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Anti-Gay Amendments: Media Recognizes Measures as Unnecessary October 28, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in amendments, anti-gay activists, lgbt Issues, marriage equality, media, public opinion.
9 comments

As progressives prepare for what might be the most exciting election year since 1992, campaigns in eight states are fighting to keep their state constitutions free of discriminatory amendments. There has been much optimism over the potential to defeat anti-marriage equality amendments in two states, Wisconsin and Virginia, but with only a week left it is looking like an uphill battle.

Fair Wisconsin has waged a smart and effective campaign that emphasizes the amendment’s far-reaching consequences… not only would it ban marriage, it would ban civil unions and possibly other forms of same-sex relationship recognition. The message seems to have played well over the past year or so, but as it comes down to the wire, there is still a sizeable gap between supporters and opponents. A St. Norbert College Survey Center poll released last week shows 51 percent of likely voters supporting the amendment, compared to 44 percent who are opposed. Support for the amendment has been pushed by conservative churches, most likely with the help of national organizations such as Focus on the Family.

The Commonwealth Coalition in Virginia has also run a promising campaign that has faced a more skeptical public than Fair Wisconsin has. In July of this year, 56 percent of Virginians supported the amendment and only 38 percent were opposed. Today that gap has narrowed by 8 percent, with only 52 percent of Virginians supporting the amendment and 42 percent opposed. The Commonwealth Coalition has been able to sway Virginians using a number of tactics, one of which asserts that Virginia’s bill of rights was a model for the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Right, and that changing it would be fundamentally misguided (see ad here).

The passion that flamed anti-gay sentiment in the 2004 elections seems to have calmed a bit, and newspaper editorial staffs now seem to be able to see through anti-gay rhetoric and analyze the amendments for what they truly are.

Of the seven mainstream Wisconsin newspapers that have run editorials on the amendment, only one has supported banning same-sex marriage (the Green Bay Press-Gazette). The state papers with the largest circulations (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times) have all opposed the amendment.

Some highlights from Wisconsin editorials:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [from before the Assembly approved the measure]:

…the law of the land is secular, not sectarian. Moreover, we note that not everyone who claims religious faith has the same views on gays. And some note that the New Testament, at least, says much more about such virtues as charity, kindness and eschewing wealth than about homosexuality…

The other reason given for the amendment usually has to do with the “will of the people” or the need “for the people to be heard.” In other words, “we” can do this because there are more of “us” than “them,” otherwise known as “you people.”

We hope there are far fewer in this other editorial “we” than amendment backers hope. We’ve heard variations of this discrimination argument applied to other groups of people. It doesn’t sound any better this time.

The Capital Times:

This is not merely discrimination. It is cruelty. And it is a form of cruelty that will cause young people to leave the state, convince pioneering researchers to leave the University of Wisconsin and force responsible businesses to locate their factories and offices elsewhere…

Wisconsin is about more than its business climate, however. Even if the amendment did not pose such a clear threat to the state’s economic prospects, it would be wrong for Wisconsin.

Amending the constitution to require discrimination goes against everything that Wisconsin stands for. It breaks faith with the most fundamental of the values that have guided this state for all of its 158 years.

***

Editorials on Virginia’s amendment have often expressed little doubt that the measure will pass, but of the seven newspapers that have taken a clear stand on the amendment, only two have encouraged support for the amendment (Danville Register & Bee and the Washington Examiner).

Some highlights from Virginia editorials:

Daily Press:

But at the core the truth is that this amendment speaks of two things: A deep-seated prejudice against gays and lesbians.

The reality that there are among us, always, people who seek to use fear and prejudice for their own political advancement…

Make no mistake, this amendment goes beyond its stated intent of protecting marriage. It hurts gays and lesbians. It will hurt unmarried partners regardless of their sexual orientation. It will hurt us all.

Bristol Herald Courier:

Tampering with either state’s constitution in this manner is redundant. It reinforces an attitude of intolerance or hostility toward those who are different. It is a dangerous government foray into the realm of religion and a blow to individual rights.

In this nation’s history, most constitutional amendments have granted freedoms rather than taking them away – prohibition being the obvious exception. Virginia and Tennessee voters should think twice before altering these hallowed precepts to ban that which is already illegal.

A “no” vote is not a vote for same-sex unions. It is a vote to protect our constitutions and to respect freedom. We cannot think of a more traditionally conservative stand to take.

***

While the majority of media outlets seem to have taken a hard stance against marriage amendments, the American public has not quite reached that point. Fear created by the anti-gay right has fueled opposition to same-sex marriage, yet many who support the amendment still struggle to find a reason for the amendment beyond “protecting marriage.” Ask them how it protects marriage and their arguments usually hit a dead-end.

The recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling, which requires the legislature to give all the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples (without forcing them to call it marriage), has renewed anti-gay rhetoric about “activist judges.” Although New Jersey did not ban same-sex marriage while all the states with proposed amendments do, anti-gay activists refuse to explain this to voters and have distorted the ruling for their own gain. Whether the New Jersey decision hurts efforts to defeat state amendments has yet to be seen, but with only a week to go, we can only hope that voters realize these amendments are unnecessary measures designed to bolster cynical election campaigns.

Let’s hope Wisconsinites and Virginians recognize the media’s fair analysis of anti-gay amendments while they enter the voting booths on November 7.

Visit the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for more editorials on amendments in the eight states with anti-gay ballot initiatives.

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Political Activists, Not True Models of Christianity, At Liberty Sunday October 16, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, lgbt Issues, marriage equality, politics, religion distorted.
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Anti-gay Family Research Council held a “Liberty Sunday” event this last weekend in hopes of rallying social conservative voters by attacking gay and lesbian people and their lives. It seems ridiculous that spending over an hour attacking a small group of people would be considered as a way to mobilize voters, but anti-gay activists believe it is a tested and proven method.

I know it is almost cliche to say this now, but why are these allegedly Christian political activists focusing on attacking gay people when they could use those resources and platforms to fight for causes that are truly Christian: helping America’s poor, encouraging a fair health care system and providing relief to the people of Sudan. The Family Research Council was able to gather dozens of influential conservative Christians and politicians: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, American Family Association’s Don Wildmon. When is the last time these conservative leaders gathered to support a cause that would actually help people, or a cause that truly lives up to Jesus’ teachings? It doesn’t happen… and it doesn’t happen because these men are political activists, not representatives of Christianity.

Included below are some statements from speakers at Liberty Sunday. With all the issues facing America and the world, do these leaders sound like Christians looking out for the betterment of God’s world? You can decide…

Bishop Wellington Boone, Wellington Boone Ministries:

My wife said to me, well okay then, if sodomites, because they are not gays, it’s a misnomer, they’re sodomites. There were sodomy laws all over this country from 1600’s and it was one time a capital offense, how could we make it a capital offense?.. The Bible! If God calls homosexuality an abomination, if he calls it a vile affection, if he calls it wickedness, I can’t call it inappropriate behavior. So, if this is just a small matter, then let two women go on an island. All women, if you’re a sodomite go on an island and stay by yourself, all women and then put all the men on another island… I called this whole idea of trying to get rights and trying to get on the African American’s side, I called it the rape of the civil rights movement.

Don Wildmon, American Family Association:

The day will come when they’re walking in your church and if you say one thing wrong or bad about homosexuality they will walk in your church and they will shut you up and you will be arrested for a hate crime. That sounds far removed, but it is the truth.

Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute:

The leadership in this state is beholden to the homosexual lobbyist. Homosexual money is flooding into the state to deny citizens the right to vote and to deny our freedom of speech.

Let me remind you, dear readers, that Focus on the Family alone has a higher budget than all the national LGBT organizations combined. It is absurd to think that the majority of lobbyist money flooding a state is from the LGBT movement… anti-gay activists have a tremendous financial advantage in every way.

Just as David Kuo, author of the new book Tempting Faith, worries: “the name of God is being destroyed in the name of politics.”

Mentioning Rape, Sodomites and Perversion in the Title of a Pamphlet… Must Be the Right-Wing! September 27, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, hate speech, lgbt Issues, religion distorted, right-wing lies.
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At the extreme-right Value Voters Summit put on by the Family Research Council, attacking same-sex marriage became a favorite past-time. Instead of these “Christians” discussing ways to help impoverished Americans, extend access to healthcare or improve public schools, they pretend banning same-sex marriage is the most crucial issue facing the nation.

At the summit, volunteers from Wellington Boone Ministries handed out pamphlets that accurately depict how these “compassionate” Christians view gay and lesbian people. The pamphlet, titled “The Rape of the Civil Rights Movement: How Sodomites are Using Civil Rights Rhetoric to Advance Their Preference for Sexual Perversion,” blames the difficulties of being gay or lesbian on their “desire for sex”.

The pamphlet is a disgusting mixture of obvious lies, distortions and gross exaggerations. Here are just a few examples:

A lie:

What blacks have gone through to gain their freedom relates to their culture and race. What gays are dealing with is a result of their behavioral preference and desire for sex.

The first sentence is true. The second sentence is absurd. Despite what anti-gay leaders claim, the vast majority of peer-reviewed research shows a combination of factors potentially cause homosexuality, but that it is most definitely not a choice. Also, I guarantee you a gay man has no more desire for sex than the average straight man.

Another lie:

Sodomites are people who willfully break the laws of God and the laws of the land… The legal term “sodomy”, which includes the illegal, perverted behavior of same-sex relationships, including oral and anal sex, comes from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19.

We could debate for years whether God condemns homosexuality, but sodomy is most definitely legal in the United States. In the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v Texas, the court overturned all sodomy laws because of the right to privacy. The authors of this pamphlet know that… they just have no problem being dishonest.

Although I could continue to point out other lies, we will move on.

An obvious distortion:

Sodomy causes the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and natural and spirtual uncleanness that result in sickness, disease, and death.

Technically, yes, sodomy can result in spreading sexually transmitted diseases. But, heterosexual sex also spreads sexually transmitted diseases. It may be easy to single out gay people, but I know plenty of heterosexuals who ended up with STDs and it sure wasn’t from gay sex. As for “natural uncleanness”… no more unclean than any other sex act.

Gross Exaggeration:

If you followed same-sex marriage to its logical conclusion, it would bring an end to our society as we know it. It would mean the annihilation of the human race.

Unless these crazies believe gay people have the power to infect everyone else on the planet, this argument is idiotic. I probably don’t need to further explain why it is so.

Who knew you could fit so much bullshit in a two-page pamphlet? Ridiculous statements like the ones above show how weak and ignorant the arguments condemning gay people truly are. If they are forced to realize religion shouldn’t play a role in government recognition of marriage, the right-wingers have absolutely no legitimate arguments for banning it (although I know the ones they will attempt to regurgitate at you).

You can download a PDF of the Wellington Boone Ministries pamphlet here (once page opens, “download button is near the bottom of the screen.)

Read More About the Summit and the “Ministry”:

Think Progress: “‘Values Voter Summit’ Features Attack on ‘Faggots,’ Claim That Gay Rights Movement Inspired ‘From The Pit Of Hell Itself’”

Andrew Sullivan: Christianism Watch

Bush as Devil, No Way. Clinton as Devil, Okay. September 26, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, politics, religion distorted.
3 comments

Last week, Democrats and Republicans united in condemning Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez for referring to George Bush as the devil. It was a nice change to see both parties agreeing on an issue, albeit a trivial one, but all Americans realize referring to our leaders as Satan is inappropriate.

After a full week’s coverage of Chávez’s statements on cable news programs, a nutjob nearly on the same-level as Chávez equated another American politician with the devil. Actually, this nutjob held the devil in higher regard.

At the extreme-right Values Voters Summit last weekend, anti-gay formerly pro-segregation preacher Jerry Falwell told the audience that Christians would vote for Satan himself before voting for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Here’s his soundbite:

I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate. She has $300 million so far. But I hope she’s the candidate. Because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton. If Lucifer ran, he wouldn’t.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fundamentalist audience erupted in applause after his statement claiming his base would support the devil over Clinton. It seems odd that the arch-nemesis of God himself, Satan, would be held in higher esteem than little old Hillary Clinton. Knowing Falwell and his followers, however, they probably can find some Bible passage to distort in support of his statement.

So why the outrage over some bum from Venezuela taking a crack at President Bush, but no outrage at an alleged “religious leader” for making nearly the same comment about a U.S. senator? Where is this “liberal media” I keep hearing about? Just remember… Jerry Falwell and his friends represent the “base” the Republicans are always trying to please through tax-cuts for the rich and banning same-sex marriage.

Liberals Love Adultery, Conservatives Love Incest September 23, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, politics, right-wing lies.
4 comments

Kevin McCullough was frothing at the mouth as he wrote his latest WingNutDaily (thanks Pam!) article about liberals and their love for adultery. In his now routine eagerness to find an example or two and call it a pattern, McCullough claims all liberals love adultery because Bill Clinton, Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson and former N.J. Gov. Jim McGreevey are all liberal.

The most important item to note is that openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson never committed adultery, despite what McCullough claims. Robinson has been with partner Mark Andrews since 1989, but was divorced three years before after telling his wife he could not change his sexual orientation (him and his ex-wife remain close). McCullough is an ass for spreading rumors about Robinson, a man of God who not only did not commit adultery, but was honest with his ex-wife about his “homosexual inclinations” before they were even married.

When it comes to Bill Clinton and Jim McGreevey, there is little doubt that they did commit adultery. Republicans spent millions in taxpayer money to prove Clinton had, and McGreevey apologized for it while resigning from the state’s highest office. McCullough claims liberals’ love for Clinton and McGreevey proves liberals also love adultery, but his characterizations are a mixture of generalizations, distortions and flat-out lies.

Bill Clinton is indisputably loved by the left. If McCullough believes that also means the left loves adultery (an almost laughable correlation), so be it. But he also claims liberals love Jim McGreevey, pointing out his appearances on Oprah and the Today show. Apparently McCullough has not picked up a newspaper or turned on television in weeks, however, because the vast majority of liberals have been far from embracing McGreevey. Nearly all lesbian and gay organizations have refused to comment on McGreevey and traditionally “liberal” media such as The New York Times, Los Angles Times and Washington Post have reported that McGreevey has received a cold reception from both conservatives and liberals. But McCullough chooses to ignore these reports to help further a point that cannot be furthered without bold-faced lies and mischaracterizations.

So McCullough has found his one example of the left loving adultery: Bill Clinton. For the sake of fairness, we will take a look at some conservative heroes to see if we can mischaracterize conservatives as loving immoral actions. Conservative favorite and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been married three times and divorced his second wife while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. Then there is former Oregon Christian Coalition leader Lou Beres, who has admitted to molesting his own daughter, their friends and his sister-in-law. And several-times-divorced conservative favorite Rush Limbaugh has been charged with illegally obtaining prescription drugs in between his oh-so-common tirades against illegal drug use.

If we are to use the same standard of honesty as McCullough, it is quite fair to say conservatives love divorce, incest, molestation and illegal drug use just as much as liberals love adultery. However I do not believe conservatives love these “sins”, because as liberals know, there is no reason to hate someone just because they have made mistakes in the past (although incest and molestation are difficult to forgive). Just as liberal hero Bill Clinton has not always been on the moral high-road, many conservative heroes have fallen from the moral wagon to carry out actions that are unacceptable for most Americans (minus the divorce thing).

The intellectual dishonesty (or just dishonesty) McCullough engages in is astounding. It should be criticized by any conservative or liberal who does not want to be characterized by the actions of all people who happen to share the same ideology. It seems like common sense, but when you are dealing with idiots like Kevin McCullough, common sense always seems to be outweighed by lies and distortions.