Posts Tagged As: Paul Ryan

Two Days After Orlando, House GOP Leaders Block LGBT Nondiscrimination Amendment

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2016

Late yesterday, the House Roles committee, dominated by members handpicked by House Speaker He-Who-Cannot-Say-Our-Name (R-WI) blocked an amendment filed by Rep, Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) to restore President Barack Obama’s Executive Order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees among federal contractors. That Executive Order is threatened by a clause inserted by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) into a VA spending bill passed by the House last month that would overturn it. As The Hill reports:

Maloney argued that allowing a vote to prohibit discrimination in the workplace after the targeted attack on the gay nightclub would send a message of solidarity with the LGBT community.

“It’s hard to imagine that any act that is so horrific could lead to anything positive. But if we were going to do anything, it would be a very positive step to say that discrimination has no place in our law and to reaffirm the president’s actions in this area,” Maloney told The Hill. “Seems to me a pretty basic thing to do.”

…Two centrist Republicans, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) and Richard Hanna (N.Y.), signed onto Maloney’s amendment as co-sponsors.

…In an appearance before the House Rules Committee to make the case for his amendment, Maloney compared his proposal to last year’s racially motivated shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., that led to restrictions on displaying the Confederate flag.

“They also responded by acting and by recognizing that symbols and language matter,” Maloney said. “Because hate has no place in our flags, in our workplace, or in our country. And it should have no place in federal law.”

On the ascendancy of He-Who-Cannot-Say-Our-Name to the Speakership, he promised to usher in a new era of following the House Rules and Regular Order. But after Russell’s  amendment was attached to the VA spending bill, Maloney proposed an amendment to that same spending bill to countermand Russell’s amendment. It passed, 217-206 during the two-minute voting period in accordance with House Rules, but GOP leaders held voting open for another five and a half minutes while  Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) worked the Republican caucus to flip the seven votes needed to kill Patrick’s amendment.

The following week, the House approved Maloney’s amendment, this time to an appropriations bill for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and several other agencies. But after approving other poison pill amendments unacceptable to Democrats — and after Rep. Rick W. Allen (R-GA) led the GOP caucus in an opening prayer quoting Bible passages saying homosexuals were “worthy of death” — lawmakers on both sides of the aisle lined up to defeat that bill 112-305. Soon after, He-Who-Cannot-Say-Our-Name instituted a new rule requiring all amendments to spending bills be cleared first through his hand-chosen Rules Committee.

They Can’t Even Say Who Was Attacked

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

They can’t even say our names. But they are perfectly happy to appropriate what happened to us.

“The nation’s prayers are with the victims and their families in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We thank the citizens and first responders who helped rescue and save lives amidst horror and chaos. We will continue to monitor developments from local law enforcement and the FBI to determine the exact nature of this crime and whether it was connected to international terrorist groups.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

It is horrifying to see so many innocent lives cut short by such cowardice. Tonight, and in the long days ahead, we will grieve with the families. We will thank the heroes. We will hope for a swift recovery for the injured.

As we heal, we need to be clear-eyed about who did this. We are a nation at war with Islamist terrorists. Theirs is a regressive hateful ideology that respects no borders. It is a threat to our people at home and abroad. Our security depends on our refusal to back down in the face of terror. We never will.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

“This is a horrific day for America. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims, survivors, and those touched by this terrible tragedy. I fear this will prove to be system failure. Congress should immediately restore the budgets for our intelligence and law enforcement communities which have been suffering. My goal is to prevent future terrorist attacks, not simply respond to them. We are fighting a war against radical Islam and a hateful ideology, not a crime.”

— Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC)

To be fair, some Republicans are naming the victims directly as members of the LGBT community. (Sen. Marco Rubio,for example, has named the LGBT verbally on TV, but his official statement erases our existence.) But others treat the LGBT community as the people who they “dare not speak its name.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has got to be one of the worst offenders of this. He has been in front of every television camera in Orlando and his office has issued an avalanche of press releases — and one Executive order — without uttering even once the who the victims actually were. In this release, it was “an attack on our people… an attack on all of us.” In this one, it was “an attack on our state and entire nation.”

It’s true that it was an attack on “our state and nation,” if you mean that in a sort of an-attack-on-the-LGBT-community-is-an-attack-on-all-of-us kind of way. But if he meant it as a statement of solidarity, it should be pretty easy to do so. “The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live… “So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us.” Obama said that, and it’s pretty clear the “all of us” line is one of solidarity.

But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when someone doesn’t want to speak clearly, then watch out. When they need to reach for euphemisms and jingoisms instead of speaking plainly, then you can bet that their intention has nothing to do with any sort of solidarity with the gay community.

And so let’s just be clear, in in case anyone is confused about what Omar Mateen did. He did not attack “all of us.” He attacked some of us. Some particular of us. He didn’t go to Disney, Universal, or to Orlando’s tourist strip packed with restaurants and nightclubs where all of us go. He didn’t go to a shopping mall or a sporting event where all of us go. No, he picked a partucalr night club where some of us go — a gay night club. A night club that was tucked away from the crowds of all of us, and to a particular crowd of some of us. A crowd that Mateen sought but too many political leaders find it uncomfortable to name.

What Went Wrong Today: Same As Before, But With A Twist

Jim Burroway

May 26th, 2016

Emmarie Huetteman at the New York Times has an interesting analysis of what went wrong today when House Republicans derailed their own spending bill due to the inclusion of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-NY) amendment restoring Obama’s Executive Order requiring federal contractors to provide anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That Executive Order is threatened by a clause inserted by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) into a VA spending bill passed by the House last week that would overturn it. After Maloney’s amendment to the Energy spending bill restoring Obama’s order was approved late yesterday, the House turned around and voted down the entire bill today.

So what happened?

During the revolt that drove out Speaker John A. Boehner last fall, Republicans demanded a more rule-abiding House, where members would be allowed to introduce amendments and there would be votes on appropriations bills. (House Speaker Paul Ryan), so dedicated to procedure that in January he cut off a key vote to rebuke tardy lawmakers, agreed.

Now, with bipartisan majorities forming around amendments like anti-discrimination legislation for gay men and lesbians, some House Republicans are having second thoughts.

…After the amendment’s passage, several Republicans told Mr. Ryan during a private meeting Thursday that they were not so keen on regular order, as the process of parliamentary rule-following is called, after all, according to members present.

Mr. Ryan said the collapse was to be expected. When he agreed to more amendments, he said, he understood “that some bills might fail, because we’re not going to tightly control the process and predetermine the outcome of everything around here. Well, that’s what happened here today.”

It might be tempting to say that the Tea Party wing of the GOP was hoisted on its own petard, but in the end it’s hard to know exactly whose petard got hoisted. Ryan blamed the Democrats for the bill’s failure. Only six voted for the measure. But the thing is, 130 Republicans — more than half of the GOP caucus, joined the Democrats to defeat the bill, against only 106 Republicans supporting it. That same infighting is also why House Republicans haven’t been able to produce a budget this year. So House Republicans continue to demonstrate their ongoing inability to govern their own caucus, let alone the House.

Ryan’s ascendency to the Speakership was supposed to usher in a new era, with the House getting things done and following the rules. The past two weeks have demonstrated that this new era, lasting not quite five months, now lies in shambles. In the end, the new era — the new ways of doing things — fell victim to the same forces that brought down the old era under Boehner. So how do they fix that? Well, it looks like there’s even more  talk today about dropping “regular order” and going back to the way things were done when Boehner was Speaker. We know how that worked out.

House Dems Promise More LGBT Amendments, GOP Leaders Counter With Rule Change

Jim Burroway

May 24th, 2016

These two stories go hand in hand. Here’s the first:

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

House Democrats will keep trying to force floor votes on the issue of LGBT nondiscrimination after an amendment they offered to a spending bill last week failed when Republicans switched their votes, House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday.

“There will be” more amendments, the Maryland Democrat said. “We believe that our country is all about inclusion. We certainly differ from [Donald] Trump on that issue.”

Last week, House GOP leaders broke their own rules to orchestrate the defeat of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)’s amendment restoring President Barack Obama’s executive order requiring federal to maintain anti-discrimination policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity. A clause overturning the order had been inserted into the 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had promised to return the House to regular order and to be a stickler about House rules and the vote clock.  but he was convientiently AWOL during these shenanigans. He also didn’t bother to criticize the rule-breaking, saying he knew nothing about what happened. And here is where the second story comes in: Ryan informed his caucus this morning that he’s going to tinker with a key rule that have been in place since the GOP took over the House five years ago:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Ryan laid out plans at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning to require that members submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides.

The change will not yet be in effect this week for a bill to fund the Energy Department and water infrastructure projects. But lawmakers would have to abide by the requirement, which before now was optional, starting with appropriations bills considered after the Memorial Day recess.

By requiring amendments to be made public in advance, GOP leaders would be able to anticipate difficult votes and figure out a strategy before the last minute. Specifics of the revamped process, such as the deadline for members to file their amendments, haven’t been determined by leadership yet.

… Top Republicans have touted the use of open rules as a return to “regular order” and a way to empower individual members. But it has backfired spectacularly on House Republicans twice in the last year.

The change affects appropriations bills only. On all other bills, the Speaker has discretion in determining which amendments will be considered from the floor.

Acrimony In Da House: Chaos As Republicans Defeat Anti-Discrimination Amendment

Jim Burroway

May 19th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 12.15.07 PM

When the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill hit the floor of the House today, it carried with it a provision attached by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) which would overturn President Obama’s executive order requiring federal contractors to maintain anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity.  Today, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) introduced an amendment from the House floor to strike Russell’s provision from the bill. And that’s when

The Hill describes it succinctly:

The House floor devolved into chaos and shouting on Thursday as a measure to ensure protections for members of the LGBT community narrowly failed to pass after Republican leaders urged their members to change their votes.

Initially, it appeared Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) amendment had passed, as 217 “yes” votes piled up over 206 “no” votes when the clock ran out. The measure needed 213 votes to pass.

But it eventually failed on a 212-213 vote after a number of Republican lawmakers changed their votes from “yes” to “no” after the clock had expired.

GOP leaders held the vote open as they pressured members to change sides. Infuriating Democrats, they let lawmakers switch their votes without walking to the well at the front of the chamber.

The clock for the vote was set at two minutes. According to House procedures, after the clock expires, the lawmaker holding the gavel asks the House if any members want to change their votes. At that point, the electronic voting machines are switched off, and any vote-changing members go to the front of the chamber to switch their votes in person.

But in this case, when GOP leaders saw that Maloney’s amendment had passed when the clock ran out, the Speaker pro tempore never asked the question and the electronic voting machines were kept open as GOP leaders prowled for potential vote-switchers. After an additional five minutes and 37 seconds had passed, the vote was closed soon after the 213th “nay” vote was cast.

When Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) took over the as Speaker from Rep. John Boehner, he promised to return the House to regular order and to be a stickler about House rules and the vote clock. Today he feigned ignorance to reporters when asked whether his leadership team pressured seven Republicans to change their votes. But a senior House Republican leadership aide told CNN that all of the top GOP leaders were working to defeat Maloney’s amendment.

Ryan was not in the House chamber when the vote was taken. Democrats say it was Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who was the most visible actor in the campaign to flip votes.

Maloney emphasized that many Republicans held their ground and refused to switch sides. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) “was at the head of that list,” Maloney said.

“McCarthy went down and talked to him, and [Dent] told [McCarthy] to get lost,” Maloney said. “And McCarthy then went around and twisted everybody else’s arms, and it was disgraceful.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that craven and that ugly in my time in Congress,” Maloney added.

At one point, Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), who had inserted the pro-discrimnation clause in the first place, was heard prowling the Republican side of the aisle shouting, “Need two more votes!”

Maloney added that “easily a dozen” Republicans approached him on the floor “and expressed disgust for what happened today.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was similarly outraged over what he called the “cowardice” of those House members who switched their votes:

Hoyer alleged that the Republicans who changed their vote initially believed that the amendment would fail.

“Several Republican Members initially cast votes in favor of Rep. Maloney’s amendment but shamefully changed their votes after it was clear the amendment would pass, leading the amendment to fail by just a single vote,” Hoyer said in a Thursday afternoon statement. “Not only did they vote against equality and inclusion, but those who switched their votes did not even have the courage to do so openly in the well of the House. They did so quietly from the back benches, contrary to established practice that requires vote-switching to be done in person at the Clerk’s desk, and House Republican leaders held a two-minute vote open for nearly eight minutes.”

…Hoyer later revealed on Twitter the seven Republican members who changed their vote on the amendment: Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Rep. David Young (R-IA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).

Walden is chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign committee for House Republicans. Valadao, Young and Poliquin have been identified by the NRCC as vulnerable, and before this vote they were already marked by the NRCC for extra “special protection” campaign spending. Democrats are already pouncing on the possibility of making this a campaign issue in those and other competitive districts.

Paul Ryan elected speaker

Timothy Kincaid

October 29th, 2015

As expected, the representative from Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Paul Ryan, has been elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives. But although most of the Republican Party rallied around Ryan, some holdouts from the tea party fringe withheld their support. (USA Today)

He received 236 of the 432 votes cast. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received 184. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., got 9 votes. A handful of other people got a total of three votes.

I think that perhaps the factious nature of Webster and the other tea party extremists may result in Ryan feeling that he owes less loyalty to their agenda. And that is a good thing for our community and the nation.

Paul Ryan likely next Speaker

Timothy Kincaid

October 22nd, 2015

Paul RyanPaul Ryan has said that he will take up the job of Speaker of the House and is expected to win handily in next week’s vote. So yay! Because Paul Ryan is “the homosexual lobby’s trojan horse”. Just ask Eugene Delgaudio.

Well, no, he isn’t of course. Paul Ryan is not an ally of our community and has a string of anti-gay votes to prove it.

But Ryan also has shown support on a few specific issues. For example, he voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007 and in 2013 indicated his tentative support. While he might or might not favor a specific bill as drafted, he has said that “someone should not be fired because of their sexual orientation”.

This is important as we go into debates over religious rights. Some on the right see “religious rights” as a vehicle by which to codify discrimination against gay people. And it seems unlikely that Ryan will champion legislation that targets gay people for denial of basic rights.

Additionally, Ryan has changed on issues relating to gay couples. In 1999, as a new Congressman, Ryan voted to ban adoption by gay couples in Washington DC. However, in 2013 he told a group of constituents that he has long since changed his mind and now believes that gay people can provide children with a loving home.

This does not suggest that Ryan will be championing our rights or fighting for our causes. But it does suggest that he does not hold significant animus towards gay individuals, sees gay people as a part of the Nation’s fabric, and recognizes that gay relationships have value. I don’t anticipate that Ryan will be significantly different from John Boehner on gay issues.

So I’m a bit relieved that the choice now clearly seems to be Paul Ryan. We certainly could have worse.

Paul Ryan: Denial of Same-Sex Marriage Is Part of “Agenda of Prosperity”

Jim Burroway

September 25th, 2012

Speaking at a campaign stop in Cincinnati today, GOP Vice Presidential candidate Rep Paul Ryan tied the denial of marriage equality for same-sex couples to the Romney campaign’s “agenda of prosperity.” Because, I guess, we can’t be prosperous if gay people are allowed to marry:

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The things you talk about like traditional marriage and family and entrepreneurship. These aren’t values that are indicative to any one person or creed or color. These are American values, these are universal human values. And so what Mitt and I are offering is an agenda of prosperity for everybody to have a chance to climb the ladder and get out of poverty in the lives of self-suifficiency. That’s the whole point we’re offering with this five point plan.

Paul Ryan: Reinstating DADT Would Be “A Step In The Wrong Direction”

Jim Burroway

September 24th, 2012

GOP Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan told a Florida TV station that while he voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, he believes that DADT should not be reinstated now that so many gay soldiers have come out:

“Now that it’s done, we should not reverse it,” Ryan told WPTV NewsChannel 5 during a visit to Miami. “I think that would be a step in the wrong direction because people have already disclosed themselves.”

…”I talked to a lot of good friends of mine who are combat leaders in the theater and they just didn’t think the timing of this was right to do this when our troops were in the middle of harm’s way in combat,” Ryan said. “I think this issue is past us. It’s done. And, I think we need to move on.”

Two weeks ago, Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH), who chairs the influential 170-member Republican Study Committee, told an audience at the Values Voter Summit that he was “‘certainly supportive of going back to the previous policy.”

Next President Ryan

A Commentary

Jim Burroway

August 11th, 2012

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Calling Dr. Freud. In this morning’s rollout of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney introduced Ryan as “the “next president of the United States” instead of as the next vice-president. After Ryan appeared on the stage erected in front of the U.S.S. Wisconsin — after all of the music, applause, and general fanfare died down — and just as Ryan was about to launch into his speech, Romney approached the microphone and said, “Every now and then, I’m known to make a mistake” to more laughter from the crowd.

Romney then said that he didn’t make a mistake in picking Ryan. Pundits will be debating that point over the next several months. As a caveat, I’ll remind you of my biases — I’m a Democrat and an Obama supporter (in case that somehow escaped your notice, although I have been critical of the President’s timidity at times) — and so I doubt that my saying that this is a mistake on Romney’s part will persuade many folks. But I do think that a look at the evidence is in order.

The Human Rights Campaign rates Rep. Ryan a “zero” on its scorecard, although I do think there’s room to argue  whether the HRC’s criteria are all that informative on the bigger issues. They certainly don’t help in drawing distinctions between Ryan and Romney — or Obama and Biden — since the HRC only rates representatives and senators. Romney, for his part, has a few silver linings on LGBT issues if you look hard enough, but sometimes you have to squint to see them. He says he doesn’t want to reimpose “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (although he says that repealing it was a mistake), he opposes marriage equality (and supports a federal marriage amendment banning same-sex marriage) but he had said that he supported civil unions (that was before he dumbed it down to, essentially, hospital visitation rights and couple of other bones). And, oh yeah, he kinda sorta thinks Boy Scouts should allow gay kids to sign up.

Ryan’s positions appear to be even more to the right on these issues than Romney. In 2006, he supported Wisconsin’s constitutional amendment which banned both same-sex marriage and civil unions. He voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. He voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act five years ago, but he’s withdrawn his support since then.

I don’t know Ryans position on gay Boy Scouts. But that looks like our last hope for a possible pro-gay position. I’m not optimistic.

And this, I think, is just one example which strengthens the argument that Romney’s choice for a running mate is a mistake. Romney is down by a significant number of percentage points in just about every poll out there, and the gap has only been widening in many of the swing states. Conventional wisdom holds that the election is going to come down to those who are still undecided — which means that it comes down to those who think Romney and Obama both are similarly good (or similarly bad) candidates. Ideologues and true believers have picked sides long ago, and now it’s down to those who find things about both candidates that they like. You know, moderates.

Which is why it was presumed that Romney was going to have to find some way to appeal to those moderates, either by moving toward the center or by filing down some of the sharp edges from those points that scare moderates off. It’s why Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) were seen as having the inside track. They both represented swing states, and they both represented constituencies that were not solidly in Romney’s camps.

But when you look at it, Ryan also represents a constituency that is not solidly in Romney’s camp as well: tea partiers, a group that is increasingly seen in a negative light among moderate voters. They’ve never trusted Romney, and they remain a rebellious, restive constituency.  Ryan is their darling, and they’ll pick Ryan over Romney any day. And that appears to be the calculation that Romney’s making. But if he was going to make a play for moderates, this is not the pick he should have made. Tea partiers are famous for their disdain of moderates.

But here’s the thing that I find even more interesting. Ryan’s claim to fame is his very detailed budget proposals, which are solidly aligned with the tea party line. Romney’s campaign has been built almost entirely on not being specific about much of anything. He’s worked hard at perfect opacity on as many  issues as he can get away with. Ryan’s budget proposals, on the other hand, are filled with some very frightening specifics. The debate will now shift to Ryan’s policy proposals and not Romney’s, largely because it’s often hard to figure out what Romney’s policy proposals really are. It’s not at all difficult to figure out Ryan’s.

Romney’s gaffe today in introducing Ryan as the next president will undoubtedly generate a lot of laughs. But I suspect that it will serve as a fitting metaphor for where the campaign is headed. It’s no longer the Romney campaign. It’s the Ryan-Romney campaign. And that’s what makes Romney’s selection a huge mistake.

    

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