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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.
3 comments

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.”

Same-Sex Couples Increase by 30% October 15, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in lgbt Issues.
3 comments

A Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy study (PDF) released Wednesday shows the number of same-sex couples in America has dramatically increased since 2000. The study, based on the Census Bureau’s new American Community Survey (ACS), shows a 30 percent increase in same-sex couples between 2000 and 2005 — nearly five times the six percent growth rate of the U.S. population. The increased numbers are most likely not from a greater number of gay people beginning relationships, but the increased willingness of same-sex couples to identify as such.

When the census statistics were being collected in 1999 and 2000, it was still illegal to have gay sex in several states (until the Supreme Court overturned sodomy laws in 2003). It had been a little over a year since Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence in rural Wyoming and several years before same-sex marriage was believed to be a realistic goal for equality. But in the years between the 2000 census and the most recent ACS survey, much happened that has radically changed LGBT people and their role in society. Gay and lesbian relationships have been used by presidential and Congressional candidates as a weapon for mobilizing anti-gay voters. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in Massachusetts and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay and lesbian people in Lawrence v. Texas. These events have encouraged same-sex couples to live their lives more openly and honestly, which is part of the reason we see the tremendous increase in same-sex couples between 2000 and 2005.

In six of the eight states with anti-marriage equality amendments on the November ballot, the number of same-sex couples has increased more than the national average of 30 percent. The number of same-sex couples in Wisconsin has increased by 81 percent since 2000, Colorado by 58 percent and South Carolina by 39 percent. Although these numbers are unlikely to dramatically affect the outcome of these ballot initiatives, they could make moderate politicians reconsider their positions on these amendments. Support for anti-gay amendments will alienate a larger number of people than the 2000 statistics would suggest, and in close races, it could make a difference in whether a politician wins an election.

The Williams Institute study estimates there are 8.8 million gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) Americans and that there are same-sex couples in every Congressional district in the United States. Although the study shows GLB people make up only 3 percent of the U.S. population, the actual number is likely higher because of the number of GLB people who are closeted or did not identify as GLB in the ACS survey. These numbers can make an important voting bloc in elections that are growing increasingly tight in recent years.

As statistics on gay and lesbian people continue to become more accurate, the impact of sexual orientation and gender identity issues on elections will become increasingly evident. While the average American voter feels less threatened by the possibility of same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian people are continuing to come out and become an influence in American 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.
3 comments

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

The Truth Behind Anti-Gay Rhetoric September 22, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, lgbt Issues, religion distorted.
6 comments

When anti-gay organizations put out a press release on some issue they find offensive, it is always dressed up by their communications department to sound less hateful and extreme than it actually is. Anti-gay organizations have come up with a number of pleasant soundbites that are thrown out when complicated and important issues face the American public. Here are two of their favorites:

  • Equal Rights, Not Special Rights: When communities or states discuss non-discrimination laws for gay and lesbian people, anti-gay organizations will scream and moan about not giving gay people “special rights”, just “equal rights”. Is it a special right for people not to be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation? Is it a special right to be able to find housing without worrying about discrimination? Are non-discrimination laws protecting race and religion giving these people special rights? Obviously not… it is called equal protection, but claiming “special rights” sure sounds good doesn’t it?

  • Children Deserve a Mother and a Father: In opposing adoption rights for same-sex couples, anti-gay leaders will claim children deserve a mother and a father. Forgetting about the millions of children in single-parent households and the increasing number of single people who adopt, they deny same-sex couples the right to children with this simplistic slogan. Do they oppose single parents adopting children? If so, why don’t they say that? When anti-gay organizations say children deserve a mother and a father, they mean same-sex parents cannot take care of children… they could care less if they actually have a mother and a father.

If there is one thing Republicans and the religious right are good at, it is taking complicated and important issues and boiling them down to meaningless, over-simplified soundbites that ignore reality but sound good to the voting public. They disguise issues Americans would not support with well-tested phrases. No Republicans talk about global warming anymore… it is always “climate change”, because they know it sounds less threatening than the problem actually is. No Republicans will talk about the estate tax, a tax on the super-super-super rich upon their death… it is now called the “death tax”.

Just as Republicans blind Americans to important issues through crafted messages, the anti-gay right has been able to talk about gay and lesbian issues in a way that hides their true feelings. They talk about loving the sinner but hating the sin. They claim to care about gay people and want to help them. But lets look at how the religious right truly feels by grabbing some comments off different posts from this blog.

A comment talking about a lesbian couple who worried about their child when one partner was diagnosed with cancer:

Oh please! Gay people shouldn’t have ANY rights. This country was founded on the principles of God’s Holy Word, which calls homosexuality an ABOMINATION.

A comment talking about the increasing number of Muslim Americans immigrating to the United States and how they could help lessen anti-American sentiment among Muslims:

We don’t owe the muslims ANYTHING. They shouldn’t be in our country, to begin with. Once again, our country was founded on GOD’S HOLY WORD, and I, for one, don’t want other gods in our country. In Bible days, people were killed who didn’t serve the one and true God.

A comment on a post about gay and lesbian people who lost a partner on 9/11:

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Everyone who dies in their sins – whether the sin is mistreatment of slaves, adultery, homosexuality, murder, cheating on taxes, malicious gossip, or failure to do good or calling what is evil “good” – will be condemned. There is no special punishment for homosexuals, just the same punishment that all who fail to revere God will suffer. [NewsFitToPost Note: Remember the Bible condones slavery, yet Bible thumpers have realized this is not to be followed, but somehow are sure condemnations of gay people should be.]

Those who acknowledge their sin as the affront it is to a Holy and Righteous God, those who repent and obediently believe in Jesus Christ, those who are transformed by His power, will be saved from Hell by the grace of God and not through their own human merit.

Believe it now, or believe it when it is too late, my friend.

Also from the post on 9/11 is a comment attacking openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson:

Gene Robinson is not devoted to God. If he were, he would have sacrificed his selfish desires and remained faithful to the marriage vow he made to his wife. He would not have committed adultery and he would not have participated in homosexual sex. And most of all, he would not lie to others saying that adultery and homosexual sex are acceptable to God when God Himself has spoken to the contrary. He is not only bound for Hell, he is intent on taking others with him. I pray that he will repent before it is eternally too late…

Finally, homosexuals are not engaging in just one sin. When a man lives in a sin like homosexuality, he is not only sexually sinning, he is often lying to himself and others about what is right/wrong, he is sinning against the persons with whom he has sex and causing them to sin, he is sinning against those he misleads with his example, etc. He is sinning by not worshipping with God’s people, and he is sinning “worse” if he does partake of communion while in an unrepentant state. I could go on, but that makes the point.

These are but a few of the wondrous messages the “loving” extreme-right Christians leave for all of us to read. It is often times difficult stuff to read, but it is important to remember there are many denominations who speak the true word of God: one of inclusiveness, love and support.

There are two excellent video clips on the ridiculousness of the Christian right. The CBS Evening News clip “Evangelical Politics” shows that progressive evangelical Christians are gaining in popularity and hope to stop extreme-right Christians from stealing the religion. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council acts like a partisan hack who does nothing but sling mud at Christians who aren’t anti-gay, while progressive preacher Jim Wallis speaks of love, helping the poor and tolerance.

Another great video (a must see) is a Daily Show with Jon Stewart clip about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. The segment makes the Family Research Institute’s Paul Cameron look like a gay-obsessed nut job, which quite frankly, is exactly what he is. Meanwhile, Bleu Corpas, who was discharged from the military under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, is well-reasoned and intelligent.

Religion is on the side of gay and lesbian people… anti-gay bigots just have a louder voice right now.