Big Centralized Government is a Michigan Republican Value
December 27th, 2011
The Michigan Republican Party claims the usual litany of principles that most state Republican Party organizations claim. Their listing of beliefs speak a great deal about equality and nearly every point uses the word “individual”. The two beliefs that stand out as defining characteristics of Republicans, those that really differentiate from Democrats, are probably the following:
I BELIEVE the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations, and that the best government is that which governs least.
I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.
Reading the full eight statements of belief, one might believe that Michigan Republicans believe in small government, individual self-determination, and equality under the law. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, Michigan Republicans believe in utilization of state power to coerce compliance by counties and local governments, dictated values, and a class system based on religious dogma. And nothing illustrates that truth more effectively than House Bills 4770 and 4771.
The synopsis of HB 4770 pretty much says everything that needs to be known about its intent or the mentality of those who passed it:
A bill to prohibit public employers from providing certain benefits to public employees.
This bill prohibits local governmental employers – county, state, fire departments, etc. – from providing local governmental employees – librarians, firemen, teachers, lifeguards, etc. – with benefits under certain conditions. It removes from the ‘government closest to the people’ the ability to make decisions that reflect the values and needs of the people and puts the state in the position of dictating the terms and conditions of local employment contracts.
Specifically, the Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefit Restriction Act (yes, this really is it’s name), dictates that “a public employer shall not provide medical benefits or other fringe benefits for an individual currently
residing in the same residence as an employee of the public employer” unless they are an opposite-sex spouse or a dependent (or an intestate successor). Those gay employees of villages or towns who receive the same compensation package as their heterosexual office-mates will now be stripped of a portion of their pay.
The sole purpose is to impose the beliefs of the state legislators onto those municipalities that do not share their beliefs. Unable to convince local communities to engage in anti-gay discrimination, Republican legislators will now use the power of the state to force them to do so.
Companion bill HB 4771 adds the following language into the collective bargaining law: “(11) Health insurance or other fringe benefits for any coresident of an employee of a public employer on terms that conflict with the Public Employee Domestic Partner Benefit Restriction Act.”
I will give them this much: they are not pretending that this bill is anything other than what it is. As the bill puts it, “that group of employees” is it’s target. And while the bill would strip unmarried heterosexual couples eligible for domestic partner benefits (should any municipality provide such coverage), there’s no pretense that this is not a blatant attempt to strip gay people of equal pay.
Earlier this month, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate passed HB 4770 and 4771 on a party line vote (with the support of one Democrat) and on Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed the bills into law.
[L]ead sponsor Rep. David Agema, R-Grandville, praised the governor’s decision, saying, “Time and again, Michigan residents have said ‘no’ to paying for the health benefits of the roommates and unmarried partners of public employees, and the governor’s signature today gives the people’s voice the rule of law.”
I don’t know of any municipalities that provide domestic partnership benefits to roommates and I don’t think Agema does either. Rather, I suspect that is just his way of demeaning gay people by pretending to think that long-term committed same-sex relationship are just “roommates”. Having imposed his religious views on those who do have different beliefs, he now is blaring his contempt for you.
And Agema is quite clear that it is truly his intention to impose his religion on the land, regardless of the beliefs or desires of others. Describing himself as a servant of “God, family, and country” (in that order) Agema runs Saboath House Ministries, a dominionist organization.
In today’s language, Sabaoth means “Taking Back God’s Property”. That is what Sabaoth Ministries is all about…going into the city and taking back God’s property.
Looking back over the past few years, it is clear that Michigan Republicans have become increasingly known for their anti-gay activism (and bizarre antics). Which is fine, I suppose. If the Michigan Republican Party truly wishes to be the political vehicle for extremist dominionists who seek to impose a talibanish form of theocracy, then they should have the right to present those views. If they want to be the party of strong centralized government and dictated social policy, that’s their right.
But I do object to them claiming to be the opposite. It’s time they give up the pretense of favoring the rights of the individual or the principle of smaller, local, less intrusive government.
GOProud becomes even less gay
December 15th, 2011
GOProud is a rightwing political organization masquerading as a gay group. Yes, there are gay members – at least three – but their goals, intentions, and actions reveal them to be interested in gay issues only in the context of how they can be spun for partisan advantage.
Indeed, the irony of their existence can be seen in their self description: “GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies.” Implicit in that definition is the understanding that by “conservatives”, GOProud means social conservatives generally and advocates of anti-gay policies specifically. While they claim to be “committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy” their alliances and admiration are restricted to those who oppose individual liberty and they have disdain for any whose beliefs in limited government cause them to see DOMA as a violation of freedom that strikes at the core of the US Constitution and who is dedicated to seeing it stricken down.
GOProud is an organization that sees itself primarily in terms of what it is not. And number one to its member is their identity as NOT being part of what they call “the Gay Left”, a moniker they apply to anyone regardless of their place on the political spectrum who believes that gay people are equal and that such a notion is worth fighting for. To GOProud, I am the Gay Left, the writers at the Independent Gay Forum are the Gay Left, all Europeans regardless of ideology (or sexuality) are the Gay Left, and if you read Box Turtle Bulletin, you too are the Gay Left. In fact, it would seem that the only gay people who are not the Gay Left would be the handful (I count three) of gay people involved with the loud but irrelevant group itself.
GOProud is also NOT the Log Cabin Republicans. In fact, GOProud is so much NOT Log Cabin that they split from Log Cabin over that organization’s priorities. You see, Log Cabin didn’t see much value to, say, lobbying Congress in favor of second amendment rights, though most members do hold those rights as valuable. Rather, they put their emphasis in explaining, clarifying, lobbying and seeking to influence those who they agree with on gun rights on issues about which they are better acquainted, i.e. gay rights.
So these fellows left to start GOProud, organization that is comprised mostly of gay men but which doesn’t want to talk about gay issues but instead wants to lobby on other issues like gun rights but doesn’t want to join a gun rights group choosing instead to be a gay group but not gay first but Republican first but not like that other gay group with is really pro-gay but instead we are the ones who don’t want to get along Democrats at all ever and if they support something we promise to criticize it and be really good and never ever criticize a conservative Republican no matter what he says or does and we promise to call any pro-gay Republicans “squishy” or RINO or anything else you want so please please love us please.
In case you haven’t caught on, I don’t have much respect for the group. As of today I have even less.
GOProud has imploded. It had to happen eventually. When an organization is created solely so it’s members can behave like 13 year old boys, it’s inevitable that they will. And this week leaders Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron proved that true.
Rick Perry killed any vestige of hope of being President by running an amazingly homophobic ad. But the most interesting part of that story was about how Perry’s advisors were not of one mind on the ad. Specifically, Anthony Fabrizio went public with his opposition – something I can’t recall from an active part of a candidate’s team. GOProud’s response was to out Fabrizio. Now a part of me would like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe DiSalvia and Barron were not trying to punish Fabrizio for rocking the boat. Maybe.
In response to a virulently homophobic ad by presidential candidate Rick Perry, Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron outed Perry campaign consultant Anthony Fabrizio as being gay, saying it was “the height of hypocrisy for Tony Fabrizio to have been a part of that.” Follow up by the Washington Post found that Fabrizio was not “a part of that” and that the ad was created over his objections. To which LaSalvia and Barron responded that “he should have quit”.
In consequence, conservative prankster Andrew Brietbart quit as an advisor to GOProud. He, like myself, opposes outing (though I suspect for different reasons). And then the Board issued a statement opposing outing.
And finally, Chris Barron stepped down from his role as Chairman of the board. In his place, the board has appointed Lisa de Pasquale, a far right social conservative activist, to head the organization.
I don’t know de Pasquale’s orientation. The only references google gave for “Lisa de Pasquale” and “lesbian” were nasty comments she’d written which clearly suggest that she sees lesbians as inherently objectionable.
If de Pasquale is lesbian, she is of the closeted variety. The nasty vicious hateful closeted variety.
Which makes GOProud accomplish something I would have thought unlikely a week ago: become even less relevant.
Sure gay groups have straight members. Some are in leadership. And that is part of inclusiveness.
But when you choose a not-openly-gay person to head the board because you don’t actually have any other gay people, you don’t get to call yourself a gay group anymore.
At this point I think perhaps we should treat GOProud like PFOX: an irrelevant group claiming to represent people who don’t know or care that they exist.
Jimmy and Chris, your little stunt was fun while it lasted, but it’s time you just went home and did something productive with your lives.
[Revised to correct the timeline on the outing of Tony Fabrizio]
December 6th, 2011
Janice Daniels is the newly elected mayor of Troy, Michigan. She’s also not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Even if the only other tool is a mallet. In fact, Janice is so dense that she thinks she’s “a good person.”
Daniels – who ran with a motto that surely sent her sixth grade grammar teacher into tears – sought to bring her private industry experience as an associate realtor to Troy so as to protect its limited, constitutional government and the interests of its leaders, We The People. And lest you doubt her “high standard of achievement in communications”, she has had her “Guest Opinions” published in the local paper. So there.
And the good people of Troy elected her with 52% of the vote. (I dunno, I don’t live there. But was the other smiley white female Republican realtor really a worse choice?)
But Janice has discovered that politicians are held to a higher standard than realtors. Higher, even, than guest opinionizeres. And comments made on Facebook are fair game.
Back in June, before Janice’s rise to power, she made a little comment in response to New York’s vote for marriage equality.
“I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”
And when it was made public this week, the wheels fell off her wagon.
Folks are up in arms that Mayor Janice referred to gay people as “queers”. And Janice herself was quick to apologize.
“I may have said something like that,” she said. “I probably shouldn’t have used that kind of language, but I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
And when local students protested she demanded they “forgive” her.
“I’m a good person, I really am. I said one word that you don’t like. One word.”
But that particular word selection isn’t the issue. Yes it is undoubtedly true that Janice meant the word to be a slur. But calling gay people “queers” isn’t the problem.
Had Janice said “Oh my cousin is going to New York to marry her girlfriend. I can’t wait to go to my first queer wedding.” we’d all be so pleased. And her statement wouldn’t have been much better with any other word choice.
And it isn’t that Mayor Janice doesn’t support equality. She is entitled to “believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.” That, in and of itself, is not any indication of hatred or bigotry. Many good people with caring hearts and compassionate spirits have not yet evolved to the point where they see marriage laws in terms of equality.
But words are telling, and this sentence tells us a lot. Janice Daniels didn’t post on Facebook that she disagreed with New York’s law. Or that she was disappointed. Or that marriage should be defined on her terms. Janice didn’t mention the legislature or the law at all.
To Janice the issue isn’t over the state’s definitions. It’s about a certain group of people being allowed to do something. And, let’s be real, it’s not the “get married” part that has her in a tizzy. It’s hard to invest much emotion into weddings which we find objectionable, be it a drunken Vegas stunt, an octogenarian-golddigger match, or a reality show finale.
No, Janice’s real objection was that “queers can…”
In fact, Janice so objects to the fact that “queers can..” that she threatened to throw away her carry bag. She so objects to “queers can…” that, for a moment anyway, she no longer loved New York. The state had betrayed her. Not because it now allowed yet another class of marriages of which she didn’t approve, but because they voted and now “queers can…”
Janice can declare that she “loves everyone” all day long. But when it comes to discerning poor word selection from heart-felt animus, queers can.
Statistics and Pastor Tom
November 17th, 2011
UPDATE BELOW – IT’S EVEN BETTER THAN I COULD WISH FOR
Here’s a statistic you didn’t know:
Pastor Tom Vineyard of Windsor Hill Baptist Church in Oklahoma City consumes in excess of 423 pies a day, meaning that 52% of all pies baked in Oklahoma City are eaten by Vineyard.
A New York judge told me so.
Actually, I have no idea whether Vineyard even likes pie (though I can guess). All of the above statistics are bogus numbers I made up on the spot.
However, I’m willing to bet that they are more accurate than the bogus numbers that Vineyard made up when he went to speak before the Oklahoma City Council in opposition to an ordinance to ban anti-gay discrimination in employment.
Pastor Tom Vineyard of Windsor Hills Baptist Church cited a New York judge in saying more than half of murders in large cities are committed by gay people.
Well, Vineyard didn’t exactly cite the “New York judge” (mental accent courtesy of Pace Picante Sauce), he just claims him as a source. And, in fact, he can’t recall exactly which New York judge actually told him this fascinating statistic (I guess he knows a lot of them). So far, though, no New York judge has stepped forward to claim authorship.
Oh, but pastor Vineyard didn’t stop there. He also informed the council:
“Many homosexuals openly admit that they are pedophiles because they cannot actually reproduce. They resort to recruiting children. … Folks, you’re making a decision that will bring down God’s judgment on your city if you vote in favor of this.”
Ya see, recruiting is a higher priority than actual attraction. So that’s why gays are pedophiles. To keep the numbers up. Because if homosexuals weren’t all barren, then Jerry Sandusky wouldn’t diddle the kiddies. Logical, huh? Where’s my pie?
Now while such obvious nonsense and blatant stupidity would result in hysterical laughter if stated in a group of, oh say, New York judges, the good people of Oklahoma City who showed up to defend anti-gay discrimination in their city seemed to find nothing peculiar about Vineyard’s creative “statistics”.
Vineyard received the longest standing ovation of the day after his remarks.
Because sometimes, when all you know about someone is that you don’t like them, you’ll believe anything you hear. Jews kill Christian babies – and praise God that’s just awful. And The Blacks are all on welfare; isn’t it so sad? And did you hear that the Nazis were all homosexual? Oh yes, and many openly admit it!!
Fortunately not everyone is quite so inclined to believe anything negative about gay people – no matter how truly stupid – that they think they once heard from a New York judge. Scott Hamilton, pastor of Church of the Open Arms in Oklahoma City and executive director of Cimarron Alliance, provided a little faith-based context:
“To couch in Christian terms these so-called statistics, I’ll call them what they are. They are lies.”
Well, I’m sure Pastor Tom is embarrassed now that the town is laughing at him. And they are. But I very much doubt that he’s learned any lesson. Folks like Pastor Tom move right on from whatever bizarre heap of churchpoop he’s shoveling out to “well God says”. It doesn’t matter much to the Pastor Toms if what they said is actually true, because praisegodjesusisthewaythetruthandthelife so Pastor Tom doesn’t have to bother himself with facts. Or with even trying to avoid downright lies.
And one last statistic. Pastor Tom Vineyard of Windsor Hill Baptist Church in Oklahoma City is more than 50% a self-satisfied, blow-hard, arrogant, self-righteous idiot. And I don’t even need a New York judge to tell me so.
A new statistic: Pastor Tom Vineyard is 12% more of a raging loon that previously believed.
Here is Pastor Tom in his own words (but with no pie in sight)
[A little side note about Pastor Tom’s comments about Jesus. You can read them in Luke 17. There isn’t even a sideways hint that maybe possibly Sodom was destroyed cuz of Teh Ghey. In fact, as recorded in that passage Jesus was suggesting that it was indistinguishable from any other day at any other place: “People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.” And while there were Sodomites as far as the eye could see, they don’t seem to have been of the homoSEXual variety.]
Ya know, Pastor Tom sounds authoritative, doesn’t he. Just one problem… Pastor Tom is more full of CP (churchpoop) than he is of pie. David Badash of the New Civil Rights Movement compiles some work from Stephanie Zvan with Pastor Tom’s letter and calls CP on all of the mess.
Gay vandalism claim likely a hoax
October 19th, 2011
[Edited to include Point 6, provided by Jim Burroway]
On October 15, someone called “Pissed” posted a statement on the Chicago Independent Media Center website claiming that they had “put two chunks of concrete through the glass windows and doors of the Christian liberty academy” because of the scheduled Americans for Truth fundraiser featuring Scott Lively that evening.
I think it is a hoax.
Now it’s possible that the school was vandalized. It’s even possible that the vandalism was performed by outsiders and not staged for media effect. And if that happened, it’s likely that the vandals were either gay or gay-supportive. But the statement simply isn’t believable.
First off, Peter LaBarbera (who calls himself “Americans for Truth About Homosexuality”) claims that the statement was e-mailed to Christian Liberty Academy, Americans For Truth, Scott Lively and others within a few hours of the event. Those who blog know that this is some pretty quick writing.
Which leaves one of three possible scenarios: 1) the perpetrator of the violence rushed home to write a manifesto, research the details of Lively’s involvement in Uganda, and find the phone numbers and email addresses of a number of individuals; 2) the event was planned in advance with the decision to use strikingly different language in the statement than in a note accompanying the event; or 3) the author of the statement had no need to research the details contained in the statement or the email addresses to whom it should be sent.
I think the third scenario most likely.
After a while you learn the language of gay activists, the language of anti-gay activists, and (more importantly in this case) what anti-gay activists think is how gay people speak. This particular declaration is a combination of standard anti-gay-speak peppered with the phrase “hate group” and a few anecdotes to make it seem like it comes from a gay or gay-supportive individual.
Take, for example, the following paragraph:
In 2009, Lively and other American homophobes spoke at a conference in Uganda called “Exposing the Truth About Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda”. This conference stirred the anti-gay atmosphere that already exists in Uganda, a country with laws that punish homosexual acts with up to 14 years in prison. As a direct result of this conference, participants have drafted a bill that, if passed, would increase the sentencing for homosexual acts to life sentences and execution and make it a legal responsibility to report homosexuals in the community. Lively has also co-written a book called “The Pink Swastika” which claims that homosexuals created the Nazi Party and were responsible for the Holocaust, a book that has been repeatedly denounced as inaccurate by historians.
While this might fly with someone who was unaccustomed to reading the rants of those on both sides of the Culture War, this raised red flags with me.
- Few gay activists, especially of the ‘throw bricks’ variety, know the name of the Ugandan conference. In fact, here at Box Turtle Bulletin – the source of that source and the most thorough reporter of its detail – we referenced only once that this was the stated theme of the conference.
- Note the passivity of the language. Gay activists tend to discuss this event as being primarily driven by the Americans. This takes the opposite stance – they only “spoke at” the conference. (The truth lies in between. The American anti-gay evangelists were not the original organizers, but were the stars of the show. As published American authors with claims of political and religious authority, they were granted the opportunity to speak before the Ugandan Parliament, were treated with deference, and their statements accepted as fact.)
- This paragraph depicts the Kill the Gays Bill as being directed solely towards “homosexual acts.” Find me a single gay activist – brick thrower or otherwise – who describes the Ugandan Homosexuality Bill of 2009 in these terms. We rightly note that in Uganda (as in American and everywhere else) bills that target “homosexual acts” in reality target gay people. We know that America’s sodomy laws very seldom resulted in prosecution for actual sodomy but were, rather, the legal basis behind harassment of gay people. The raiding of gay bars, the cruel custody decisions, the military bans and other governmental employment bans, the prohibition of recognition of marriage, and other such official positions were not for the purpose of preventing “homosexual acts” and we don’t pretend that they were. Only those who refuse to recognize the humanity of gay people speak as though anti-gay laws are about “acts”.
- One of the more chilling aspects of the Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill (aside from executing gay people) is the requirement that family, neighbors, friends, doctors, ministers, and others report gay people to the government. And that if they fail (or refuse) to do so, they face the threat of years in jail. Scott Lively supports that provision. And I think “a legal responsibility to report homosexuals in the community” is exactly how he would word it.
- And look at the mild nature of criticism of the Pink Swastika: “a book that has been repeatedly denounced as inaccurate by historians.” No, it’s not “inaccurate”, it’s historical revisionism at its most insidious and it is denounced by every scholar of the Holocaust as being intentionally dishonest. But to the crowd to whom LaBarbera and Lively appeal, “historians” are ivory tower elitists dedicated to leftist views and therefore immediately suspect.
- Who calls gay people “homosexuals” anymore? That right there is a red flag. This “manifesto” uses the word “homosexuals” as a noun for gay people. Gay people or people purporting to support gay rights NEVER call gay people “homosexuals.” /li>
And that’s just one paragraph. Other language in the article feels more at home within the anti-gay industry than in the gay community (e.g. “counter the Homosexual Agenda”) and taken in its totality, this feels more like “this is what they say about us” than it does like the words of a gay person. For me, thee clincher was the listing of phone numbers to invite abuse.
So why would an anti-gay person write and post this?
That one’s pretty obvious. To portray the gay community as violent and lawless with goals of “shutting down” anyone who disagrees and, as The Peter put it, “signalling a new brazennes [sic] by homosexual activists”. And, equally important to their cause, to portray anti-gay activists as victims who are, in the words of this piece, “under constant attack.”
As could be expected, the more rabid members of the anti-gay community are chiming in. The American Family Association sent out a news article featuring Matt (Bam Bam) Barber:
“We are going to speak God’s truth in love without fear of reprisal, or even in this case, without fear of violence,” the attorney assures. “So I have a message to the gay terrorists that perpetrated this crime: Your terrorist tactics have failed, and you will not succeed in silencing God’s truth.”
So goal achieved.
But, of course, my analysis is based only on experience and familiarity with the language of activists. I have no inside information on this article and no way of knowing for certain that the person who wrote it was not gay. And though suspicion of the event is shared by others (Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God, for example), we could all be mistaken.
As I said above, it is entirely possible that someone did vandalize the Christian Liberty Academy. Peter LaBarbera has on his website pictures of a paver with “shut down Lively” written on it, along with a note saying “This is just a sample of what we will do if you don’t shut down Scott Lively and AFTAH … Fuck Scott Lively. Quit the homophobic shit”.
Now this sounds much more like an gay activist of the brick-throwing variety. Not very bright, not well thought out, stupid lashing out without any thought of consequence. And here at Box Turtle Bulletin we unreservedly condemn this behavior. It is wrong and if the perpetrators can be found, they should be held liable for their actions.
According to LaBarbera, the Arlington Heights police are investigating the situation. I wish them the very best success in finding out who threw the pavers, who wrote the statement, and whether they are the same party.
Towards this goal, I call on the Chicago Independent Media Center to voluntarily provide any information that can assist the police in identifying the person who posted the statement. There are times to stand strong on the media’s constitutional right not to divulge sources, and then there are times when a paper, as part of a community, can choose to participate in the protection of the community. I hope they do not to become a pawn of the author of the statement.
If a gay person or group vandalized the Christian Liberty Academy and then wrote a statement bragging of the event, I think I can speak for the overwhelming majority of “brazen homosexual activists” when I denounce the action and say that I hope that they are brought to justice.
And if the statement is a hoax written by an anti-gay activist posing as gay, I hope that they are exposed and that statutes dealing with false police claims are brought into play and that they find themselves facing jail time.
Full statement after the break
Conservative churches welcome homosexuals
August 18th, 2011
Tony Perkins, lead anti-gay activist at Family Research Council tweeted the following
And he’s right.
As long as you are a “homosexual” – as Tony and fellow believers define the term – the church doors are open wide. To them, a homosexual is someone who engages in sex with persons of the same sex, and has nothing whatsoever to do with attractions, instincts, love, or family. If you show up looking to be delivered from a sinful homosexual lifestyle then you are not only welcomed but celebrated.
Church members will joyously go online to leave comments on the Militant Homosexual Activist Blogsites reporting that the saving grace of Jesus healed a broken and wounded soul right that very morning. Of course, they don’t actually want to associate with that person, “do you know what he’s done? And he’s so very, well, flamboyant still”, but nevertheless they are happy to report deliverance.
Yes indeed, homosexuals are welcome.
Ah, but as for conservative churches welcoming gay people? The folks that do not believe that their orientation – that immutable, natural, and powerful force – is inherently evil? Those folk?
Yeah, not so much.
(hat tip: Joe My God)
Please tell me that this isn’t going to be OUR strategy
August 4th, 2011
Today the anti-gays begin gathering signatures on their petition to overturn California’s law requiring inclusion of GLBT contributions in the education curriculum.
And also today I heard a radio advertisement warning that you shouldn’t sign petitions. Because then they have your address and you could be a victim of identity theft. “They even have my signature” says the newly incensed woman. And then they go for the real danger:
I read that the names and addresses on petitions were sent to other countries, including India! Who knows what they did with it!
This is, of course, nonsense. Without giving your social security number there is not much threat of identity theft. Even from those nefarious Indians.
A San Diego Union Tribune reporter followed up and discovered that “Californians Against Identity Theft” are a project of a construction workers labor union. There are several signature campaigns to limit the exposure to guaranteed pension benefits that can come from public funds and, in some cases, require public employees to contribute to their pensions.
But considering EQCA’s shift in identity away from a gay organization and towards a progressive coalition agenda, this doesn’t give me comfort. So please, will someone please tell me that this incredible stupid, fraudulent and xenophobic ad is not part of our strategy?
Ugh. An email from EQCA was in my inbox.
We’ve seen these campaigns before.
So we know that our opponents are spreading lies and using the usual scare tactics to misrepresent the FAIR Education Act and collect signatures for their effort to overturn it at the ballot box next year.
Extremists are also pushing a broad anti-progressive agenda, including ballot measures for next year, that will harm our fight and the work of important coalition partners.
Working in close collaboration with our partners, including Service Employees International Union, we are fighting back.
So I guess that, yeah, EQCA is has aligned our community with this crap. I especially love the comment about “spreading lies and using the usual scare tactics.”
What, are they saying that the FAIR Act is sending their children to India? And who know what the Indians will do with them!!
Sao Paulo’s legislation: Straight Pride or Hate Pride?
August 4th, 2011
Heterosexuals have made many contributions to society, have unique attributes that deserve acknowledgement, and should never be made to feel shame for their orientation. If straight folk feel insignificant or have experienced discrimination, then by all means celebrate and find pride in your identity. Set up panels to discuss opposite-sex attractions and explore them and think about what it means to be straight. Embrace your heterosexuality.
And there’s even a benefit for non-straight people: people who are truly comfortable with their sexuality tend to be tolerant of those with different sexuality. Those who are brave enough and curious enough to try and understand what motivates their desire and to truly understand their attractions seem to develop a respect and even advocacy for others in the process.
But, of course, that it not what those who say that they want Straight Pride mean at all. They don’t want a festivity of heterosexuality or a discovery of its meaning and celebration of its culture. It isn’t Straight Pride that they are seeking, but Anti-Gay Pride. It’s not love for heterosexuals that they seek to express, but hatred and contempt for gay people.
As is evident in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP)
The city council of South America’s biggest city has adopted legislation calling for a Heterosexual Pride Day to be celebrated on the third Sunday of each December.
Are they seeking to celebrate straight conformity with signs extolling family dinner or straight abandon like a second Carnival? No. Their reasons don’t even mention heterosexuality.
The legislation’s author, Carlos Apolinario, said the idea for a Heterosexual Pride Day is “not anti-gay but a protest against the privileges the gay community enjoys.”
As an example, he mentioned how Sao Paulo’s huge gay pride day parade is held every year on Paulista Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in this city of 20 million people, while the March for Jesus organized by evangelical groups is not allowed on the same avenue.
Oh… so this isn’t about straight pride at all, just anti-gay resentment.
This legislation must be signed by the Mayor to go into effect. But I don’t much care if they get their Straight Pride day. They can even close Paulista Avenue and make it theirs for the day.
Obviously it isn’t a good thing when the city council of the largest city in South America endorsed homophobia. But I have no fear about comparing Gay Pride to Anti-Gay Pride in Sao Paolo. Show the world which parade that city’s residents endorse.
Because the thing about events is that it can be fun to join someone in celebrating their uniqueness and love for their community – be it St. Patrick’s Day or the Lotus Festival or MLK Day or Gay Pride or even a March for Jesus, I suppose. And in Sao Paulo about three million people show up at Gay Pride to watch the floats, dancers, and marchers and to enjoy the fun and celebration.
But days to celebrate hate just don’t put a smile on your face. An Anti-Irish Day Parade would not be much fun at all and I doubt that a Stomp on Lotus Festival would get beyond the planning phase.
Sure some Eastern European cities have had anti-gay marches and there are always those donkey people in Jerusalem, but the Anti-Gay Pride Parade just doesn’t seem to promise the sparkle and flash that Parada do Orgulho LGBT de São Paulo brings. Besides, what would they do for floats? Straight go-go dancers often aren’t and the straight version of drag tends to be pro-gay anyway.
What does ‘hate’ look like?
June 29th, 2011
Maggie Gallagher loves to pretend that all gay people are screaming “hater” and “bigot” at every person who disagrees with us over full marriage equality. We aren’t. In fact, most gay organizations and a good many bloggers avoid using the words “hate” and “bigot” partly for just that reason and partly because using such terms loosely leaves us nothing for when true evil is encountered.
But sometimes we do see hate and it’s useful to know what it looks like.
Hate has an intentional desire to see harm or hurt come to others. Hate delights in the misery of others. Hate refuses to empathize, seeing the other as an enemy, someone so vile that you can’t put yourself in their shoes. Hate prioritizes the ill treatment of others, even above what is in its own best interest. Hate assumes the worst about others, ignoring any chance of decency.
Which brings me to the Batesville Arkansas Daily Guard. Now I’m not suggesting that Batesville (population about 10,000) is any less fascinating or newsworthy than any other similarly sized community, but a quick glance illustrates that obituaries make up a sizable chunk of the Daily Guard.
And it was to the obituaries that Terence James turned when John Millican, his partner of the past decade, passed away. And the Daily Guard ran Millican’s obituary complete with reference to parents and distant siblings, but no reference whatsoever to Mr. James. In the view of the Daily Guard, he simple didn’t exist.
When criticized, the Daily Guard responded with the usual “It’s not a gay thing. We don’t list unmarried couples, in-laws, or pets in the free obituaries.” Just real family, you know. But, even so, I’m not willing to call this hate. Ignorance, yes. Prejudice, certainly. But not necessarily hate.
However what they did next is simply unforgivable.
The Daily Guard promised to apologize and to reconsider their policy. Instead, they decided to humiliate Mr. Jones and to defame him. Seeing him in grief, they decided to compound the pain and to delight in his misery.
On June 27, the Daily Guard ran this editorial:
It was brought to our attention Terence James had a problem with our policy because he was not listed in the free obituary as a life partner. Once again, free obituaries do not list life partners or significant others, nor does it list in-laws or ex-spouses. Our local funeral homes know that if the obituary is not marked “paid” it will run to our free format.
Because we wanted to have all the information on the allegations, we did what any good newspaper would do: Our homework. After speaking with the funeral directors who assisted Mr. James, we learned he was REPEATEDLY told he would not be listed in the free obituary. (Contrary to what Mr. James said in a television interview, his mother was told the same thing, according to the directors.) The funeral director went on to say MR. JAMES MADE IT CLEAR TO THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR HE DID NOT WANT TO BE OUT THE EXPENSE OF A PAID OBITUARY.
After obtaining a copy of the paperwork filled out by Mr. James at the funeral home, we learned he listed two cats as daughters and a dog as a son. Once again, Mr. James was told by the director the Guard does not list pets as survivors in a free obituary.
We deal with the death of loved ones on a daily basis and our established policy allows us to do that with consistency. Listing pets as children is a direct slap in the face to every grieving parent who has buried a child, young or old.
This begs the question of exactly what MOTIVE Mr. James had when he began giving out FALSE information to news channels and various organizations in order to promote his own AGENDA.
Because of Mr. James, the Guard has come under fire for the policies that are in place for EVERYONE.
The Guard does not owe Mr. James a free obituary or an apology.
We can ignore all the nonsense about James listing pets. After Leona Helmsley’s obsession, those people who think of their pets as children may seem sad or silly, but they are hardly slapping anyone in the face. That was just gratuitously included so as to disparage James.
The motivation of the Daily Guard can be seen in two clauses “in place for EVERYONE” and “promote his own AGENDA”. To the Daily Guard, Terrence James – and indeed any surviving partner – is not part of everyone. Everyone has no need to include a life partner, Everyone doesn’t have one. Everyone is heterosexual.
And as for those who might have such a need, well clearly they have an AGENDA.
So take that, Terrence James. You can’t criticize the Daily Guard! They’ll put you and your agenda in its place. You think you’re grieving now, you just wait til they get done with you.
I can understand an ignorant and thoughtless policy. I can sympathize with the Daily Guard feeling unfairly challenged. But there’s no space for berating the grieving. There’s no good reason for trying to make Mr. James feel pain over the Guard’s own inconsideration.
That is just hate.
June 17th, 2011
This is what passes for intellect among the anti-gays in California. In a response to the Central California District of the US Bankruptcy Court finding DOMA to violate the constitution, OneNewsNow ran this:
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, says the ruling is another attack against traditional marriage.
Randy Thomasson”These federal judges should be fired. They are violating their oath of office to uphold the federal law. They are saying they just don’t see any reason for the federal law. They’re not obeying it,” he laments. “It’s not up to them to judge whether they like a law or not — it’s their job to enforce the law.”
The Los Angeles-based court came to the defense of the same-sex couple, who filed the petition after the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA. The ruling said that DOMA “deprives [the debtors] of the equal protection of the law to which they are entitled.” Thomasson offers this prediction:
“It’s going to go to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he says. “And I predict a 5-4 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court with Anthony [Anthony] Kennedy being the swing vote.”
(pssst Randy… they aren’t appealing)
How anti-gays view the world (it ain’t smart and it ain’t pretty)
June 1st, 2011
We generally ignore the rantings that the anti-gay activists write to each other to bolster their resolve to fight on in their lost cause. No one outside of their fellow-thinkers read them and the head-bobbing dolls will never see our challenges to their predetermined beliefs.
But today I think it’s worth exploring both how this crowd perceives the world and how very far from reality they really are. Our example is an article by Peter Heck in which he delivers his response to Don Lemon’s coming out.
Let me start by saying that it can be tempting to believe that folks like Heck are just making a buck off of the ignorance and malice of their audience. And while that might be some part of it, don’t doubt for a second that he really believes what he says. This is his crowd, his social circle, his political allies, this is where he lives his life.
Heck’s worldview is an uncomplicated one. Everyone is easily fitted within a compartment, and there are only two. There are good moral born-again Bible believers, and the evil vile rest of humanity. And everything fits nicely along with everyone. Good is good and done by good people, bad is bad and done by bad people, and there’s no need for any of that liberal, gray-area, situational ethics type of thinking.
CNN host Don Lemon recently became the latest in a string of high profile individuals to “come out of the closet” and inform everyone who would listen that he enjoys practicing homosexuality.
Doubtlessly, you too missed the interview in which Lemon talked about how he enjoys practicing homosexuality. Because, of course, it didn’t happen. Lemon didn’t talk about enjoying anything or practicing anything. He simply spoke about the reality that he is a person who is attracted to persons of the same sex and is neither ashamed of that nor seeking to change it. In a word, he’s gay.
But in the world of anti-gays, there is no such thing as a gay person; and in the world of extremist anti-gays, there is no such thing as a same-sex attractions. Anti-gays can only process homosexuality in terms of behavior so everything is presented as though that is what Lemon discussed.
First, why do the very people that constantly tell us that what a person does in their bedroom is no one else’s business, simultaneously find it necessary to inform everyone of what they do in their bedroom? If this is a private matter, Don, then let’s keep it private. Perhaps I’m the only one who feels this way, but frankly, I don’t care to know what kind of sex the evening news anchor is into.
It’s hard to find a response to this, it’s so wrong on so many levels. Unlike Heck, I didn’t hear Lemon’s announcement and suddenly know what kind of sex he is into. I don’t know what goes on in his bedroom, if anything.
But in Heck’s world, just as there are only two “kinds” of people, there are only two “kinds” of sex: that which meets the requirements of his sexual code, and that which does not. And any mention of one’s orientation is an announcement that you have abandoned sanctioned sex and are delighting in practicing debauchery.
But the real purpose of Heck’s rant – and what seems to be a growing trend in anti-gay rants – is to whine and moan about how mistreated are those who seek the legal and societal harm of gay people. Why if “a Bible-believing, born-again follower of Jesus Christ whose faith teaches him that homosexuality is morally improper” simply call a gay person an oddball decadent sexual anarchist, then they are labeled a “hater”!! How intolerant!!
And Heck sees plenty to blame. It’s the fault of gay “proponents of sexual anarchy”, the “uber-leftist Joy Behar” (a Christophobe), Charles Barkley (“whose most famous contribution to his profession was spitting on opposing fans in the crowd”), and “vile and perverted” Lady Gaga. They are the one’s who are calling him names.
And the funny thing is that Peter Heck really doesn’t think that he’s a “hater”.
Yes, everything he writes would give that impression. Words of contempt flow from his keyboard. He dismisses those with whom he disagrees in the meanest possible way. And yet he doesn’t see himself in terms of “hate”. Real love, you see, is that which reminds the sinner of his depravity and warns of eternal punishment. So really anything, anything whatsoever at all, is “loving” provided that it is done by those he considers good.
I believe that a good many people who oppose our equality can be reached, including many in Heck’s target demographic. Yes, they have preconceptions, but they are not completely closed off to facts. They have prejudices, but can over time be persuaded to rethink their views.
But people like Peter Heck are beyond our reach. Their “reality” is impervious to facts, to logic, to reason. They know what they know and nothing is going to dissuade them. Good people already agree with them and the views of those on the evil vile side of humanity are, by definition, wrong.
An important indicator of future equality
May 25th, 2011
Anti-gay activists have many catch phrases and arguments, but ultimately they all boil down to one thing: they believe homosexuality to be morally wrong. And, until recently, America has agreed and voted accordingly.
Which makes the following graphic very very interesting:
Vidmar steps down
May 6th, 2011
As we reported, the U.S. Olympic Committee had named Proposition 8 advocate Peter Vidmar as its 2012 chief of mission. He has now resigned that commission. (USA Today)
When the Tribune story broke, reaction was nearly immediate — and almost entirely negative — within the USOC. Aimee Mullins, the former president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and chef de mission for the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Games team, said she was “concerned and deeply saddened” about Vidmar’s past actions.
“The Olympic movement is about promoting equity for all,” she said.
In a statement released Friday evening, Vidmar said, “I have dedicated my life to the Olympic movement and the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect. I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic movement in the United States. I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family. I hope that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories will rightly take center stage.”
I wish his personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction, either. I wish they had not distracted him from being a decent human being instead encouraging him to arrogantly thrust his religion, his opinion, his money, and his time into my life in order to harm me and my community.
I have no sympathy for those who are discovering that their innocent little “stand on the issue” which they were willing to make because of the “call of their church” is now being seen as mean-spirited and based in animus. And not just by the “militant homosexual activists”, but by average everyday citizens. My heart doesn’t bleed in the slightest for those who are finding that doing real harm to real people can have real consequences.
Rights v. Privileges
May 3rd, 2011
A lesbian woman came up to me and said, ‘why are you denying me my right?’ I said, ‘well, because it’s not a right.’ It’s a privilege that society recognizes because society sees intrinsic value to that relationship over any other relationship.
– Former US Senator Rick Santorum speaking about adoption
Those who seek to institutionalize inequality based on their own biases like to say, “that’s not a right, that’s a privilege.” And implied in this statement (often accompanied by a smirk) is the notion that some people deserve preferential treatment and others deserve lesser treatment and that privileges can be doled out or restricted by whim.
You just aren’t good enough, you see. These are privileges for other people, those deemed worthy.
But besides being juvenile, this response displays a fundamental ignorance of the US Constitution. The clause under which discrimination is addressed is not worded in the way that they assume:
Fourteenth Amendment, Section One
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the PRIVILEGES or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [emphasis added]
You see, Senator Frothy Mix, whether adoption is a right of citizens or a privilege of citizenship, it still is protected from arbitrary applicaion. Oh, and by the way, you really are a pompous ass.
(hat tip JMG)
US Olympic Committee goes anti-gay
April 29th, 2011
The U.S. Olympic Committee has named Peter Vidmar, a 1984 gold medalist in gymnastics, as its chief of mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in London. In this job, Vidmar will be the liaison officer for the U.S. team in dealing with the International Olympic Committee and London organizers.
Vidmar, a Mormon, is an active opponent of gay marriage. In the 2008 fight for Proposition 8 in California, Vidmar donated $2,000 to pass the ballot initiative and also protested in public.
It is not likely that the Olympic Committee deliberately selected Vidmar to slight gay Americans. More likely, they simply don’t consider anti-gay activism to be a disqualifier for its representatives. Equality for gay people is – to the USOC – just “an opinion” over which reasonable people may differ.
In today’s highly competitive television market where a downtick of just a few percentage of viewers can cost the Olympics millions, and in which corporations (including those who fund the olympics) are supportive of gay equality and very hesitant to align with negative associations, this is a risky way to operate.