Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for August, 2010

Prop 8 Supporters React

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2010

First, we go to Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the losing side in today’s decision:

“Today’s ruling is clearly a disappointment. The judge’s invalidation of the votes of over seven million Californians violates binding legal precedent and short-circuits the democratic process. But this is not the end of our fight to uphold the will of the people for traditional marriage, as we now begin an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It is disturbing that the trial court, in order to strike down Prop 8, has literally accused the majority of California voters of having ill and discriminatory intent when casting their votes for Prop 8.

“But the reality is that Prop 8 was simply about restoring and strengthening the traditional definition of marriage as the unique relationship of a man and a woman, for the benefit of children, families and society.

“At trial we built a solid record to show that marriage has served as the foundation of the family and society as a whole, has universal functions and features attributable only to unions between a man and woman, has been defined in both law and language as a union between a man and a woman, and acts as the predominate relationship in which to create and support children.

“We are confident that the trial court record we built will help us ultimately prevail on appeal and reverse today’s ruling.

Newt Gingrich, who believes in the sanctity of marriage between on man and three consecutive women, warns that this should be another knock against confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court:

“Judge Walker’s ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they’ve affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.”

Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America stomps her foot and demands that the decision be overturned immediately:

Judge Walker’s decision goes far beyond homosexual ‘marriage’ to strike at the heart of our representative democracy. Judge Walker has declared, in effect, that his opinion is supreme and ‘We the People’ are no longer free to govern ourselves. The ruling should be appealed and overturned immediately.

“Marriage is not a political toy. It is too important to treat as a means for already powerful people to gain preferred status or acceptance. Marriage between one man and one woman undergirds a stable society and cannot be replaced by any other living arrangement.

Robert George of the American Principles Project, sees this as ensuring “additional decades fo social dissension and polarization”:

Another flagrant and inexcusable exercise of ‘raw judicial power’ threatens to enflame and prolong the culture war ignited by the courts in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Robert P. George, Founder of the American Principles Project. “In striking down California’s conjugal marriage law, Judge Walker has arrogated to himself a decision of profound social importance—the definition and meaning of marriage itself—that is left by the Constitution to the people and their elected representatives.”

“As a decision lacking any warrant in the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, it abuses and dishonors the very charter in whose name Judge Walker declares to be acting. This usurpation of democratic authority must not be permitted to stand.”

…“The claim that this case is about equal protection or discrimination is simply false,” George said. “It is about the nature of marriage as an institution that serves the interests of children—and society as a whole—by uniting men and women in a relationship whose meaning is shaped by its wonderful and, indeed, unique aptness for the begetting and rearing of children.

…“Judge Walker has abandoned his role as an impartial umpire and jumped into the competition between those who believe in marriage as the union of husband and wife and those who seek to advance still further the ideology of the sexual revolution. Were his decision to stand, it would ensure additional decades of social dissension and polarization. Pro-marriage Americans are not going to yield to sexual revolutionary ideology or to judges who abandon their impartiality to advance it. We will work as hard as we can for as long as it takes to defend the institution of marriage and to restore the principle of democratic self-government,” concluded Dr. George.

Focus On the Family’s Judicial Analyst Bruce Hasknecht (he apparently didn’t get layed off last week) warns that this could have repurcussions for the other 49 states in the union:

“Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad.

“During these legal proceedings, the millions of California residents who supported Prop 8 have been wrongfully accused of being bigots and haters. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, they are concerned citizens, moms and dads who simply wanted to restore to California the long-standing understanding that marriage is between one woman and one man – a common-sense position that was taken away by the actions of another out-of-control state court in May 2008.

“Fortunately for them, who make up the majority of Californians, this disturbing decision is not the last word.

…“We do want Americans to understand the seriousness of this decision, however. If this judge’s decision is not overturned, it will most likely force all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage. This would be a profound and fundamental change to the social and legal fabric of this country.

Tony Perkins at the Family Research COuncil anticipates that the decisionwill be upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (“the most liberal appeals court in America”), and will only make the anti-gay rhetoric “more volatile”:

“This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of same-sex ‘marriage,’ overturning the marriage laws of 45 states. As with abortion, the Supreme Court’s involvement would only make the issue more volatile. It’s time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box.

“Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union. The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a ‘marriage’ is.

“Marriage as the union between one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America’s founding but for millennia. To hold that the Founders created a constitutional right that none of them could even have conceived of is, quite simply, wrong.

“FRC has always fought to protect marriage in America and will continue to do so by working with our allies to appeal this dangerous decision. Even if this decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals-the most liberal appeals court in America-Family Research Council is confident that we can help win this case before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Randy Thomasson, of Save California thinks the oath of office should be updated to force judges to only issue conservative rulings:

“Natural marriage, voter rights, the Constitution, and our republic called the United States of America have all been dealt a terrible blow. Judge Walker has ignored the written words of the Constitution, which he swore to support and defend and be impartially faithful to, and has instead imposed his own homosexual agenda upon the voters, the parents, and the children of California. This is a blatantly unconstitutional ruling because marriage isn’t in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution guarantees that state policies be by the people, not by the judges, and also supports states’ rights, thus making marriage a state jurisdiction. It is high time for the oath of office to be updated to require judicial nominees to swear to judge only according to the written words of the Constitution and the original, documented intent of its framers. As a Californian and an American, I am angry that this biased homosexual judge, in step with other judicial activists, has trampled the written Constitution, grossly misused his authority, and imposed his own agenda, which the Constitution does not allow and which both the people of California and California state authorities should by no means respect.”

Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association goes further, and calls for Judge Walker’s impeachement:

“This is a tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional display of judicial arrogance. Judge Walker has turned ‘We the People’ into ‘I the Judge.’

“It’s inexcusable for him to deprive the citizens of California of their right to govern themselves, and cavalierly trash the will of over seven million voters. This case never should even have entered his courtroom. The federal constitution nowhere establishes marriage policy, which means under the 10th Amendment that issue is reserved for the states.

“It’s also extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself. He should have recused himself from this case, because his judgment is clearly compromised by his own sexual proclivity. The fundamental issue here is whether homosexual conduct, with all its physical and psychological risks, should be promoted and endorsed by society. That’s why the people and elected officials accountable to the people should be setting marriage policy, not a black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial.

“His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute. He’d have to recuse himself on conflict of interest grounds, and Judge Walker should have done that.

“The Constitution says judges hold office ‘during good Behavior.’ Well, this ruling is bad behavior – in fact, it’s very, very bad behavior – and we call on all members of the House of Representatives who respect the Constitution to launch impeachment proceedings against this judge.”

Richard Land demands the revival of the Federal Marriagae Amendment

“This is a grievously serious crisis in how the American people will choose to be governed. The people of our most populous state—a state broadly indicative of the nation at large demographically—voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, thus excluding same-sex and polygamous relationships from being defined as marriage.

“Now, an unelected federal judge has chosen to override the will of the people of California and to redefine an institution the federal government did not create and that predates the founding of America. Indeed, ‘marriage’ goes back to the Garden of Eden, where God defined His institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“This case will clearly make its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court of the United States, where unfortunately, the outcome is far from certain. There are clearly four votes who will disagree with this judge—Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito. The supreme question is: Will there be a fifth? Having surveyed Justice Kennedy’s record on this issue, I have no confidence that he will uphold the will of the people of California.

“If and when the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court, then the American people will have to decide whether they will insist on continuing to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or whether they’re going to live under the serfdom of government by the judges, of the judges and for the judges. Our forefathers have given us a method to express our ultimate will. It’s called an amendment to the Constitution. If the Supreme Court fails to uphold the will of the people of California—if we are going to have our form of government altered by judicial fiat—then the only alternative left to us is to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.

“Many senators who voted against the federal marriage amendment the last time it came up said publicly if a federal court interfered with a state’s right to determine this issue, they would then be willing to vote for a federal marriage amendment. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to vote.

Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is losing his creativity. In fact, his statement is rather boring. I won’t bother posting it. But TVC state lobbyist Benjamin Lopez thinks this will motivate the Tea Party Movement even more:

“If folks think that the Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with now, wait until the silent majority of pro-family voters flex their political muscle once again. Judges beware, you will go the way of Rose Bird, stripped of their robes and kicked off the bench,” Lopez added.

Oops! Lopez’s statement appears to have been deleted, which just leaves Sheldon’s uncreative outrage.

Schadenfreude Alert: Liberty Counsel Blames ADF For Prop 8 Decision

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2010

This is hilarious. Matt Staver’s Liberty Counsel, which is closely aligned with Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, issued a press release blaming the Prop 8 decision on the Alliance Defense Fund:

Although Liberty Counsel has defended the marriage laws in California since the battle began in 2004, the Alliance Defense Fund, representing the Prop 8 initiative, opposed Liberty Counsel’s attempt to intervene on behalf of Campaign for California Families. The California Attorney General did not oppose Liberty Counsel’s intervention, but ADF did. Liberty Counsel sought to provide additional defense to Prop 8 because of concern that the case was not being adequately defended. After ADF actively opposed Liberty Counsel, ADF presented only two witnesses at trial, following the 15 witnesses presented by those who challenged the amendment. Even Judge Walker commented that he was concerned by the lack of evidence presented by ADF on behalf of Prop 8. Liberty Counsel will file an amicus brief at the court of appeals in defense of Prop 8.

The California Supreme Court previously stated, “The right of initiative is precious to the people and is one which the courts are zealous to preserve to the fullest tenable measure of spirit as well as letter.” Moreover, the U.S. Constitution cannot be stretched to include a right to same-sex marriage.

Except for this case, since Liberty Counsel was excluded by ADF, Liberty Counsel has represented the Campaign for California Families to defend the state’s marriage laws since 2004 and has argued at the trial, appellate and state Supreme Court levels.

They’re really furious at ADF. You can tell because they don’t get around to blaming judicial activism until the final paragraph:

Mary McAlister, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: “This is a classic case of judicial activism. The Constitution is unrecognizable in this opinion. This is simply the whim of one judge. It does not reflect the Constitution, the rule of law, or the will of the people. I am confident this decision will be overturned.”

When ADF speaks of children, who do they mean?

Timothy Kincaid

June 16th, 2010

The Christian Post has an article up today quoting supporters of Proposition 8. (I guess the millions of Christians who opposed Prop 8 were all unavailable today, but I digress):

“More than 7 million Californians decided that marriage should be preserved, not fundamentally changed,” said Brian Raum, senior counsel at Alliance Defense Fund. “If a handful of activists is allowed to void a constitutional amendment protecting marriage, we have gutted the core of the American democratic system and will deny more children the mom and the dad they deserve.”

This certainly isn’t the first time the “deny the children” argument has be thrown around. Actually, we hear it quit regularly. But today I got to pondering just how extremely stupid (and contrary to orthodox Christianity) this who notion is.

Who, exactly, are these children that are being denied a mom and a dad?

Is there some great kid factory out there that is sending kids off to gay couples instead of the “mom and dad they deserve?” Does Brian Raum think that if only there were no gay couples then the stork would deliver their kids to straight couples?

OK, so some children of gay parents are adopted. But doesn’t he know that without deliberate effort on the part of these same-sex couples to conceive that many of these kids would not only be “denied” a mom and a dad but they would be denied existence altogether.

Or perhaps ADF is either appealing for Mormon support by fully buying in to Mormon theology. Perhaps he believes that it is spirit children who pre-existed in Heaven that are being denied heterosexual parents.

Or, most likely, he is just repeating a really stupid catch phrase which only appeals to those who don’t have the capacity to think outside of what anti-gay activists tell them.

ADF: perhaps the worst written letter ever

Timothy Kincaid

February 19th, 2010

The Alliance Defense Fund has released a copy of a letter which they claim was sent to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and in which they oppose the proposed change to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Supporters of ADF should hope they are bluffing and never sent the letter. Not only is their argument irrational, but the letter itself would get a failing mark in a sixth grade English class.

Here at Box Turtle Bulletin we occasionally make mistakes. Sometimes we misspell a word, get a reference wrong, or flub grammar (and are subjected to the resulting scorn). But we aren’t writing to the White House, and we don’t have paid proof-readers. However, ADF is supposed to be comprised of lawyers, with staff to review, so there’s just no excuse for the ADF’s laughably amateur letter.

So as to help them avoid future mockery, let me share a few tips on letter writing to ADF:

1. When writing to try and influence a powerful person, try to get their name right.

  • The Secretary of the Air Force is not “Michael B. Donnelly”; his last name is Donley. Perhaps you have him confused with anti-gay activist Elaine Donnelly, but I doubt that he appreciates the comparison.
  • The Secretary of the Navy is Raymond Edwin Mabus, Jr. If you are going to include his middle name, then for heaven’s sake include his suffix.
  • Yes, Admiral Mike Mullen is an admiral in the Navy. But generally, “Navy” is not part of his name.

2. If you want mail to arrive, address it properly – even the “cc’s”

  • The office of the House Republican Leader is at “H-204 The Capitol” not at “H0204 The Capitol”.
  • The Secretary of the Navy is at “1000 Navy Pentagon”, not at “100 Nay Pentagon”.
  • The office of the Secretary of the Army is not exactly at “1400 Defense Pentagon”. That is the address of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

I mean, really guys, it’s right there on the Department of Defense website. You can cut and paste it.

And while we’re at it, you only need to put “cc:” on the letter one time. Adding it in front of one name halfway down the list isn’t necessary.

3. Try and present your arguments in a consistent pattern

If you are numerating several points, use wording consistently. Don’t use “Whether chaplains could” three times but select “Whether chaplains can be allowed to” when there is no difference in meaning to be distinguished by different wording.

4. Try to avoid nonsensical and grammatically flawed language.

For example, the following sentence purports to introduce a “consequence”, but instead asks a question (which was not punctuated with a question mark):

That is a Constitutional offense that carries a very pragmatic consequence: just what will happen to recruiting efforts if Christians become second-class soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines.

And this sentence makes no sense whatsoever:

We urge you to reconsider your decision and avoid this collision with America’s most cherished and fundamental freedom of religious liberty.

What is “America’s most cherished and fundamental freedom of religious liberty?” It is the freedom to keep gays from the Military? Is it the freedom of chaplains to preach against “homosexual behavior?”

Or perhaps they were trying to say “American’s most cherished and fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.”

We’ll never know.

5. And finally, try not to introduce off-subject and irrelevant matters into your conclusion.

After four pages of discussion about chaplains and “homosexual behavior”, ADF provided this, their second to last paragraph:

In fact, it is more than plausible that forcing the military to affirm homosexual behavior will prove unwise. Recently, hundreds of religious leaders in civil life—including many from the faith communities that supply many military chaplains—declared their reasoned and conscientious opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior through the artifice of same-sex “marriage.” This opposition is deeply rooted in the theology of the faith communities represented by the signatories, and such conscientious opposition will come to a sharp head within a military that compels affirmation of homosexual behavior.

Huh?

How, exactly, does (sect specific) religious opposition to civil marriage relate to gay personnel in the military? ADF never tells us, other than to suggest that it has something to do being “unwise”. Or perhaps ADF is assuming that anything gay relates to everything gay, though polls on marriage and military service certainly show otherwise.

Ugh.

Who wrote this thing? And why on earth would they actually consider sending it?

I guess that we can all just be glad that when it comes to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, our opposition is addicted to appearing like blithering idiots.

ADF: not allowing anti-gay chaplains to dictate policy is unconstitutional

Timothy Kincaid

February 19th, 2010

One of the things I truly hate about political advocacy is the tendency of activists to veer towards hyperbole. The “what if” exceptions become the arguments of likelihood or commonality. The minor and slightly inconvenient are expressed in terms of extreme hardship or catastrophic abuse.

But sometimes claims and statements reach beyond rhetoric and oratorical posturing and jump straight to the irrational or the bizarre. And the claims made by the anti-gay legal advocacy group, Alliance Defense Fund, about the unconstitutionality of allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military are an example.

On Wednesday, ADF issued a letter to President Obama and Secretary of Defense Gates stating their position:

… if Chaplains with beliefs that contradict the proposed policy [allowing service of openly gay men and women] are kept from roles that are likely to generate conflict – like preaching or counseling – then they, the faith groups they represent, and the soldiers whose religious beliefs they serve will all be marginalized. The military would effectively establish preferred religions or religious beliefs. This is a Constitutional offense that carries a very pragmatic consequence: just what will happen to recruiting efforts if Christians become second-class soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines.

Setting aside the atrocious grammar, misspellings and errors that are abundant in this letter, let’s look at the logic which ADF displayed. Here is their argument:

  • Obama and Mullen seek to overturn a policy which “that prohibits open homosexual behavior while serving in the military.”
  • To “affirm homosexual behavior” is to “for the first time in history espouse a military policy that is completely at odds with the morality expressed by many of its chaplains.” (emphasis in original)
  • Chaplains have to “abide by applicable laws, and all applicable regulations, directives, and instructions of the Department of Defense and of the Military Department” and also they must represent “specific religious denominations, and are accountable in their ministries to those groups.” But because “orthodox Christianity” does not “affirm homosexual behavior”, then “chaplains with contrary religious beliefs will be forced to choose ‘to obey God or men.’”
  • Chaplains would lose the right to deny sacraments, counsel their beliefs, or to preach in opposition to homosexual behavior. They would be forced to “allow soldiers openly engaged in homosexual behavior to lead worship services or serve in other lay leadership roles.”
  • This would lead to soldiers being denied the right to worship: “If chaplains are limited in teaching and counseling on their beliefs, then the soldiers who share their faith and rely on their instruction will
    necessarily also suffer a diminished ability to freely exercise their faith.”

This is so nutty that I can’t help but wonder if they even really sent this; surely they know that it would be an embarrassment.

First, the policy has nothing to do with “homosexual behavior”. Anti-gay activists always term their opposition in language of “behavior”, seeking to link every gay issue to “wiggling a penis in excrement“. The way that they get around this military ban being on identity is to define the act of identifying oneself as gay as being “homosexual behavior”. And a change in policy to allow open service has nothing to do with “affirmation.” The military allows its personnel many freedoms that they never “affirm.”

And, as ADF well knows, chaplains are free to preach according to their faith, to counsel on whatever they believe is appropriate, and to encourage such standards of personal morality as they think are appropriate. Any chaplain would be free to tell a soldier, “I think you should give up homosexual sex” just as freely as he is able to tell him, “I think you should give up premarital sex”, or “I think you should give up drinking.” To claim otherwise is disingenuous.

Our military is religiously diverse. And chaplains have found ways to minister to those who disagree on a whole host of issues without having to choose ‘to obey God or men.’

No Catholic chaplain is required to offer sacraments to Wiccans. No Baptist chaplain is required to say the prayers at Seder. Lutheran chaplains need not discuss the truths found in the Book of Mormon, and Pentecostals need not hear confession. But yet they all find a way to meet the spiritual needs – and often just the need for a sympathetic ear and comforting counsel – of folks whom their doctrines declare to be godless sinners dangling over the fires of hell.

It is an insult to chaplains to assume that they can work with Muslims and atheists and newly-converted pacifists, can counsel agnostics and Greek Orthodox and Reform Jews, can worship with Quakers and Pentecostals and Seventh Day Adventists all without losing their religious freedoms, but if a gay person is in the camp then it all goes out the window.

And finally, the ADF makes the outlandish assumption that the military must accommodate the anti-gay chaplains without any concern for pro-gay chaplains. They ignore the hundreds of chaplains from mainline Christianity or Judaism who believe in civil equality as a matter of the justice provisions of their faith.

Truly, they have it backwards. To establish military policy to accommodate the religious teachings of anti-gay chaplains while disdaining the religious teachings of others, would be an act of establishing religion. To say that we cannot allow gay people in the military because some chaplains are entitled to dictate the military’s official theology would be an unconscionable slur on the intents and purposes of the First Amendment.

Court OKs NY out-of-state marriage recognition

Timothy Kincaid

November 19th, 2009

When the executive branch of the State of New York determined that same-sex marriages conducted legally outside of the state would be recognized, anti-gay activists sued. Today the Court of Appeals backed the State. (A/P)

New York’s top court on Thursday rejected a Christian legal group’s challenge to some government benefits provided to gay couples legally married elsewhere and now living in New York.

The court rejected an argument that same-sex marriage was akin to incest and polygamy but avoided declaring that gay couples are entitled to all the rights of other married couples.

In a 4-3 decision on the narrow question of benefits, the Court of Appeals did not address whether the state must recognize same-sex marriage but encouraged the Legislature to settle the issue. The case was pushed by the Alliance Defense Fund of Scottsdale, Ariz.

ADF Sues Michigan Group For Disrupting Church Services

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2009
Photo from the “Bash Back!” website

Photo from the “Bash Back!” website

The Alliance Defense Fund, an a Scottsdale-based anti-gay legal group, has filed a federal lawsuit against the “Bash Back!” anarchists who invaded a church during morning worship services near Lansing, Michigan. Here is the ADF’s statement:

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit in federal court Wednesday against a radical anarchist group that openly advocates the use of riots and crime to further its views in favor of homosexual behavior. ADF attorneys filed the suit on behalf of Delta Township’s Mount Hope Church against the group “Bash Back!,” which invaded the church’s building during a worship service on Nov. 9 of last year.

“The use of violent threats and criminal behavior to make a political point should never be acceptable in America,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “Bash Back! revealed how dangerous the homosexual agenda is to our First Liberty, religious freedom. ADF filed this suit to stop Bash Back! and other activist groups from invading churches, disrupting worship, silencing pastors, and terrifying adults and children who attend religious services.”

A local news account of what happened is here. The ADF cites a clause of the “Freedom to Access To Clinics Act,” which was intended to protect those who provide or obtain abortions. That clause also protects places of worship by prohibiting actions by anyone who:

(2) by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship;

What “Bash Back!” did was clearly inexcusable and against the law. It was also abyslmally stupid. My dad used to tell me that even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think this is the first time I’ve ever said this about the ADF, but the ADF and Mount Hope Church are very much in the right. “Bash Back!” clearly and deliberately violated Mount Hope’s First Amendment rights and should be held accountable for it.

Wingers On Parade: Reactions To Vermont

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2009

We did this following the Iowa Supreme Court decision. Now it’s time to look at reactions to the Vermont legislature’s decision to allow same-sex marriage. Wouldn’t it be great if this could become a regular series?

Anti-gay activists pounced immediately with their talking points when the Iowa Supreme Court released their opinion, but Right Wing Watch noticed that it took quite a while for anti-gay activists to react to the Vermont vote. Probably because couldn’t reflexively blame “activist judges.”

But several hours later, reactions slowly began to trickle in. So guess what? It’s not “activist judges,” it’s a breakdown in democracy. Focus On the Family detects a “mysterious” conspiracy afoot:

Thanks to several legislators who mysteriously changed their votes over the weekend, Vermont has become the first state to radically change the definition of marriage through the legislative process.

Sounds nefarious, doesn’t it. Like it’s some sort of threat to destroy democracy or something. The Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver is also reading from the same playbook, calling a vote by two legislative chambers made up of duly elected representatives of the people “tyranny”:

By redefining marriage, the Vermont legislature removed the cornerstone of society and the foundation of government. The consequences will rest on their shoulders and upon those passive objectors who know what to do but lack the courage to stand against this form of tyranny.

The Catholic League’s reaction defines the word “apoplectic.” Vermont’s exercise in democracy apparently doesn’t count because it’s Vermont:

Vermont is a lily-white state populated by left-wingers who are anti-traditional marriage and anti-family. Exactly what we would expect of a population where more people believe in nothing than anywhere else in the nation.

But not everyone was on the same page. Austin R. Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, took a different route.

The institution of marriage has predated the legislature and government and the United States, and it’s not the prerogative of anybody to redefine it. It is the prerogative of every state and U.S. citizen to uphold the institution as it has always been defined, as one man and one woman.”

As it was always defined? I think Nimocks needs to study up on his Bible, because just off the top of my head I know that King David, who unlike Nimocks was divinely appointment, had eight wives. Solomon had seven hundred.

Matt Barber isn’t thinking representative democracy either. He labors under the mistaken impression that we’re in a theocracy:

“How long can a nation founded on the laws of nature and nature’s God expect to find favor in his eyes when we continue to mock God?”

…”I believe that the purveyors of evil around the country feel emboldened right now with the current political climate in Washington, DC,” Barber states, what with both the Oval Office and Congress inhabited by “people who are bent on thumbing their nose at God.”

But at least we can count on Peter LaBarbera to know exactly where to lay the blame. It’s not activist judges or rogue legislators. It’s the American people:

A northeastern state, Vermont, has voted in homosexual “marriage” — through an override of the governor’s veto, no less.  This profane legislative act cannot be blamed on reckless judges or “unelected courts.” No, this instead is reckless, godless liberalism in action…

Most Americans have gotten too comfortable with same-sex perversion (we at AFTAH reject the activist concept of innocuous, innate “sexual orientation”) and extramarital sex. … It’s asking too much of God to “bless America” when America is blessing the counter-Biblical idea of state-sanctioned, homosexually-redefined “marriage.

ADF Hands “Day Of Truth” Over To Exodus

Daniel Gonzales

January 22nd, 2009

Those familiar with the ex-gay movement have long known Alliance Defense Fund’s (ADF) “Day Of Truth” is not only a reaction to the “Day Of Silence” but also a thinly veiled effort to push ex-gay programs in public schools. Well ADF has gone and made it official, handing over the Day Of Truth to Exodus via an email and press release dated Jan 20, 2009.

The Alliance Defense is transitioning its leadership of the Day of Truth initiative to Exodus International.

[snip]

the Day of Truth has grown from a handful of students to over 13,000 participants in all 50 states standing for the Truth. As the movement has grown, the focus has continued to broaden…providing students not only with legal assistance when their free speech rights are challenged, but also providing them with information on how to minister and witness to individuals struggling with homosexual behavior.

It’s because of growth in this latter area that this transition is occurring. For more than thirty years, Exodus International has provided thoughtful care to individuals wishing to leave homosexuality and offered support for related families, friends and churches. With 230 member organizations, the Exodus network is mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality…perfectly positioning them to lead the Day of Truth into the future.

ADF will continue to serve as the legal support arm for this project and represent any student who is silenced or punished for speaking the Truth.

For a little background on the Day Of Truth, how it was founded and it’s troubling ex-gay rhetoric have a look at this video.

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(Please note I created this video before Love In Action closed their teen ex-gay bootcamp. Other than that everything in the video is accurate.)

Anti-Marriage Amendment To Be Introduced In Indiana

Jim Burroway

January 12th, 2009

We were tipped to this press release from the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund announcing a press conference on a proposed anti-marriage amendment for Indiana. State Reps. P. Eric Turner (R-Marion) and Dave Cheatham (D-North Vernon) are listed as co-sponsors for the amendment during for the current General Assembly session. Also participating at the press conference are unnamed representatives from the Family Research Council and the Indiana Family Institute.

[Hat tip: Mike]

Foolish Anti-Marriage Activists

Timothy Kincaid

June 1st, 2008

The Alliance Defense Fund – not surprisingly – has asked the California Supreme Court to stay its marriage equality decision until after the likely November election. I think that their petition betrays a weakness in the anti-gay position that greatly increases the likelihood that no stay will be issued.

I’m going to segue off for a moment and then get back to that.

I just noticed something about the dates of the process that I find interesting.

The county clerks in California have until June 18 to determine whether there are adequate signatures for the constitutional amendment to be considered in November. But the Supreme Court only has until June 16 to decide whether to issue a stay. Thus, the anti-gays are asking the court to act on a possible result to an election that potentially can’t even be verified as occurring until after the stay is made.

Although it’s pretty likely that there will be a vote in November, this argument is based on more than one uncertainty and thus is not very compelling. Theoretically, the anti-gays could be asking the court to stay its decision until after a vote that won’t even take place.

OK, back to the anti-gays. In their petition, the ADF did something that surprised me. Even for them.

Great public harm and mischief, as outlined herein, will result from permitting same-sex “marriages” for a five-month period, only to later change the law by returning marriage to its traditional definition.

The Court determined that marriage was open to same sex couples; marriage, as in the legal recognition by the civil government. The Court spoke on what the civil institutions of the State of California would do in regards to marriage. As is their right.

But the ADF did not give this court the recognition of their right to make determinations about civil law. Instead, in their petition, the ADF refers to same-sex marriage as “marriage”, in quotes. They objected to “marriage” licenses and “marital” relationships.

They said, in essence, that regardless of the decisions of the highest legal body in the state, that same-sex marriage was not real or genuine, that it was only “marriage” in name, and not marriage in actuality. No matter what the Court may have determined.

I question the wisdom of that decision.

“It’s NOT marriage and I won’t call it so!” may be an argument that serves well in fundraising emails, but I don’t think it will fare well with judges who just said that, indeed, it IS marriage.

Now I may not be as imperturbable as the Justices of the Court, but if I were being asked to rule in favor of a petition, I would not be immediately encouraged to do so if the pleading party deliberately insulted me and my position and indicated that my decisions were not valid.

Now it may be that ADF is comprised of particularly weak legal minds. Or they may have recognized that their plea is futile and therefore the plea was written with their donors in mind rather than the Justices of the Supreme Court of California.

But in either case, this seems to me to be a foolish action and one which makes them appear to be petty and bitter.

In other words, thanks ADF, you’re helping our cause.

ADF’s “Homosexual Agenda” Looks Surprisingly Like Their “Heterosexual Agenda”

Jim Burroway

May 23rd, 2008

LGBT bloggers are having a field day over the Alliance Defense Fund’s “discovery” of the Homosexual Agenda. According to the ADF, the agenda looks something like this:ADF’s Homosexual AgendaWe did some digging around, and we managed to get a copy of the actual Heterosexual Agenda. Guess what? It looks surprisingly similar:Heterosexual AgendaThey may try to tell you there’s no such thing as a “Heterosexual Agenda,” but don’t you believe it.

[Hat tip: Pam Spaulding for the ADF's "Homosexual Agenda"]

Was the “Day of Truth” a Day of Silence?

Timothy Kincaid

April 29th, 2008

The Day of Truth, the ADF’s anti-gay response to the Day of Silence, was yesterday. If it happened.

In the days leading up to the Day of Silence, it seemed that the conservative Christian right only mentioned the DOT as an afterthought and seemed more interested in getting kids to stay home. Perhaps they believe it easier to get a teenager to play hookie on a spring Friday than it is to get them to wear a t-shirt and pass out material condemning their classmates.

In any case, I’ve not yet seen any news coverage of this event, even from religious media.

Also missing is any comment as to whether Alexander Nuxoll wore his “Be Happy, Not Gay” T-Shirt either on the Day of Silence or the Day of Truth. Perhaps his ardent desire to be obnoxious is more sincere when in court with the ADF than it is when facing his classmates.

See also:
T-Shirt Wars: A Temporary Victory for the Mean Spirited
T-Shirt Wars: Appeals
Arizona House Passes Bigot Protection Act
Anti-Gay T-Shirt Wars

Truth In Upcoming “Day Of Truth” Hard To Find

A Box Turtle Bulletin Original Video

Daniel Gonzales

April 21st, 2008

The religious right legal group Alliance Defense Fund started an anti-gay “Day of Truth” in response to the pro-gay “Day of Silence.” The “Day of Truth” is little more than an excuse to push ex-gay misinformation on queer youth in public schools which prompted me to make a video examining and mocking ideas promoted by the “Day of Truth.”

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T-Shirt Wars: Appeals

Timothy Kincaid

April 5th, 2008

behappy.bmp
For some reason, some culture warriors believe it is their Christian duty to condemn gay people. One favorite method is through T-Shirts in public schools.

Heidi Zamecnik, 17, of Naperville, and Alexander Nuxoll, 14, of Bollingbrook, are students at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville.

In response to a National Day of Silence event in April 2006, Zamecnik wore a shirt to school that read “MY DAY OF SILENCE, STRAIGHT ALLIANCE” on the front and “BE HAPPY, NOT GAY” on the back

She was told that she could wear a t-shirt that supported heterosexuality, such as “Be Happy, Be Straight”, but that she could not wear one that denied the happiness of fellow gay students.

But oh no, Zamecnik and her straight alliance don’t want to promote a pro-straight message, just an anti-gay one. Zamecnik has graduated and thus lost standing, but Mr. Nuxoll has stepped in the battle on. He, too, would like to express his contempt.

And the ever eager ADF, of course, is fighting for Nuxoll’s right to be obnoxious.

“Christian students shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” attorney Nate Kellum said in a statement Friday.

I’m assuming that “their beliefs” could also include their contempt of other religions or other sects as well, but Kellum didn’t talk about that.

The anti-gays lost the first round but appealed.

A three-judge panel heard testimony Friday in a Naperville high school student’s appeal to wear a T-shirt expressing opposition to homosexuality.

Young Nuxoll is hoping a decision is made in time for him to wear his neighbor-condemning shirt on the Day of Silence, April 28.

Sometimes I wonder if the ADF isn’t secretly an anti-Christian organization dedicated to making those who practice the faith look like a bunch of hate-full buffoons. They certainly are having that effect on youth.

See also:

Arizona House Passes Bigot Protection Act
Anti-Gay T-Shirt Wars

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