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Posts for September, 2010

GayTM On the Fritz: Gay Political Donations Down

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2010

The "GayTM" is out of orderPerhaps one measure of the gay community’s scorn for the Democratic Party’s failure to deliver on its promises — as evidenced by this week’s cynical tossing of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” football coupled with the administration’s ridiculous filing in the Log Cabin Republican lawsuit against DADT — the OpenSecretsBlog reports that LGBT groups’ contributions to political campaigns are drastically down when compared the the last mid-term elections in 2006:

[I]n an election cycle full of controversy over hot button issues such as adoption, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage, donations to federal candidates from gay and lesbian interest groups are lagging. So far during the 2010 election cycle, people and political action committees associated with this special interest area have donated $744,040 to federal candidates, with 96 percent of funds going to Democrats. That’s compared to more than $2 million contributed to federal candidates during the 2006 congressional elections and $1.8 million contributed during the 2008 presidential election cycle.

The Human Rights Campaign has donated a huge majority of the industry’s funds going to federal candidates this cycle, contributing $625,272 to primarily Democratic candidates.

"If you want my gay dollar, I want my gay rightThat means that the HRC has contributed almost 85% of all the LGBT dollars to federal campaigns. I don’t know what percentage of the total contribution the HRC contributed in 2006, but I doubt that it amounted to $1.6 million. There has long been a perception that the Democratic party has been eager to take the gay dollar but unwilling to seriously address the gay community’s concerns, whether they be the ongoing firing of qualified personnel from the U.S. military, discrimination against gay and (especially) transgender people in the workplace, or the unwillingness to take a coherent stand on marriage. LGBT people and organizations are, as a result, naturally and justifiably outraged this year, with many demanding that the “GayTM” be shut down.

While undoubtedly the economy has contributed to this falloff in donations, but that’s not the entire story. LGBT donations are down by about half; other sources for donations are off, they haven’t fallen as drastically as this. I’m glad that most of the major LGBT organizations have decided to close the GayTM. Their money wasn’t being well spent, given the pathetic and cynical behavior of the political establishment that so many of us have worked so long and hard to support. For any organization that as to evaluate how effective every dollar they spend is toward accomplishing their goals, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that their dollars can be better spent elsewhere.

I fully support the call to sit on your dollars during this election cycle. If you have money to donate, there are many more worthy causes in your own local community that could use your help in this down economy. At least there, your hard-earned dollars have a better chance of actually doing some good. And if you are interested in contributing to political candidates, there is still the option of donating directly to specific candidates that you know have stood by the LGBT community. (For me locally, for example, I would single out my Congressman, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ). He was among the extremely few Arizona officeholders who actively and publicly campaigned against Prop 102, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which passed in 2008.)

I also think this report documents how unbelievably out of touch the HRC is with the community it claims to represent. It looks like we don’t just need an overhaul of the political establishment that takes our money without delivering results, but also the advocacy group that takes our dollars and doesn’t hold anyone accountable. To those of us who have donated to the HRC in the past, it’s a good time to ask: have you gotten your money’s worth?

Obama Administration defends DADT policy; opposes injunction

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

Today the Justice Department filed an opposition to Log Cabin Republicans’ request for injunction on the application of the Military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy which a federal judge found to be in violation of the US Constitution. The White House has made clear that this decision was made with the President’s blessing.

The DOJ argues against a world-wide injunction because it would deny them the opportunity to get a conflicting decision elsewhere. Even an injunction which covers the Ninth Circuit is unacceptable because then they would be unable to move forward with their case against Margaret Witt.

Therefore they argue that an injunction should be limited only to current Log Cabin members. No, I’m not making that up.

In addition to opposing injunction, this filing illustrates that it is the intention of the Obama Administration to appeal the ruling. Irrespective of political speeches about support, the Administration will not be following Governor Schwarzenegger’s example and accepting the determinations of the court as to the policy’s unconstitutionality but will instead seek to retain their ability to apply the policy for as long as is politically expedient.

And, as if it was not at this point abundantly clear, President Barack Obama is not now – and has never been – a fierce advocate for our community.

PFOX files an amicus brief

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

Oh you knew it had to be coming. When Judge Walker found that orientation was an immutable attribute, you just knew that PFOX had to present their wackadoodle ex-gays as proof he was wrong. They pair up with Desert Stream Ministries in an amicus brief which extols “the transforming power of Jesus Christ to heal those struggling with unwanted sexual attractions or behavior” and offers “the realistic hope that individuals with same-sex attraction can choose a course of action that enables them to identify and live as whole-enough heterosexuals.”

The sole issue addressed in this brief is whether same-sex attraction is a fixed and immutable characteristic like race. This issue is critically important because, if a court were to erroneously decide that same-sex attraction is an immutable characteristic, as the district court has in this case, a tribunal in the future might be led to further conclude that homosexuals are a “suspect class” for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause. Such an erroneous conclusion would improperly subject laws like Proposition 8 to “strict scrutiny” rather than the existing legally appropriate “rational basis” review.

The specifically object to the following three of Judge Walker’s findings:

44. Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person‟s identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents‟ assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence.

45. Proponents‟ campaign for Proposition 8 assumed voters understood the existence of homosexuals as individuals distinct from heterosexuals.

46. Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

They argue instead that “sexual orientation is a complex and amorphous phenomenon that defies consistent and uniform definition” and that it is a “mutable characteristic which can shift over time and does so for a significant number of people.” They assert that “both the evidence at trial and the evidence embodied in
this brief clearly show that many people freely choose and change their sexual orientation.”

Now, I dare say that it probably is easier at times to define a person’s sexual orientation than it is their race, especially in California. And if the number is so significant or the choosing so free, than why do they present the same handful of people over and over?

Ah, but PFOX has evidence. To prove that there are thousands of men and women who have successfully left “unwanted homosexuality” behind them and who now “live happy heterosexual lives”, they present four:


Richard Cohen: In that instant, the connection between my childhood abuser and I was cut, and I became free for the first time in my life. With that sense of freedom, I sobbed for about an hour in David’s arms. It was such a release and relief to know that I wasn’t responsible for what had happened and that God had forgiven me. In those moments of release, I found my freedom from same-sex desires. Cutting this neurological connection to the sexual desires freed me from thirty years of relentless pain and an endless pursuit of men.

Oh Lordy. Really. Richard Cohen?

This guy is, shall we say, uniquely peculiar. In fact, he may be the ex-gay ministries’ worst possible nightmare: a wackadoodle that is unafraid of going on television to show just what kind of loon he is.

Alan Medinger (now deceased): But things were desperate enough that after six or seven weeks of agonizing, on Tuesday, November 26, 1974, I went to an interdenominational meeting with Jim. He didn’t know my problem, nor did anyone there. At some point during the evening, I prayed quietly, “God, I give up. My life is a total mess. I can’t handle it any more. I don’t care what You do; you take over.” And He did.

Within a few days, I knew that some profound changes had taken place in me. First of all, I fell head over heals in love with Willa and I desired her physically. My homosexual fantasies that had almost never left me were gone. And most important of all, I knew that Jesus was real, that He loved me, and I was starting to love Him.

I’ll not speak ill of Medinger; he’s passed on and is unable to defend himself. However, I will note that he was not above quoting and relying on such unscrupulous characters as Paul Cameron and Scott Lively.

Now on to two women about whom I know very little:

Kristin (Johnson) Tremba: God taught me that sexual sin was my attempt to meet legitimate emotional needs in sexually illegitimate ways. He showed me that there were some emotional needs that had not been met in my family relationships growing up, there were some wounds, and so I was attempting to meet these needs and cover these wounds in sexual relationships as an adult. He taught me that there were also things I was born with: a sin nature, a particular temperament, various weaknesses, and a negative body image and negative view of my femininity. He taught me that even though I did not choose all my circumstances and struggles, I could choose to overcome them. I could choose to let God change my life…

Brenna Kate Simonds: My journey to recovery has been long and arduous, but more than worth it. God has helped me in many ways along the path to recovery. Therapy played a key role in expediting my experience of God‟s healing in my life. My own therapy taught me how to help others experience their own journey of healing and restoration.

Well there ya have it. That prove that “same-sex attraction is not an immutable characteristic.” Nope, not at all.

All you need is Jesus. He’s a miracle worker.

HIV prevalence in urban gay/bi men

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

The Centers for Disease Control has conducted a study of 8,153 men who have sex with men in 21 U.S. cities and has made some observations about the HIV infection rate of gay/bi urban men. (Reuters)

Overall, they found that 19 percent of gay men are infected with HIV.

The study found that 28 percent of gay black men infected with HIV, compared with 18 percent of Hispanic men and 16 percent of white men.

Black men in the study were also least likely to be aware of their infection, with 59 percent unaware of their infection compared with 46 percent of Hispanic men and 26 percent of white men.

Age also plays a role. Among 18 to 29-year-old men, 63 percent did not know they were infected with HIV, compared with 37 percent of men aged 30 and older, the team reported in the CDC’s weekly report on death and disease.

I am beginning to consider that a comprehensive campaign needs to be planned to test every man who has sex with men. I would not write off a socially-coercive campaign based on “everyone will get tested on such-or-other week” or be the recipient of scorn and rejection. I’m just “thinking out loud” here, but it seems to me that the key to reducing HIV transmission is in reducing those who do not know and perhaps drastic measures may be required.

“Family” groups file amicus for Perry’s Prop 8 Proponents

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

Liberty Institute. Brief signed by (from left) Justin Butterfield, Hiram Sasser, Kelly J. Shackelford (lead counsel), and Jeffrey Mateer (not pictured).

A collection of “family” groups have given their opinion to the Ninth Circuit about Judge Walker’s findings in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. They include:

Liberty Institute
Association of Maryland Families
California Family Council
Center for Arizona Policy
Citizens for Community Values
Cornerstone Action
Cornerstone Family Council
Delaware Family Policy Council
Family Action Council of Tennessee
The Family Foundation
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia
Family Policy Institute of Washington
Florida Family Policy Council
Georgia Family Council
Illinois Family Institute, Independence Law Center
Iowa Family Policy Center
Louisiana Family Forum Action
Massachusetts Family Institute
Michigan Family Forum
Minnesota Family Council
Missouri Family Policy Council
Montana Family Foundation
New Jersey Family First
New Jersey Family Policy Council
North Carolina Family Policy Council
Oklahoma Family Policy Council
Oregon Family Council
Palmetto Family Council
Pennsylvania Family Institute
Wisconsin Family Action
WyWatch Family Action

You might get a chuckle from their opening line:

Liberty Institute is a non-profit law firm dedicated to the preservation of civil rights and the promotion of individual liberty.

Now that’s good comedy.

Basically the premise of this amicus brief is that finding Proposition8 to be unconstitutional violates the rights of Californians to be self-governed and to rant and rail about “activist judges”. It reads not as a legal document but more like a political tirade.

At times throughout our nation’s history, courts have subjugated the will of the people to the judges’ own desires, often with disastrous results. Doing so is anti-democratic and ignores that self-governance is an important and essential part of liberty. Such actions by unelected judges disregard that the Bill of Rights provides that those powers not granted to the United States are reserved to the states and the people.

They go on quite a bit about how courts are “the elite few” and how “Judicial activism impose the views of the “enlightened” judiciary on the masses”. Now maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that insulting the judiciary will endear yourself and your ideals with, ahem, judges.

Then, in what can I can only imagine was conceived while on meth, they threaten revolution if they don’t get their way. I kid you not.

They quote the Declaration of Independence and then say,

In significant part because of the Crown’s removal of the legislative power from the people and vesting of it in persons unconstitutionally qualified to legislate, and because true governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” the colonists considered that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. If the district court’s decision to abolish the citizens of California’s laws and to invest itself with the power to legislate for the people of California is upheld, the “new Guard” is but following the old and we have come full circle.

I’ve always known “family” groups to be a bit out there, but this is colossally stupid.

Star Parker, JC Watts and Bishop Harry Jackson file amicus brief for Prop 8 Proponents

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

Three organizations (consisting primarily of three individuals) which represent socially conservative African-Americans have provided an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit for their consideration in the appeal to Judge Walker’s finding in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that Proposition 8 is a violation of the US Constitution. All three have long been opponents of equality for gay people.

The High Impact Leadership Coalition (Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.), The Center for for Urban Renewal and Education (Star Parker), and the terribly misnamed Frederick Douglass Foundation, Inc. (former Congressman JC Watts, R-OK) weighed in to argue that “civil rights of parties to same-sex relationships are not advanced by reliance on legal principles that otherwise have served to further the civil rights of African-Americans.”

The history of marriage in the constitutions and laws in America clearly demonstrates that the American people, their elected representatives, and their legal charters flatly reject any assertion that racially segregated marriage (as in Loving) is somehow comparable to sexually integrated marriage of a man and a woman.

Miscegenation laws were based on Supremacy and invidious discrimination, you see. Ummmm….

And besides, as not all states had miscegenation laws, then the core purpose of marriage wasn’t tied to race like it is to gender. To make their point, they offer a numbers exercise.

To begin, of the thirteen States that never had antimiscegenation laws, ten now protect man-woman marriage by positive law or interpretation of statute. Four of the thirteen also protect man-woman marriage by constitutional amendment, which requires approval by at least a majority vote of the people of the State.

Seven States once had antimiscegenation laws but repealed them before Perez v. Sharp, 32 Cal.2d 711, 198 P.2d 17 (Cal. 1948). Today, five of those states expressly protect the institution of man-woman marriage, using both statutes and constitutional amendments.

Fourteen States repealed their antimiscegenation laws after Perez and before Loving. Today, all of those States protect man-woman marriage, most of them with both statutes and constitutional amendments.

So obviously, marriage as a fundamental right only applies to black people and not to gay people.

They go on to rant about the procreative aspect of marriage (citing cased from the 1880s and 1920s) never realizing that their quotes about individuals having the right “to marry, establish a home and bring up children” or about marriage being “the foundation of the family and of society” actually serve to further our argument rather than their own.

Operating under the presumption that family=heterosexual, they only reveal their bias and that it is presumption of heterosexual superiority that is behind every anti-gay marriage argument.

And they go on and on about the intents and appropriateness of the Loving decision, never noting that Mildred Loving herself saw her fight to marry the person she loved as comparable to the fight of gay men and women to marry the person they love.

This fundamental distinction lies at the heart of the point that Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter made on the thirtieth anniversary of Loving. He wrote: “One of the beauties of Loving v. Virginia was precisely that it was very easy to see how these were people trying to do a very ordinary thing, and got in trouble for it.”

That distinguishes Loving from the position of advocates of same-sex marriage who are trying to do a very extraordinary thing—to redefine the institution of marriage.

In their conclusion, they claim that using Loving v. Virginia as support for the fundamental right to marry, is just another example of “an illegitimate attempt to appropriate a valuable cultural icon for political purposes.” They don’t note the irony.

I Want To Become An Anti-Gay Preacher

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2010
Bishop Eddie Long's Estate

Bishop Eddie Long's Estate — Think of all that closet space!

Why not? I get to live in a house like this, drive a Bently, meet the President, and have my pick of all the beautiful boys in my youth group. Plus, I look a whole lot better in a muscle tee.

DADT Vote “A Colossal Failure of Leadership”

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2010

The Denver Post nails it:

Senate Republicans, with the help of two Democrats, voted to filibuster the Pentagon’s financing authorization bill, which included the repeal of “don’t ask,” along with the immigrant DREAM Act. The failure to move forward on both measures sheds light on how dysfunctional the U.S. Senate has become.

This is the same Senate that had no trouble passing a health care bill larded with special-interest deals or taking over General Motors. But somehow it couldn’t find the fortitude to right an injustice when it comes to gays serving in the military. What a colossal failure of leadership.

The temptation to lay this failure completely at the feet of the forty Republicans and two Democrats who voted against ending the filibuster is tremendous. After all, they were the ones actually responsibly for blocking the legislation. But we cannot forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rigged the process in order to squander the votes that were already there to break the filibuster. In failing to break the filibuster, Reid got what he wanted — as did a lot of Senators on both sides of the aisle — and he’s already cashing in on the failure he engineered.

Beware: Journalists Reporting on Science

Rob Tisinai

September 23rd, 2010

You’ll be hearing our opponents trumpet a new article from the UK Guardian. The headline reads:

1.5% of Britons say they are gay or bisexual, ONS survey finds

The article messes things up pretty fast. Here’s the second paragraph:

The findings, based on interviews with more than 450,000 people – the biggest pool of social data after the census – show that an estimated 481,000 people regard themselves as gay and a further 245,000 – mainly women – say they are bisexual.

And here’s the third:

The estimate puts Britain’s gay community at 1.5% of the total population – much lower than the most commonly used estimate of 5% to 7%, which was cited by ministers introducing civil partnership legislation and implied a non-heterosexual population of 3.5 million.

See the problem? The article assumes the percentage who say they are LGBT equals the percentage who are LGBT. Is that reasonable? No. One obvious objection is that some people (especially the elderly) aren’t willing to tell a stranger they’re gay. But the article is even sloppier than that. Here’s a snapshot of the data:

Category Percentage
Straight 94.8
Gay/Lesbian/Bi 1.5
Other 0.5
Don’t know/refused to answer 2.8
No response 0.5

 
You see that? The study failed to identify the orientation of 3.8% of the population. There’s only one way to conclude, “The estimate puts Britain’s gay community at 1.5% of the total population,” and that’s to assume none of these people are gay, lesbian, or bi.

Is that reasonable? Given the way straight people flaunt their sexual orientation, and given the continued existence of the closet, it makes sense to wonder if a good chunk of that 3.8% is gay, lesbian, or bi (not to mention transgender).

Unfortunately, based on my experience with the right wing echo chamber, our opponents will repeat the 1.5% figure over and over until they’ve forgotten where it comes from. But that makes sense. Sloppy numbers are the best defense of sloppy thinking.

Sen. Cornyn finds “common ground” with Log Cabin Republicans

Timothy Kincaid

September 23rd, 2010

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a social conservative who does not support marriage equality or repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, headlined a cocktail fundraiser for gay group Log Cabin Republicans last night. (Standard Times)

Texas Sen. John Cornyn told a Republican gay and lesbian group that he was amazed at some of the controversy surrounding his appearance at the group’s fundraising event Wednesday evening.

“I guess perhaps it speaks to the times we find ourselves in where people are so unwilling to find grounds of commonality where we do agree despite some honest differences and firmly held differences of opinion,” Cornyn told about 60 guests at the Log Cabin Republicans Political Action Committee.

Cornyn spoke on the issues on which he agrees with the group.

And he said he knows they all agree, as loyal Republicans, on the importance of limited government, lower taxation, free trade and common-sense laws that facilitate economic development, economic growth and job creation.

Cornyn was not scheduled to stay for the subsequent dinner, which featured five Congresspersons who are allies of Log Cabin. Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. He sent an aide with a speech he recorded for the group, which was played at the dinner.

The funds raised at the reception featuring Cornyn will be used to further Log Cabin’s goal of advancing the message of gay equality within the Republican Party.

Jon Stewart on the DADT Debacle: “Are We Run By A**holes?”

Jim Burroway

September 23rd, 2010
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Are We Run by A**holes?
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

If You See These Photos On Grindr, Put Down the Phone and RUN!

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010
Eddie Long in the Mirror

Eddie Long: A Guy With an iPhone

ABC News has obtained some seriously TMI photos of Bishop Eddie Long, the rabidly anti-gay preacher who has been accused by three men of inappropriate sexual conduct. According to B.J. Bernstein, the lawyer for two of the men accusing Long of coercing them into having sex with him, the photos were sent to one of the plaintifs via e-mail in November 2008 and is signed, “Eddie L Long, Amazed by His Grace.” Bernstein asks:

“What pastor in his right mind sends a picture from himself, posing in his bathroom in a muscle shirt? None that I know of. Especially one who is a committed homophobe.”

Eddie Long

Eddie Long, "Amazed by His Grace."

Umm, … yuck!

According to separate lawsuits filed in DeKalb County, Ga., by [Maurice] Robinson, [Anthony] Flagg and now [Jamal] Parris, Long conducted what they called private spiritual ceremonies in which he “coerced certain young male members and employees” into sexual acts and relationships. Now in their 20s, the men claim in their lawsuits that they were teenagers when Long showered them with “cars, clothes, jewelry and electronics,” flew them across the world in private jets and booked them into luxury hotels, all the while pushing them into a sexual relationship.

…In the lawsuit, Robinson and Flagg claim that Long used Bible Scripture to “reinforce the God-like connection between himself and the young [men]. The accusations, according to court documents, also claim that Long would try to block sexual relationships the young men had with women.

Gov. Crist Orders Halt To Enforcement of Gay Adoption Ban

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

Following the state Appeals Court ruling that declared Florida’s ban on adoptions by gay parents unconstitutional, Governor Charlie Crist and George Sheldon, the Department of Children & Families Secretary, confirm that they will no longer enforce the ban:

“Children deserve a loving home to be in, and the opportunity for judges to make this call on a case-by-case basis for every adoption,” said Crist, who once supported the ban. The U.S. Senate candidate reversed himself after he left the Republican Party and began courting liberal and moderate voters.

George Sheldon, the Department of Children & Families secretary who voted against the ban while representing the Tampa area in the 1977 Legislature, called the three-judge panel “the first court in the history of Florida ever to have struck down this law.”

“Obviously, the District Court of Appeal’s decision has statewide application, so, as of today, the statute is unconstitutional. The department will no longer enforce the ban,” he told The Miami Herald. Though Sheldon has long opposed the adoption ban, he said he had no choice but to defend the statute in court as the head of Florida’s child-welfare agency.

As to whether the state would file an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court:

On Wednesday, Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose office represented the state in the case, declined to say what action he will take.

Sheldon said he, too, had yet to chart a course, which would seek to balance the state’s desire for finality in the law against the Gill family’s need for some reassurance that the children would remain with the couple until adulthood.

So we’re not quite at the final act just yet. But it seems we’re very, very close.

Cornyn and Sessions No-Shows at LCR Dinner, Receive Awards Anyway

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

How convenient:

A Republican gay-rights group presented Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) with a leadership award Wednesday night despite his vote against a repeal of the ban on allowing openly gay people to serve in the military nearly 24 hours before the event. …Neither Cornyn nor Sessions appeared in person to accept their awards.

Cornyn did appear and speak at a pre-dinner reception, which was attended by only 60 people and closed to the press. I don’t know whether he was given his trophy at that time when nobody from the press was there to see it, but we hear that all the gays sang a lovely round of “Happy Birthday” for Mrs Cornyn. That moment of festivity occurred just one day after Sen. Cornyn voted to continue to keep LGBT people from serving in the military. After about 45 minutes, he then ducked out without commenting to the press.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

The leadership awards that LCR gave to Sessions and Cornyn are named for Barry Goldwater, who had no problem speaking his mind in support of gay rights. This action is a blight upon his good name, especially considering that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) was sitting right there at that very dinner. She was a founding member and remains the only Republican member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, where she serves as a vice-chair. She cosponsored the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act; she was the lead cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; she is a sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act; she actively supports repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and she voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Plus, she didn’t use the Republican Caucus meeting as an excuse to skip the dinner despite being the senior Republican woman in the caucus. She was honored with the Spirit of Lincoln Award, but if anyone deserves a leadership award named for Barry Goldwater, it’s her. Not the cowards who couldn’t be seen accepting it six weeks before the election.

Update: Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade caught up with Rep. Ros-Lehtinen after the LCR dinner:

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told the Blade following her remarks at the National Log Cabin Republicans annual dinner in D.C. that she doesn’t know what will happen with pro-LGBT legislation as she took a dig at the current Democratic majority for not moving forward.

“I don’t know what will happen with Republicans,” she said. “I know what’s happening now. I don’t really get an opportunity to get to vote on those [bills] very often on the floor.”

Asked whether she thinks pro-LGBT legislation would advance in a Republican-controlled House, Ros-Lehtinen replied, “The Democrats are in control. I don’t know that they’ve gone forward. … I guess you should ask [U.S. House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi why they haven’t gone forward.”

Republicans are expected to gain control of the House in this year’s mid-term elections.

FRC files their amicus brief on Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

The anti-gay activist group, Family Research Council, has filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit stating their arguments in opposition to Judge Walker’s finding that Proposition 8 is a violation of the US Constitution.

It boils down to this:

Properly framed, therefore, the issue before this Court is not whether there is a fundamental right to enter into a marriage with the person of one’s choice, but whether there is a right to enter into a same-sex marriage.

The court, they say, is focused on the wrong issue. It isn’t a matter of individual freedom that matters, it that the marriages are gay. GAY, I say!! Gay, gay, gay. That’s the important part.

They go on to state that there is no discrimination based on sex, because both sexes are banned from marrying Teh Ghey! (And besides, if sports teams can discriminate based on sex, why not marriages?)

And, of course, ever present was the presumption that gay people don’t exist and if they’d just shape up and live right then they could marry the opposite sex and they wouldn’t have this issue at all.

Proposition 8 does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Homosexuals may marry someone of the opposite sex, and heterosexuals may not marry someone of the same sex.

And then there was the laughable statement:

… nothing …even remotely supports the conclusion that Californians approved Proposition 8 with the intent or purpose to discriminate against homosexuals, as opposed to their knowledge that, if adopted, Proposition 8 would have a disparate impact on homosexuals. Nor are there any facts that could support such a conclusion.

Proposition 8 was not about gay people or them getting married; it was about preserving definitions. And there is nothing whatsoever that suggests that voters intended for Proposition 8 to impact gay folks at all.

What ever could have given Walker the idea?

Apart from the language of Proposition 8 itself, which is facially neutral with respect to a person’s sexual orientation, how could the intent or purpose of more than seven million voters be determined? By exit polls? Pre- or post-election polling? Random sampling of the electorate? Voter interviews? And how, based on the selective evidence presented by the plaintiffs (from a veritable deluge of messages inundating the voters during the hard fought campaign over Proposition 8), could any court possibly distinguish between the electorate’s knowledge that what it was voting on would have a disparate impact on a given class of persons (homosexuals) and an intent or purpose to cause that impact?

Oh, I dunno. How about the fact that every ad they ran, every speech they made, every sign they waved, every interview they gave and every sermon they preached were based entirely on Stopping Gay Marriage. No exceptions.

It would take a tremendous amount of credulity to buy the idea that while all of the advertising for Proposition 8, all the rallies, all the get-out-the-vote and all of the celebrating was based in opposing gay couples that the voters really had “channeling procreative sexual activity into a stable social and cultural environment in which the children so procreated may be raised and providing the benefits of dual-gender parenting” in mind.

And in perhaps their only honest and non-cynical moment they conclude:

In light of the foregoing, it is irrelevant whether, as the district court purported to find, Proposition 8 was motivated by animus against homosexuals. The fact remains that Proposition 8 is reasonably related to legitimate state interests. That is sufficient to sustain its constitutionality under the rational basis standard. The district court’s holding to the contrary should be reversed. [emphasis added]

I’m not sure that such briefs achieve the goal of supporting the Proponent’s assertion that there is no animus towards gay people. I doubt that the judges hearing the appeal are dunces and arguing that the voters should be able to instill bigotry into the constitution is not a compelling selling point.

Homophobic slur originated in Chambliss’ office; individual as yet unidentified

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

Senator Saxby Chambliss has acknowledged that the slur/threat posted on JoeMyGod did originate from his office. The individual responsible has not yet been identified. (AJC)

“The [sergeant at arms] has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case,” an unsigned statement from Chambliss’ press office read.

“There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment,” the statement read. “That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate sergeant at arms.”

It is encouraging that Chambliss appears to be taking the situation seriously and has decided to involve the Senate Sergeant at Arms.

Harry Reid Uses DADT Debacle in Campaign Ad

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010
Sen. Harry Reid's Facebook Ad

Sen. Harry Reid's Facebook Campaign Ad

Pam Spaulding found this ad running on facebook. No doubt, similar ads will begin appearing in other media as well — maybe even radio and/or television. I expect we may see similar ads from John McCain from the other side. Yesterday’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” debacle engineered partly by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and made possible by forty Republicans and two fellow Democrats is now today’s campaign theme.

Well gee, who’d a thunk it?

NY St. Pattys Day Parade – more anti-gay than Irish

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, who control and operate the St. Patrict’s Day Parade in New York City, have long opposed allowing gay Irishmen to participate as such. This is matter of pride as good Irish Catholics.

Of course, real good Irish Catholics don’t have so much of a problem with Teh Ghey. The Irish in Ireland seem to be rather fond of gay folk. So much so, that the President of Ireland declined an offer to be Grand Marshall of the parade if they wouldn’t let gay folk participate. (Irish Central)

Irish President Mary McAleese has turned down an invitation to be grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2011, the historic 250th anniversary of the event.

The turn down is said to be connected to the issue of gays being refused the right to march in the parade under their own banners, and McAleese’s strong relationship with gay and lesbian organizations in Ireland.

Although having President McAleese (a devout Catholic) as Grand Marshall on this important anniversary would have been quite a coup for the AOH, it was far more important that they keep gay Irish people out of the Irish celebration.

A Third Lawsuit Filed Against Eddie Long

Jim Burroway

September 22nd, 2010

CNN is reporting that a third lawsuit has been filed against Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long alleging coercion, negligence and fraud surrounding a sexual relationship with another young man. This is in addition to two other accusations that we reported earlier.

Responding to the earlier allegations, a spokesperson for Long called them “a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues.” One of the plaintiffs, Marice Robinson, was arrested in June and charged with burglizing Long’s office and stealing an iPad, iPhone and other items worth more than $1,300. Robinson’s lawyer characterized the burlgary as an attemp to retaliate against the pastor for his sexual transgressions after having adopted him as one of Long’s “Spiritual Sons.”

The two earlier accusations have a few tantalizing details to them:

One of the men, Anthony Flagg, 21, alleges in his suit that Long took him on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years. “Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact,” the suit says.

The other man, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, claims Long took him to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 19th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson’s suit alleges. “Following the New Zealand trip, defendant Long regularly engaged in sexual touching, and other sexual acts with plaintiff Robinson,” Robinson’s suit alleges

Bill Clinton disavows DADT

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

Bill Clinton is not pleased when reminded that he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy into law. Talking to Katie Couric following the failure of yesterday’s repeal effort, Clinton recalled his role as being a cork tossed on the storm.

The president said he resorted to “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it became apparent that both houses of Congress would enact an absolute ban on gay people serving in the military unless he did something else. He also said that Powell misrepresented how the policy would work.

I agree that Clinton does not deserve to be saddled with the blame for the policy, but his role was perhaps not as passive as he is now presenting. I seem to recall the White House advocating for a “compromise”.

Clinton also claims that he misunderstood exactly what Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would mean.

Now, when Colin Powell sold me on ‘don’t pass, don’t tell,’ here’s what he said it would be: Gay service members would never get in trouble for going to gay bars, marching in gay rights parades as long as they weren’t in uniform, getting gay materials for any of the places they went or any of the things they did, as long as they didn’t talk about it. That was what they were promised. That’s a very different ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ than we got. What we got as soon as Gen. Powell retired was this vicious mid- and lower-level officer feedback where they, for a year or so, made it worse than it had been before. Then they sort of settled down. But, the reason I accepted it was because I thought it was better than an absolute ban, and because I was promised it would be better than it was.

Well, rather than get snarky, I think I’ll just note that times have changed. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was considered too much of a concession at the time by many Americans and now, 17 years later, most everyone (except Republican legislators) consider it to be ill advised and discriminatory.

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