November 14th, 2012
Amidst the many wins for our community – marriage, legislators, and even the first openly gay US Senator (no, a certain bachelor from a southern state doesn’t count) – it was difficult to note all the changes and interesting results of the election. And one story which I had been following was overlooked.
Paul Babeu, the openly gay conservative sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, was re-elected. Also elected was Lando Voyles, Babeu’s hand-picked candidate for Pinal County Attorney.
This is an interesting turn of events in that it runs counter to presumptions about rural conservatives and anti-gay attitudes.
Paul Babeu sought to leverage his position as Sheriff into a Congressional seat. But in February, the Phoenix New Times – disliking Babeu’s political positions – ran a story on him which was designed to discredit him with his constituents. Assuming that those who supported Babeu would desert him if they knew he was gay, they ran a story about him threatening a former boyfriend with deportation. To their surprise, Babeu immediately acknowledged his orientation – and endorsed marriage equality and open military service – but fought the accusation of misuse of power.
Over the next month, the Phoenix New Times doubled down on their story, regularly adding sensational tidbits, seeming to hope that Pinal County voters would be turned off by seeing their sheriff in his underwear (provided by the ex-boyfriend) or reading his personal text messages. In the process, they veered into blatant homophobia, calling for Babeu to be fired for joining a gay dating site and ratcheting up the implication, “don’t vote for Babeu, see he’s GAY!!” And Babeu eventually dropped out of his congressional race and ran for reelection as Sheriff.
However, by the end of their effort, it seemed increasingly evident that this was a personal vendetta for the New Times and they lost much of their credibility. Rather than discredit Babeu with his constituents, this may have became a moment when they decided that they preferred openly gay, marriage-supporting conservatives to straights who they believed would be less law-and-order. And so not only did they reelect Babeu, but they confirmed his choice for County Attorney. Which, while odd progress, is progress.
It will be interesting to see how this develops.
When gay Democrats began to gain access and influence a few decades back, it was not always with joyous acclaim; there were period of tolerance in which some more conservative or older Democrats may not have supported our rights but were willing to work with specific gay politicians. They were seen as “our gay politician”, accepted despite long-established prejudices. And slowly, through time and familiarity, “our gay politicians” broke down stereotypes and presumptions. Though I’m no fan of Barney Frank, he was effective in transforming many Democratic leaders from being tolerant of “our gay politician” to support for the gay community.
I think that for many Pinal County Republicans, Paul Babeu might be seen “our gay politician”. They may be unsupportive of our community in general and even dislike “those other liberal gay politicians”, but be able to find ownership of this one. I wonder if Babeu can be effective in gradually breaking stereotypes and engendering support.
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.