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Posts for May, 2013

Robert Gagnon Explains Why Consensual Gay Relationships Are Worse Than Bestiality and Incest

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2013
Robert Gagnon

Robert Gagnon

Jeremy Hooper was forwarded a lengthy email chain sent to over seventy social conservative anti-gay activists in advance of the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute’s conference at the end of May. Among those receiving the email chain was Exodus International Alan Chambers, who tired of the anti-gay rhetoric and, after asking to be removed from the chain, finally added Hooper’s email address to it. In one email response, Robert Gagnon called Chambers to task for “secretly adding the name of someone whose whole objective is to promote sexually immoral behavior and abuse those who uphold what Jesus and Scripture regarded as sacred.” Gagnon also went on to justify his use of the word “perverse” to describe gay people:

The verb “to pervert” is from the Latin meaning “to turn thoroughly,” i.e. away from the truth or right course of action. Applied to sexual practice, a perversion is “any of various means of obtaining sexual gratification that are generally regarded as being unnatural or abnormal.” Paul in Scripture makes a point of singling out homosexual practice as sexual behavior that is manifestly contrary to nature in that it is clear that a man and a woman are sexual complements or counterparts, not males with males or females with females. He als refers to such behavior as self-“dishonoring” (Atimazo / atimia) and as “indecent/shameful behavior” (askhemosune). The Levitical prohibitions and some Deuteronomical texts add the description of to’evah, something abominable or abhorrent to God. The latter (along with Revelation) adds the epithet of of “dogs” to men who actively emasculate their appearance to attract male sex partners in a cultic context, treating themselves as “sacred” (hence the Hebrew name qedeshim). Bestiality is an even more unnatural form of sexual practice since it is cross-species. Adult-consensual incest is also a particularly perverse form of sexual practice since it involves sex with someone who is too much of a familial same. But Scripture treats homosexual practice as even more severely unnatural because the male-female requirement for sexual relations is foundational for all that follows (so Genisis and Jesus) and because sex or gender is a more constituent feature of sexual behavior than kinship.

Gagnon has argued that homosexuality is worse than incest before. In one 11-page polemic from 2007 — yes, Gagnon does like to hear himself speakGagnon writes (PDF: 61KB/11 pages):

It is my contention that homosexual practice is a more serious violation of Scripture’s sexual norms than even incest, adultery, plural marriage, and divorce. (The reader will note that I did not mention bestiality because the evidence from ancient Israel and early Judaism suggests that bestiality is a worse offense than same-sex intercourse.) [Emphasis in the original]

I guess in the six years since then Gagnon’s sorted out God’s mind on bestiality and, unsurprisingly, Gagnon’s God now agrees with Gagnon that gays are worse.

In addition to Gagnon’s close association with the NOM, he is also a founding board member of Restored Hope Network, comprised of a group of break-away ex-gay ministries which left Exodus International after Exodus president Alan Chambers acknowledged that “the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Chambers also repudiated the particular type of counseling intended to change sexual orientation known as Reparative Therapy, and he has declared that Exodus will no longer take sides in the political debates surrounding gay rights, including marriage rights.

Don’t be fooled by pretty talk, NOM opposes ANY rights for same-sex couples

Timothy Kincaid

April 30th, 2013

The National Organization for Marriage often pretends that they don’t oppose same-sex couple having some accomodations for their relationship, they just want to defend the definition of marriage. They lie.

As an illustration, today NOMBlog has a commentary about the ruling by the Texas Attorney General that cities and municipalities cannot offer any rights to same-sex couples.

In a six-page opinion, Abbott found that the constitution “prohibits political subdivisions from creating a legal status of domestic partnership and recognizing that status by offering public benefits based upon it.” He said city governments and school districts constitute political subdivisions.

That was a news report about Abbott’s position. But this is what NOM itself had to say:

Patrick is concerned that Texas law states “cities, counties and school districts cannot subvert the will of Texans” but that this is precisely what is happening in those municipalities and school districts which offer same-sex partner benefits.

The petty snideness is hard to miss. Don’t be fooled by the pretty words they use in the press; NOM has never met a lie that they thought was prohibited by the Bible.

The Gay Liberation of Straight Men

Rob Tisinai

April 19th, 2013

I’ve discovered that NOM’s new official expert, Anthony Esolen, is so wrong about so many things that you can gain insight just by contemplating the opposite of what he says.

Back in 2006, Anthony offered 10 non-religious reasons for opposing same-sex marriage. Here’s #5:

It will curtail opportunities for deep and emotionally fulfilling friendships between members of the same sex, opportunities that are already few and strained. This is particularly true of men.

This was a disastrous prediction. It’s not just that his reasoning is convoluted, but that events have proved him laughably wrong.

As you may know, it’s tough to summarize Anthony’s arguments. He never uses one word when twenty will do, and he’s never seen a paragraph he couldn’t improve by stretching it with flowery repetition. Here, though, is the meat:

…now the condonement of homosexuality prevents [boys] from publicly preferring the company of their own sex. This is simply inarguable. If a George Gershwin nowadays shows up at Maxie Rosenzweig’s house all the time, while his pals are outside on the streets playing stickball, then there must be something up with George and Maxie.

And then, apparently without realizing it, Anthony proceeds to refute himself:

Therefore unless they are comfortable with the meaning, they will shy away from one another.

Exactly. Really, I wish I could put my hands on Anthony’s shoulders, look him deep in the eye, and say, “Exactly. The problem arises not when homosexuality is condoned, but when it is condemned.”

For instance: I’m not straight, left-handed, or Canadian. But rumors to the contrary wouldn’t freak me out, and certainly wouldn’t make me change my actions or associations — because I don’t see anything wrong with those traits, and neither does the society in which I travel.

However, if I lived in a world where I could be shunned, disowned, fired, or lobotomized just for being left-handed…then, yeah, I might be more worried about people thinking I’m a left-handed deviant monster, and might work harder to squelch those rumors.

Fast forward to 2013. Same-sex marriage is legal in much of the country; we’ve had 7-years of non-stop national conversation about gays and lesbians; and a new generation has matured thinking, What’s the big friggin’ deal.

blake adamThe result? A culture where people talk freely of man crushes and bromance. A culture in which one of the most popular TV shows is practically built around the friendship and spicy, flirtatious chemistry between two of its handsome and avowedly heterosexual stars.

Granted, this pop culture phenomenon isn’t on the same plane as the friendships Anthony pines for — David and Jonathan, Enkidu and Gilgamesh, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ (!) — but the fact that cannot be denied (the thing that is “simply inarguable”) is that men are freer to delight in each other than at any time in recent memory. And Anthony Esolen, god bless him, may misunderstand it completely but has pointed out the reason for this liberation: Straight men find it easier to create intimate, loving friendships when they have no reason to give a damn whether people think they’re gay.

They’re Just Making Stuff Up

Rob Tisinai

April 16th, 2013

Anthony Esolen is a literature professor at Providence College, a Catholic school in Rhode Island. He’s joined NOM as “the latest addition to the Ruth Institute Circle of Experts” and, well, he’s not off to a good start.

His first contribution is a long, meandering complaint that lust is bad and dominating our culture, while romantic love is good but on the wane. Esolen goes on and on, writing sentence after sentence, each more vague, transcendent, and floppy than the last, until finally you wonder if he’s an actual English professor or just a fictional creation meant to parody one. Here’s a sample:

Beasts copulate; but men and women are meant to marry. They perform the marital act; they know, when they unite in that act, that it is, or it ought to be, the seal of a love that, to quote another of Shakespeare’s sonnets, “bears it out even to the edge of doom.” We are the creatures aware of time, and oriented toward eternity. We know that the act of marriage brings into the bond of love the past generations, whose history we bear in our loins, and the present, and the future, in the child that may be born of the act. We cannot copulate! We cannot forget, when we unite, that we are doing what our parents did…

And I had to stop there because it’s just too funny. It’s a mark of how bad Anthony Esolen’s writing is, this unintended statement that whenever he has sex he can’t stop thinking about his parents (wasn’t there a Friends episode about that?). And, of course, the exclamation point in “We cannot copulate!”

He gives us nearly 1500 words of this, but the very beginning is what really sets me off:

Several weeks ago, Saint Valentine’s Day at my school came and went. There was no dance. There was no concert. There was no ice cream social. There was no party for trading little gifts. There was no showing of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon or Marty or Goodbye, Mr. Chips or Casablanca. There were no foolish and innocent flirtations on the way to class.

I can believe — though I heartily doubt — Esolen went to the trouble of confirming there was no dance, no concert, no ice cream social, no special screening. I do have to wonder how he determined no one threw a party to trade little gifts (though between that and the ice cream social, it sounds like he’s confusing young adults celebrating their love with second-graders in homeroom).

I draw the line, however, at believing there was nobody flirted with anybody on their way to class. That’s when I realized: Anthony Esolen has nothing to say. He’s just sitting at his desk, making crap up. Perhaps he meant this as a poetic flourish or hyperbole, but if so it’s bad poetic flourish and lame hyperbole.

I guess this is trivial, but it’s also symptomatic of a bigger problem: The anti-gay movement in general has nothing left to say. They’re left with meaningless rhetoric or outright lies — as when their attorney at the Supreme Court argued DOMA wasn’t borne out of anti-gay animus, but simply a desire to standardize marriage law across states, or just the other day when NOM falsely claimed once again that the Regnerus and Sirota studies were about same-sex parenting.

If I’ve grown more snarky lately (and I have) it’s because our opponents have stopped giving us red meat to chew over. It’s all cotton candy from them now. Just wave your hand through it and you’re left with nothing but a stickly, sickly mess.

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.

Help me contact Thomas Peters at NOM!

Rob Tisinai

April 4th, 2013

I’ll have to push today’s video for the National Marriage Organization to tomorrow. Unlike my allies, Brian Brown and Thomas Peters of NOM, I don’t get paid to do this, and thus have other work to complete.

Speaking of Thomas Peters, could you all help me out? Thomas made me sad the other day when he tweeted this:

Actually, it wasn’t Thomas Peters who made me sad, but the gay activists who mocked him for this tweet. See, apparently Thomas’ very big brain is so very strained with his many main arguments against same-sex marriage that he has forgotten about his very sensible policy of blocking gay activists who address him with their real accounts.

I mean, he did that to me, and I totally deserved it. What kind of decent person would ambush the Communications Director of an organization by calling him at work to ask about one of the organization’s communications?

But I also realized — now that I’m blocked I have no way of telling Thomas I’ve switched to his side! Since I don’t have a video to post today, would you mind taking those 60 seconds to  tweet one or more of my videos to Thomas? And also to NOM?

I’d surely appreciate it. I feel confident in saying my little videos completely capture the spirit and depth of their organization.

PS  Here are some short links for you:

  • Redefining marriage: http://goo.gl/mVmp5
  • Think of the children: http://goo.gl/QQVlO
  • Leviticus: http://goo.gl/zzXY6

 

NOM’s idiotic trumpeting of a mangled third hand report

Timothy Kincaid

March 27th, 2013

You have to love this declaration from NOM:

UKDailyMail: “Christian Opponents Easily Outnumbering Advocates for Gay Marriage”

It all started with Yahoo’s Chris Moody reporting an incident in the events of yesterday. He followed the NOM marchers’ progress:

When members of the crowd rose, they pressed on further down the street, where they were met by another small group of people that had stretched out a rainbow flag in front of them. When they refused to budge from the street, NOM organizers urged everyone to just go around them.

From which the Daily Mail, apparently not present and completely unaware of any other media coverage on the planet, extrapolated to mean:

Both sides of the debate were out in force, with Christian opponents easily outnumbering advocates for gay marriage.

And which led the integrity-deprived National Organization to pretend as though it were true. Personally, I’d be embarrassed to engage in such shameless behavior.

And I can’t help but wonder: if your pants are forever aflame, does that mean that you’re already in hell?

NOM Rallied Today

Timothy Kincaid

March 26th, 2013

After their march, the National Organization for Marriage – along with their various supporting organizations – rallied to protect marriage from being equally applied to all citizens.

The Red Caped Loons of the Catholic organization, Tradition, Values & Property, were present

The rally surrounded the bandbox.

And they certainly had plenty of space in which to congregate.

But it’s nice to see that not much grass was damaged.

NOM Marched today

Timothy Kincaid

March 26th, 2013

The National Organization for Marriage has been declaring that they were going to turn out busloads of people to march on the Supreme Court to protect traditional marriage (in the fine old tradition of keeping rights limited to the people who they think are better than you). And they have posted pictures on their NOMblog showing their glorious march.

For Example: (NOMblog)

But NOM’s pics tend to be close up and don’t give much of a sense of size. That’s not to say there aren’t any large group pics in their photostream, but those tend to be problematic; they have rainbow flags and “Equality Now” signs in them.

Fortunately, a BTB reader had a birds eye view of NOM’s march and has offered to share some pictures that give some perspective to their “busloads”. Here they start marching past:

There they go, banners unfurled.

And the middle of the pack.

And finally, the last of the saints go straggling by.

And after months of preparation and “busloads” of support, that was their march, pretty much in total.

No, it’s not exactly pathetic; thirty or forty people would be pathetic. At what looks to me to be a few thousand people, this was … well, let’s just say Brian Brown probably found it to be a bit of a disappointing turnout.

But I fully expect NOM to claim “hundreds of thousands”.

250,000 Children? Piffle!

Rob Tisinai

March 24th, 2013

I might have a little crush on NOM’s Communications Director, Thomas Peters — or perhaps I just mean it’s been a long time since a 30-year-old has given me such delight. And he continues to deliver.

NOM posted this excerpt of an NPR story on their blog (sorry, they didn’t link to the story itself). As you read, keep in mind they’re happy about what it says:

Surveys suggest that kids younger than 18 in same-sex families still number fewer than a quarter-million.

“It’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent,” says Thomas Peters of the National Organization for Marriage, a leading group opposing same-sex marriage.

“The difference is that children raised by gay parents are very much in the media’s eye,” he says. “We see it on Modern Family. We see this hugely blown out of proportion. It’s why, by the way, in Gallup [polls], Americans believe that a third to a fourth of Americans are gay.”

Don’t you see Peters’ point? Let me paraphrase: We’re only denying family protections to a quarter of a million kids! That’s 250 thousand, not, like 250 gazillion! That’s barely the population of Orlando, only about 60,000 more people than live in Salt Lake City. What’s all this fuss over just a quarter of million kids? I mean, a quarter is somewhere around 25 cents, and nobody even cares about pennies!

And NOM — which is all about the kids, right? — is highlighting Peters’ quote, not apologizing for it.

Herein lies NOM’s strange and revealing contradiction. Peters, in this quote, is minimizing not just the number of kids in same-sex homes, but the number of gays as well, presumably to give the impression that this population of children is unlikely to grow. Factor in NOM’s other rhetoric, and you’re left with this:

  • We need to ban same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and father, and every child is important.
  • We can refute the need for same-sex marriage because only a quarter of a million kids are raised in such households, and they can be dismissed as “a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent.”

It seems the importance of children to NOM depends entirely on their argument of the moment.

Along these lines I’d like to detour for a moment into another NOM post called, “Examples of Excellent Testimony Against SSM in Minnesota” (their title, not mine). They approvingly quote this bit from Doug Mainwaring, their favorite gay who opposes gay marriage:

Doug (gay man): “marriage isn’t about love, commitment and responsibility–it’s about kids. Ignore the media push and adult demands for same-sex marriage.”

That is one of their “examples of excellent testimony.”  It leaves me thinking NOM has no idea why married parents are such a good thing for kids. Of course, it’s perfectly in line with Thomas Peters’ recent tweet about marriage: “Orientation doesnt matter, sexual difference does!”

Yeah. Marriage is all about the kids. But for NOM, apparently, a loveless, uncommitted, irresponsible opposite-sex couple is better for those kids than any same-sex couple you can find, because sexual difference matters so much more than those trivial concerns.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Thomas Peters. It’s fun. My only worry is that NOM could realize something might be wrong if your opponents are eager to publicize everything your Communications Director has to say.

I don’t know how to argue with that.

Rob Tisinai

March 22nd, 2013

As long as I’m all a-twitter, I might as well share this new gem from NOM’s Communications Director (whose posts I can read but am blocked from responding to):

I don’t know how to argue with that. Literally. I don’t know how to argue with that.

Now if we could just get him in front of the Supreme Court.

The truth, but just half the truth, and nothing but half the truth.

Rob Tisinai

March 22nd, 2013

The New York Times published a profile of NOM president Brian Brown today. The author interviewed quite a few gay bloggers about him, but little of that information appeared in the piece. It’s all very nice that she told hers reader we think Brown is dishonest, but why should they believe us? She’d have done her readers (and her story) a greater service if she’d pointed out some of his lies so they could sort reality from hearsay.

So, for the sake of a more complete account, here’s an email I sent her shortly after our interview. It’s a nice little gallery of horrors.


Hi Sheryl,

It was a pleasure talking to you today. If your focus is Prop 8, it turns out I do have something for you. NOM filed an amicus brief when Prop 8 went to appeal, and I take it apart here:

http://wakingupnow.com/blog/nomsense-plain-and-simple-minded

Also, here are the other links I mentioned:

NOM’s history of untruth

NOM’s history of violent and vilifying rhetoric

Speakers at NOM’s March for Marriage who have invoked Satan when it comes to gays

And just in general, this is a great resource for researching inflammatory rhetoric:

A couple of the more inflammatory NOM paid staffers:

On the Regnerus study:

Problems with the study:

NOM’s misrepresentation of the study:

Please  feel free to call if you need anything else.

Best,
Rob

 

Thomas Peters Update

Rob Tisinai

March 22nd, 2013

I’m trying to come up with some sort of pun using the term “facts evasion.” Because, you know, it sounds a bit like “tax evasion,” right? Right? No?

Anyway.

After posting my conversation with NOM’s Communications Director Thomas Peters yesterday, I alerted him to its existence:

In response, he blocked me.

That’s probably the sensible move for him, on a number of levels. But it does nothing to change my judgment that Thomas’ primary strategy for dealing with inconvenient reality is simply to ignore it. Once again, it seems NOM is guilty of facts evasion.

No? Still no? Really?

I might need some help with that one.

I Spoke to NOM Today!

Rob Tisinai

March 21st, 2013

The National Organization for Marriage has been spreading a host of falsehoods about research into same-sex parenting. Every so I often I lob a tweet about this to Thomas Peters, NOM’s Communications Director. He never replies, which is a shame, because I’ve always wanted to know what he’d say when confronted with these blatant…inaccuracies.

And now I know. [Spoiler alert: He doesn’t say, “Oh, we’re awful, and I’ll fix it right away!’]

It began this morning when reader/warrior StraightGrandmother directed me to Maggie Gallagher in the National Review:

There are at least four reviews or studies in peer-reviewed literature that contest the claim that children do equally well with same-sex parents. (Regnerus, Marks, Sirota, Allen). None of which are mentioned by the American Academy of Pediatricians in their endorsement of gay marriage. They cannot cite a single scientific study in a peer-reviewed journal showing children with gay parents are better off if their parents are considered legally married. None of this matters. How serious are we about children’s well-being in this country?

Then I found this new press release on NOM’s website:

One recent large-scale random sample study that has been produced by University of Texas researchers found that those raised in a same-sex household fared worse than those raised in intact heterosexual families on two-thirds of outcomes measured. Nowhere in the AAP statement do they address the confounding scientific evidence by Regnerus, Marks, Sirota and Allen — all published in peer-reviewed journals. The AAP simply ignores them.

I know a bit about Regnerus and Sirota. Their studies tell us nothing about same-sex parenting. I called the phone number on the press release and spoke to a very nice press rep. She told me I should talk to Thomas Peters and gave me the number to his office. And I was all, Goody!

Well, Thomas was reluctant from the start: I’m not  a journalist, he doesn’t do impromptu interviews, and I should direct my questions to their press reps. I said a press rep had directed me to him. He hesitantly agreed to a conversation and asked whether I were recording it (no) and whether I were okay with him recording it (of course!).

I referred him to the press release quote above and asked if he were aware that the Sirota study did not look at same-sex parents. He slowly said no (I believe him) and asked what it did look at. I told him Sirota compared kids raised by straight dads with those raised by gay dads, but in both cases the dads were married to the mothers, so the study was really about opposite-sex parenting.

He told me he didn’t write the press release.

When I told him Regnerus hadn’t specified any results for kids raised by same-sex parents, he quickly agreed (that’s why I believed him about Sirota) and accurately characterized the study as looking at kids with a parent who’d had a same-sex relationship. I told him that NOM’s Rhode Island branch wasn’t describing it that way — they were falsely attributing these results to kids raised by lesbian couples.

At this point NOM’s Communications Officer told me if I had a problem with what NOM Rhode Island was saying I should talk to NOM Rhode Island.

(This was actually a screw-up on my part: I didn’t need to bring up NOM-RI. This falsehood was promulgated in the press release above!)

I pressed Thomas on the content of these studies and he fell back to affirming NOM’s broader point that the AAP had simply ignored other research when they issued their politically-motivated endorsement. That sent me back into the details of studies and he fell back to affirming NOM’s other broader point that there isn’t a lot of good research on the topic at all and I wondered whether that meant he was saying these studies supposedly against same-sex marriage weren’t good, either, and he said this was turning into more of a lecture than an interview, on which point he was probably correct, and he firmly and emphatically but not impolitely ended the call.

Whew.

So now I know what Thomas Peters will do when confronted with NOM’s falsehoods: He’ll act like facts don’t matter.

He won’t dispute the facts. He won’t admit NOM has the facts wrong. He won’t take responsibility for how the facts are communicated. Instead he’ll evade. He’ll change the subject. He’ll strategically retreat to discussing NOM’s broader points in order to avoid getting mired in the tiny points. Like facts.

Now, remember, I didn’t record the call, so I’m recounting this from memory. And I’m editorializing (just a bit?). But that, of course, is why Thomas records this sort of call. And if Thomas would like to release the entire, unedited audio of the conversation, I hereby grant him permission.

Somebody please let me know if he does.

Cue the calliope – NOM reacts to Portman

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2013

We’re quite accustomed to the National Organization for Marriage saying things that are, shall we say, creative in their approach to facts. To put it in religious terms, the like to walk by faith, not by sight.

But today’s response to Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announcing his support for equality is wacky to the point of clown car, looney toons, bad 70’s Disney annimation, complete wackadoodleness.

A spokesman for the National Organization for Marriage on Friday slammed Sen. Rob Portman, who has announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his long-held opposition to the issue.

“What Mr. Portman is doing is shrinking the size of the GOP tent,” charged Thomas Peters, a spokesman for the socially conservative NOM, in an interview with POLITICO. “I think it will have huge consequences if he chooses to run again.”

Sure, maybe there on Planet Completelynutso it would shrink the tent to include the majority of people who support equality. Maybe in Delusionville it’s a smart long term plan to side with the elderly and ignore everyone under 40.

But back here in reality, I’m beginning to think that Thomas Peters is in the market for a good tinfoil hat.

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