NJ Assembly Committee Moves Conversion Therapy Ban
June 13th, 2013
The New Jersey Assembly’s Women and Children’s Committee voted to approve A3371, which would prohibit licensed therapists in the sate of New Jersey from providing therapies intended to change sexual orientation to minors. The 4-1 vote (with one abstention) occurred after two and a half hours of testimony by opponents and supporters, including Parsippany High School student Jacob Rudolph, who told the panel “I am not broken, I am not confused. I do not need to be fixed.”
“Our government has an obligation to protect children in our society – individuals who are unable to make their own legal decisions. Our government therefore has an obligation to prohibit the fraudulent and cruel practice of conversion therapy from being imposed on minors,” Rudolph said.
Jean Mercer, a developmental psychologist and retired Stockton College professor, said the only research that supports conversion therapy is “fraught with inaccuracies and omissions.”
“If conversions therapies had been shown to be necessary, safe and effective, discomfort associated with them might be acceptable, as we accept a certain amount of discomfort with medical treatments. Because they have not, we must consider whether in fact these treatments are abusive,” Mercer said.
Christopher Doyle a counselor at the California-based International Healing Foundation and a former homosexual, said the stories about this form of therapy forced on minors are distorted and untrue. He said he has been providing this therapy for four years, assisting as many as 150 clients with “unwanted same sex attractions who come to me wanting to change.”
The International Healing Foundation is run by ex-gay gadfly Richard Cohen, who was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association in 2002 for multiple ethical violations. He has been criticized for his unorthodox holding technique for “curing” gay people.
The bill now goes to the floor of the Assembly and the Senate.
Rubio: “I’m Done” If Gays Included In Immigration Bill
June 13th, 2013
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the so-called “gang of eight” Senators who crafted the bipartisan immigration bill in the Senate has said that he will withdraw his support for the bill if an amendment is approved that would allow gay people to sponsor their foreign spouses for residency.
“If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced an amendment which would allow foreign spouses of gay Americans to obtain green cards. He had originally introduced the measure last month during mark-up hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but withdrew it under pressure from both Democrats and Republicans when GOP lawmakers vowed to kill it if the amendment were approved. Some lawmakers are pinning their hopes on the Supreme Court, which is expected to issue its ruling in the next couples of weeks on the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.
Discredited researcher claims that equality will “change” marriage
June 10th, 2013
Mark Regnerus first came to attention when he published what was described as a study of children of same sex couples based on a national probability sampled population. After review and some careful sleuthing it was discovered that Regnerus’ study was anything but scientific. It was paid for by an advocacy group, released for political impact, “peer reviewed” by people who helped structure the study, and constructed to give a pre-determined outcome.
It claimed to report on a group of people (same-sex couples raising children) based on what turned out to be a sample of three children. It was pretty much the antithesis of research.
But just in case there was any question as to whether Regnerus was motivated by anti-gay political advocacy goals, he has cleared that up by writing an article for the Witherspoon Institute titled “Yes, Marriage Will Change–and Here’s How“.
I won’t bother quoting it, but if you read it you’ll quickly see his intent. He delights that old page out of the anti-gay playbook: quote a gay person as though any gay speaks for all gays. Find any position pondered by a theorist and breathlessly say, “See! See! And it was one of The Gays who said it so don’t blame me.”
Its mostly wild stereotypes about what men are like, what women are like, and how allowing The Gays to marry will lead to open heterosexual marriages. And he knows this because heterosexuals engage in anal sex.
Those who support anti-gay positions will lap it up. But anyone else will likely shrug and say, “This guy doesn’t know much about men, women, or marriage, does he?”
Marriage equality unlike Roe
June 10th, 2013
Some anti-gay activists have warned that a broad decision on marriage equality would have the same sort of cultural division and long-term social protest that has been the result of the decision on Roe v. Wade. James Richardson, a GOP “conservative communications strategist”, writes in the Christian Science Monitor on why that is not so.
The evolution of public opinion concerning the right to marry for gays and lesbians, too, follows a divergent track from abortion. Whereas the public sentiment on abortion has remained largely static since the Roe ruling 40 years ago, an uncommonly decisive shift in attitudes in recent years concerning gay marriage has radically reorganized the political landscape.
The support for same-sex marriage recently reached a record high, at 58 percent in a March survey by ABC News and The Washington Post. That number represents a 26-percentage-point growth over the span of just nine years. And in those 12 states where same-sex marriage is already legal, the support trend line is even more pronounced. In the few months since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on gay marriage, three states changed their laws to afford equal rights and protections for gay marriage.
As icebergs begin to melt
June 7th, 2013
We are winning. Sometimes we see huge signs and hear fanfare and know that we’ve accomplished another victory. And sometimes the signs of our success are small and subtle and even a bit amusing.
Consider, for example Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico.
Martinez, a Republican, has pretty consistently stated that she supports “one man, one woman” marriage. She has expressed support for a constitutional amendment banning equality and has done nothing in her state for same-sex couples.
But yesterday Attorney General Gary King held a press conference in which he stated that while the state law does not allow same-sex marriage, it was likely an unconstitutional law. He did not issue a formal opinion. (Albuquerque Journal)
King said he did not issue a formal legal opinion on same-sex marriage to prevent conflict with the pending lawsuits. Instead, he advised county clerks around the state to continue to restrict marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples until a court overturns New Mexico law or the Legislature weighs in.
Today Martinez said something sort of odd. (kob)
Gov. Susana Martinez says Attorney General Gary King was right in not issuing a formal opinion on whether same-sex marriage is legal in New Mexico and her office will not get involved in any challenges.
Martinez told the Associated Press on Friday that she also believed the courts decide if same-sex marriage is legal in the state.
This is not an endorsement. This is not exactly a positive statement. But it is a far cry from a call for constitutional bans. It’s stating that when the Attorney General goes before the court to say that he does not believe the law to be constitutional, her office will not contradict him.
It’s a drip. Just a drip. But that’s how icebergs melt.
Lord Jenkin’s theology
June 6th, 2013
Sometimes you read something that simply must be shared.
Patrick Jenkin is a rather accomplished man from a distinguished family. He served in several positions in the Thatcher Cabinet and has been Baron Jenkin of Roding since 1987.
In the debate in the House of Lords over marriage equality, Lord Jenkin said the following: (PinkNews)
Finally, I return to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester. I hope that he will not feel it is unfair if I call him my “old friend”, as indeed he is. I have come to the firm conclusion that there is nothing to fear in gay marriage and that, indeed, it will be a positive good not just for same-gender unions but for the institution of marriage generally. The effect will be to put right at the centre of marriage the concept of a stable, loving relationship. As a practising Christian, perhaps I may make the point to the Bishops’ Benches, including to the most reverend Primate, that there is every reason why, in time, the Anglican Church should come to accept that, although I recognise that it may take some time. The character of love which marriage reflects—that it is faithful, stable, tough, unselfish and unconditional—is the same character that most Christians see in the love of God. Marriage is therefore holy, not because it is ordained by God, but because it reflects that most important central truth of our religion: the love of God for all of us.
This is a very compelling argument for those who value their faith as something more than a mask for their prejudices.
Inevitably, NOM will whine
June 6th, 2013
If there is one thing that annoys the National Organization for (not your) Marriage more than any other, it’s the notion that they are one the losing side of history, that marriage equality is inevitable. No one wants to think of their efforts as pointless, and especially not an organization that has hefty salaries to pay.
For example, in their amusingly titled blog post “The Tide Has Turned! Victory in Illinois” in response to the failure of the Illinois House of Representative to vote on equality, Brian Brown begins his declaration thusly:
Dear Marriage Supporter,
The myth of gay marriage inevitability died last night in Illinois! [emphasis in the original
So it must have been a bitter feeling that crept into his soul when he saw the results of a Pew Poll:
Yes, 59% of those who support NOM’s position recognize that equality is inevitable and that any money thrown in NOM’s direction could be better spent on reinforcing their own marriage (or, for that matter, on booze and hookers).
German court increases same-sex couple rights to tax equality
June 6th, 2013
Although Germany has one of the most supportive populaces (in some measures) in Europe, political forces in that nation have resulted in a more incremental approach to equality. Now the Federal Constitutional Court has ordered a further step in that path. (ABC)
Gay rights campaigners won a victory over the German government Thursday as the country’s top court ruled that homosexual couples in civil unions should receive the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples.
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled that treating the two forms of partnership differently for tax purposes violates the country’s guarantee of equal rights.
This decision is to be applied retroactively to 2001 which will, I suppose, give same sex couples the unique opportunity to decide whether to go through the hassle and expense of restating their income for the past decade or just letting it be.
While the government has vowed to pass legislation implementing the change, I think that a wise leader would recognize the futility of battling the increments and just opt for true equality, in name as well as in rights. I’m not expecting Merkel to make that recognition, and her recalcitrance about equal treatment is increasingly being seen as a weakness.
Hillsborough County (Tampa) Repeals Gay Pride Ban
June 5th, 2013
In a unanimous 7-0 vote, County Commissioners of Hillsborough County, Florida, repealed an eight-year-old ban on recognizing gay pride events:
Earlier Wednesday, the speakers included Terry Kemple, head of the Hillsborough-based Community Issues Council. Prior to the vote, he spent time rallying opposition to what he called Commissioner Kevin Beckner’s “crusade to push for county government recognition of homosexual behavior.
Before Wednesday’s vote, no other group of residents had its activities similarly deemed unrecognizable by county government.
Tampa’s pride celebration appears to be defunct, near as I can tell. But neighboring St. Petersburg will hold theirs at the end of June. BTB Daily Agenda readers may recall our post about a month-long campaign of “morals raids” that were staged in Tampa and surrounding Hillsborough County in 1961. Those raids resulted in hundreds of arrests and the destruction of a number of careers.
HRC Promotes LaBarbera’s “Press Conference” at HRC HQ
June 5th, 2013
Peter LaBarbera, whose sparsely attended press conference yesterday in front of the Human Rights Campaign headquarters (“the world’s most powerful homosexual lobby organization,” he calls it) but hidden away behind a temporary construction wall, “was a success,” so sez The Peter. I guess HRC agrees. They posted video of the event so you don’t have to miss it.
New FBI Head to be pro-gay Republican
May 31st, 2013
The man selected to replace Robert Mueller as FBI Director is expected to be Republican James Comey. (NYTimes)
President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former hedge fund executive who served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the selection.
Comey is respected for standing up to President George W. Bush and stopping the reauthorization of a warrantless eavesdropping program in March 2004. He also is a friend of ours.
At the time that the list of 131 prominent Republicans who filed the amicus brief in favor of marriage equality was published, some noted that many of the names were unfamiliar and this might merely be a list of has-been policy wonks. Perhaps we are reminded us that sometimes policy wonks end up in very powerful positions and that we may find that list to be more encouraging over time.
Illinois looks to be on the verge of voting
May 31st, 2013
Today is the last day for the Illinois House to vote for marriage equality. If you would like to watch to see it happen (or not, God forbid) here’s a link to the live website:
We are watching for Senate Bill 10
I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!
May 30th, 2013
Will’s pulling out of his strep coma and he just told me he met his fundraising goal. When I asked who put him over the top, he said, “Some people I don’t know.”
That’s you folk!
Thanks so much. We pulled in just over $300 in a matter of hours. I’m grateful. Will’s grateful. And the people you help will be grateful.
Speaking of Will, I should let you know that his nephew has recovered just fine from his accident. Thanks for your well-wishes and support. As I mentioned, there are seven kids in that family and we hosted varying combinations for two weekends. Will’s youngest niece left us with this portrait.
I’m on the left. Read the rest of this entry »
Oklahoma Infant Chooses Homosexuality
May 30th, 2013
…“My selection of a sexual preference was the product of a great deal of self-reflection,” said the newly homosexual infant, who added that he reached his decision completely on his own and was not influenced by his genetic makeup or any circumstances beyond his control. “If my sexuality means I get bullied at school, or that I end up feeling unloved and shunned for my entire life, or that I don’t receive equal protection under the law, then obviously that will be my own fault.”
Reynolds reportedly acknowledged that heterosexuality would have had some benefits, such as the universal right to marriage, the ability to adopt children without fear of scrutiny, and the feeling of being validated by his religion. However, the 16-week-old infant said that, in the end, he had decided to identify with a small minority that lacks many basic rights.
“Who knows? Maybe I’ll even change my mind at some point,” said Reynolds, explaining that he can, at any time, freely choose whom he is attracted to. “If I wake up one day and don’t want to be gay anymore, then I can just switch to being heterosexual, easy as that.”
“After all, it’s not like I’m stuck with this decision for the rest of my life,” Reynolds added.
May 30th, 2013
My partner Will is on antibiotics for strep and he’s laid low on the couch. He’s still doing the AIDS/LifeCycle next week, though, and he’s ACHINGLY close to his $5000 goal. Could you please help push him a bit closer? This is the last chance before the Ride. You’d have undying gratitude, not just from us, but from all the folks you’re helping, too.
Bachmann Won’t Run
May 29th, 2013
This nearly nine minute video somehow, as if by magic, will feel like it sucked nine hours out of your life. So here’s what she said in a nutshell:
[Heroic background music] I will not running again in 2014. I could run, and I’d totally kick his ass if I did, but I just don’t feel like it. But if I did, I’d win. Totally.
And this has noting to do with that ethics investigation into my presidential campaign finances either. Which is totally bogus.
So yeah. I’d win. I ain’t chicken. Just don’t feel like running. Obama’s not running again, and he’s a socialist dictator.
And… Traditional marriage. Family Values. Obamacare. Margaret Thatcher. Ronald Reagan. Soviet Union. Socialism. Dodd-Frank. Muslim Jihad. Political correctness. Evil Jihadists. Israel. Iran. Benghazi. IRS. Balanced budget. Destruction of our entire economic system. Mainstream media. Dishonest mainstream media. Disparaging mainstream media. My wonderful husband. God. Jesus. Blessings. Fortitude. Blessed Nation. God Bless. God. God. God.
And more pork for my district. And I’ll still be crazy for the next 18 months. And I’ll keep being crazy long after I’m gone.
May 22nd, 2013
Mitch was one of a few openly gay candidates for District 13 – which includes Hollywood, Silverlake, and Atwater Village – and came first in the primary before winning last night with 53% of the vote. He brought together a wide selection of residents to beat John Choi, who moved into the district just to run and who vastly outspent Mitch with a special interest funded warchest.
Congratulations, Mitch, and I wish you a successful term.
How To Spot A Swivel-Eyed Loon
May 22nd, 2013
Habitat: Generally to be found lurking in the grass roots, especially near local Conservative associations and seaside shopping precincts in the home counties and the south-west. Due to loss of habitat, however, they are increasingly sighted across England, going door to door for Ukip. Extinct in Scotland. (UKIP is the UK Independence Party, an anti-immigrant and euroskeptic party which, according to opinion polls, is now tied with the Conservatives). …
Behaviour in the wild: Antic, with eyes that gyrate as if on swivels. Extremely vocal at this time of year, with a shrill cry, generally a long-winded lament about Britain going to hell in a handcart thanks to immigrants, the aggressive gay community, gay immigrants, out-of-touch ministers, urban metrosexual elites and Europe. Also rails against political correctness, while simultaneously getting offended by the term “swivel-eyed loon”.
Behaviour in captivity: Tame, with a fixed smile and a steady gaze. Call reduced to soft, seemingly reasonable warble. Will patiently explain that hatred of immigrants is nothing to do with racism, nor does a firm stand against gay marriage constitute prejudice. Insists that restoring the economy by slashing public services and killing off growth should take priority over basic equality, for ever.
British Prime Minister David Cameron got into hot water over the weekend when it was reported that an un-named senior member of the government called Conservative grass-roots activists “swivel-eyed loons” over their increasingly strident anti-immigrant and anti-gay stances. With those reports coming just ahead of yesterday’s vote on a marriage equality bill, which, when combined with last week’s refusal by the ruling coalition to call a referendum in remaining in the European Union, are leaving party loyalists openly criticizing their party leader for opening a fracture between the Government and the party’s grass roots.
House of Commons officially passes marriage equality
May 21st, 2013
The House of Commons has now passed the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by a vote of 366 to 161.
Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.
So even after all the hand-wringing and fury about Prime Minister Cameron “betraying” the Conservative Party, less than half of the Tories voted in opposition to the bill.
Now it moves to the House of Lords. Expect some rather wacky statements.
British Commons Approves Marriage Equality Bill
May 21st, 2013
In the end, it was Labour who saved the day for marriage equality — and for Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, whose party turned against him in the final vote on the same-sex marriage bill in Commons today. The vote wasn’t close — 366 to 161 — but the Tory vote went against their own party leader, 117-133. Already, British papers are talking about a considerably weakened Prime Minister, who was already playing defense after an associate characterized disgruntled Euro-skeptics and social conservatives in the party as “swivel-eyed loons.” (Nobody does political rhetoric like the British.)
The bill now goes to the House of Lords, where efforts to kill it are expected to continue. If it does manage to survive the upper House, marriage equality may arrive in England and Wales as early as the summer of 2014.