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Posts for August, 2011

Pawlenty, Santorum join FRC’s and NOM’s Iowa Bus Tour

Jim Burroway

August 10th, 2011

The “Values Voters Bus Tour,” sponsored by the Family “Research” Council’s lobbying arm, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Susan B. Anthony List, kicked off yesterday in Des Moines, Iowa, with the goal of hitting several Iowa communities ahead of Saturday’s GOP presidential Straw Poll. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was on hand for the tour’s start, which was greeted by a sparse crowd that appears to have been outnumbered by reporters:

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The bus made five more stops before the day was done yesterday. This morning, the bus tour resumed with a breakfast in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum met the bus.

Pawlenty caves to NOM pressure

Timothy Kincaid

August 5th, 2011

After a day in which the National Organization for Marriage, an adjunct of the Roman Catholic Church, pressured former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty by bitching about him to various media and encouraging the people on its email list to call him, Pawlenty caved. (Politico)

“After reviewing the pledge, the governor wanted to sign it and we sent it to them this morning,” said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant.

Because, of course Pawlenty wanted to pledge his fealty to a special interest group that is shrinking in size and influence and to announce that he, too, would appoint puppet judges to the federal bench so as to allow the executive branch to dictate the outcome of legislation.

Klassy.

Maggie Gallagher Pines for Pawlenty

Jim Burroway

August 5th, 2011

These eyes are for Pawlenty.

She also has designs on Perry. National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher appeared on CBN to discuss NOM’s marriage pledge which has already been signed by Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachman, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The wide-ranging pledge (CBN’s interviewer strangely called it “narrowly-written”) calls on GOP presidential candidates to:

  • Support the Federal Marriage Amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,
  • Defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court,
  • Apply a marriage litmus test for judges and the attorney general,
  • Appoint a presidential commission to investigate so-called “harassment” of traditional marriage supporters,
  • Demand that marriage be put to a vote in the District of Columbia.

Gallagher expects Texas gov. Rick Perry to sign the pledge one he officially announces his candidacy. But one major holdout,  Minnesota gov. Tim Pawlenty, has Gallagher pleading for his support:

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Well we will certainly offer the opportunity to Governor Rick Perry and any other major candidates who step into the race. We understand that before you’re declared candidate it would probably not be appropriate to start signing pledges. The big question is what’s going to happen with Governor Tim Pawlenty, who explicitly declined to sign NOM’s marriage pledge this week. We’re hoping the governor changes his mind because we think it’s pretty peculiar for governor Pawlenty, who has been a champion for marriage in Minnesota, to refuse to do the same for the people of America.

Gallagher is counting on victories in passing anti-marriage amendments in Minnesota and North Carolina, and expects a rollback on marriage in New Hampshire in January.

Click here to read the full transcript.

GOP Presidential Candidates Debate Marriage, DADT

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2011

Last night, seven candidates for the GOP presidential nomination appeared in a debate in New Hampshire, home to the nation’s first primay. Participating were Godfather Pizza magnate Herman Cain, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. And of course, LGBT issues came up in the debate.

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Only Herman Cain and Ron Paul opposed a Federal Marriage Amendment to ban marriage equality in the states.

Herman Cain said that he didn’t support repealing DADT, but he didn’t want the distractions that it would take to put it back into effect. Pawlenty says that he would seek the advice of “combatant commanders.” This wiggle room leaves open the likelihood that he would re-instate DADT. Ron Paul appeared to say the would keep it in place. He talked about punishing behavior, without specifying whether a consensual relationship between two people of the same gender would be punishable. Romney dodged the question altogether, saying that DADT should not have been repealed “until this conflict is over.” Gingrich answered by building a case for its reinstatement, an indication that he would work to restore the discriminatory policy. Bachmann said she “would keep the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.” When asked to clarify, she indicated that she would reinstate the policy after sufficiently cloaking it with “advice” from the military. Santorum took a lot of words to more or less repeat what Ron Paul said, but given the context of Santorum’s overall policies and attitudes toward gay people, I don’t think his eagerness to reimpose the policy would be much in doubt.

Not one candidate spoke about gay people as though they were taxpayers, patriots, or fellow citizens.

Newt Gingrich Promises To “Slow Down” Gay Rights Progress

Jim Burroway

March 30th, 2011

New Gingrich is running for President like it’s 1996.

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Gingrich is the third major GOP figure running for president to appear on American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer’s radio program. Fischer has said that LGBT people should be legally disqualified from holding public office because “gay sex is a form of domestic terrorism” and should be declared a felony. And he is attracting a line of GOP presidential hopefuls to his microphone. Warren Throckmorton asks, “Is Bryan Fischer the new GOP Kingmaker?

On DOMA, Social Conservatives Howl While Pols Shrug

Jim Burroway

February 25th, 2011

By virtually any measure, the Obama Administration’s announcement that they will no longer argue that the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” is constitutional portends a monumental shift, with repercussions we are all still trying to sort out. Anti-gay activists are, predictably, howling with rage, calling on Congress to intervene. But as we noted, House speaker John Boehner refused to take the bait, and is instead sticking to his promised focus on slashing the budget. The New York Times noticed similarly tepid reactions among many other political conservatives:

In the hours that followed, Sarah Palin’s Facebook site was silent. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was close-mouthed. Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, released a Web video — on the labor union protests in Wisconsin — and waited a day before issuing a marriage statement saying he was “disappointed.”

Others, like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, took their time weighing in, and then did so only in the most tepid terms. “The Justice Department is supposed to defend our laws,” Mr. Barbour said.

Asked if Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana and a possible presidential candidate, had commented on the marriage decision, a spokeswoman said that he “hasn’t, and with other things we have going on here right now, he has no plans.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who is also believed to be a presidential contender, is among the few to come out strongly against the Administration’s decision, calling children being raised by LGBT parents “our little guinea pigs.” Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist for President Bush’s 2004 campaign which deployed marriage as a major wedge issue to turn out conservative voters, may well be right: “The wedge has lost its edge,” he told the Times. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for that to change between now and 2012.

Pawlenty Supports De-Funding DADT’s Repeal

Jim Burroway

February 7th, 2011

Last month, Minnesota governor and prospective GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty made waves when he went on a radio program hosted by American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer — yes, that Bryan Fischer — to say that if he were elected president, Pawlenty would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Today, Pawlenty is doubling down on that statement:

Appearing at the Family Leader’s Presidential Lecture Series in Iowa, which ThinkProgress attended, Pawlenty reiterated his argument for why the policy should not have been repealed and then, when pushed, agreed with ThinkProgress that taking away the funding “would be a reasonable step”:

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ThinkProgress notes that just three days ago, Bryan Fischer also called on Congress to de-fund DADT’s repeal.

Far Right gathers for Value Voters weekend

Timothy Kincaid

September 17th, 2010

Earlier this month we discussed the wackadoodle extravaganza which was the Taking America Back convention. But this weekend, that seminar’s cousin the 2010 Value Voters Summit is meeting for roughly the same purpose: rallying the troops to impose their religious beliefs on non-believers by use of governmental force. And while Taking America Back consisted primarily of the delusional, the excitable, and the social misfits, the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit draws “respectable” activists and recognizable politicians.

But make no mistake, the agenda of the Voter Voters Summit is no less radical or unAmerican than that of its low-rent cousin. And no small part of their obsession is on the extent to which gay people should be disallowed from participating in society.

The plenary session presentations consist of:

* We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future
* ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Panel
* We the People: The Tea Party’s Place in American Politics
* Parental Choice Education: Beyond One-Size-Fits-All Schools
* Hollywood Panel

Although only one of the five plenary discussions focuses solely on gay issues, it is without question that much of the other sessions will also be dedicated to “opposing the homosexual agenda”. That is, after all, the number one complaint that social conservatives have with the schools and Hollywood. And for those who really want to spend their weekend on nothing but “evil sodomites”, they can attend Saturday’s 3:30 breakout session entitled The falsehood of the inevitability of same-sex “marriage”.

The entire event will be filled with speeches and presentations by familiar names in the anti-gay movement. But unlike Taking America Back, most of these have social grace and appearance of sanity. With one notable exception: the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer will be speaking tomorrow morning and is likely to spout things that are so irrational as to confuse even that sympathetic audience.

These conferences are useful; they help us separate political opponents from those who truly are devoted enemies of our lives, freedoms and liberties. Many conservative Republicans hold positions that are unfavorable to us, but do so more from ignorance or distorted principle than out of zealous animus. But those who participate at these conferences do so because the believe that they are authorized by God to destroy our cause and our lives.

This year, perhaps even more than most, participation at the Value Voters Summit is a clear indication of animus towards the gay community. And by going there this year, politicians are making a visible statement that they are not just in disagreement with some of our cause but rather that they see us as a threat and an enemy and that they will do whatever they can to harm us.

Most of these names will not surprise us:

Governor Mike Huckabee
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.)
Governor Mitt Romney
Senator Rick Santorum
Christine O’Donnell
Newt Gingrich
Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Va.)
Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) (via video)
Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.)

Minnesota Governor Vetoes Equality For The Dead

Jim Burroway

May 17th, 2010

It’s bad enough when people refuse to recognize your dignity while you’re still alive, but Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) has ensured that the insults will continue even after you die:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill Saturday that would have given same-sex partners the right to decide what to do with the body of their loved ones, should they die.

Minnesota to recognize same-sex couples unless Pawlenty vetoes

Timothy Kincaid

May 12th, 2010

Today the Minnesota legislature took a very small step and crossed a very great divide: they went from being a state that sees same-sex couples as two distinct individuals who are legal strangers without any formal relationship to being a state that recognizes, in at least some small way, that same-sex couples are a unit, two people who have emotional, financial, and legal connections. (Star Tribune)

Domestic partners would have the right to determine what happens with the remains of a deceased partner under a bill passed by the Minnesota House on Tuesday.

The “Final Wishes” bill defines domestic partners and gives them decision-making power ahead of children, siblings and parents after a partner’s death.

The measure would also give domestic partners the right to sue for damages in cases of wrongful death.

This may seem like a small portion of equality, hardly worth getting excited over. But this is a tremendous step, one that impacts far more than those couples who can now breath a sigh of relief that the decisions surrounding their final rest can be made by the one who knows and loves them best. Because this bill defines domestic partners.

The real battle for equality is over whether gay people and gay couples exist.

You’d think that would be a given. Everyone knows – on some level – that gay folks exist and that some of them form couples. Yet that is the point most hotly debated by anti-gay activists and most ardently denied by anti-gay politicians.

All of the anti-gay rhetoric that we hear about “there is no gay gene” and “no one is born gay” and “there is no such thing as sexual orientation” and “change is possible” all seek to deny the existence of gay people. These claims all seek to advance the notion that those who identify as gay are just “heterosexuals with a homosexual problem” or are “heterosexuals who struggle with same-sex attractions.”

Because once you acknowledge that gay people exist – real gay people and not just flawed heterosexuals who engage in homosexual behavior – then you have changed the power dynamic in the debate. If gay people exist, the question is no longer over what will be allowed for people who do, but becomes a debate over what rights exist for people who are. No longer can discrimination be dismissed by, “well if they just wouldn’t do that”; and now rights are presumed to exist and any denial must be justified and explained.

And the same is true of couples. Once you acknowledge that same-sex couples exist, then each denied right demands an explanation.

Instead of needing to justify each additional equality, the question is why it should not be provided. Once a state has defined what a domestic partnership is, then it must explain why such a unit should be treated differently from other units.

Why should gay couples not be treated like straight couples when using a state park? Why should they be denied hospital visitation? Why should they pay different taxes?

And this is why anti-gay Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is expected to veto the bill. He probably doesn’t much care who makes cremation decisions. I doubt he is concerned over who gets to sue for wrongful death. But he very much fears the idea that the State of Minnesota could acknowledge that same-sex couples, families, domestic partners exist.

The bill faces a likely veto by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, however. Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said it is unnecessary because people can already designate whomever they want to make such decisions. It “seems to be a political exercise to get the term ‘domestic partner’ into state law,” McClung added.

Unfortunately for Gov. Pawlenty, the culture has already accepted the existence of gay couples. And in time, if not already, Minnesotans will see the denial of small personal dignities like death decisions to be cruel, bigoted and hateful.