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“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 July, 2013

Heulskamp introduces his Federal Marriage Amendment

Timothy Kincaid

July 1st, 2013

Tim Huelskamp (R – KS) has, as threatened, introduced his Federal Marriage Amendment:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

Considering that a number of states have enacted marriage equality either through the legislature or the ballot box, this language seems a bit confusing. But as this amendment has about the same chances as an ice cube on a Vegas sidewalk, I guess language is irrelevant.

And Huelskamp is not alone in his clown car. Squeezing in with him are a collection of nobodies hoping to attain a little attention. No Democrats, of course, but about 12% of the House Republicans were happy to plan for a future of political shame and awkward questions from their grandchildren.

Joe Barton (Texas), Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), John Fleming (La.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Ralph Hall (Texas), Andy Harris (Md.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.), Sam Johnson (Texas), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), James Lankford (Okla.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Randy Neugebauer (Texas), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Stevan Pearce (N.M.), Robert Pittenger (N.C.), Joe Pitts (Pa.), David Schweikert (Ariz.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Steve Stockman (Texas), Tim Walberg (Mich.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and Frank Wolf (Va.)

GOP Reps. React To Marriage Decisions

Jim Burroway

June 26th, 2013

In case you don’t want to watch the video, here’s a non-transcript rendition of what they said:

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA): Unelected judges.

Rep. John Fleming (R-LA): Popular laws = Constitutional. Unpopular laws = Unconstitutional.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA): Thank you Boehner for defending it. Negative consequences for children.

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ): We the people have final say, not unelected courts. Courts got Federalism wrong.

Rep. Tim Wahlberg (R-MI): Desires of adults not more important than needs of children. “Society itself is at risk and cannot continue.”

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA): Marriage has been debased. Why vote? It doesn’t stop here. Churches will be forced to do things they are against.

Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX): Court is in collusion with Obama at the expense of children. One more attack on religious institutions.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): This is not a hateful group. We love the U.S.A. It’s all Obama’s fault. Holder lied. The Court (“the new holy quintet”) lied. Dishonesty, inconsistency. King Solomon!

Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN): Limited government. Denied equal protection to every American in the United States. No more co-equal branches, but Supreme Court over all. Oligarchy of five. Limited government. Decision belies the constitution. “The people will have their sway.” Equal protection again. No jurisdiction. Foundational unit of society. Created by God. Supreme Court have not risen to the level of God.

Rep. Tim Huelscamp (R-KS): Narrow radical majority. Think of the children.

The Daily Agenda for Sunday, April 15

Jim Burroway

April 15th, 2012

TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
Family “Research” Council’s Values Bus Tour: Westlake and Cuyahoga Falls, OH. The Family “Research” Council, an SPLC-certified hate group, continues its Values Bus Tour of Ohio. Today, the tour goes to the Cleveland suburb of Westlake for morning services at Church on the Rise. The bus will be there from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The bus then departs for an Akron Tea Party “Rescue America Tax Day Rally” at Fall River Square in Cuyahoga Falls. That rally features “Joe the Plumber” (Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress to represent the heavily gerrymandered district that stretches from Toledo nearly to Cleveland) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH). That rally goes from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Scott Livley, Brian Camenker, Don Feder Speak at Tea Party Rally: Boston, MA. The SPLC’s list of anti-gay hate groups will be well represented at today’s Patriots’ Day Rally on Boston Commons today, sponsored by the Massachusetts Tea Party. MassResistance’s Brian Camenker and Abiding Truth Ministry’s Scott Lively, and Don Feder (who once described himself as making Atilla the Hunn look like a “a limousine liberal”) are listed as featured speakers. The keynote speaker will be Texas GOP Congressman (and LaBarbara Award winner) Louie Gohmert. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnston had been on the bill as another keynote speaker, but he withdrew on Thursday after learning about Scott Lively’s participation. Johnson will be at a competing Worcester Tea Party rally instead. The Boston rally will soil the Boston Common Bandstand from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
Protest of FRC Values Bus: Westlake and Cuyahoga Falls, OH. GetEqual Ohio and Freedom To Marry Ohio will meet that FRC Values Bus events today with counter-rallies at both locations. The first one at Westlake will take place in front of Church on the Rise, and will go from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The second counter-rally will take in Cuyahoga Falls at Fall River Square from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Pride Celebrations Today: Łódź, Poland; Miami Beach, FL; Piteå, Sweden

AIDS Walks Today: Honolulu, HI and New Haven, CT.

Other Events Today: Women’s Fest 2012, Camp Rehoboth, DE and Scandinavian Ski Pride, Hemsedal Norway.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Leonardo Da Vinci: 1452.
Born in Vinci “at the third hour of the night,” Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence at the age of fourteen. Early descriptions indicate that he was tall (at least 5’8″), athletic and extremely handsome. One contemporary described him as “an artist of outstanding physical beauty who displayed infinite grace in everything he did.” At the age of twenty-four, Da Vinci was among four people accused of sodomy, a very serious accusation because it carried the death penalty. Those charges were dismissed on the condition that there were no further accusations. When accusations were made again that same year, charges were dismissed again, perhaps because one of those charged may have been linked with the powerful Medici family.

Undoubtedly, those accusations made Da Vinci very cautious, even in Florence where, despite those charges,  homosexuality was somewhat more tolerated than elsewhere (so much so that in Germany, the word Florenzer became slang for homosexual.) While there is no further contemporary mention of Da Vinci’s sexuality, it was generally known that the life-long bachelor was particularly fond of and generous with his handsome male pupils, some of whom may have inspired some of Da Vinci’s erotic sketches. Later historians mostly assumed that he was gay, an assumption that gained greater currency in the nineteenth century when German, French and British authors began examining the new understanding of what was to be called inversion, uranism, and, finally, homosexuality. Whenever nineteenth century authors sought examples of inverts in history, Da Vinci’s name nearly always earned a prominent mention.

Bessie Smith: 1894. “The Empress of the Blues” was born in Chattanooga, the daughter of a laborer and part-time Baptist preacher. He died before she could remember him, and by the time she was nine, she had lost her mother and a brother. Her older brother had joined a Black Vaudeville troupe owned by Moses Stokes, which featured Ma Rainey as blues singer. In 1912, Bessie joined that same troupe, but as a dancer rather than a singer. While it’s believed that Rainey didn’t teach Smith to sing, (Smith had been singing on the streets of Chattanooga from a very young age), Rainey is credited with teaching Smith about stage presence. By 1913, Smith began singing professionally, and her career exploded in 1923 when she began recording for Columbia Records. By then, she was the highest-paid African-American entertainer in her day.

In 1923, she entered a very stormy marriage with Jack Gee, but he was unable to accommodate her show-biz life or her open bisexuality. They separated but never officially divorced. Meanwhile, she recorded hit after hit for Columbia, including “Downhearted Blues,” “St. Louis Blues”, “Empty Bed Blues,” and the tune she is perhaps best known for today, “Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer).” By the end of the 1920′s, the arrival of the “talkies” meant the end of vaudeville, while the onset of the Great Depression brought about a collapse of the recording industry. Smith continued touring in clubs, but the going was tough. By 1933, she was recording for Okeh records, where she was paid a non-royalty fee of $37.50 for each side. Those were her last recordings. She was critically injured in a car accident in 1937, her right arm nearly severed in the accident. She died the following morning at the G.T. Thomas Afro-American Hospital in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Her funeral in Philadelphia drew 10,000 mourners. Her grave however remained unmarked; her estranged husband kept pocketing the money raised for a tombstone. She finally got her marker in 1970, courtesy of Janis Joplin.

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George Platt Lynes: 1907. He first wanted to start a literary career after meeting Gertrude Stein and her circle in Paris. In 1927, he opened a bookstore in Englewood, New Jersey and took up photography so he could take pictures of his friends, and that is where his creative energies went. By 1932 Lynes opened his photography studio in New York and began exhibiting in the city’s art galleries. He earned commissions from the New York City Ballet, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodmans. After World War II, he moved to Hollywood, where he became chief photographer for Vogue and photographed such illuminaries as Katharine Hepburn, Gloria SWanson, Igor Stravinsky, and Thomas Mann. His work was an artistic success, but a financial failure. He moved back to New York, but was never able to re-establish the success he once had.

The passion he had for his photography can be best seen in the photos that he took which harkened back to his reason for taking up photography in the first place: intimate (usually nude) photos of friends, lovers, performers and models. The artist Paul Cadmus, who posed for Lynes, recalled how he “used flattery to make everyone feel so comfortable.” Those male nudes were never published, at least not in his lifetime. In the late 1940s, he transfered many of his negatives to Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s Institute for Sexual Research in Bloomington, Indiana, and destroyed much of the rest of his work just before dying of lung cancer in 1955. In 2011, Rizolli published George Platt Lynes: The Male Nudes, marking the first time many of his beloved nudes appeared in print.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

LaBarbera Award: Rep. Louie Gohmert

Jim Burroway

October 7th, 2009

Some have been given the LaBarbera Award for comparing gay relationships child molestation. Others to necrophilia. And others still to Nazism. And we’ve even seen gay people blamed for the economic crisis. It takes a rare bird to say all of these things in the span of just a few minutes, but that’s exactly what Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) did last night in speaking out against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill.

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We fought over this hate crimes bill in committee and on the floor and over and over. We made amendments, offered amendments because we could see that the definition of sexual orientation is wide open to all kinds of interpretation. And some someday, some court somewhere will say you know what? Sexual orientation means exactly what those words mean. If you’re oriented — and I hope this doesn’t offend, but this is part of the law. It’s laws in most states or has been certainly in many states. If you’re oriented toward animals, bestiality, then, you know, that’s not something that can be used, held against you or any bias be held against you for that. Which means you’d have to strike any laws against bestiality, if you’re oriented toward corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions, what most of us would call perversions. Some would say it sounds like fun, but most of us would say were perversions. And there’ve been laws against them. And this bill says whatever you’re oriented towards sexually that cannot be a source of bias against someone.

Well that’s interesting. And someone said surely they didn’t mean to include pedophiles or necrophiliacs or what most of us would say is perverse sexual orientations. I’ve heard some people say that if you question our president because he happens to be black, that gee, you must be a racist. Well, that’s kinda tough for me because because I voted for Alan Keyes back in 1996. I never told Sen. Graham, but I liked the way Alan Keyes was able to articulate things that I believed him. I thought he was a fantastic candidate and would have made a great president back at that time.

[edit]And I go back to what our friend Chuck Colson had pointed out earlier this year, and that is when you lose morality in a nation, you create economic instability leading to economic chaos. And when you have economic chaos, it is tragic but people have always been willing to give up their liberties, their freedoms in order to gain economic stability. It happened in 1920 and 1930’s Germany. They gave up their liberties to gain economic stability and they got a little guy with a mustache who was the ultimate hate monger. And this is scary stuff we’re doing here when we take away what has traditionally been an important aspect of moral teaching in America.

Rep. Gohmert is still pushing a version of the “thirty sexual orientations” lie, which we examined last May. Not only is sexual orientation clearly defined by the APA, but it is also clearly defined in law.

Rep. Gohmert gets bonus points for his strange sidelong self-defense that he’s not a hateful person because he voted for Alan Keyes. What voting for a Black homophobe is supposed to say about Gohmert’s homophobia is anyone’s guess. There are some things that just cannot be untangled.