex concepts” were too much for the “simpletons” on that thread. Quite the spectacle. I laughed myself to death over your posts. If people want a taste of the stuff that Lindoro wrote, here is a sample:

This whole thing is so f*ck*ng racist is sickening.

This whole situation only illustrates how ridiculous, backwards and uneducated we are about race in this country.

I am so mad if i had most of you in front of me i would slap you all hateful queens until my hands are sore.

Lastly, your racists asses need need to read how it’s done

Can anyone give me ONE good reason before I call you all again a bunch of ass backwards racists xenophobic fairies?

I do not expect a simpleton to understand higher and complex concepts

[G]iven the fact that most people in this country immediately relate Muslims with Arabs, then it is a racial issue.

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2010/08/10/25267

“His reasoning? Well, the majority of the people in the country agree with me, so it can not be hat speech or bigotry.”

It is very telling that you don’t quote my own words. Here is something I wrote on that thread: “I didn’t argue that the majorities are necessarily right, but I did argue that it is idiotic to call people opposed to this mosque “bigoted” – as Emily and Priya do.” And I was right then, and right now. It is very stupid to call 82.5% of people bigots. Then again, you call anyone who disagrees with you on anything, at any time, a bigot.

“After you read it for yourself, then make up your mind and if it is warranted, you can come back and publicly call me a liar.”

I won’t call you anything, as you know full well what you are. It’s just a shame that your “higher and complex concepts” exist not in reality, but only in your own mind.

darkmoonman
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

When will folks learn that public posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. are available to anyone worldwide?

I’m pleased that the MT Tea Party removed their president for promoting anti-gay violence. That their homophobic secretary resigned is a bonus. Yet, I still believe that the Tea Party’s members are generally homophobic.

Franck
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

I won’t delve too much into arguments, but this…

“Can anyone give me ONE good reason before I call you all again a bunch of ass backwards racists xenophobic fairies?”

…feels like a slap in the face to this black/asian/caucasian non-american who got kicked out of about everywhere due to being black, asian, caucasian or non-american.

I didn’t take a side in this discussion, I’m still getting insulted. Feels… nice, as usual.

Chris McCoy
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Off topic, I think Lindoro and Brutus should get a room. ;D

On topic, I agree with Tone. It’s the same old “Blame the victim for being victimized” that we see time and again from bigots of any stripe.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Off topic, I think Lindoro and Brutus should get a room. ;D

I’ve actually thought about that, but given the fact that usually he is the one who comes out and attacks me…

Oh hell, who cares, we SHOULD get a room, shouldn’t we?

Brutus, call me….

Erin
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

“There is no “anti-Muslim” rhetoric, and the fact that the Republicans are using this as a wedge issue is a testimony to the foolishness of Democrats, who putting themselves against 82.5% of the population without any moral justification.” Give me a break. There’s no anti-Muslim rhetoric? Have you been living under a rock? And for the record, I’m not a Muslim, I’m just above the BS.

Moral justification? Interesting perception of morals. I’m for giving ALL American citizens their Constitutional rights to worship and assemble, and I don’t feel like a person should be treated like a criminal until they’ve actually done something wrong. I also think a person living in this country should live without threats to their lives simply because of their faith. If that makes me immoral, so be it.

I watched this crap go down in my own hometown after 9/11. Men who worked at a local gas station were repeatedly harassed with taunts, threats, and vandalism, and my own relatives boycotted the gas station. The manager isn’t even a Muslim. He’s a Sikh, from India. The people in my town were just too ignorant to know the difference, and even if he was Muslim, I’m pretty sure he was busy managing the gas station and store and not committing acts of terrorism.

I’m also reminded of the NYC cab driver who was recently stabbed by a passenger after he confirmed that he was a Muslim. Then there’s the attempts all over the country, not just NYC, to prevent Muslims from building Mosques. And finally the “good Christians” who want to burn the Quran. These are just examples that immediately come to mind.

Yes, there are extremists, I’m not naive enough to deny that, but I have Muslim friends who are Westernized in their culture and their behavior. They are ordinary, peaceful people. I’m sure the majority of Muslims living in America are here for the opportunites or because they were born here, not because they’re all hiding out waiting for the perfect moment to kill civilians and overthrow our government to instill Sharia law.

Newt Gingrich and others are suddenly making this an issue, and trying to prevent Muslims who have lived here and operated mosques here for decades from continuing to assemble and worship freely. I’m personally worried about real issues, like the recession-something that affects every American citizen, except of course the filthy rich executives in our financial sector who helped create the problem.

Erin
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Oh, and one thing I forget to mention: all the ignorant, hateful comments I read on internet news sites like CNN.com after any article that has to do with Muslims is another example of anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Also, the fact that I see people on gay rights sites commenting in support of gay rights, then using similar fallacious arguments used by anti-gays to justify or deny infringements on the rights of Muslims is disturbing to me.

I would like to hear politicians give constructive ideas for how they can fix problems that face the majority of Americans, not create wedge issues and scare tactics (like the “threat of gay marriage”) because they count on the prevalence of peoples’ prejudices to get more votes.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 9th, 2010 | LINK

So, Erin, how close was I?

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