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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 September, 2013

NBC News Brings Scott Lively to Mainstream America

Jim Burroway

September 18th, 2013

We’ve been following Scott Lively for six years now, through his activities in Novosibirsk, Riga, and Kampala. When Russia passed a so-called “anti-propaganda” law which effectively prohibits all advocacy and positive portrayals of gay people, Lively rushed to take credit for it. But with the exception for a brief period in 2009 after Uganda’s parliament proposed a law which would include the death penalty for gay people, Lively hasn’t made much of an impression in the mainstream media. Today, NBC News published a significant profile which gets the rest of America caught up to date with the impact that Lively has had around the world:

Lively has reason to be a bit cocky. America may have “fallen to the gays,” he says, but much of the world still fears them and Lively is working to keep it that way.

In Moldova in 2011, according to Human Rights Watch, he helped several cities declare themselves “gay-free zones” and organized an “emergency” campaign to block a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus he met with politicians and pastors, fostering talk of new curbs on gay rights. Every place he goes, Lively says, his goal is to block the open expression of homosexuality, keep discrimination legal and make pro-gay advocacy a crime.

To whip up support for such policies, Lively simply shares his beliefs about gay people: They’re dangerous predators, even killers. And they caught this gay “disorder” through “an evil game of tag,” a chain of abuse in which gays recruit kids into sodomy just as they were once recruited. In this way homosexuality spreads like “a social cancer,” he claims, until nothing remains of the Christian world.

NBC has re-posed portions of video from Lively’s talks in Novosibirsk and Riga, videos which are no longer available at their original locations. Tony Dokoupil’s report provides more information about the extent of Lively’s 2007 tour, which turns out to be more extensive than I had originally thought. Dokoupil also draws a line from Lively’s virulent rhetoric to some of the violence which often follows:

In Oregon in 1992, a same-sex couple died when their house was firebombed during OCA’s campaign to declare homosexuality “abnormal, wrong, unnatural, and perverse.” In Sacramento in 2007, a gay man was called a “faggot” and punched to death by a stranger in a park. In Uganda in 2011, the country’s first openly gay man had his skull caved in. And right now in Russia and in the former Soviet states, there’s been a surge in homophobic vigilantism, including a torrent of shaming videos, some depicting gay teens being tortured by skinheads. Lively has not been linked to any of these crimes but we asked: Couldn’t his talk of predatory gays, “good and evil,” and “war” have played a role?

“Wow, that’s a leap,” said Lively, who sees his work as advocacy in the public interest, no different from campaigning against drunk drivers.

Lively is probably best known within the gay community for his 2009 conference in Uganda. Lively would later brag that the conference was his “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda,” and he immodestly dubbed himself the father of the anti-homosexuality movement in Uganda. Ugandan activists are currently suing Lively in U.S. Federal District Court, alleging that Lively engaged in a conspiracy to deny the LGBT community of their rights and safety under International Law, and that conspiracy resulted in harm to the LGBT community. Lively is being sued under the Alien Tort Statute, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”  Dokoupil adds this concerning the lawsuit:

Pamela Spees, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the group pursuing Lively for alleged “crimes against humanity” in Uganda, said she is prepared to file a second lawsuit related to his work in Russia and the surrounding countries, assuming there’s evidence that Lively was “an architect of the persecutory program” there.

And that’s why the case against Lively is so important, gay-rights activists say. As the Olympics draw nearer and the boycotts and homophobic backlash continue, Putin will be the guy paraded down the world’s front pages and social media feeds. But Lively may be the secret agent to watch.

If he loses his lawsuit he could be prohibited from spreading his message abroad, a terrible precedent for other anti-gay crusaders. However if he wins, he emerges stronger than ever, the self-described “hero” of an expanding fight to restore “godliness to society,” as he puts it – or else “pull as many people as possible into the lifeboat before the ship goes down.”

We’ve been following Scott Lively for several years, ever since he first popped up on our radar in 2007 when he was in Riga, Latvia in a stop on a far-flung tour of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union sponsored by a new international anti-gay organization, Watchmen On the Walls. (That organization now appears to be inactive.) Soon, video appeared of a talk Lively gave earlier in March in Riga. I was then alerted to video of a talk that Lively gave in Novosibirsk in August, where he warned:

There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. …And this is the design of the Devil to destroy civilization, because civilization is based on the natural family.

Then in November, Lively was back in Riga for a multi-day Watchmen conference. On the first day, Lively complained that the United States was under the iron grip of the homosexual agenda, which he called the product of Satan, “the father of lies“:

You have to understand how this battle works. We follow the God of truth. The Holy Spirit, who is called the Spirit of Truth, lives inside of us. But our adversaries follow the father of lies. Scripture calls him the “father of lies.” They can’t tell the truth, and they won’t tell the truth because they don’t want people to listen to what we have to say. But we can’t say anything that would give them proof that what they teach is right… So we must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We won’t stop telling the truth, and they won’t stop telling the lies. But this is a war.

In a later talk at the same conference, Lively disclosed what he called secrets that “homosexuality community doesn’t want you to know”: that homosexuality is a disorder, that homosexuality is like an addiction but also that homosexuality is voluntary, that homosexuals really don’t want to be homosexual, and that the only reason we remain homosexual is because the leaders of the homosexual movement have made us afraid of Christians. He also read aloud an open letter to the Russian people, in which he advocated:

…[C]riminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality. My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don’t want it. However, homosexuality is destructive to individuals and to society and it should never publicly promoted. The easiest way to discourage “gay pride” parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal in the interest of public health and morality.

Russia has effectively done that, after President Vladimir Putin signed the so-called “anti-propaganda” into law last June.

Poland considers partner recognition

Timothy Kincaid

September 4th, 2012

In a bit of a surprise move, Poland’s controlling centrist party, Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform), is backing a bill to offer limited partner recognition to same-sex couples: (gay star news)

After several months of discussion, the PO decided last week to put to the vote a draft bill in both chambers of the Polish parliament, the Sejm and Senate.

The proposed draft bill of registered civil partnership is similar the current French Pacte civil de solidarité (PACS).

The bill includes a range of benefits which currently are only granted to married heterosexual couples, including protections and responsibilities, inheritance, pension funds, notary, and medical rights. Joint tax benefits and adoption rights are not included in the bill.

Although PO had opposed previous bills, this one does not offer joint tax benefits, citizenship or adoption, and thus may avoid the members’ greatest objections. Even so, the bill has opposition from within the party (and from some others).

The bill is expected to be supported by the Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD) whose previous bill was rejected by the PO and right wing parties. The Polish People’s Party (PSL) is not expected to oppose the bill.

The main opposition party, the right-wing conservative ‘Law and justice’ (PiS) party, is expected to strongly oppose the bill.

To pass, it would need support from at least two thirds of PO along with the smaller party and independent legislators.

Poland Selects First Transgender Member of Parliament

Jim Burroway

October 11th, 2011

Transgender Europe has sent out a press release congratulating Anna Grodzka for becoming the first transgender member of Poland’s National Assembly. The press release identifies Grodzka as a member of the Palikot Movement, “a new political party which has come forward with progressive ideas especially on LGBTQI matters during elections.”

Poland’s lower house, the Sejm, has 460 members who are elected to four year terms through a system of proportional representation. In other words, if a party receives more than 5% of the vote, the party names the members of the Sejm according to the number of seats awarded to it. This is not an unusual system for many parliamentary democracies, and is designed to enhance the representation of political minorities.

NARTH Cofounder Exports Ex-Gay Pseudoscience to Poland

Jim Burroway

September 17th, 2011

But will it play in Poznan?

Even before NARTH founder Joseph Nicolosi’s arrival in Poznan to speak at an ex-gay conference organized by the Medical University of Poznan and the Foundation of Health, Education and Psycychotherapy, the planned event had already stoked controversy throughout Poland. Gay activists, alarmed that a major medical university was sponsoring the confab, protested that the American Psychological Association had found no basis (PDF: 816KB/138 pages) for the claims that ex-gay therapy an “cure” homosexuality, which in any case is not an illness. The ensuing negative publicity prompted the embarrassed university to withdraw its support and refuse to allow the conference to proceed on campus. But as of Thursday, when Nicolosi spoke at a news conference in a pub, the conference was still on for Friday and had been moved to a secret location.

Nicolosi used the press conference as an opportunity to spread his pseudoscience to the Polish public:

We don’t use medications, no medications involved. It’s just talking therapy. It’s usually about once a week, and it’s on the average about two years. Some more, some less. It depends on the individual. Much of this therapy is educational. But also we believe that the male homosexual should have a male therapist, and the lesbian should have a female therapist because it brings up issues of the parent that they felt rejected by.

Rzeczpospolitica also summarized Nicolosi’s theories on homoseuality in bullet form (via Google Translate):

- Homosexual behavior bring them temporary relief, in the long run, however, is not enough – to convince the psychologist. – The most common source of their family relationships are prone: over-controlling mother and distant father – explained. Stressing that the so-called. reparative therapy allows only those persons who have a deep inner conviction about the need for change. – A desire that can not be motivated by religion – he added.

According to the American number of patients who were homosexual eradicated by this therapy, reaches one-third.

Gazeta Wyborcza had more details (via Google Translate):

Our customers want to understand the source of his homosexuality. According to studies, the most common cause of homosexuality in men is incomplete family with a dominant mother, no father. Such a man, by seeking male erotic love, trying to find love and acceptance of a lost father. What we do is encourage customers, alluded to heterosexual relationships with men and avoid homosexual desires “- said Nicolosi.

The effectiveness of reparative therapy conducted by Nicolosiego is about 30 percent.

“1 / 3 people do not change, 1 / 3 notes the improvement in their well-being, while others change completely, which does not mean that the latter do not have a homosexual temptations, but I can deal with them” – Nicolosi reserved.

We discussed the “one-third/one-third/one-third” urban legend here. Conference organizers moved the conference to a secret location, claiming they were threatened by gay advocates. LGBT advocate Katarzyna Gajewska denied the charge, saying “I think it’s unfounded. We do not use violent argument.”

Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan Stanislaw Gadecki wrote a letter to the conference organizers with words of support. “This important project has resulted in the possibility of more effective support for people who want to overcome homosexual tendencies,” he wrote. The Foundation of Health, Education and Psycychotherapy, which organized the conference, is headed by Bogna Bialecka, a psychologist and Catholic publicist