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 September, 2014

Maybe Sen. John Cornyn Was Right After All

Jim Burroway

September 29th, 2014

Duck Dispatch?

Jim Burroway

October 15th, 2012

It’s a good thing my brother sent this too me because I don’t think I’ve read Wonkette since, like, 2006. Anyway, he suggests that I might have to change the name of this web site. And not to pick on 14-year-old homeschoolers or anything, but I think my brother might be on to something. Box turtles are, after all, so 2005.

Anyway, here’s the kind of logic being taught to homeschooled kids in New Zealand:

 …If homosexuality spreads, it can cause human evolution to come to a standstill. It could threaten the human position on the evolutionary ladder, and say, ducks, could take over the world. Ducks always nest in pairs and if we allow same-sex marriage, then ducks will have evolved further than we have. We will be danger of all being equal, with ducks more equal than us. …I don’t want my children to have to compete with ducks. I want them to evolved further than I have. …

I was about to get all excited because here was a homeschooled kid talking about evolution! Wow! Homeschooled kids in New Zealand are way different from American homeschooled kids! But then Jasmin reveals that she doesn’t believe in evolution either, but “if you believe in evolution, you can’t be in favour of homosexuality, or the ducks will get you in the end.”

So yeah, it turns out homeschooled kids in New Zealand are exactly like homeschooled kids in America. She’ll have a great future as a speechwriter for a Senator from Texas.

Horses

Jim Burroway

January 25th, 2012

Box turtles, ducks, house plants, robots — and horses:

And of course, (Seattle-area pastor Ken) Hutcherson goes there: “If this law is passed, what is going to happen? Now ask your guests in the studio. Do they believe that if they change the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman, what is going to stop two men one woman, two women one man, one man against a horse, one man with a boy, one man with anything?

Horses, huh? The problem with Hutcherson (aside from the the obvious batshittery-craziness) is that he’s not very original.

More Things You Can Marry When Marriage Equality Become Legal

Jim Burroway

December 2nd, 2011
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Polygamy, polyamory, a building, a car, a dog… when did box turtles become so passé?

Does This Mean We Need To Rename BTB?

Jim Burroway

July 30th, 2010

Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) says he wants to find common ground with Log Cabin Republicans and will “drop by” the group’s political action committee reception before a September fundraiser in Washington, D.C.:

“Some things we won’t agree on,” Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said. “But I think it’s always better to talk and then try find those things we can agree on rather than just assume there’s no common ground whatsoever.”

Cornyn said same-sex marriage is “absolutely” one of those things he and LCR members don’t agree on, but he’s happy to talk to them.

“I don’t want people to misunderstand and think that I don’t respect the dignity of every human being regardless of sexual orientation,” Cornyn said.

In that vein, he thought attending the fundraising event was something he should do, he said.

John Wright at The Dallas Voice reminds us that we shouldn’t expect too much from the exchange:

We’re sure some will try to argue this is a sign of progress, but we mustn’t forget Cornyn’s strong support for a federal marriage amendment, his vote against hate crimes last year, his stated opposition to DADT repeal, and his all-but-certain vote against ENDA if it ever reaches the Senate floor. Cornyn has received a zero on every Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard since he took office.

Wright sees this latest development as “nothing more than pandering for votes and money from gay Republicans across the country.” I would tend to agree, since there seems to be no hint of concession on any of the issues that directly concern LGBT people. Cornyn is chair of the GOP’s Senate campaign committee.

It was during the 2004 debate over the Federal Marriage Amendment that Cornyn’s famous “Box Turtle” quote entered the lexicon. A prepared draft of the speech he was to give to the Heritage Foundation on his support for the proposed amendment contained the line:

It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right… 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.

When he actually gave the speech, he skipped the line. But the Washington Post, working on the prepared draft released by Cornyn’s office, published the statement as provided. In the ensuing outcry over the comparison between gays and box turtles, Cornyn protested that he didn’t actually say the lines that his office had been released to news media. The Post later published a clarification.

Riding Horses

Jim Burroway

March 15th, 2010

JD HayworthMy beloved Arizona never disappoints when it comes to extreme looniness. Sen. John McCain is facing a primary challenge from former Arizona congressman and Phoenix right-wing radio host J.D. Hayworth, who told an Orlando, Florida radio audience that Massachusetts’ marriage equality law could lead to marriages between man and horse:

“You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage — now get this — it defined marriage as simply, ‘the establishment of intimacy,’” Hayworth said. “Now how dangerous is that? I mean, I don’t mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point — I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse. It’s just the wrong way to go, and the only way to protect the institution of marriage is with that federal marriage amendment that I support.”

Sen. McCain opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment because he felt that it violated the principles of federalism, not because he believed in equality for gay people. McCain supported Arizona’s Prop 102, the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage which passed in 2008.

Hayworth, who promoted tea party events on his radio program and gained the endorsement of national tea party leaders, is determined to run an extremely negative campaign. I wonder if the next whisper campaign against McCain will somehow imply that he enjoys “riding horses.”

Today In Box Turtles

Jim Burroway

June 7th, 2009

Look in the lower right. Tom Toles’ editorial cartoon in today’s Washington Post warns of the dangers that Box Turtles pose to marriage:

Sex With Ducks

Jim Burroway

May 30th, 2009

Building on the “thirty-sexual orientations” lie, Pat Robertson last month asked his “700 Club” audience if passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act would protect people having sex with ducks. Garfunkel and Oates has the answer:

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Wingers On Parade: Reactions To Iowa

Jim Burroway

April 3rd, 2009

Today’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling, which struck down the portion of that state’s marriage law restricting marriage to heterosexuals, has provoked an entertaining assortment of reactions from the usual characters. Here are just a few examples.

First up, Matt Barber. He now has a title that is longer than the queen of England (“Matt Barber, Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action, and Associate Dean with Liberty University School of Law”). I like his reaction because it fits perfectly with other ridiculous arguments which inspired the very name of this web site. Barber blathers:

U.S. Supreme Court long ago rejected the untenable notion that ‘equal protection’ requires two biologically incompatible persons to be permitted to ‘marry.’ Marriage, of course, by its very spiritual, historical and biological nature, requires binary compatibility. It is no more discriminatory to disallow two men from marrying each other, than it is to prohibit a man from marrying his house plant.

That’s right. We now have the potted plant argument, which I guess is appropriate coming from him. Since the Box Turtle reference may be getting old, maybe we should rename this web site “Pansies for Pansies.com” in Barber’s honor.

Next up, Randy Thomasson. He’s demanding the most rigorous constitutional amendment ever devised by man or beast:

…Iowans should write a rock-solid marriage amendment, one that is much stronger than amendments in California, Oregon and Washington, which still allowed counterfeit marriages and immoral policies forcing insurance plans and private businesses to subsidize pseudo-marriages. Iowans should also take care to prevent the civil institution of marriage from being someday abolished, and must biologically define a man and a woman to ensure that the distinct, God-given genders of a husband and wife cannot be perverted.

owa Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) wants more than just a constitutional amendment. He also wants to prevent Iowa from becoming a “gay marriage Mecca”:

Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.

Concerned Women for America aren’t interested in tinkering with laws or constitutions. Instead, they call for the establishment of a theocracy:

Until we rightly handle these issues in God’s house, we will continue to fail in the court house, the state house and the school house. George Washington warned us it would be impossible to rightly govern without the Bible, until we repent and return to those same principles, we will fail to properly govern and succeed as a nation.

And finally, our favorite. Peter LaBarbera gets a two-fer. First, there’s this post on his web site:

Today Iowa becomes the first state not on either of the nation’s two liberal coasts to impose counterfeit, homosexual ‘marriage’ or its mischievous twin, ‘civil unions’ on its citizens through judicial tyranny. To call this decision bankrupt is to understate its perniciousness. The evil genius of the pro-sodomy movement is that it targets noble institutions like marriage and adoption in the name of ‘rights,’ and then perverts and uses them to normalize aberrant and destructible behaviors.

In LaBarbara’s mass email which also included the above statement, he added:

If the people do not respond in righteous anger coupled with effective action, the downfall of our beloved nation is assured — because God (who invented marriage) is not mocked.

Iowa protester Craig Overton (Rodney White / Des Moines Register)

Iowa protester Craig Overton (Rodney White / Des Moines Register)

You know, there’s a reason we have an award named for him. One excellent nominee for that award might be one Craig Overton, whose sign was so embarrassing to gay rights opponents that they urged him to put the sign down. It read “Same sex animals don’t mate. God Bless. Culver man up.” Overton refused to put the sign down.

Not Just Box Turtles — Robots, Too

Jim Burroway

March 7th, 2009

The blog’s name refers to a statement attributed to Texas Sen. John Cornyn, “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.” Rick Santorum cited dogs. With Bill O’Reilly, it was ducks and goats. Now you can add robots — yes, robots! — to the list:

David Gibbs III, a lawyer who in 2005 fought to keep brain-damaged Terri Schiavo on life support, told rally participants gay marriage would “open the door to unusual marriage in North Carolina. “Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses?” Gibbs asked. “Maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots.”

[Hat tip: Pam Spaulding]

Virginia To Recognize Box Turtles

Jim Burroway

February 1st, 2009

This just in:

J. Chapman Petersen, Delegate from Virginia’s 37th District, has introduced State Senate Bill 1504 to designate the Eastern Box Turtle as the official state reptile of Virginia.

It’s about time Box Turtles got a little respect in Virginia. Now if only they’d see fit to recognize gay people.

[Hat tip: David]

Rick Santorum Wants to Protect Box Turtles

Jim Burroway

September 6th, 2008

He also wants to to protect the spotted owl and snails. But not gay people.

Michelangelo Signorile has been airing several interviews from the GOP convention lately, and this one of former Senator Rick Santorum is priceless. Here we have Santorum arguing against same-sex marriage:

I use the example of the environmental impact statement. You know, we have an ecology, we have an environment that is impacted by changes in the environment. We have a moral ecology in this country just like we have a physical ecology in this country. We have a set of values and traditions that define who we are as a society and have an impact throughout society. When I want to change the environment, I have to go out and prove that by building this structure or changing this place, that I’m not going to affect the ecology of the area, that I’m not going to adversely impact the box turtle, or the spotted owl, or the snail.

What would Santorum include in his environmental impact statement? He wants to misuse studies to claim that gays sexually abuse children at higher rates, and that gay relationships experience more domestic violence — even though the scientific evidence shows the exact opposite.

It’s a shame how those who claim the moral high ground hold the truth in such low regard.

Box Turtles in the News

Jim Burroway

August 2nd, 2008

Katie describes herself as a Mac evangelist (same here!), mother, wife, grandmother, Redskins fan, 37-year Northern Virginia public school teacher, and a BTB reader. She turned us on to this Washington Post story about a heroic box turtle near the DC/Maryland border:

Radio-equipped Eastern Box TurtleThere’s a drug suspect in custody, so let’s credit her with the arrest. Her name is Turtle No. 72. And this is her story:

She is an Eastern box turtle, one of 135 counted by researchers in the park in recent years, and one of three puttering in the woods with tiny radio transmitters affixed to their shells so scientists can study their movements. …

Katie says, “I didn’t realize that we were tracking turtles and visiting them in the park, but actually I guess it’s better than some things we spend money on. Sounds like a job I might like.” Me too, most days.

A Fan of the Box Turtle

Timothy Kincaid

July 31st, 2008

Usually when we hear from someone who likes the box turtle, they are someone who likes the community here at our site. But today we heard from quite a different fan of the box turtle:

Hi

I am the editor of HerpDigest and owner of HerpArts (As in Herpetology the study of reptiles and amphibians) And someone who has been very active in box turtle conservation. And I was surfing the net looking for new sources. And there you were.

I swear I never heard that quote, or the the reactions.

Now I am glad I did.

I find your use of the metaphor of the box turtle wonderful.

Though Herpdigest is a non-political publication, I am going to find a way to mention your site, and with permission reprint the “The Tale of the Box Turtle?

Please email by Sunday so I can reprint it in next weeks Issue.

Allen Salzberg

I got a chuckle out of this and hope that you do too. And if you are interested in amphibians and reptiles (of the non-political sort), check out Allen’s sites.