June 9th, 2011
When non-Californian’s think of the state, the great San Joaquin Valley is generally not what comes to mind. This southern half of the Central Valley is vast, rural, and green. There are no trolley cars or movies stars. Just mile after mile of grape vines, pistachio orchards, cotton fields and lettuces of various kinds, providing a 250 mile drive of mind numbing sameness from Bakersfield to Sacramento.
The San Joaquin valley is also politically very conservative, especially on gay issues. Although Orange County is notorious for sending anti-gay activists to Washington (Dannemeyer, Dornan), it is in the valley that anti-gay animus is planted, tended, and watered. While Orange County voted for Proposition 8 with a 57.8% approval, none of the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley had an affirmative vote lower than 65% and five of them were in the 70’s.
And this conservatism can be found in the churches that dot the landscape, even the generally-supportive Episcopal Church. The ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson, a gay man living in a long-term relationship, did not sit well with the San Joaquin Diocese. And after much rumbling and threat, the rather effeminate Bishop John-David Schofield (a “cured homosexual”) led a revolt that pulled his diocese from the Episcopal Church and aligned it with first a church in Argentina and then with the Anglican Church of North America, a denomination which draws its distinction based on its rejection of gay people.
The Episcopal Church did not recognize Bishop Schofield’s right to defection and there is an ongoing legal battle over the assets of the church. Faithful congregations retained affiliation and other Episcopalians who sought to remain within the fold left their houses of worship to join together and build new congregations within the dioceses.
But any hope of reuniting now appears even more unlikely. After a temporary shepherding by a retired bishop, in March Rt. Rev. Chester Talton became the Episcopal Bishop of the San Joaquin Diocese. And today he issued a letter to his pastors that solidifies the distinction between the two groups:
Effective on Pentecost, June 12, 2011, clergy in the Diocese of San Joaquin may perform blessings of same gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships, and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterized by “fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.” Said relationships shall be called “Sacred Unions” for purposes of the blessing and recognition of these relationships. A liturgy authorized for use within the Diocese will be published separately.
As yet Canon Law (and California civil law) do not allow for the official solemnization of marriage, but this step in recognizing and blessing same-sex relationships signifies that the Episcopal Church has placed the mission of grace ahead of any reconciliation based on potential concessions to the breakaway group.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.