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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for April, 2013

Maine Supremes hear NOM’s argument about why they alone don’t have to follow campaign law

Timothy Kincaid

April 11th, 2013

The State of Maine requires that campaigns disclose their contributors. The National Organization for Marriage pretends not to think that they are required to follow that law by engaging in a two step contribution process.

The campaign for banning equality in Maine was a separate organization from NOM. But NOM was their primary (almost exclusive) funder. So contributions were made to NOM and then NOM gave money to the campaign and the campaign only disclosed that NOM was it’s funder, thus keeping the identity of the Catholic Church original contributor secret.

NOM is arguing that they have no obligation to report the donors, as they were just regular ol’ contributions made for NOM’s general purpose, not targeted contributions to oppose equality in Maine. But the state isn’t buying it and the courts have ruled against NOM in every instance.

Their last ditch resistance is today, where they will make their losing argument one more time, this time to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. I anticipate that the Supreme Court will not find their duplicity any more compelling than have the lower courts or the Federal Court.

Much credit for this situation goes to Fred Karger, who filed the complaints and has consistently pushed for NOM to be transparent.

Fred calls it quits

Timothy Kincaid

June 29th, 2012

Fred Karger has finally concluded that he is not going to win the Presidency this year. Okay, he knew it on the day he filed, but that was never his goal anyway. Fred just wanted a chance to challenge thinking about who can or cannot be gay and who can or cannot be a Republican.

Fred never reached his stated goal of debating the other Republican candidates in a televised debate. But that was because the Party and the media cheated. (And really, isn’t it disgusting that the mainstream media so dismissed him simply because he is gay while they got all in an excited gigglefest about other zero-chance candidates. No mainstream news channel called out the organizers when they refused Fred even though he met their stated standards.)

But Fred did do an amazing job of reaching people with his message. His novelty caught the attention of newspapers across the nation and many a teenager for the first time realized that a gay person could run for President. And he also provided that element which called out people on their BS. From the minor local Party people who had to ask themselves whether they really did have an objection to gay people running for office and, if so, what it was exactly to the raging homophobes who exposed themselves as such and now will soon experience the outcome of public hatred.

But Fred’s campaign – more of a gay PR campaign than a political one – is over.

LAGUNA BEACH, CA – “After 2 ½ years of campaigning as a candidate for President of the United States I am officially ending my historic campaign today June 29, 2012. It’s been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on. Special thanks to the thousands more who shared their stories with me in person, via email, facebook, twitter, etc. Every one of you kept me going.

It’s been the experience of a lifetime. I’ve made many new friends and undoubtedly picked up a few more detractors. I hope and trust that my discussion of the key issues helped to open dialog on fixing the economy, balancing the federal budget, creating jobs, education reform, the environment, immigration reform, ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and fighting for full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. We must move forward on these issues and many more.

A big thank you goes out to our incredible campaign team, most of whom have been around for nearly the entire 2 ½ years. Your dedication, spirit and great ideas made all the difference.

I plan to rest up for awhile and then I will be back at it to help in the fight for LGBT equality. We will let you know as soon as our exact course is determined.

Here at BTB we have a soft spot for Fred. Maybe it’s because when I met him, his first words were, “I was on the Turtle Box today looking up something on Uganda.” Maybe it’s because when you are on the ballot, the media can’t refuse to run advertisements like this one.

Or maybe it’s because he really is a charming dorky gay nerd who reached the highest levels of political involvement (he was a Presidential advisor) and was willing to spend a big chunk of his own money to try and help out kids out there in the red states who desperately need to know that they can grow up to be anything they want to be, including charming dorky gay nerd Presidents.

Runnin’ For President Ain’t Nuttin But A Booty Call

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2012

Fred Karger, the openly gay candidate who is still pressing his issues-based campaign for the Republican nomnation, had a rough go of it in Utah which will hold its primary on June 26. He met with Republican leaders and urged the LDS Church to end its campaigns against marriage equality. One of those GOP leaders he met was Washington County Party Chairman Willie Billings. Karger said that meeting went well — Karger gave Billings a Frisbee and a T-Shirt. But when Billings took the items home, his wife threw then out and fired off an email to the Karger campaign:

From: nanette Billings <—->
Subject: running for president

Message Body:
you are an idiot. You met with my husband Willie Billings today about you being on the Utah ballot. He brought your frisby and tshirt home and it is now out in the trash. I never want to hear from such a radical idiot again. you think you are conseritave? conseritave means you beleive in the values of the founding fathers and God. Do you know you cant procreate right? Well thank goodness for that Nanette Billings

She confirmed the email to Yahoo News. She also said:

“My feeling is the only reason he’s running for president is to find more [sexual] partners,” Nanette Billings told Yahoo News in a phone interview. “To get more people on his bandwagon.”

Who said Utahns are nice?

Karger beats Bachmann in New Hampshire

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2012

Granted Michele Bachmann had withdrawn from the race for the presidency. Nevertheless, it is with great amusement that we pass on this information from the campaign of openly gay GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger:

BACHMANN – Total Votes 347

Belknap 26
Carroll 20
Cheshire 25
Coos 6
Grafton 31
Hillsborough 80
Merrimack 34
Rockingham 82
Strafford 33
Sullivan 10

KARGER – Total Votes 485

Belknap 6
Carroll 11
Cheshire 22
Coos 5
Grafton 27
Hillsborough 252
Merrimack 52
Rockingham 72
Strafford 28
Sullivan 10

LA Times covers Fred

Timothy Kincaid

August 11th, 2011

On Tuesday the LA Times ran an article by Mark Barabak about gay Jewish Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger,

By running for president and trying to get on stage for at least one debate — the overriding goal of his candidacy — Karger hopes to send a message to people like himself: a boy growing up outside Chicago and, later, a closeted adult, shamed by society’s view of his sexuality and too scared to admit, even to himself, who he was.

They need to understand, Karger says, that not only is it OK to be gay, it’s also possible to be gay and an unflinching candidate for the nation’s highest office.

Ultimately, Fred’s goal is revolutionary. If he is successful, he will – at some point – walk onto a stage in front of cameras and show the world that the quest for the American Presidency actually is open to anyone who is dedicated to the fight and whose positions can resonate with voters.

And, to the horror of much of the Republican Party, Fred mere presence would demonstrate that “anyone” doesn’t come with an *asterisk.

(* – except gay people)

Will Fox let Karger debate?

Timothy Kincaid

August 5th, 2011

I love the audacity of Fred Karger. There’s something just delicious about a gay man running for the Republican Party presidential nomination. But when he polls higher than Rick Santorum, it just makes me giggle. From the August 2-4 Harris Poll:

If you are a registered Republican or Independent, which of the following candidates would you be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for President in 2012?

Base: Registered Republican/Independent

16% Mitt Romney
10% Ron Paul
10% Michele Bachmann
6% Herman Cain
4% Newt Gingrich
2% Tim Pawlenty
2% Fred Karger
2% Jon Huntsman
1% Rick Santorum
1% Gary Johnson
1% Thadeous McCotter
1% Buddy Roemer
46% None of these

Admittedly Fred is a novelty candidate. His chances of winning the Presidency of the United States are rather slim. And there is some merit to those who want to limit debates to “legitimate candidates” so as to give Americans a choice without adding the clutter of wacky nutjobs. Declaring that you are running for President does not and should not give you immediate access to a national audience.

But Fred, though a novelty is serious. And he’s not just some loon. He has significant political experience (this is his tenth presidential campaign), far more than Herman Cain, and his views on fiscal policy are mainstream Republican. Additionally, his social policies could position him as the only fully supportable candidate for the not-insignificant percentage of moderate Republicans.

And Fred is treating his campaign as real. He has done more real face to face campaigning than many of those who are considered legitimate and is beginning to catch the attention of political writers seeking an amusing that doesn’t center around the latest banal utterance of Michele Bachmann. And when readers find out that Fred was a successful high-level Republican political consultant whose most significant differences with the party are over social issues, his message can resonate.

But neither the Party nor the media hosting debates want anything to do with Fred. The Party wants to avoid the issues that he will bring up, and the media wants to keep the Party happy. Fox News, of course, wants both.

But Fox has a problem. They are finding it difficult to define the rules for inclusion in such a way as to keep people like Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty in, but to keep Fred out.

And Fred is demanding that they play be their own rules. He has sent a letter to Fox to inform then that as he is registered with the Federal Election Commission and has gotten on average 1% of the last five national polls, that he therefor qualifies to be included in next Thursday’s televised debate.

I suspect that Fox will just ignore Fred. Santorum will we there and maybe Huntsman and Johnson, but there will be no place for a marginal candidate such as Fred (though I think more Americans would vote for Karger than Santorum).

But I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that he is granted the position that he has earned and to which he is entitled.

First, I think that Republican voters need to hear what Fred has to say. One of the Party’s biggest problems is that when they get together, no one is willing to challenge – in language that Republicans understand – the presumptions that are not only illogical but are in conflict with core principles.

But even more importantly, Fred represents one of cherished myths of our country: Anyone, anyone at all, can be President. It doesn’t matter how rich you are or how many powerful people you know, if you stand up and tell the truth and follow the rules and can somehow convince enough people to support you, you have the chance at the office as any other citizen.

And I want this myth to be true. I want for the outsider to at least be given the same chance as the power broker. Sure criteria have to be met. But if he can meet it – and Fred has – then it is intensely UnAmerican to deny him his voice.

For every little boy or girl who has been promised this possibility, this chance to compete for the nation’s highest office based not on who they are but on what they can do, I hope Fox keeps its word and plays fairly and lets Fred Karger join the debate.


The answer is in. No, of course Fox News will not let Fred debate. (Des Moines Register)

Michael Clemente, vice president of news for the network, said Karger doesn’t qualify.

Clemente said each of the polls cited by Karger are either online, interactive or out of date and do not qualify for the purpose of meeting the debate criteria.

Well, yes and no, Mr. Clemente.

Two of the polls included by Fred are “online, interactive”. Fred included, as his basis, two IBOPE Zogby International polls.

However Mr. Clemente’s insinuation that these polls are fluff and nonsense is dishonest. These are not American Family Association polls that can be freeped, or even a newspaper’s “poll” of its readers. These are polls which seek to measure the views of a statistically valid representations of the electorate:

IBOPE Zogby International conducted an online survey of 1,103 likely Republican primary voters. A sampling of IBOPE Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 3.0 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. The MOE calculation is for sampling error only.

And if these are pish, pish, not worth a mention, then why did Fox News not mention that when reporting the results of zogby polls?

But there was one poll listed that Clemente may have some basis for finding flawed: a Fox News Poll from April 28. I have to assume that Clemente knows more about that poll than we do.

And the final poll was one in which Fred got less than 1% and is immaterial. I can’t think of a reason to consider a McClathy-Marist poll invalid, but fine toss it out. Give him a zero. He still averages 1% and is qualified.

Fred does have an issue: he can’t force pollsters to include him. Those who want to make the gay guy invisible can simply not include him as an option. But behind Clemente’s deceptive position remains one truth: whenever Fred Karger is included in a poll, he does better than Rick Santorum. And unlike most of the other second-tier candidates, Fred’s numbers are increasing.

So Fox News’ and Michael Clemente’s “explanation” reek of exclusion and arrogance. Freg Karger isn’t being excluded due to the type of poll, he’s being excluded because they want to shut him up.

GOP State Sen.: Why Not Civil Liberties For Everyone?

Jim Burroway

April 30th, 2011

Maryland State Sen. Allan H. Kittleman

The Log Cabin Republican’s national convention got underway in Dallas Thursday evening, with the Friday sessions featuring several GOP politicos challenging the Republican Party to change its stance toward LGBT people or face the prospect of “los(ing) every Republican young person … if we don’t get on board.”

Maryland state Senator Allan Kittleman, a straight ally and the lone Republican to vote in favor of an unsuccessful marriage equality bill during this year’s session, issued that warning to the Republican Party. His support for marriage equality came at a great political cost, when he voluntarily stepped down as Senate minority leader. His position also led colleagues to ask whether he was himself secretly gay or had a gay family member. Kittleman’s response:

I said, ‘Well, why can’t it just be that he’s for civil liberties for everyone?'” Kittleman recalled. “For someone to say you can’t be a real Republican if you support gay rights, that’s just a bunch of bull.”

…Kittleman choked back tears as he recalled his response to a reporter who asked why he voted for marriage equality considering the potential political consequences. “What I told them was that 20 years from now, when my grandchildren want to ask me what I did to support civil rights, that was more important to me than the next election.”

Fred Karger

Also speaking at the convention was Fred Karger, who is running for the GOP nomination as the nation’s first openly gay presidential candidate. Karger announced to the group that he has qualified for a GOP presidential debate to be held next week in South Carolina. However, Fox News, which is organizing the debate, has not yet confirmed that Karger will be allowed to join Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Herman Cain for the face-off — even though not all of them met all of Fox News’ entry criteria either.

Gay Activist Mulls Presidential Run?

Jim Burroway

April 7th, 2010

That’s what this web site appears to show. And as a openly gay Republican, no less. Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, is a former campaign manager for numerous Republican candidates since 1977 until his retirement in 2004. Since then, he has been very active in LGBT causes in California, particularly during the campaign to defeat Prop 8 in 2008. I don’t know how far he’ll get in the Republican primaries, but seeing him debate Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee might be worth a donation or two.