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Posts for January, 2013

Prop 8 Amicus Briefs, Brought to You by the Lunatic Fringe

Jim Burroway

January 30th, 2013

Dozens of organizations and individuals have filed Amicus Curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing either for or against California’s Proposition 8. A couple of them are worth looking at, if for no other reason than for their entertainment value. For example, there’s this brief filed by Margie Phelps for Westboro
Baptist Church. Amicus Curiae briefs are expected to follow several conventions, and the ways in which Westboro’s brief observes them is indicative of Westboro’s highly entertaining approach to things.

First, instead of being a brief in support of petitioners (the pro-Prop 8 side) or respondents (the side that wants to overturn Prop 8), Westboro’s brief is filed “in support of neither party.” Okay.

And then there’s the Table of Authorities. A typical brief will be loaded up with citations to case law, along with other citations to “other authorities,” which would include sources like studies, articles, books, speeches, transcripts, etc. Of Westboro’s 66 citations under “Other Authorities,” 36 of them are Bible quotes. Which means that there are several pages with nothing but reproduced bible passages, including five pages devoted to the entire story of Sodom and Gomorrah. (“This historical event described in Genesis 19:1-28, Holy Bible, must be considered at this hour…”) The brief also has a lengthy retelling of the Great Flood (“The description of the complete destruction of all mankind – a population as or bigger than today’s population…”).

And after all that, Westboro concludes:

Same-sex marriage will destroy this nation. If the leaders of this country treat what God has called abominable as something to be respected, revered,and blessed with the seal of approval of the government, that will cross a final line with God. The harm that will befall this nation, when the condign destructive wrath of God pours out on a nation that purposefully, in a calculating manner, institutionalizes marriage licenses for same-sex unions, is the ultimate harm to the health, welfare and safety of the people. The government is duty bound – in this Christian nation – to institute the standard of God on marriage, and pass and uphold laws that forbid same-sex marriage.

By the way, Westboro filed an identical brief for United States v Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. If nothing else, I guess that ensures both consistency as well as economy.

Another interesting brief (PDF: 127KB/ 14 pages) calling for the court to uphold Prop 8 comes from a man by the name of David Benkoff. It’s been nearly four years since we last heard from him. Here’s how Timothy Kincaid introduced him to BTB readers in 2008:

David Benkof has been getting a bit of attention lately.

And at first glace David appears to be a young gay man who believes that there are better options for gay couples than marriage, that the community should join him in prioritizing other more pressing issues, that the marriage discussion is harming the efforts of gay couples in red states to get recognition for their unions, and that he wants to help. We’d also think that he’s a gay columnist, that he speaks for an influential collection of gay thinkers, and that he is part of the gay and lesbian community and shares our goals and dreams.

None of that is true.

During the Prop 8 campaign, he trotted out his gay/straight/bi/Idunno-guy-against-same-sex-marriage schtick with a web site called “Gays Defend Marriage,” in which he claimed to be a “gay columnist” who was against same-sex marriage. Timothy Kincaid exposed the charade, Benkoff doubled down, and then he abruptly left the scene, saying he “recently learned quite a bit of disturbing information that makes it impossible for me to continue supporting a movement I no longer respect.”

Well, he’s back now. And for this amicus brief, Benkof teamed up with Robert Oscar Lopez (described as a bisexual man who was raised by two lesbian mothers and who is currently heterosexually married), and Doug Mainwaring (a man who raised two teenage sons after separating from his wife and coming out gay.) Again, we see a familiar pattern: people with life credentials which are supposed to demonstrate their connection to the gay community but who are arguing that the gay community needs to be shown its second-class place in society. Lopez has been playing that schtick at the Witherspoon Institute, which sponsored the flawed Regneres paper claiming to study “gay parents.” Lopez contributed an anti-gay tract at the Witherspoon Institute’s web site praising Regnerus’s paper. Mainwaring is a NOM discovery, who wrote in opposition to same-sex marriage in a tea party newsletter and, more recently, in The Christian Post. Their brief includes all of the standard NOM talking points — watered down and polited up, like NOM might be when on its very best behavior — to try to make the impression that there is an undiscovered reservoir of gay people who oppose marriage equality:

Amici  come from a variety of families of origin, we have different religious beliefs and we differ among ourselves about whether legislature should redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. We all believe, however, that Americans ought not be labeled hateful bigots for opposing redefinition.

Our position is based on a shared commitment that marriage is society’s institutional expression of a child’s right to a mother and a father. We are not alone. The ongoing debate over marriage in France has prominently featured gay people who support keeping the understanding of marriage as a union of a husband and wife.

We, and they, believe gay people should be free to love and live as they choose but we also recognize that society has a right to express a rational preference for the kind of unions necessary to the survival of the whole society, and to the well-being of children. Some gay, lesbian and bisexual people will benefit from this preference as they marry a person of the opposite sex.

As you can well guess, Benkof and friends are utterly silent about how LGB people might “benefit from this preference.” They just kind of put that out there. The rest of the brief is basically 14 pages of concern trolling amidst a complete absence of actual facts. (Interestingly, they don’t even bother to mention the Regnerus paper.) It’s much like the Westboro brief that way. Birds of a feather…

Maggie Gallagher’s gays

Timothy Kincaid

March 4th, 2010

In Maggie Gallagher’s recent debate with Andrew Sullivan at the Cato Institute over whether there is a place for gay people in conservatism and conservative politics, the following exchange took place:

Sullivan: Can you name a single gay person who agrees with you?

Gallagher: Yes… I told you, I have them. They work for me.

Sullivan: Name them.

Gallager: Well no, I’m not going to name them. Because I’m not going to out them.

Sullivan: Why not? Earlier you said you don’t want to out an openly gay person?

Gallagher: As being anti-gay marriage, I’ll let them do it. I’m not outing them as being gay, I’m outing them as being on my side.

Not very many, but I do know them…

She goes on for a while giving illustrations of secret confessions of support and emails.

But setting aside Maggie’s flustered blunder and momentary honesty (she never admits to being “anti gay marriage”, only in favor of retaining blah blah blah), the important point that Andrew identified is that even considering the large number of conservative gay men and women, and even considering that our community is very diverse in age, culture, attitudes, religion, and perspective, no one is willing to publicly support Maggie Gallagher and her campaign against their rights.

So who, then, are these hand full of gay people who are secretly “anti-gay marriage”, in Maggie’s words. And why is it so important that she “know them.”

I’ll answer the second part first.

I believe that Maggie thinks of herself as a good person. She doesn’t want to acknowledge that she is engaging in deliberately hurtful, unjust, and discriminatory behavior. She doesn’t want to think of her motivations as being based in bias, animus, and religious supremacy.

Behind all of her “don’t call us haters” mantra is a real fear that she, truly, might be acting out of less than admirable instincts. She doesn’t want to even consider that possiblity, so it is the one thing that she finds most objectionable.

So it is extremely important that Maggie know people who can confirm to her that she isn’t hurting them. If I read her correctly, in order that she not see herself as being homophobic, she needs to believe that some gays – the ones who truly value the country and not their own selfish interests – agree with her. So, like every politician who doesn’t want to be seen as evil, she now “has gay friends”.

But who are these mythical gay friends that we never ever seem to meet?

Well, we do now have an answer in part. From none other than the National Organization for Marriage, of whom Maggie is the voice and face.

This comes from the amicus brief that NOM filed to support Proposition 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger:

benkofnes

Even at least a few gay people oppose gay marriage (see, e.g., “Gays Defend Marriage,” at http://www.gaysdefendmarriage.com), and we welcome their participation as fellow citizens in our shared mission.

Oh, yes, I kid you not. Maggie’s “gays that agree with her” are epitomized by David Benkof. Yes, a celibate convert to Orthodox Judaism who spent a brief period trying to convince the world that he was just an ordinary gay guy who was concerned about marriage. Yep, the same one who is “gay” or “bisexual” or “not gay” or anything else he thinks will be convincing at the moment.

Yes, Maggie’s gays – or at least the one she presents – are sad, sad creatures indeed.

(hat tip to reader Mel, with whom I incorrectly argued about whether this exchange took place)

Poor Pitiful Pathetic David Benkof is Still Spouting His Bitterness

Timothy Kincaid

June 27th, 2009

benkof.jpgI hesitate to give attention to anti-gay writer David Benkof. There’s nothing he likes better than seeing his name in print. It makes him feel as though there is validation for the decision he made to create for himself a bitter, empty, lonely, loveless life.

And it’s not like Benkof’s writing deserves commentary. It has no substance to refute, just insinuation, condemnation, nonsense, and lots and lots of whining.

Benkof loves to whine. He whines about gay folks wanting to marry, wanting to serve their country, wanting to live in freedom. He whines about how selfish gay people are to want equality, how cruel to have children, how careless it was for gays to endanger the police at Stonewall. It’s all so shrill it makes my ears hurt just to read it.

Benkof used to live as a gay man. But feeling unfulfilled (and in no small part bitter), he decided to convert to Orthodox Judaism. And as living a life consistent with his orientation is in conflict with his restrictive religion, he now lives in some wacky sexless existence of his own creation dreaming of the day that some nice Jewish girl will choose a loveless marriage to an egocentric man and give him social standing.

And if he can’t be happy, well then he’s going to darn sure try to make you unhappy as well.

But, unlike most “not gay any more” activists, Benkof feels compelled to pretend to be someone he is not. He thinks it adds credibility to act as though he is part of the gay community and speaks for gay people.

For example, here he is at the Houston Chronicle itemizing a list of mostly-imagined grievances that straight folk should have against gays. And to make his spitefulness stand out from the average hate-spouting loon, he says,

Having experienced the closet and coming out as a gay man in my late teens, I understand the common gay experience of overcoming shame and the constant need for self-esteem reassurance.

Of course, he fails to mention that his own obsessive craving for self-esteem reassurance led him to change his name, his religion, and his proclaimed orientation. And if the reader wasn’t adquately left with the false impression that David identifies as gay and is not an anti-gay activist, he lists his bio as

Benkof is the author of Gay Essentials: Facts for Your Queer Brain (Alyson, 1999). He blogs at GaysDefendMarriage.com and can be reached at DavidBenkof@aol.com.

We’ve condemned his deception before, but David just can’t help himself. He’s compulsive. He’s incapable of presenting his arguments with integrity.

But we should pity him. It’s very very sad.

Having chosen to live a life of complicated internal conflict, he’s now required to lie to himself just to survive. He lacks integrity in his writing because he has none in his life.

Poor pitiful pathetic sad little man.

More Lies from David Benkof

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2009

Last summer I started a project of exposing the lies of David Benkof, a man who had been gay (going by David Bianco), then bisexual, then queer with mutable identity, and now is “deliberately living traditionally”.

At that time Benkof was writing articles in straight publications in which he claimed to be a columnist for gay newspapers (he thought it gave credibility to his anti-gay rants). He also briefly had some articles published in some gay magazines until the editors or publishers discovered his intent.

After a bit of observation, it became clear to me that Benkof suffers from what I’ll call “Truth Deficit Disorder”. He found it almost impossible to go more than a few paragraphs without busting into hyperbole, exaggeration, distortion, or just flat-out falsehoods. And David’s favorite subject about which to, ahem, wax creatively was same-sex marriage.

However, David’s desire to support Proposition 8 exposed him to those who were running the effort. And in what was a great surprise to him (but no one else) he discovered that bigots are generous in the extent of their arrogance and animus. Homophobes don’t have much fondness for Jews, either.

And, feeling disillusioned, on July 13 of last year he blogged his final good-bye.

I wished him well and promptly put him out of mind.

Well now he’s back and it seems that his methods haven’t changed much since he saw the ugly side of bigotry. He’s still more than eager to trot out dishonesty and deception as his hallmark and calling card.

Today Benkof has an article in the New York Post in which he uses a false pretext to spread more dishonesty about gay folk. Big surprise.

First Benkof praises Vermont for enacting religious liberty protections in their marriage laws. But the praise is artificial, based on a false premise, and nothing but a vehicle for attacking the gay community. Again, big surprise.

The Green Mountain State’s new law says in its “Public Accommodations” section that religious groups “shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if the request . . . is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage.” It also bars civil lawsuits against religious groups that refuse to provide goods or services to same-sex weddings.

Benkof sees this as a real difference. It isn’t.

Churches can already deny services, accommodations, advantages, etc. to married couples of the same sex based on their religion. They always have and always will. What the Vermont law does clarify is that religious organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, may also deny their halls or their facilities for marriage ceremonies.

And this is a clarification that I believe to be beneficial. I think that those religiously affiliated non-profits or fraternal organizations that wish to uphold their religious convictions about orientation or race or religion should be able to do so…. provided, of course, that they are not receiving special benefits from the state for being “open to all”.

But that’s where Benkof and I cease to see eye to eye. What he does next is typical Benkof:

Without serious religious freedom guarantees, disturbing punishments have been meted out to people and groups who have acted consistent with their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman and that children are best served with both a mother and a father. The following actions have taken place in states with gay marriage, marriagelike institutions or even strong nondiscrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation:

Now that is a carefully written paragraph. If one cares little for honesty and only wants to try and claim some technical truth, then one can feel all clever with oneself for writing it.

He doesn’t say that what follows has anything to do with marriage. He just implies it by saying that this is how Vermont differs. In other words, deliberate deception rather than a direct lie.

These thing all happened “in states with marriage, marriagelike institutions or strong nondiscrimination laws.”

Or with running water.

Because the truth is that not a single example he lists had ANYTHING to do with marriage. Or with marriage laws – the subject he’s pretending to be talking about.

Then Benkof trots out the usual half-truths of anti-gays about a New Mexico photographer, eHarmony, Boston’s Catholic Charities, and the lesbian denied fertility treatment.

Geez, the average reader – the one that Benkof is counting on reading his piece – would think, “Gosh, that’s all due to gay marriage”. And if they missed that connection, Benkof slams it home by immediately talking about “the courts in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa”.

Now we’ve covered all of Benkof’s talking points before. But you may enjoy taking a good look at this video rebuttal by Rob Tisinai to the type of claims that Benkof’s making (including a few of his actual complaints). It shows just how dishonest Benkof and his ilk are and how they will say anything in the advancement of their attack on the lives and freedoms of gay men and women.

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David Benkof, Signing Off

Jim Burroway

July 13th, 2008

David Benkof has said farewell to his “Gays Defend Marriage” cause:

It is with great sadness that I announce that I feel I must withdraw from openly supporting man-woman marriage in the United States. I recently learned quite a bit of disturbing information that makes it impossible for me to continue supporting a movement I no longer respect. I have not yet decided when or even if I will write about why I’m ending my participation in this debate.

Update: Wayne Besen has a short statement from David expressing his disillusionment about the people behind California’s proposed anti-marriage amendment.

Bush “The Best President On AIDS”?

Jim Burroway

July 2nd, 2008

Benkof thinks so. Internationally, one could make such an argument. But it’s easy to support AIDS work in Africa where its a mostly heterosexual disease.

But domestically, President Bush’s proposals for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention haven’t been keeping up with demand. This is especially true among young, African-American men who simply aren’t responding to the White House’s abstinence only messages. They have been the driving force behind recent increases in HIV infections, making up 49% of new infections in 2005.

What do you think? Is Bush the best, worst, or somewhere in between?

Family “Research” Council Repeats Benkof’s Distortions

Jim Burroway

July 2nd, 2008

The Family “Research” Council sent an Action Alert out with this familiar distortion:

Michigan’s largest homosexual activist group says once marriage is legally redefined to include homosexual couples, business owners and even news media outlets that refuse to recognize such marriages should be jailed, or sued and “publicly slapped.”

As we reported earlier, the source of this piece of libel is Benkof’s column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sean Kosofsky complained that his remarks were taken completely out of context and misrepresented to say something which he did not say:

David Benkof is misleading folks about my quote. He selectively removed several minutes of our conversation between statements and did not disclose that. What I said was that if you break a civil law and you do not pay your penalty or you do not follow a judges order that you could indeed be found in contempt of court. When an individual is found in contempt of court a punishment for breaking the law can include jail time. I don’t know of any gay activist prescribing jail time for discrimnination. Although when you violate a court order you should be penalized accordingly.

And when Benkof tried to defend his distortion, Sean was more blunt:

David, it is flat out immoral to do what you did. It is not my responsibility to track you down to correct a lazy, stupid and inflammatory misrepresentation. You should be ashamed of yourself, your journalistic integrity and your misrepresentation of your agenda during our call. The right wing is using your article all over the country to smear my good name because of your sloppiness or outright slant. I did leave a correction at the LA Weekly sight so I did try to correct you. This is horrible of you to do.

We’ve come to expect these sort of tactics from the Family “Research” Council, and we have documented countless instances where they have distorted social science research and other sources. This is their stock and trade, as exposing these distortions is ours.

Now the FRC has found a comfortable bedfellow in David Benkof. They make a good pair, as I frankly am unable to see much of a difference between them in their tactics. Maybe we can soon chalk the FRC’s web site as yet another of those “prestigious” media outlet’s he’s a columnist for.

Benkof Loses Last Gay Newspaper

Timothy Kincaid

June 26th, 2008

UPDATE :

June 30, 2008 – David Benkof’s personal anti-gay blogsite, Gays Defend Marriage, has now removed references to his “Fabulous Observant” column and no longer refers to Benkof as a columnist for gay newspapers.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

benkof.jpgAnti-gay activist David Benkof has been writing articles in mainstream newspapers posing as a columnist for the gay press. No doubt he, and the opinion editors, believe that this gives his op-eds more credibility. Until we began to look into his claims, his bio stated:

David Benkof is a columnist for several gay newspapers around the country and blogs at gaysdefendmarriage.com. Write to him by e-mail at davidbenkof@aol.com

In our report David Benkof: Behind the Mask, we exposed this deception along with his self-description on his anti-marriage website:

David Benkof’s “Fabulously Observant” column offering readers of LGBT newspapers traditionally religious and conservative perspectives on gay and lesbian issues debuted at the beginning of May. Currently, two publications subscribe – the Dallas Voice and Q-Notes (North Carolina). Other publications in Florida, Ohio, and Oklahoma have purchased at least one installment.

I’m particularly excited that in publications like Q Notes, my column will run alongside those written by people like Wayne Besen, who I’m told despise me and everything I stand for. We’re a wide and diverse community, and everyone’s voice should be heard.

As we stated in our report, when we contacted Q Notes we were told by Matt Comer, the Editor, that Benkof had been dropped due to his “recent extreme misrepresentation” and had been instructed to remove any reference to Q Notes from his site.

Now we have been told that the Dallas Voice, Benkof’s last contracted gay outlet, has discontinued his column. In an e-mail to Wayne Besen, separately confirmed to us, Editor Tammye Nash said that the Dallas Voice will not be publishing any more of Mr. Benkof’s columns. She had based her original willingness to carry Benkof on work performed when he wrote for Q Syndicate but his more recent anti-gay work had changed her mind.

In his latest anti-gay article, published by the San Francisco Chronicle, Benkof does not reference gay newspapers. His bio states:

David Benkof blogs at GaysDefendMarriage.com. To comment, e-mail DavidBenkof@aol.com.

However, those going to his site still find the statement that Benkof is “a columnist for the Dallas Voice and several other LGBT newspapers”, and that:

David Benkof’s “Fabulously Observant” column offering readers of LGBT newspapers traditionally religious and conservative perspectives on gay and lesbian issues debuted at the beginning of May. Currently, the column runs in the Dallas Voice at least once a month. Other publications in Florida, Washington state, Ohio, and Oklahoma have purchased at least one installment.

I’m particularly excited that in some publications, my column will run alongside those written by people like Wayne Besen, who I’m told despise me and everything I stand for. We’re a wide and diverse community, and everyone’s voice should be heard.

See Also:
David Benkof: Behind the Mask
Benkof’s Continuing Parade of Lies and Deception
David Benkof’s One Man Anti-Gay Campaign of Lies and Deception

Benkof’s Continuing Parade of Lies and Deception

Timothy Kincaid

June 23rd, 2008

benkof.jpgI hesitate to write a new posting about David Benkof. I’m of the impression that much of his effort in writing anti-gay rants is based in a desire to see his name in print. However, I also recognize that he has been fairly successful in getting his views heard and I believe it is necessary to provide clear documentation of the lies and deceptions that he employs.

I’ll not argue with his views, because to do so is pointless. Absent my ability to persuade him that G-d did not write the Torah, there are no convincing or compelling arguments that would sway his opinions. But I will challenge his “facts”.

If this posting seems a bit dry, that’s because its intent is to provide an update to the examples of dishonesty illustrated in our report, David Benkof: Behind the Mask

Misrepresentation and Deceit
In an opinion piece which ran in the Providence Journal on June 18 in which Benkof argues that “our society should keep its highest place of honor for families that represent the best configuration for the raising of children — families with both a mother and a father”, Benkof said the following:

Now, many gays and lesbians would like more, if not all, young people to investigate the dress and behavior of both sexes. They would favor social change that leads more children to be attracted to and to experiment sexually with members of the same sex. And certainly, they think anything that reduces sexually stereotyped career goals and social interactions is a good thing.

A few gays and lesbians have been open about this attitude. For example, Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the Associated Press she felt “elation” when she heard about a study showing that children of same-sex parents “may be somewhat more likely to reject notions of rigid sexual orientation.”

I was curious whether Kate Kendall had “this attitude” about sexual experimentation and dress and behavior investigation. So I asked.

I’m sure it will surprise no one that Benkof was mischaracterizing Kendall’s position.

Wow, I have not seen this. We certainly support eliminating sexism and discrimination based on gender non-conformity but the rest of this is utter distortion and clearly intended to inflame.

kate

False Claims of Columnist and Column
In a June 23 posting on his site, Benkof said the following:

It’s not about marriage per se, but my column for Pride month that questions what was so great about the Stonewall rebellion is up at the Web site of the Macon, Georgia Telegraph. The column is consistent with my complaint that gays and lesbians are so focused on being “equal” that they have no compassion for who they hurt, whether it’s orphans, Boy Scouts, or in this case, New York City cops.

Benkof provided a link to the “column” that he was discussing which “was up at” the Georgia Telegraph. The link did not lead to a column in the paper. It led to a letter to the editor.

Although Benkof had indicated on June 16th on this site that he would change his deceptive language about being a columnist to “writer whose columns have been seen in”, in this letter to the editor, Benkof again used the following self identification

David Benkof is a columnist for several gay newspapers around the country. He blogs at GaysDefendMarriage.com and can be reached at DavidBenkof@aol.com

Stonewall Deceptions
In his letter to the editor, Benkof presents a description of the Stonewall Riots that seems inconsistent with other reports. In his rush to criticize gay people (this time for having no compassion), Benkof said the following

But the circumstances of gay life in the late 1960s, while certainly pain-filled and oppressive, did not justify spilling blood.

Spilling blood? What blood?

The term “spilling blood” generally refers to loss of life. But no one died at Stonewall.

Could Benkof be unaware of that fact? Perhaps he’s just not well versed in the facts?

As it turns out, there is an article on PlanetOut.com about the Stonewall Riots written by none other than David Bianco, which was Benkof’s name prior to his anti-gay rebirth.

Eyewitnesses recalled that the scene outside the bar was at first campy and festive. Patrons were joined by tourists and passers-by, and everyone cheered when a gay person emerged from the bar, dismissed by the police. But when a paddy wagon arrived and the police loaded the bar’s staff and the three drag queens inside, the crowd on the street grew surly. One person threw a rock through a window, and eventually garbage cans, bottles, and even a parking meter were used to assault the building. Someone set a fire with lighter fluid. By newspaper accounts, 13 people were arrested and three police officers sustained minor injuries in the confrontation.

Let’s see how that compares with Benkof’s current description.

Benkof: The demonstrations were sparked by a legitimate police raid on an unlicensed, Mafia-run bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village the night of June 27, 1969.

Bianco: The charge was illegal sale of alcohol. It was the second time that week the bar had been targeted by the police, and other gay bars had also been raided in prior weeks.

Incidentally, the police involved in the raid tell a different story, it was a raid by out-of-precint officers using a fraudulent “tip” about a police officer being stabbed.

Benkof: At least four cops were injured in the unrest, suffering maladies like broken bones and a bloody facial wound. One cop told a reporter he was “almost decapitated” by a thick slab of sharp glass a rioter threw “like a discus” at his throat.

Bianco: By newspaper accounts, 13 people were arrested and three police officers sustained minor injuries in the confrontation.

The “reporter” was Jerry Lisker writing a purple prose piece for the New York Daily News entitled “Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad“. Even the slightest glance at this piece reveals that accuracy was the last thing on Lisker’s agenda (“Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.”)

Benkof: Protesters doused the bar’s facade and some of its interior with lighter fluid, which they ignited with matches. Had this unconscionable arson engulfed the building, we’d be commemorating the Stonewall Massacre.

Bianco: Someone set a fire with lighter fluid.

The claims about the lighter fluid appear to be from an account by Dick Leitch, a leader in Mattachine. However, the officers who were in the bar that night – dispute that version.

Neither of them saw anyone – drag queens or otherwise – trying to burn down Stonewall with cops inside.

Benkof: Even so, surely we’ve chosen the wrong memory through which to unify a diverse community that includes many segments – like lesbian Quakers and gay Republicans – unsympathetic to rioting as a political technique.

Bianco: Estimates suggest that, at the time of the riots, there were a few dozen gay organizations in the United States. Within a few years, the number had risen to more than 400.

There is no question that the Stonewall Riots were instrumental in changing the gay community. They became a rallying point around which the community gained a new perspective, not as weak victims begging for less-harsh treatment but as citizens demanding fair and equal treatment.

David Bianco knew this. So does David Benkof, however much he may wish it were not so.

Given the inconsistencies between the stories, I’d have to state that either David Bianco or David Benkof shows contempt for factual accuracy. I’m inclined to think both.

UPDATE:I completely forgot to include the following:

Identity Crisis
As I’ve said before, Benkof identifies in whatever manner he thinks will give his statements the most credibility. And, yet again, he provides an example in his letter to the editor:

I call on my fellow gays and lesbians to create holidays and events that honor them…

Benkof is quite clear that he isn’t gay when he wishes to trash gays on conservative websites. But if he wants to stake claim to the right to criticize from within he magically becomes part of his “fellow gays and lesbians”.

Talk about chutzpah (and I do mean that in a pejorative way).

David Benkof’s One Man Anti-Gay Campaign of Lies and Deception

Timothy Kincaid

June 16th, 2008

benkof.jpgDavid Benkof has been getting a bit of attention lately.

And at first glace David appears to be a young gay man who believes that there are better options for gay couples than marriage, that the community should join him in prioritizing other more pressing issues, that the marriage discussion is harming the efforts of gay couples in red states to get recognition for their unions, and that he wants to help. We’d also think that he’s a gay columnist, that he speaks for an influential collection of gay thinkers, and that he is part of the gay and lesbian community and shares our goals and dreams.

None of that is true.

David Benkof is an anti-gay activist with strong ties to the ex-gay community that has used a string of lies and deceptions to position himself in the mainstream press as a minority voice within the gay community. His goals are to defeat any efforts that would recognize our unions as being anything other than roommates. His motivation is his desire to conform society to his religious ideals. And he’s willing to lie, defame, and stand the truth on its head to do so.

Read more about it in our latest report, David Benkof: Behind the Mask.

UPDATE

Since the publishing of this report, some of the language on the Gays Defend Marriage website has changed. The site continues, however, to deceptively list as “concerned about defending marriage” those who whole-heartedly support marriage equality.

More Anti-Semitism From “Pro-Family” Activists?

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2008

UPDATE: I make mistakes from time to time. And I’ll even admit to it when I do. :)I misread Gary Glenn’s poorly written article about David Benkof’s (inaccurate) reporting of comments made by Sean Kosofsky. I thought that Glenn was noting that Kosofsky was Jewish when upon closer inspection it appears as though the comment was about Benkof being Jewish.

Frankly, I find it odd that there is a need to note that ANYONE in this story is Jewish. And I think that including this irrelevant fact in Glenn’s opinion piece is peculiar.

But, as commenter Truthteller noted, Glenn did not present a Jew=bad dynamic in his piece as I had earlier thought and reported.

Gary Glenn, President of AFA-Michigan, started off a bitch and moan articleon Peter LaBarbera’s website thusly

Michigan’s largest homosexual activist group says once marriage is legally redefined to include homosexual couples, business owners and even news media outlets who refuse to recognize such marriages should be jailed or sued and “publicly slapped,” a Jewish and openly bisexual columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News reported Monday.

Hmmm. Something seems out of place there. I’ll get back to that.

Glenn goes on at quite some length quoting from an opinion piece by David Benkof, an opponent of gay marriage. Benkof, who writes in GaysDefendMarriage.com, attributes outlandish quotes to a number of people. And Glenn repeats them as fact.

Now, having had interaction with Benkof in the past, I was not at all surprised to find his version of the truth to be disputed. Jeremy at Good-As-You reports,

By the way, we have dialogued with someone who is quoted in the article. He confirms our suspicions that Mr. Benkoff has completely misrepresented/discontextualized his words.

Benkof is an interesting guy. As David Bianco, he built up a gay news source only to have a spiritual epiphany, denounce sex, and adopt a new “sexual identity”. (Benkof seems to have a bit of a fluid identity and, as best I can tell, uses whatever gives him the most credibility at the moment). Since then he’s taken it upon himself to oppose gay marriage whenever he can.

He’s also, in my opinion, arrogant, abrasive, and obnoxious.

So it’s not at all odd that a pro-family leader would leap right up and delight in quoting Benkof and repeating his claims. An anti-gay activist that presents as LGBT is a dream to anti-gays.

But that’s not what I found interesting in Glenn’s article. What is more fascinating than Glenn’s reliance on Benkof is what he leaves out of his article. Glenn never mentions that Bekhof’s religious conversion was not to Christianity, but rather to Orthodox Judaism.Glenn denounces the “Jewish and openly bisexual columnist” but never mentions the religious/ethnic affiliation of Benkof, the one he wants to present as credible. Bad guy: Jew; good guy: well, let’s not talk about it.

Now from my point of view, this is either blatant anti-Semitism or at least an appeal to those who are. Considering LaBarbara’s affilitations with Ted Pike, it doesn’t surprise me to see anti-Semitism on his website. But you’d think that the head of a state wide pro-family organization would be more careful not to reveal his bigotry.