Sen. Al Franken Is My New Favorite Senator
July 20th, 2011
During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) eviscerated the testimony of Thomas Minnery, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Focus on the Family. Minnery was caught red-handed what anti-gay activists reflexively do: they lie about the research:
Franken: Mr Minnery, on page eight of your written testimony, you write, quote “Children living with… their own married, adoptive or biological mothers and fathers were generally healthier and happier, had better access to health care, were less likely to suffer mild or severe emotional problems, did better in school, were protected from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, and almost never live in poverty compared to children in any other family form.”
You cite a Department of Health and Human Services Study, that I have right here, from December 2010, to support this conclusion. I checked this study out. (Laughter) And I would like to enter it into the record, if I may. And it actually doesn’t say what you said it says. It says that “nuclear families,” not “opposite sex married families” are associated with those positive outcomes. Isn’t it true, Mr Minnery, that a married same-sex couple that has had or adopted kids would fall under the definition of a nuclear family in the study that you cite?
Minnery: I would think that the study, when it cites “nuclear families,” would mean a family headed by a husband and a wife.
Franken: It doesn’t. [Laughter] The study defines a nuclear family as “one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents to all the children in the family.” And I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies these ways.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) comes in at a photo-finish second in the race for my new favorite Senator:
Leahy: Are those children benefited by saying that in that family, they will not have the same financial benefits that another family, a maried couple of opposite sex would have? Are those children not put at a disadvantaved by denying those same benefits to them, and I’m talking about now a legal marriage under the state laws of the state they live in?
Minnery: No. Without question, those children are certainly better off than having no parents. But…
Leahy: Wait a minute. I don’t understand. They’d be better off if they had no parents?
Minnery: No, they’re certainly better of than if they had no home headed by parents. But same-sex marriage is a whole lot more than that, Senator.
Leahy: But I’m trying to go specifically to the financial. Are they not disadvantaged by not having the same financial benefits that in a…. an opposite sex family would have?
Minnery: Well, as I say, not knowing the details of which families you are speaking off, certainly those families are better off… children are better off with parents in the home. But what I’m saying…
Leahy: But, I’m talking about… Yes or no, it’s not a trick question. I’m just asking. [Laughter] Please. If you have parents legally married under the laws of the state. One set of parents are entitled to certain financial benefits for their children, the other set of parents are denied those same financial benefits for their children. Are not those children, at least in that aspect of finances, are not those children of the second family, are they not at a disadvantage, yes or no?
Minnery: That would be yes, as you asked the question narrowly, Senator.
Leahy: Thank you. I was asking it narrowly. I used to have a career where I had to ask questions all the time.
What’s the Difference Between Boycotting and Bullying Again?
April 29th, 2011
Focus On the Family tried to define the difference in the context over the law firm of King & Spalding’s refusal to take up the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of the GOP-led House of Representatives. K&S backed out, citing what they called an “inadequate” vetting process for taking the case in the first place. One likely sticking points with the firm was may have been the blanket gag order imposed on all K&S employees barring all advocacy for DOMA’s legislative repeal, a provision which not only would have infringed upon K&S employees First Amendment rights, but would likely have been illegal in several states in which K&S operates.
Focus On the Family ignores that, and instead latches onto to a bragging press release from the Human Rights Campaign. HRC boasted that they had contacted several of K&S’s clients:
[HRC spokesman Fred] Sainz said his group did not ask any of the firm’s clients to drop the firm in retaliation for taking the case, as is being assumed by conservatives who are alleging an untoward pressure campaign. Rather, he said, his group informed the firm’s clients that taking the case was out of sync with King and Spalding’s commitment to diversity, which it proudly advertises on its Web site.
One of K&S’s clients, Coca-Cola, reportedly nudged K&S pointing out that K&S’s position was contrary to Coca-Cola’s ” long public history of support for equality and diversity.” K&S was also facing a growing backlash among its own employees. Focus on the Family’s Bruce Hausknecht is blind to all that, latching instead onto HRC’s boast as a clear example of “Bullying, Strong-arming, Veiled Threats, etc.”
Threats of what? You may well ask. As far as anyone can tell, the threat would be, at most, the threat of a boycott against either K&S itself, or against its clients. Threatening boycotts, according to Hausknecht, is bullying, even though Focus On the Family has threatened boycotts on any number of occasions — although, to be fair, not nearly as often as the American Family Association. But okay. Threats of boycotts is now bullying. Fine.
Now that K&S has dropped the DOMA case, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s has barred the law firm from handling any business on behalf of the commonwealth. It’s not clear that K&S is actually handling any cases on Virginia’s behalf — Cuccinelli appears uncertain and asks K&S (PDF: 176KB/2 pages) to check their records and submit any final bills accordingly — but K&S definitely will not receive any business from Virginia in the future. Cuccinelli harrumphs with a final sign-off: “For future reference, your firm is not welcome to re-apply for special counsel status at any time as long as I am the Attorney General of Virginia.”
Hausknecht cheers this act of bullying, strong-arming, and not-so-veiled threats as an act worthy of his “straight-talkin’ award.” At least I assume Hausknecht — ever the straight-takin’ guy — considers Cuccinelli’s act as an example of bullying, strong-arming, and not-so-veiled threats. Because if he doesn’t, then his distinction between boycotting and bullying rests solely on the outcome of the act, and not the action itself. And that would also mean that threatening to with draw business (what he calls “bullying” even though no harm is actually done) is somehow worse than actually withdrawing business from K&S (where economic harm is actually done, but somehow that’s not bullying).
Come to think of it, that kind of twisted thinking does go along way toward explaining Focus On the Family’s consistent opposition to anti-bullying measures in schools. Maybe they only object to the threats, and not to the punches.
GOP Names Focus Officer to Debate Committee
April 4th, 2011
Tom Minnery, director of Focus On the Family’s CitizenLink has been selected to serve on the GOP’s committee to determine what role the Republican National Committee will play in primary Presidential debates. Says Minnery:
They wanted someone who represents social conservatives, who is not a member of the (Republican National) Committee,” he said, “and that’s why they asked me.
“The party wants the candidate forums to be driven by party activists and grassroots representatives, and less by the national media that televise these events. The idea is that the party ought to be able to have some say over who poses questions to the candidates running for the party’s nomination for president.”
Kinda explains the GOP’s sudden shift back toward social issues, doesn’t it?
Anti-Gay Activists React to DOMA Announcement
February 23rd, 2011
Brian Brown from National Organization for Marriage lost his already limited capacity for original thought and channels John Paul Jones:
We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.”The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as President Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”
Maggie Gallagher chimes in:
On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama,” said Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM, “On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway. The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”
Regardless of President Obama’s own ideological agenda, as President, he and his Attorney General have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts. Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman. Today President Obama has abandoned his role as President of the United States and transformed his office into the President of the Divided States. He has been the most divisive president in American history. He has today declared war on the American people and the fundamental values that are shared by most Americans. His radicalism resulted in the historical push-back in the 2010 elections. His radicalism today will come back around when the people respond to this betrayal in 2012,” said Staver.
Focus On the Family’s Tom Minnery wants Congressional Republicans to drop whatever they’re doing and pick up the flag:
“We would hope Congress uses the tools at its disposal to counter this decision and defend marriage,” Minnery said.
What should Congress do? Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins wants Congress to take Holder’s bait by dropping their “only interested in the deficit” mantra and reveal what many suspect to be their true colors:
“With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President’s neglect of duty,” concluded Perkins.
“I think it’s a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues,” Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. “Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they’re obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender.”
So far, House Speaker John Boehner is staying on message and has declined to take the bait:
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized the administration change of position. “While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation,” said spokesman Brendan Buck.
Update: Potential GOP Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee found a clever way to blame gay marriage for increasing the deficit:
Nonetheless, Huckabee opposes gay marriage on the grounds that, according to him, it destroys traditional families. “There is a quantified impact of broken families,” Huckabee said. “[There is a] $300 billion dad deficit in America every year…that’s the amount of money that we spend as taxpayers to pick up the pieces because dads are derelict in their duties.”
Focus On the Family on DADT: “It’s Too Late To Care Now”
December 21st, 2010
Yes, that petulant schoolyard retort wasn’t an Onion headline, but CitizenLink’s. The Focus On the Family house organ posted this commentary by Bill Spencer, a retired Air Force colonel who is now a Focus employee:
I ask you, fellow citizen, after Saturday’s vote, would you give your life for our Senate? Would you give your life for our president? Or, would you go home to your family? Sadly, you know the answers already. If you never made a phone call or never entered the debate on this issue, it’s too late to care now.
Focus on the Family picks up “Day of Truth”
November 11th, 2010
The Day of Truth, conservative Christianity’s response to the Day of Silence, is moving to it’s third home in two years. While the Day of Silence has always been about recognizing the way in which gay students are silenced by culture, bullying and misunderstanding, the Day of Truth has had trouble identifying its message, meaning or audience.
The Day of Truth was originally started by Alliance Defense Fund as a tool to provoke confrontation between conservative Christian kids and their public school administrators. In 2004, Tyler Chase Harper wore a t-shirt to Poway High School on the Day of Silence which expressed his disagreement with recognizing the concerns of gay students. The front read “Be Ashamed” and “Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned,” and on the back, “Homosexuality is Shameful” and “Romans 1:27.”
When Harper was required to remove his message of condemnation, the ADF picked up his case claiming that his rights to freedom of religion and expression were being violated. The following year they rolled out the Day of Truth (“the truth cannot be silenced”) to encourage more students to protest the Day of Silence, but on the following day. A handy referral number to attorneys-standing-by was included, giving a none-to-subtle hint of the purpose of the event.
The first year was not particularly successful. And litigation on the Harper case was revealing that courts were not finding that he had a right to disparage fellow student in the public schools, so ADF decided to take a different approach.
In 2006, ADF shifted focus slightly. While their efforts continued to “counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective” they also began guiding gay students towards ex-gay efforts. Softening the message of being anti-gay with a flavoring of “help for those struggling with homosexuality”, there was hope that Christian students would feel adequately justified in encouraging the culture of condemnation of homosexuality.
But “there’s hope for them” messages don’t really inspire teens. It takes stronger emotions, like compassion or contempt, to really get through. So while Day of Silence continued to spread with it’s “don’t bully” message, the Day of Truth’s vaguer “we disagree but don’t call us bigots” campaign struggled.
Contributing to DoT’s difficulties was an onslaught of competing messages from other conservative Christians. As early as 2006, those who wanted a stronger, militant, and more hostile message proposed alternative responses. That year PFOX (a sort of PFLAG for parents who refused to accept that their kids are gay) and Liberty Counsel (ADF’s wackier cousin anti-gay law firm) proposed a “Change is Possible Campaign“.
That didn’t really fly, but other alternatives were proposed. In 2008, Pastor Ken Hutchinson in Washington led a campaign to encourage students to stay home on the Day of Silence. Now “stay home from school” was a message that kids could take to heart and nearly a third of Mt Si High students played hookie. So in 2009, a number of the more extreme anti-gay activists attempted to take the stay-home protest nationwide. It failed.
But Day of Truth was hit with another challenge, one they likely did not expect. Dr. Warren Throckmorton challenged the premise that the Christian obligation was to defend bullies. He proposed that the way Christian kids should respond to the plight of anti-gay bullying is not with protest but with compassion and support. His Golden Rule Pledge allowed Christian kids to keep their religious code of sexual ethics but to pledge to treat gay kids the way they would want to be treated.
Bracketed by contrasting calls for more condemnation and more compassion, the Day of Truth was confronted by its worst enemy: a lack of interest. Secular newspapers found them slightly distasteful, but not enough to be shocking and newsworthy. And even religious news sources couldn’t find anything new or interesting to say about their efforts. So, after four years, Alliance Defense Fund had had enough.
In January 2009, ADF gifted Exodus International with the Day of Truth.
This was a bit of an awkward fit. Exodus, the umbrella ex-gay organization, was at this time going through a reevaluation of their interaction with the gay community. Although they had in the past become quite involved in anti-gay political efforts, they were recommitting their focus to those who “struggle with unwanted homosexuality” and stepping back from activism. So instead of a day dedicated to “countering the homosexual agenda”, the Day of Truth now morphed into a lukewarm ex-gay appeal. (Baptist Press)
As part of Monday’s Day of Truth students will pass out cards during non-class time with a message, which says in part, “It’s time for an honest conversation about homosexuality. There’s freedom to change if you want to.”
The 2010 Day of Truth was somewhat uneventful. Years of squabbling over the message and ownership of the opposition to the Day of Silence had worn everyone out and it may also be that by this time Exodus’ heart just wasn’t in it.
And Exodus’ continued introspection and evolution had them backing away from talk about “change”. The Jones and Yarhouse Study update had come out and it was pretty clear that “freedom to change if you want to” was no longer a viable claim. So, yet again, the message shifted – this time to mutual respect and conversation about sexual ethics.
This year’s theme for the Day of Truth is “Get the Conservation Started.” Students can wear T-shirts and pass out cards with the message: “People with differing, even opposing, viewpoints can freely exchange ideas and respectfully listen to each other. It’s time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality. Let’s get the conversation started!”
And then came September 2010 and report after report of teens committing suicide after experiencing anti-gay bullying. It was, no doubt, extremely troubling to Exodus. Many of the leaders in Exodus have over the year expressed how they were bullied in school and I’m sure they found it easy to see themselves in these kids. And while the nation was shocked by the string of incidents, it is without doubt that Exodus found the news to be horrifyingly personal.
In October 2010, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, jettisoned the event.
“All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they’d like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.
With neither ADF or Exodus wanting to continue, it was uncertain whether they would be a seventh Day of Truth or, if so, who would lead it and what the message would be. But now it appears that the Day of Truth will be picked up by Focus on the Family and renamed and repackaged. (CNN)
A major Christian group will take over an annual event that challenges homosexuality, weeks after the event’s main Christian sponsor pulled support for the student-focused program, saying it had become too divisive and confrontational.
Focus on the Family, an influential evangelical organization, will begin sponsoring the event known as the Day of Truth but will change the name of the happening to the Day of Dialogue, the group is set to announce Thursday.
And it appears that yet again, the Day’s message will change. If statements by FotF’s Candi Cushman are indicative, the Day of Dialogue will readopt strident anti-gay messaging and take a more aggressive political stance.
“We’re trying to raise awareness that more than one side needs to be heard on the issue of homosexuality, and we’re helping to ensure Christian students have the chance to express their viewpoint,” said Candi Cushman, a Focus on the Family education analyst, in the release. “What is freedom of speech, after all, but a guarantee of the right to have dialogue?”
Focus on the Family in general and Candi Cushman in particular have a long history of expressing the “Christian viewpoint on homosexuality” and it has never been in terms that were sympathetic of bullied children or tolerant of others. It is highly doubtful that respect for differing viewpoints will be the theme of the Day of Dialogue – Focus doesn’t “diologue” that way.
I hope that I’m wrong. Early press releases on their sponsorship emphasize “love” as much as they do “truth”.
As these verses demonstrate, the model Christ gave us is one of sacrificial love that lays down one’s own life to rescue others. So Day of Dialogue activities should always reflect that spirit. Any verbal and written expressions used by students participating in this event should be loving and compassionate—and never be expressed in a condemning or antagonistic way to others. Even when we disagree with others, we should always demonstrate the utmost compassion and respect for them.
But far too often, Focus’ perspective of what is “loving” and that of the target of their “love” can be diametrically opposed. And if their new Day of Dialogue is an extension of their “True Tolerance” program, we can expect a rather obvious absence of truth, tolerance and love, sacrificial or otherwise, and in their place a call to reverse and remove the anti-bullying programs that are trying to provide support to LGBT youth. While Exodus found empathy for bullied kids, Focus identifies with the bullies.
In fact, we already know pretty much what Focus has in mind – confrontation and stereotypes:
It’s very politically incorrect these days to talk about male-female differences. If you want to see a good argument develop, just ask a group of students if there even are any differences. The unique and wonderful complementary qualities of masculinity and femininity have been blurred so that many see men and women as virtually interchangeable. Or the differences get exaggerated into over-the-top caricatures. But despite these distortions, we still see God’s separation of humanity into male and female, different but complementary, and equally of great value.
That, and fun things like the assertion that no one is really gay, or that “homosexual and “transgender” rights activists continue to do everything in their power to radically deconstruct the traditional and biblical understanding of sexuality, gender and marriage across all arenas of culture.”
So it seems that the Day of Truth has come full circle, back to a day of confrontation and condemnation. I doubt that it will be well received.
Co Senate Candidate: “You Have A Choice” To Be Gay; Focus Agrees
October 19th, 2010
The Colorado Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, Ken Buck, said in an interview on Meet the Press Sunday that he thought being gay was a “choice”:
“You can choose who your partner is. You don’t think it’s something that’s determined at birth?” host David Gregory asked. “I think that birth has an influence on it like alcoholism and some other things but I think that basically you have a choice.”
Focus On the Family’s Jeff Johnston defended Buck’s comment:
Jeff Johnston, Focus on the Family social policy analyst, said Monday, “Alcohol affects your whole body, and so does sexual behavior. The highly addictive (aspect of both) is an apt comparison.”
Focus on the Family discusses bullying with Anderson Cooper
September 2nd, 2010
Focus on the Family’s Candi Cushman thinks that Safe Schools is about homosexuality lessons in kindergarten. Yes, she truly does look like an idiot.
When Does Opposition to Suicide Prevention Equal Murder?
September 1st, 2010
Three teens at a Minnesota school district have committed suicide over the past year after enduring anti-gay bullying. The Anoka-Hennepin School Board claims that they take bullying seriously, but they’ve refused to implement anti-bullying education programs aimed specifically at anti-gay bullying — which is precisely the issue that has led to three deaths this year. A group of anti-gay parents have formed a pressure group to support the board’s anti-gay stance, and they have the full backing of Focus On the Family:
Focus supports bullying prevention,[Focus On the Family education “expert”Candi] Cushman said. “But this issue is being hijacked by activists. They shouldn’t be politicizing or sexualizing the issue of bully prevention.”
Cushman founded TrueTolerance.org, which says it helps Christian parents “confront the gay agenda,” which she said includes homosexual-themed curricula, books with sexually graphic content and anti-religion stereotypes, assemblies and celebrations.
Nobody is “sexualizing” bullying prevention — there won’t be skimpy outfits or go-go dancers or suggestive poses involved with talking about anti-gay violence — and if anyone is politicizing bullying prevention, it’s people who, for some strange reason, don’t appear interested in ending anti-gay bullying which led to these three deaths.
The best way not to solve a problem is not to talk about the problem. And since Focus’ position is that we should not talk about the problem, at some point you have to wonder if, in some unspoken dark corner of their collective souls, they see these suicides as serving their purposes. Focus consistently portrays the “homosexual lifestyle” as synonymous with abject misery — rampant drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide. And, coincidentally or not, they consistently oppose efforts to constructively address drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide among gay youth. After all, if we really were to address drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide among gay youth by actually talking about drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide among gay youth with an eye toward identifying solutions to these problems instead of using those problems as a hammer, then drug abuse, ST’s, depression and suicide among gay youth might actually go down. And the “homosexual lifestyle” won’t seem so full of misery, will it?
Prop 8 Supporters React
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.
“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.
Layoffs Rumored at Focus On the Family
July 30th, 2010
The Colorado Springs-based organization has been faring poorly over the past several years. Today the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Focus On the Family is likely to incur yet another round of downsizing in order to fit its operations within declining revenues. Rumors have it that another 100 people may lose their jobs.
Focus currently employs about 850 people, which is significantly down from its peak of about 1,500 in 2000.
Ex-Gays Celebrating Misery And Tragedy In Lives Of Gay People Is Hardly New
May 19th, 2010
Earlier today Ex-Gay Watch posted on a statement made by Exodus president Alan Chambers on his Facebook fan page:
Heard from a couple this morning who have been praying for their daughter and her partner to come to Christ for 22 years. Both accepted Jesus, broke off their relationship and are pursuing a life in Christ. God is faithful and answers prayers. Be encouraged no matter your circumstances!
Unfortunately celebrating misery and tragedy in the lives of gay and lesbian people is nothing new for leaders in the ex-gay movement. A while back I found, but didn’t post about, a passage from Mike Haley’s 2004 book “101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality.” Appearing on pages 46 & 47:
Mike Haley starts off his response with explaining how gay people often feel elated at coming out so let’s jump to the end of his response where he issues actual advise:
The key for your son in the weeks and months to come is for him to realize it’s not too late to turn back. This is where the church and loved ones like you come in. If he hears that change is possible, that he was not “made” this way, and that he is loved within godly boudaries even if his lifestyle choices don’t change immediately, there is hope that when the feeling of relief wears off and the emptiness sets in, he will try to live his life in line with God’s will.
In the meantime, I advise you to pray that he becomes as miserable as possible, as soon as possible, and that God will protect him through it. [emphasis added]
As I said before, I discovered that passage years ago when I first read the book and in all that time have been unable to formulate a response to something so wicked and ugly. However with Ex-Gay Watch bringing light to Alan’s celebration I realized this sadly is not a unique case and that attention needed to be brought to it.
I should add the first page of Haley’s book is filled with endorsements by Alan Chambers, Jeff Konrad, Joe Dallas, and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. I’m curious if they too wish for misery and tragedy to fall upon the lives of gay and lesbian people.
Why Did Melissa Fryrear Leave Focus On The Family?
May 12th, 2010
The Colorado Springs Gazette’s “The Pulpet” blog makes note of the news that Melissa Fryrear, the longtime “senior analyist on gender issues” at Focus On the Family, is no longer with the organization. Neither Fryrear nor Focus will comment on her leaving, although Carrie Gordon Earll, Focus’ senior director of issues analysis, told The Pulpet’s Mark Barna that Fryrear resigned to pursue speaking opportunities.
Fryrear, you may recall, has been an integral part of the Love Won Out ex-gay roadshow, in which she consistently asserts that she has never met a gay man or woman who has not been molested or sexually abused.
Fryrear’s departure comes after it was announced the Focus On the Family would no longer co-sponsor and produce the Love Won Out conferences with Exodus International. Fryrear not only directed those conferences when they were under the Focus umbrella, but she was also a keynote speaker and conducted several breakout sessions as well. Fryrear did give her keynote speech at the first all-Exodus LWO conference held in San Diego on March 6 of this year, but it appears that she did not give any of her usual workshops. Sometime after that, Fryrear was either separated, or she separated herself, from Focus On the Family. Circumstances and timing remains murkey. Fryrear is also no longer speaking at upcoming Love Won Out conference scheduled for June in Irvine, California. This led Barna to try to learn why:
Attempts to reach Fryrear at her east Colorado Springs home have been unsuccessful. Having learned of my attempts to contact Fryrear, [Focus spokesman Gary] Schneeberger told me Saturday that she won’t speak to me.
Has Fryrear had a change of heart toward faith-based reparative therapy, leading to her resignation?
A ministry colleague of Fryrears doesn’t believe that is the case.
Karen Keen, who operates an online site called Pursue God, writes on her blog that in conversations with Fryrear over the years she’s expressed a desire to “pursue other ministry opportunities not related to homosexuality.”
Porno Pete Calls Focus On The Family A Bunch Of Sissies
April 29th, 2010
Jim Daly, Focus On the Family’s new CEO who replaced James Dobson, has been trying to move the organization into a more kinder, gentler sort of an anti-gay organizations. Of course, none of their policies or tactics have actually changed and it would seem that the contributors to the Drive-By… err, Drive Thru blog don’t seem to have gotten the memo on the niceness thing. But there are reports that Daly wants to make Focus’s mean policies magically appear somehow, I dunno, softer in their meanness, all to attract more “millennials” who hold a distinctly dim view of Focus’ anti-gay politics.
The mere hint that Focus might put on a veneer of civility has Peter “Porno Pete” LaBarbera in a tizzy. His latest headline: Is Jim Daly Emasculating Focus on the Family?
Matt Barber adds names to Hate Group list
March 24th, 2010
As we told you, Peter Labarbera’s amusingly misnamed website, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, has been named a hate website by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And while I see this as a reasonable classification for a man whose “religious objection to homosexuality” always seems to be expressed in the vilest terms of contempt for gay individuals, fellow anti-gay activist Matt Barber (who sits on AFTAH’s board) has leapt to the Peter’s defense.
Writing in third person, he declares that this addition to the hate list entirely discredits the SPLC. And besides, AFTAH is no different from a number of other groups.
“It’s a ‘hate group,’ mudslinging good time!” joked Barber. ” Let’s try it on for size. In exercise of the SPLC’s trademark ‘I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I’ criteria for determining ‘hate group’ status, I hereby declare the Southern Pov Law Center an officeal ‘anti-Christian, anti-conservative hate group.’ Try it, it’s fun.
“But seriously,” continued Barber, “If AFTAH is a ‘hate group,’ then so is Liberty Counsel, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church.”
Well now, Matt, those are interesting nominations. You’ve given us something to think about.