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Posts for September, 2010

The Tea Party Doesn’t Care About Social Issues, Ctd.

Jim Burroway

September 18th, 2010

From Peter at Right Wing Watch, who attended the Values Voters Summit yesterday in Washington, D.C.:

A Tea Party panel brought together three activists who told stories about their own transformations from being moms and conservatives who minded their own business to becoming activists. Activists Katie Abram and Billie Tucker said their Tea Party work was guided by God waking them up early in the morning with instructions, the same way, one said, God does with Glenn Beck. Tucker describes a disagreement among organizers of their local tea party group. When one argued against adding moral issues to the mission, Tucker responded, saying “God did not wake me up for four months at four in the morning to say, ‘Billie, we’ve got a tax issue.’ He woke me up because he said my country doesn’t love me like it used to love me.”

Tea Party Express Leader Denies Social Issues Are Part Of Agenda

Jim Burroway

September 17th, 2010

Tea Party Express chairperson Amy Kremer is attending the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. this weekend, where she will appear as a panelist. While she was there, she sat down with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who pressed her on taking a stand on social issues. Said Kremer, “If we go and allow religion and social issues to become a big part of this movement, this movement is going to fall apart.”

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So there you have it. The Tea Party Express has no stake in social issues. Which is why their chairperson is attending a three-day conference dedicated to social issues conducted by the Family Research Council.

Tea Party Express was founded by a Sacramento-based GOP political consulting firm in 2008. Which means it’s totally nonpartisan too. Former Tea Party Express chairman Mark Williams, incensed over plans to build an Islamic community center two blocks from New York’s Ground Zero, said Muslims worshipped a “monkey-god.” Which means they are totally not xenophobic either.

David Boies: Junk Science, Fear and Prejudice Were Put On Trial and Lost

Jim Burroway

August 9th, 2010

David Boies, one of plaintiff’s lawyers for the gay couples successfully challenging the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8 in Federal District Court, was on CBS’s Face The Nation yesterday morning, where he eviscerated the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins on their “junk science.”

It’s easy to sit around in debate and throw around opinions and appeal to people’s fear and prejudice, cite studies that either don’t exist or don’t say what you say they do. In a court of law, you’ve got to come in and you’ve got to support those opinions. You’ve got to stand up under oath and cross examination.

And what we saw at trial is that it’s very easy for people who want to deprive gay and lesbian citizens the right to vote [sic]  make all sorts of statements in campaign literature or in debates where they can’t be cross examined. But when they come into court and they have to support those opinions, and they have to defend those opinions under oath and cross examination, those opinions just melt away.

And that’s what happened here. There simply wasn’t any evidence. There weren’t any of “those studies.” There weren’t any empirical studies. That’s just made up. That’s just junk science. And it’s easy to say that on television, but the witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court, you can’t do that. And that’s what we proved. We put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost.

Meanwhile, Ted Olson was on Fox New Sunday defending Judge Vaughn Walker against claims of “judicial activism.” Olson deftly defined “judicial activism” this way: “Most people use the term judicial activism to explain decisions they don’t like.”

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Olson cited the case of Reitman v. Mulkey, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s Prop 14 of 1963 because it violated the U.S. Constitution due to its racial discrimination, despite the fact that Californians overwhelmingly supported it at the ballot box. Money quote: “Would you like Fox News’ right to free press put up to a vote?”

Also this, on conservative values: “We believe that a conservative value is stable relationships and stable community and loving individuals coming together and forming a basis that is a building block of our society, which includes marriage.”

LaBarbera Award: Family Research Council

Jim Burroway

August 5th, 2010

The Family Research Council has detected a conspiracy:

After two decades of criticism that he wasn’t gay-friendly enough, the 65-year-old judge paid back his skeptics with the most powerful rebuke against man-woman marriage this country has ever seen. Back in 1987, his impartiality on homosexual issues was so stunning that Democrats actually opposed his nomination to the court where he now sits. But the reporter writes, “We now know what Walker never bothered to reveal when he was being castigated as anti-gay: He is gay.”

It turns out that the Judge behind Proposition 8′s undoing was just biding his time until he could unleash his ultimate agenda: decimating marriages that have defined civilization since the beginning of time.

How clever is that? Judge walker threw everyone off by his “impariality” for twenty-three years. First, in a particularly inspired stroke of brilliance, he got himself blocked for being too “anti-gay” when conservative icon Ronald Reagan tried to appoint him to the Federal bench in 1987. But hat was okay because he knew, clever as he was, that another Republican President, George H.W. Bush, would manage to get his second appointment attempt through the Senate just two years later. Successfully embedded, all he had to do was just wait there for the next two decades until someone would decide to propose, campaign for, and pass a state constitutional amdendment banning same-sex marriage. And to do that, of course they would use animus against LGBT people to achieve their noble aims. Because, you see, Walker knew that would happen. He also knew that he would still have to bide his time until someone else brought a Federal suit against the state of California and file it in San Francisco. And he just sat there, omnicient and all-powerful, waiting for his trap to spring as the random selection process that assigned cases to judges landed the lawsuit onto Walker’s docket. And with that, his diabolical plan had come to fruition and he could finally “unleash his ultimate agenda.”

Genius!

For good measure, the FRC ominously hints that the decision striking down Prop 8 may lead to violence:

 In the meantime, the Left might want to think twice about its victory lap. Instead of aiding their cause, this decision is feeding the unrest across America that our government has become tyrannical.

Insane consipracy theories and warnings of violence. That’s a very combustible combination. Be wary folks. Things are going to get really rough for a while.

Prop 8 Supporters React

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Land demands the revival of the Federal Marriagae Amendment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glamtrack: FRC Warns Against “Gays On A Train!”

Jim Burroway

August 3rd, 2010

The Family Research Council is really, really wierded out  that Amtrack is behaving like a typical travel company by targeting advertising to gays. You know, to people who like to travel. Goodness, we wouldn’t want Amtrack to, you know, go all consumer-focused on us, now would we? FRC doesn’t think so, anyway. They’d rather Amtrack remain a socialist money-losing behemoth. Their action alert went out two weeks ago. Rachel Maddow and Kent Jones responded:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Family Research Council: Military at Greater Risk of HIV if DADT is Repealed

Jim Burroway

July 29th, 2010

The Family Research Council released a podcast featuring the American Family Association’s Dr. Robert LaButta, a retired U.S. Army Col., who warned that repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would lead to rampant HIV, STDs, and psychological disorders in the military:

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Homosexuals are identified by the U.S. government as a cohort at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS. At the National HIV Prevention Conference in August 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that AIDS is 50 times more common in men who have sex with men (homosexuals and bisexuals) than in other populations. HIV is already a threat to military readiness–although HIV-positive recruits are excluded from the military, those who become HIV-positive while serving cannot be discharged, but they also cannot be deployed overseas. However, this is far from the only health risk to homosexuals.

One of the nation’s leading AIDS researchers, Ronald Stall, has declared, “It may be a fallacy to say that HIV is the dominant, most dangerous and most damaging epidemic among gay men in the United States today. There are at least four other epidemics occurring among gay men that are intertwining and making each other worse. This is called a syndemic.” The “four other epidemics” are “substance abuse, partner violence, depression and childhood sexual abuse.”

According to our estimates, the prevalence of HIV is probably below 10% of the total LGBT population. (Those estimates however are fought with unknowable variables, so caution is advised whenever anyone attempts to estimate HIV prevelance in the LGBT population.) All people entering the military are tested for HIV, and all military personnel are retested at periodic intervals.

[Hat tip: Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV]

Did FRC Lie To Congress About the Ugandan “Kill-The-Gays” Bill?

Jim Burroway

June 5th, 2010

The Family Research Council yesterday responded to criticisms that they lobbied Congress against a House resolution denouncing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As part of their response, they claimed that they wanted to make the resolution “more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill.” I have several concerns over the FRC’s ability to discern “factually accurate” information.

And knowing that supporters of Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill have spread false information themselves about what the bill actually includes, it’s still very much an open question what parts of the House resolution the FRC considered inaccurate. But this FRC radio broadcast from Tony Perkins soon after the National Prayer Breakfast of Feb 4, 2010 gives us a clue to what the FRC may have been telling Congress:

Does civility require the acceptance of all behavior? Hello, I am Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council. At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the podium calling for greater civility in Washington, which in my opinion is a laudable goal. However, his comments quickly turned to his preoccupation with defending homosexuality. The President criticized Ugandan leaders for considering enhance penalties for crimes related to homosexuality. The press has widely mischaracterized the law which calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children, which has been a problem in Uganda for years because the large number of orphans. The President said that “We may disagree about gay marriage, “but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.” Mr. President as long as you characterize efforts to uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable, as attacking people, civility will continue to evade us. [Emphasis mine]

This is lifted almost verbatin from Martin Ssempa’s false defense of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As we’ve gone over before again and again, Perkins’ clam that the law calls for the death penalty for intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS or that it only addresses those who prey on vulnerable individuals is flat-out wrong. And as is typical with the bill’s supporters, the FRC refuses to link to the actual text of the bill itself — something that we do with each and every post mentioning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. And they don’t for good reason: They don’t want you to know what the bill really says.

So once again, as we have done so many times in the past, let’s look at the bill again. Here’s the clause defining “Aggravated Homosexuality”:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;

(b) offender is a person living with HIV;

(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;

(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;

(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;

(f) offender is a serial offender, or

(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by  enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,

(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.

Clause 3. (1) (b) was often cited to support the claim that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would impose the death penalty for the “deliberate” spread of HIV, but it is important to note that the bill contains no requirement that the intent be deliberate at all. In fact, the third subclause would suggest that the death penalty would apply upon receiving a positive serostatus result from an HIV test, which might very well be the first time the charged individual would know he or she was HIV-positive. Alternately, if the accused already knew he was HIV-positive, the proposed bill provides no acknowledgment that the accused’s partner may have known about it and entered into a consensual relationship.

Yes, clause 3. (1) (a) includes a prohibition against sex with a minor, and (e) prohibits sex with a “person with disability,” but again, this clause assumes that a disabled person — perhaps someone who is deaf, blind or in a wheelchair, for example — is unable to provide consent. Nowhere in the bill does it suggest that proof that the individual did not consent is needed.

And them of course, there’s the problem with (f), where the “offender is a serial offender.” That could mean anyone who has ever had more than one partner, or anyone who has had sex with his or her partner more than once. And as Rob Tisinai demonstrated, the bill is so badly written that the death penalty for the “serial offender” is so poorly written, just about anyone can be convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”

But as we have demonstrated so many times in the past, the Family “Research” Council’s inability to comprehend plain English has likely meant that they have provided factually incorrect information to the House and Senate.

I know the boys at FRC are very smart people with good reading comprehension skills. Which is why I know that if this is the message they brought to the Hill, they did so deliberately to obscure the true nature of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. And if anyone wants to obscure the true nature of the draconian bill to claim that all it does is “uphold(s) moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable,” then that can only mean one thing. The Family “Research” Council wants to kill you.

That’s the base assumption, and it’s a reasonable one. After all, we know they want to criminalize you. If they believe otherwise, then they need to come clean on exactly what they felt was so “factually inaccurate” about the House resolution.

[Hat tip to BTB reader L. Junius Brutus]

FRC’s latest clarification about Uganda resolution

Timothy Kincaid

June 4th, 2010

The Family Research Council has released the following statement:

Inaccurate internet reports have been circulating indicating that the Family Research Council lobbied “against” a congressional resolution condemning a bill proposed in Uganda. The Uganda bill would have provided for the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality.” Unfortunately, those spreading these false rumors deliberately failed to obtain the facts first.

FRC did not lobby against or oppose passage of the congressional resolution. FRC’s efforts, at the request of Congressional offices, were limited to seeking changes in the language of proposed drafts of the resolution, in order to make it more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.

FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality — nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct.

I guess they found a position on the death penalty. But it appears that they do not object to incarceration or other forms of punishment, so long as they still have access to the “criminal” so they can provide “pastoral, psychological and medical care and treatment.”

There is no ambivalence about their agreement with incarceration of gay people, just so long as you don’t inhibit the churches’ access to them. And I shudder to think of what kind of “medical treatment” the Family Research Council would advocate for those who “engage in homosexual conduct.”

FRC’s Response To Ugandan Resolution Lobbying Efforts Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Jim Burroway

June 4th, 2010

As Joe Jervis uncovered last night, the Family Research Council lobbied against a bipartisan House Resolution which expressed “unequivocal United States opposition to the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009’ introduced in the Ugandan Parliament.” It appears that the FRC’s position on Uganda’s proposal to impose the death penalty for gay people under certain circumstances was considerably more equivocal.

Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton contacted Tom McClusky, who was listed as one of the two lobbyists, in the FRC’s Lobbying Disclosure Report, and asked about their lobbying efforts:

While he declined to say which members were lobbied, he said, “We didn’t necessarily lobby against or for the resolution but tried to work with offices to make the language more neutral on homosexuality.” He added his recollection was that “the original language was incorrect on what Uganda was doing as well.” McClusky said the lobbying took place before the resolution was introduced but did not say what, if anything, was altered as the result of their efforts. As for the Ugandan bill, he said that the FRC has never taken a position on the death penalty. Regarding H.Res. 1064, he added, “We have not taken a public position on the current resolution.”

This opens far more questions than it answers. Here is what we still don’t know:

What “errrors” did the FRC seek to correct. As I read the current resolution, I see none. Were there, in fact, errors? This is important because we know very well that supporters of the bill have been disseminating false information about it. Was the FRC doing the same thing as well?

Now that we have a resolution that the FRC appears to have been concerned about, what is their position on it now? Do they still oppose its passage? Are they behind the reasons for resolution’s being stalled in the House?

And what is the FRC’s position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill itself? Do they support the death penalty or life imprisonment? Do they still support criminalization? Do they support the provisions which target friends, families, co-workers, and healthcare providers of gay people? Do they support state-sanctioned censorship against speaking out on the behalf of gay people?

The FRC opened this can of worms by lobbying on this issue. They clearly have an opinion about it and cared enough to spend thousands of dollars on it. With Ugandan lives at stake, it’s time for the FRC to fess up. Otherwise, based on past experience with this outfit, it is not at all unreasonable to assume the worst.

Family Research Council Supports Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

June 3rd, 2010

Joe Jervis was provided a copy of a 20-page Family Research Council lobbying report:

According to the FRC’s official lobbying report for the first quarter of 2010, they paid two of their henchmen $25,000 to lobby Congress against approving a resolution denouncing Uganda’s plan to execute homosexuals. The resolution passed in the Senate on April 13th, but remains languished in the House almost four months after being referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee. Did the FRC’s lobbying kill it?

It turns out that you can download the first quarter 2010 report yourself here. (You may have to change the filename extension to .pdf to view it) Right there on page 3, you will see House Resolution 1064, “Uganda Resolution, Pro-homosexual promotion” listed as the general lobbying issue area. Tom McClusky and David Christensen were listed as the lobbyists. McClusky is the FRC’s Vice President for Government Affairs. Christensen is the FRC’s Senior Director of Congressional Affairs.

I searched the Senate’s Lobbying reports and found a similar report filed by the FRC. (no direct link available, but you can search here for “Family Research Council” as the Registrant’s name to find the 4/12/2010 filing.) Page 3 of the Senate report for the fourth quarter of 2010  shows that McClusky and Christensen also lobbied U.S. Senators against the CIVH Res. 1064, which they list as “Ugandan Resolution, Pro-homosexual promotion.”

Both reports were filed on the FRC’s behalf by Paul J. Tripodi, FRC’s Vice President for Administration.

In a recent documentary, Ugandan MP David Bahati, who introduced the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in that nation’s Parliament, told Current TV that American evangelicals have told him privately that they support his “kill-the-gays” bill, despite publicly distancing themselves from the controversial proposal.

In February 2010, Peter Sprigg, the Family Research Council’s “Senior Fellow for Policy Studies” has said that he fully supports criminalizing homosexuality in the United States. In 2008, he quipped that he wanted to see all gay people deported. He later apologized for that remark.

Nonetheless, we now know that Tony Perkins, Peter Sprigg, Kenneth Blackwell, McClusky, Christensen and the rest of that ilk want you dead.

Dead, dead, dead.

With DADT Real Compromise In the Works, Panic Ensues

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2010

It’s time once again to lock up your tender military-aged sons and daughters. Now that it looks like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may be imminent, anti-gay extremists are pulling out every scare tactic to try to block the deal. They’re coming at it from so many bizarre angles that it is increasingly hard to keep up with them all.

First we have the Family “Research” Council claim that repealing DADT will result in a huge jump in “homosexual assaults.”“[H]omosexuals in the military are about three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are,” they say, using precisely the same kind of mathematical fallacies they’ve previously used to claim that gays sexually abuse children disproportionately to their numbers in the general population. A key fallacy is their claim that “over eight percent (8.2%) of all military sexual assault cases were homosexual in nature.” That may be, but that doesn’t mean that it was actually self-identified gays who committed those assaults. Prison-style rapists aren’t exactly confined to gay people. The FRC has no figures to tell them which of those assailants were actually gay, or were instead straight people on some sort of power-and-violence trip — which is the primary motive for almost all rapists, gay or straight. Somehow, the Family “Research” Council has missed that fundamental fact in its much-vaunted research.

But the FRC’s objections are positively genteel compared to some of the other ones coming out of the woodwork. Cliff Kincaid says that allowing gays to serve openly “could put them on a battlefield where other soldiers could come into contact with their infected blood and bodily fluids.” Meanwhile, the American Family Association has let its collective subconscious slip in warning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will “ram Gays-In-Minitary vote through Congress.”

Sheesh! And they say we’re the drama queens!

Review of Family Research Council’s study on lesbians

Timothy Kincaid

May 24th, 2010

The Family Research Council, an avid anti-gay activist group, has released a new ‘study’ which purports to inform about the factors contributing to the sexual orientation of lesbians.

Women (aged 14-44) who have not had a homosexual sexual partner in the past year are more likely to worship at least weekly and to have grown up in intact families than those who have had a homosexual sexual partner in the past year. According to the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), 2.1 percent of women who grew up in intact married families and attend religious services at least weekly have had a homosexual sexual partner in the year prior to being asked, followed by women who grew up in other family structures and worship at least weekly (4.6 percent), those who grew up in intact married families and never worship (7.3 percent), and those who grew up in other family structures and never worship (9.5 percent).

The database selected was the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by the CDC in 2002-03 (and includes women aged 15-44). The CDC provides an easily readable abstract of sexual behavior of Americans and shines some light on FRC’s claims.

Let’s look first at FRC’s discoveries about women and church attendance. I wasn’t able to locate the NSFG stats on church attendance, but I’ll assume that they didn’t just make them up:

Let’s stop for a second to chuckle about the astonishing discovery that lesbians are less likely to currently attend church. Oh, gee, gosh, why ever could that be?

The FRC seems to think that going to church chases the gay away, that women who go to church are less likely to catch the lesbian bug, but I think that they have the cart before the horse. The answer is found in their own “related insights”:

Michele Dillon of Yale University reported that 44 percent of frequent Catholic church attendees “said that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex were wrong,” compared to 10 percent “of those who attended occasionally or never.”

I don’t find it particularly surprising that lesbians avoid the place where they are four times as likely to have “good Christians” actively seeking to make their life miserable. I’m just surprised FRC thinks anyone is so foolish as to see this from the opposite direction.

But I was surprised at a few facts.

For example, I didn’t know that over half of frequent Catholic church attendees don’t find sexual relations between two adults of the same sex to be wrong. That’s encouraging, and that was from a 1996 report.

And I also didn’t know that nearly 3% of all women who attend church weekly or monthly have had a same-sex relationship in the past year. That’s pretty impressive. As we’ll see later, that’s nearly three quarters of all lesbians, a much higher percentage than I would have guessed.

But let’s look at the more serious claim, that family structure can influence eventual orientation. Or, as FRC put it, (Catholic News Agency)

“This research further undermines the claim that homosexuality is largely genetic or biological in origin,” said Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at Family Research Council, and co-author of the study.

“It is clear that social factors have a significant impact on whether a woman chooses to engage in homosexual relationships,” he noted.

Let’s address, for a moment, the nonsensical language equating homosexuality and “chooses to engage”.

Supposing that there was an identifiable link between childhood family structure and “whether a woman chooses to engage in homosexual relationships”, this would not automatically say something about her sexual orientation. It might tell us something about how she responds to her attractions, desires, or longings, but it would not inform us about whether they were there.

And the FRC knows full well that it is being deceptive on this issue. No credible scientist, activist, theorist or blogger has ever claimed that how one responds to one’s attractions – that is, “whether one chooses” – is genetic or biological. When discussing homosexuality, we are discussing attractions, not choices and FRC demonstrates their inherent dishonesty by seeking to conflate these separate issues.

But let’s see if a causal relationship between family structure and same-sex female relationships can be found in the NSFG data. I’ve not recalculated FRC’s percentages, but here is their graph:

FRC sees this as two demographics, married intact (the good families) and all the rest (the bad families). But, they don’t present the data in a way that is informative.

Looking at this graph one might think that each category has equal weight and is statistically valid. And one might also assume that having been raised in a married, always intact family greatly reduced the odds of a woman “choosing to engage in homosexual relationships.” But what FRC convenient forgets to mention is what the NSFG reports as the total percentage of women who actually have had a same-sex relationship in the past year: 4.4%.

In other words, FRC is seeing significance and relevance in reporting that there was 0.4% fewer women who had same-sex relationships from “good” families than from the population as a whole.

Zero point four percent.

Now I’m not sure how FRC got to their numbers. Either the cohabiting step-family category was so small a sub-sample as to have little influence on the population as a whole or they had a little problem with their excel schedule. But in any case, four tenths of one percent variance certainly does not demonstrate a correlation, much less a causation.

And if FRC cared in the slightest about honesty, integrity, or truth they would feel shame and retract their statement. But I think there’s about a 0.4% chance of that happening.

No “Rekers Purge” At Family Research Council

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2010

There have been numerous reports across the internet saying that the Family Research Council has “purged” Dr. George Rekers from their web site following news reports that Rekers had returned from a 10-day European vacation in the company of a male escort.

We did not post that report here at BTB because we were unable to confirm that a purge had actually taken place. David Robert, at Ex-Gay Watch looked into it and determine that the FRC’s protest that they haven’t purged Rekers from their web site appears to be correct:

At some point in the past, perhaps as far back as 2007, the FRC restructured it’s web site. The page describing their origins was changed to eliminate a couple of academics, Armand Nicholoi Jr. of Harvard University and George Rekers of the University of South Carolina. It now focuses more on conservative political figures such as Gerald P. Regier, Department of Health and Human Services in the Reagan administration.

The verbiage concerning Rekers and Nicholoi was moved to their FAQ where it remains (in the answer to the second question). However, even the May 1 Google cache of the page in question shows that it is the same as it was before the Miami New Times story broke.

That’s not to say that a purge isn’t on the way. But it doesn’t appear to have happened yet.

Exodus Co-Founder: Getting Married As A Leap Of Faith

A multi-part video interview series with Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International turned critic.

Daniel Gonzales

April 26th, 2010

Ex-gay Mike Haley showing off pictures of his wife and family while speaking at the Love Won Out ex-gay conference. Love Won Out is primarily attended by Christians who are unable to accept a gay friend of family member and wishes they would enter an ex-gay program. The message Mike's photos send is, "there's still hope for your gay loved one to turn straight and get married."

Some people in the ex-gay movement become so deeply involved they make the drastic step of getting married.  Michael Bussee took that step and talks today about his inner conflict in doing so.  Michael recognized he wasn’t a heterosexual when he got married but chose to anyway because he believed God would reward him with heterosexuality if he truly committed himself to God and took his vows as a leap of faith.

Once married Michael found himself in an uncomfortable position as a role model at Exodus and privately tried to discourage his own clients from marrying.

Lastly Michael talks about the damage caused by using marriage as proof of change and the collateral damage that occurs when mixed orientation (ex-gay) marriages come to an end.

(transcript after the jump)

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