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“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 September, 2010

More amicus, more animus

Timothy Kincaid

September 27th, 2010

Those who oppose civil equality simply can’t restrain themselves from supporting the Proponents of Proposition 8. Although history is going to be rather unkind to them (and we will both document and remember), there is almost a sense of desperation to the compulsion to go on record as favoring inequality, supporting supremacist attitudes and expressing dismay that their views may be held up to inspection.

Today I have a whole long list of amicus briefs to add to those who previously have come down on the side of institutionalized discrimination. You can check them all out here.

Robert P. George, Sherif Girgis, and Ryan T. Anderson – You may recall that Robert George was one of the founders of the National Organization for Marriage. His argument is that the state does indeed have interest in enforcing private moral or religious beliefs. Further, “a belief that a relationship between a man and woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women” and “moral disapproval of homosexuality” are both legitimate bases for legislation. And because any position has some moral values assigned, then therefor the value of heterosexual supremacy is a perfectly fine one on which to base law. Oh, and Lawrence v. Texas only applies to criminal law.

NARTH (yes, NARTH!!) – Typical NARTHian science to argue that homosexuality is not immutable and therefore gay people should not have rights. Example “the study also found that those who report themselves as homosexuals showed variety in their sexual experiences when measured on a continuum: 65 percent of homosexual men and 84 percent of homosexual women reported having had heterosexual intercourse.” Lots of discussion of studies from decades gone by in which psychotherapy resulted in “functioning as heterosexual” and a lot of misrepresentation of the work of others (Spitzer and Jones and Yarhouse, for example.)

Pacific Justice Institute – The Greeks and the Romans didn’t allow gay marriage so neither should we. They started with “the Greeks and Romans were clearly not homophobic” but just couldn’t resist the impulse to put in every example of Greek or Roman condemnation that could be found and concluded “Hence, defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman reflects not only the collected wisdom of the citizens, but of the ages as well.”

The States of Indiana, Virginia, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. – More specifically, the attorneys general of these states. The argument: Walker exceeded his judicial authority; the Federal Courts have no jurisdiction over marriage. Loving was justified “to uphold the core guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment” but Perry would “recast the basic parameters of marriage.” The rest was a rerun of the Proponents’ failing arguments in court.

American College of Pediatricians – Remember this totally bogus group from the lie-ridden letter crafted by NARTH but sent under their name? They are back with the predictable “Think of the Children!! Children need a mommy and a daddy. Ignore what the real professional groups say” message.

Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence (John Eastman) – Eastman was NOM’s special pick for CA Attorney General – he lost badly in the Republican primary, 16 points below Steve Cooley, who had opposed Proposition 8. Reading this political rant (it really can’t be called a legal argument), I am relieved that this guy has no chance of representing my state in court… or at least not this year. His argument: ” The Initiative Proponents have standing to defend Proposition 8, both as Agents of the State and in their own right”.

Becket Fund for Religious Liberty – Gay equality is incompatible with religious liberty. If gay people are treated as full citizens and granted equal access to civil marriage, then those religious individuals and groups that oppose civil equality and support heterosexual supremacy might be sued for discrimination. Those people who operate “job training programs, child care, gyms and day camps” would not be able to discriminate, and if they did, they might not get taxpayer dollars with which to deny gay people access. And that’s why the voters approved Proposition 8: to support “religious liberty” to discriminate against gays. (They got $500 K from the Knights of Columbus last year)

National Legal Foundation – These folk call themselves “a Christian public interest law firm” but are best known as the legal team who defended Cincinnati’s Issue 3, which would have amended the city charter to ban any city laws and policies that would prohibit discrimination against gay Cincinnati residents in employment, housing, and other areas. They disagree with Walker’s finding of fact and argue that the Ninth Circuit should revisit and reverse them. In the Cincinnati case, the Sixth Circuit reversed a number of the lower court’s findings and NLF gloatingly says that this court should do the same. They fail to mention that the US Supreme Court reversed the decision and found that Cincinnati violated the US Constitution.

Eagle Forum (Phyllis Schlafly) – The Proponents and Imperial county have standing. And if they don’t have standing, then there’s no case and the whole thing should be thrown out entirely, including Judge Walker’s ruling.

Concerned Women of America – Gays are politically powerful, have powerful allies, significant funding, and the public is growing in support. So discrimination against gay people should not be subjected to heightened scrutiny. “As of June 1, 2009, thirty-one states and the District of Columbia had state laws regarding “hate crimes” based on sexual orientation.” (I wonder what else 31 states had?)

National Organization for Marriage (NOM – Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher) – Ah, NOM, we knew you’d participate. NOM has a number of interesting arguments. Yes, there are “children need a mommy and daddy” and “marriage is about procreation” and “you’re redefining marriage”, but they also have these fascinating (and oh-so-classy) things to share:

Men will no longer be willing to support their children: “When society simply weakens its support for the ideal that children should be cared for by both the man and the woman who made them, children end up disproportionately in the care of solo mothers. What will happen when the law and society rejects that view altogether as irrational bigotry? If the district court has its way, we will find out.”

Same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy and incest: “If, as the district court suggests, marriage were to become an essentially private, intimate, emotional relationship created by two people to enhance their own personal well-being, it is wrong, discriminatory, and counterproductive for the state to favor certain kinds of intimate relations over others. Sisters can cohabit and commit, and so can best friends in non-romantic relationships. Three people can cohabit and commit, too. Why can’t these people claim marriage as well? Once a key feature of marriage has been deconstructed, other historic features of marriage will become much harder to explain and defend, both in law and culture.”

And my very favorite: Look at Massachusetts; If you allow gay marriage then – oh noes – people will support it. “Data from Massachusetts likewise does little to alleviate concerns that same- sex marriage could lead to negative consequences. To the contrary, the data relied upon by the district court actually suggests a weakening in the marriage culture in the years immediately following the same-sex marriage ruling in Massachusetts. … In 2009, amicus curiae National Organization for Marriage commissioned a survey in Massachusetts of attitudes about marriage five years into that state’s experiment with same-sex marriage. The survey found that ―in the five years since gay marriage became a reality in Massachusetts, support for the idea that the ideal is a married mother and father dropped from 84 percent to 76 percent.”

Paul McHugh – McHugh is perhaps best known for his anti-transgender activism. But he’s joining in amicus to declare that you can’t define “homosexual” and it’s not fixed or immutable (presumably unlike race which is always and ever immediately discernible). Because while many people fit all three definitions (attractions, behavior, identity) there are exceptions. So therefore someone who is same-sex attracted, in a relationship with another person of the same sex, and who identifies as being gay should not be considered to be homosexual because, after all, there are people in the closet.

And because you can’t define “homosexual” then a woman in love with her same-sex partner ought not be able to marry her. Further, because there is no gay gene (unlike the African-American gene). It may be caused by education (I love this one): Because “It may very well be the case that on average lesbians and gay men in the United States have a higher educational level than comparable heterosexual men and women”, there therefore, “Education and socioeconomic levels have also been suggested as contributing factors to homosexuality.” Really? By whom? That has to be the worst example of correlation = causation that I’ve seen in a while.

But to understand the depth of McHugh’s basic dishonesty and lack of any sense of moral character, you have to consider ” Identical twin studies confirm that homosexual orientation is not genetically determined.”
Actually, twin studies have found that genetics contribute 35-39% for men and 18-19% for women. In other words, while it’s not fully genetically determined, McHugh is implying the opposite of what the studies have found.

Eugene Dong – No idea who this guy is but his argument is this: It’s expensive to have children so the state benefits by subsidizing and benefiting heterosexuality so as to perpetuate the human race.

American Civil Rights Union (sort of an anti-ACLU) – fundamental rights are limited to those that are deep-rooted in American history and tradition.

Catholics for the Common Good – God’s definition of marriage pre-exists any state recognition. They make the usual arguments (including quoting the Pope as an authority), but their real objection is found in their request to file the amicus: “…because the district court’s opinion enshrined a re-definition of marriage in California law that may expose this and similar organizations and persons of good will to claims of discrimination…” It’s the Maggie complaint, “If you treat gay people equally under the law, then those of us who want to treat them as inferior will be called bigots.”

And one woman, Tamara L. Cravit, wrote in to say that the Proponents do not have standing. So far she’s the only pro-plaintiff amicus brief.

TWO Calls Out Becket Fund in Full Page Ad

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2008

We’ve already talked about the full-page ad placed by the Becket Fund in last Friday’s New York Times which falsely characterized the peaceful protests against California’s Proposition 8 as “mob violence.” And we also provided evidence of some of that ad’s cosigners’ undisguised hatred against gay people.

Tomorrow, Wayne Besen and Truth Wins Out will counter that ad with a full-page ad in the Salt Lake City Tribune. TWO’s ad calls attention the the Becket Fund’s ad demanding an end to “anti-religious bigotry” against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

“Beginning today,” they wrote, “We commit ourselves to opposing and publicly shaming anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry, against any faith, on any side of the cause, for any reason.

TWO responds by including some rather shameful anti-religious sputterings by three of the Becket Fund ad’s cosigners:

“Hollywood is controlled by secular Jewswho hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.” – Bill Donohue, Catholic League

“Mormonism either affirms historic Christianity, or it doesn’t. Since it doesn’t, it can’t call itself Christianity – a fact that all the good will and public relations in Utah can’t change. …”While Mormons share some beliefs with Christians, they are not Christians.” –Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship Ministries

“Most evangelicals still regard Mormonism as a cult.” — Rich Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals

Here is the TWO ad. (Click on the image to see the full-size version.)

LaBarbera Award: Seamus Hasson

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2008

Yesterday we gave the LaBarbera Award to Pat Boone for comparing the peaceful protests against Prop 8 to Mumbai terrorists who killed 163 people in what is now being referred to as India’s 9/11. That was the day after the Becket Fund placed a full-page ad in the New York Times falsely characterizing these same peaceful protests — protected by the First Amendment’s peaceful assembly clause — as “mob violence.” Now we have a new LaBarbera Award winner in Seamus Hasson, the founder and chairman for the Becket Fund itself.

On yesterday’s “The Morning Show” on KPFA, host Aimee Allison spoke with Hasson about the New York Times ad, and asked him about the broad brush characterization of the movement as violent:

Aimee Allison: So, Rev. Russell was commenting, there may be a few individuals, but not a movement. Seamus Hasson, your response to that: if there are individuals, why are anti-Prop 8 movement folks being painted with that broad brush?

Seamus Hasson: Well, whether it’s an organized movement like Al Qaeda or whether it’s the Al Qaeda-like, um, inspired acts of terrorism elsewhere, people are right to be concerned about, um, radical Islamist violence –

First it was Mumbai terrorists, now we’re Al Qaeda-like. You know, the people who flew planes into buildings and killed more than three thousand people. That Holocaust analogy is just around the corner…

[Hat tip: GLAAD Blog]

Homosexual Mob Violence?

Timothy Kincaid

December 8th, 2008

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty published a full page ad in the New York Times today decrying the “violence and intimidation being directed against the LDS or ‘Mormon’ church” by opponents of Propostion 8. Those signing the missive included:

  • Kevin “Seamus” Hasson – the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Nathan Diament – Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America
  • Rick Cizik – National Association of Evangelicals.
  • Ronald J. Sider – Evangelicals for Social Action
  • Chuck Colson – Prison Fellowship
  • Chris Seiple – Institute for Global Engagement
  • Dr. Alveda King – civil rights activist
  • William J. Donohue – Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
  • Robert Seiple – Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
  • Douglas Laycock – University of Michigan Law School
  • Marvin Olasky – The King’s College, New York City
  • Roger Scruton – writer and philosopher
  • Armando Valladares – former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission

Although the signatories claim to “differ about a great many important things” including “the wisdom and justice of California’s Proposition 8”, I find little evidence of this assertion.

The chief signatory, Kevin “Seamus” Hasson is, on the surface, neutral. However he has on several occasions stated his opinion (and that of his organization) that marriage equality is “very expensive in terms of religious liberty”, has an impact that is “severe and pervasive”, and that he opposed the court’s actions legalizing same-sex marriage.

Some others on the list, including Alveda King, Chuck Colson, Roger Scruton, and William Donohue, represent the extreme of anti-gay activists – those who not only oppose marriage equality but any rights or freedoms granted to gay persons. Armando Valladares and Nathan Diament, while not outright haters, are on record in opposition to gay marriage as well as other rights and freedoms.

Others are lesser known and some are liberal on environmental or economic issues. Douglas Laycock advocates for the separation of religious and civil recognition. And Marvin Olasky advocates that “same-sex marriage be opposed only in ways that treat gays as still possessing human dignity”. Rick Civik supports some civil unions recognition.

But I was unable to find a single instance of anyone signing onto this list that was either directly effected by Proposition 8 or opposed to its passage. The range within the signatories is from “I oppose gay marriage” to “I really, really, really oppose gay marriage and anything else that would benefit gay people in any way.”

Now let’s examine this “mob violence and intimidation” against Mormon Churches and their members and see if it merits a full page of condemnation.

Becket and Pals listed a grand total of one objectionable event, so we’ll look at it first:

  • “Thugs sent white powder” to two Mormon churches.

It has never been determined just who sent the powder or why. That, of course, doesn’t deter those who think that gay people should quietly accept a second class status from making the baseless accusation.

The other incidences of “violence” (if you really stretch the word) through November 24th have been itemized by the Salt Lake Tribune. They consist of:

  • Disruption. A group called Bash Back! disrupted services at an Evangelical church in Lansing, Michigan.
  • Vandalism: There have been windows shot out with a bb gun, walls spray-painted, and glue poured into the locks of LDS churches. A Pentecostal church was peppered with eggs and toilet paper.
  • Minor Arson: A Book of Mormon was set on fire on a LDS church doorstep and a plastic plant lit on fire at a University. Someone tried to burn a Yes on 8 yard sign.

In addition to the items listed by the Tribune, I also know of:

Incidents of physical violence seem to have been limited to two, one on each side, and both before the election:

  • A man was hit why trying to protect Yes on 8 signs outside a church in Modesto.
  • An opponent to the proposition was attacked by a supporter and hit with a Yes on 8 sign in Torrance.

But from the language of Becket and Pals, you’d think that buildings were aflame and hospitals full from the victims of rampaging homosexual mobs terrorizing the nation:

Regrettably, some public voices have even sought to excuse the threats and disruptions simply as “demonstrations” that got out of hand. Perhaps that’s true in some cases. Far too many, however, seem never to have been demonstrations in the first place, but more nearly mobs, seeking not to persuade but to intimidate. When thugs send white powder to terrorize any place of worship, especially those of a religious minority, responsible voices need to speak clearly: Religious wars are wrong; they are also dangerous. Those who fail to condemn or seem to condone that intimidation are at fault as well. Consciously or not, they are numbing the public conscience, which endangers us all.

I condemn the behavior that is listed above. I do not, by any means, seek to justify or excuse vandalism. It is not appropriate to break someone’s protest cross even if she is seeking to insult and offend. It is absolutely not acceptable to trespass onto a church property in order to disrupt services.

But the sole instance that could even remotely be considered “nearly a mob” was the instance in the Castro. And while one incident may be “far too many”, this language is intended of obfuscate rather than clarify.

I have to conclude that this ad had nothing to do with violence against Mormons. Rather it is a way of demonizing gays and using insinuation to portray a community as violent and aggressive.

UPDATE:

Wayne Besen at Truth Wins Out lists some examples of the religious bigotry spouted by some of these very signatories.