Monday, June 26, 2017

You call 'religious liberty,' I call it another game of 'beating down the gays'


Editor's note - In my headline and throughout this post, the word 'gay' is mean to represent the entire LGBTQ community. 

I knew that the Family Research Council would get 'gloat-happy' at the news that SCOTUS will be hearing the case involving using 'religious liberty' as an excuse to discriminate. So allow me to post the organization's comments:

If anyone’s under the influence of the media and questioning President Trump’s results after six months, look no further than the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Neil Gorsuch. This morning, after waiting through a string of Monday court announcements, Americans concerned about the relentless assault on religious freedom finally got the word they’d been waiting for -- justices have agreed to hear the case of Christian baker Jack Phillips. For men and women of faith, who’ve been in the fight of their lives for their First Amendment rights since Obergefell, it’s a hopeful sign that the days of persecution against believers like Jack may be numbered.

Like so many Christian businesses, the war on religious freedom came to the Phillips’s front door when two men visited Masterpiece Cakes in 2012 and asked for a same-sex wedding cake. Jack was kind -- but firm -- in his conviction that he wouldn’t participate in a ceremony that violates his faith. Dave Mullin and Charlie Craig offered a choice gesture and stormed out. Later that day, they turned to social media, launching a campaign to force Phillips into submission. It didn’t work. “We would close down our bakery before we would compromise our beliefs,” Phillips told reporters.

Ironically, business only boomed. People flocked to the Colorado cake shop to show their support. They understood, as we do, that this was never about discriminating against anyone. Like Barronelle Stutzman in Washington State, Jack is happy to serve everyone. “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake -- not the people, not their lifestyle.” All Christians are asking for is the same tolerance that liberals already enjoy. Instead, the Left seems intent on punishing anyone who thinks like 53 percent of Americans on marriage. And in the process, they’ve done an incredibly effective job answering their own question -- how will my same-sex marriage affect you?

 . . . “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes,” his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, “he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice.” Tragically, it’s a choice more Christians are having to make. Finally, the Supreme Court has a chance to rule that the government has no authority to force Americans like Jack Philips to use their artistic talents to celebrate events they morally oppose. With Justice Gorsuch on the bench, we’re more optimistic than ever that the court will uphold our nation’s long tradition of respecting religious liberty. That wouldn’t just be a victory for Masterpiece Cakes but every Christian suffering under the government’s heavy hand.

Even when gloating, the Family Research Council won't stop deceiving.

'Two years ago today, we won the right to marry' & other Mon midday news briefs

Two years ago today:



And yet the fight continues. We won marriage, now we are in a fight to secure it against folks who feel that God gives them the right to disobey or get around the rules of our nation. Not to mention slandering the judges who rule against them. We are dealing with the worse kind of zealots - religious zealots with a huge amount of audacity and the purse strings and resources to match. But they won't win if we fight. We already have truth on our side.

 In other news: 

How Marriage Equality Strengthened Marriage And Changed Religion - You darn right it did! 

Neil Gorsuch reveals his true anti-LGBTQ self - Not surprising. At least for now. 

Here’s An Amazing Way To Explain Drag Culture To Kids - Now I like this. And there is nothing wrong with it, either. 

It’s Pride. It’s Ramadan. And It Still Isn’t Easy To Be An LGBT Muslim - The very epitome of brave as far as I'm concerned.

SCOTUS to decide if religion can be used as an excuse to discriminate


Folks, particularly the lgbtq community, are learning the hard lesson that elections matter and voting matters:

From Buzzfeed:

The Supreme Court on Monday announced it would hear the case of a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, teeing up the country's highest stakes legal showdown about whether laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination can violate religious people's constitutional rights. The justices granted certiorari to hear the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in its next term, which begins in October. Since same-sex couples won the right to marry, in states and later nationwide, conservative activists have doubled down on lawsuits and legislation that promote religious freedom. They argue that providing wedding-related services to same-sex couples amounts to participating in the ceremonies, thereby violating their rights to religious exercise and free speech.

 . . .While it remains legal in many parts of the US to turn away gay couples from businesses, 21 states ban discrimination in public settings on the basis of sexual orientation, including Colorado. If a business bakes wedding cakes for straight couples, the thinking goes, nondiscrimination laws require they must provide the same service to gay couples. In July of 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins attempted to order a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, but owner Jack Phillips declined, saying that it would violate his religious beliefs.

ThinkProgress adds:

The bakery at the heart of the dispute in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission claims it has a constitutional right to defy Colorado’s anti-discrimination law because its owner, in the words of a lower court that heard this case, believes that “he would displease God by creating cakes for same-sex marriages.” The bakery claims both that its owner’s religious belief gives it a special right to defy the law, and that requiring the bakery to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding amounts to a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment. Neither of these arguments holds water under longstanding legal doctrines.

ThinkProgess also speculates on the timing of the coincidental timing of this decision by SCOTUS to hear the case:

Yet, while the bakery does not have much law on its side, the timing of the Court’s announcement suggests that its most conservative members are eager to make some very significant changes to the law now that they have a new ally on the bench. Last year, during the period when the Court had only eight members, Justice Samuel Alito penned an angry dissent from the Court’s decision not to hear a case brought by a pharmacy which claimed a religious right to ignore a regulation requiring it to “deliver lawfully prescribed drugs or devices to patients.” In that dissent, Alito called for an expansive reading of religious objectors’ rights to defy the law. Notably, Alito’s dissent was joined by just two other justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. It takes four votes for the Court to hear a case. After receiving the bakery’s request to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court held the case over through five consecutive conferences of the justices without announcing whether or not they will hear the case. The most likely explanation for this behavior is that Roberts, Thomas, and Alito were biding their time until Neil Gorsuch would give them the fourth vote.

However, four votes to hear the case doesn't mean a win. ThinkProgress points out that  the decision may fall again on Justice Anthony Kennedy to be the deciding vote. And in cases with regards to the lgbtq community, specifically with marriage equality, Kennedy has ruled in favor of us.

Still, however, the repercussions of this case go way beyond simply the providing of services at same-sex weddings. If SCOTUS rules that secular entities can use religion as an excuse to discriminate, it opens the door to all sorts of negative possibilities, including gender and racial discrimination.

Friday, June 23, 2017

'Pence to pay tribute to anti-lgbtq group' & other Friday midday news briefs


Vice President Mike Pence Celebrates Pride by Speaking to an Anti-LGBT Group - The group in question is Focus on the Family, which has been very careful to evade the verbal and junk science traps which led SPLC to declare other groups like it to be hate groups. But it is still a vile group nonetheless. I'm this close to "looking for" those gay folks who said that the Trump Administration was going to be in our corner.

Lest You Forget, Focus on the Family Does Serious Damage to LGBTQ People - Or how Focus on the Family has been able to evade the label of "hate group" thus far. 

 Too Many Doctors Are Failing LGBTQ Patients. Medical Schools Want to Change That. - And this exacerbates health problems within the community which the religious right always exploit for their "homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle" false narrative.

 Appeals court re-instates Mississippi's religious freedom law - Just in case you haven't heard. BUT there is a giant caveat. The court reinstated the law because since it's not yet in effect, the plantiffs couldn't show how it would damage them. A minor problem alleviated by putting the law into effect and allowing folks to use it.

Appeals Court Allows Worst Anti-LGBTQ Law Ever To Go Into Effect In Mississippi- More detail on the situation, including the MANY ways the law could derail itself by simply existing.

New documentary puts trans people on both sides of the camera - Wow! This is a really good idea.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Family Research Council upset over being labeled a hate group, but won't address reason why

Poor Family Research Council.

The organization is angry because Guidestar, a website which features information on charities, will now identify it as a hate group. Since Guidestar is using information from the Southern Poverty Law Center to make this determination, FRC has been busy smearing both organizations.

FRC president Tony Perkins claims that his group has gotten together a coalition of conservative groups to complain about what Guidestar is doing:

 . . .41 conservative groups and individuals are demanding that GuideStar remove the hate banners from their listings and return to their claimed position of neutrality that Americans expect. In a letter protesting the move, the signers write: 
 "Your designations are based on determinations made by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a hard-Left activist organization. As such, SPLC's aggressive political agenda pervades the construction of its 'hate group' listings." "The SPLC has no bona fides to make such determinations. It is not a governmental organization using rigorous criteria to create its lists, and it is not a scientifically-oriented organization. The SPLC is merely another 'progressive' political organization... The 'hate group' list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven. The SPLC doesn't even pretend to identify groups on the political Left that engage in 'hate.' Mosques or Islamist groups that promote radical speech inciting anti-Semitism and actual violence are not listed by the SPLC even though many have been publicly identified after terrorist attacks."

FRC of course evades the big question - why does SPLC consider it to be a hate group. SPLC said the following in a 2012 article:

The FRC portrays gay people as sick, evil, perverted, incestuous and a danger to the nation. It insists that gay people are “fundamentally incapable” of providing good homes for children – a myth that has been rejected by all relevant scientific authorities. One of its key leaders has actually said that homosexual behavior should be criminalized. Perhaps the FRC’s most dangerous lie is its claim that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem,” to use Perkins’ words. Here’s what the American Psychological Association says: “Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” The APA adds, “There is no scientific support for fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by their parents or their parents’ gay, lesbian or bisexual friends or acquaintances.” Linking the LGBT community to pedophilia is not an expression of a religious belief, as Perkins would have it. It’s simply a lie – and a particularly ugly one at that.

Then there was the time when FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg said he wishes gays could be exported out of America:



And let's not forget our friend Tony Perkins . . . and that time he linked lgbtqs to Satan:



Perkins and company can fake 'righteous indignation' all they want but they can never hide the paper trail of FRC's  deceptions against the lgbtq community.

'Trump's inaction on fighting AIDS gets negative attention' & other Thur midday news briefs


Trump’s HIV/AIDS inaction in focus after 6 advisers resign - Folks resigning is what it took to get the media to focus on Trump's inaction on AIDS.  

After outcry, an LGBT survey question is restored by HHS - You are DAMN right it's restored.

 Biden Tells LGBT Community: "Hold Trump Accountable For His Pledge To Be Your Friend" - I miss Joe Biden. 

 New Documentary Examines The Troubling Reason Conversion Therapy Won’t Go Away - Why folks talking about "heterosexism" need to sometimes sit their asses down. 
 
Jeff Sessions’ new Russiagate lawyer is just as horrible as you’d expect - A raging homophobe. Surprised? No? Me neither.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TBT - NOM's hilarious anti-marriage equality video 'The Gathering Storm'

The infamous 'Gathering Storm' video from a few years back via the for now toothless National Organization for Marriage is very enjoyable to watch in light of the fact that the lgbtq community attained the right to marry in spite of the deceit, spin, and gobs of money which went into keeping it from us. And it should serve to remind all of us during this time that victories aren't won easily, wars aren't over after single fights no matter whether you win or lose, and if you aren't ready the possibility of a long fight, you shouldn't be on the field in the first place. Winning isn't easy, but it's not supposed to be:


'Anti-gay Congressman's life saved during shooting last week by lesbian police officer' & other Wed midday news briefs

Capitol police officer Crystal Griner helped save Scalise's life during last week's shooting.

Rep. Steve Scalise’s Life Was Saved By A Black Queer Woman. Here’s Why That Matters. - As fervently as the right is attempting to paint last week's shooting as the act of "violent leftists," they are attempting to shut down discussion on the fact that during incident, Congressman Scalise's life was saved by a black queer woman, Crystal Griner. Sorry if you disagree, but folks on our side of the political spectrum need to dispense with any concern trolling about this fact.  That she was a part of his security detail  and took a bullet when he doesn't even support her right to marry is something I will not shut up about. Folks are so quick to brand us as "the other" out to destroy America but cry foul when we prove that we are just as capable as everyone else? Forget that #@!%

Queen Vows to Protect LGBT People from Discrimination, Axes Trump Visit in Speech to Parliament: WATCH - Well alright!  

Former Glee star comes out as transgender - I am happy for him. BE your authentic self.

  Living in the closet almost cost this NFL player his life. Coming out saved it. - Take it from me. The closet is HELL. 

Christians disagree with the religious right on refusing to serve LGBTQ people - The religious right does not speak for all Christians. 


Photo taken from Joe.MyGod

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Religious right 'wish list' under Trump moves America dangerously to theocracy

Tony Perkins and his group want to give churches more political power. That would be a disaster.

Via a recent fundraising email, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins laid out what he claims are the three issues which will "make or break religious liberty."

In reality, these issues are geared to giving conservative right-wing evangelicals an enormous amount of power in electing government officials  as well as curtailing the rights of the lgbtq community.

Perkins details and describes these issues as follows:

REPEAL THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT.  
President Trump's executive order directs the IRS not to enforce guidelines on the Johnson Amendment, which has been used not only to block speech about candidates but about political issues that directly impact the free exercise of religious faith. But clearer guidelines are not enough. This amendment needs to be gutted by law if churches are to be free of government retribution for following God's Word.  
PROTECT CHURCHES AND PASTORS WITH A FREE SPEECH FAIRNESS ACT.  
In conjunction with the EO clarification of IRS guidelines on the Johnson Amendment, the Free Speech Fairness Act must pass in order to "allow charitable organizations [including churches] to make statements relating to political campaigns if such statements are made in the ordinary course of carrying out its tax-exempt purpose." In other words, pastors would not be prohibited from speaking out about candidates who support such things as abortion...special privileges based on sexual preference and gender identity...and banning Christian clubs from meeting in public school buildings. 
 BOLSTER THE CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM OF RELIGION WITH A FIRST AMENDMENT DEFENSE ACT. 
Simply put, such an act would prevent the federal government from discriminating against those who follow biblical teachings that marriage is between one man and one woman. It would defend people such as Aaron and Melissa Klein and Barronelle Stutzman who are being prosecuted for declining to participate in same-sex weddings because of their Christian beliefs.

Don't let Perkins fool you with the claims that these issues have anything to do with liberty or freedom.

Trump's lawyer proves that homophobia, whining about so-called anti-Christian 'persecution' is very, very lucrative

Jay Sekulow
One of Donald Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow, (and his organization, the American Center for Law and Justice) has a long history of homophobia and whining about the so-called persecution of Christians.

And it very, VERY lucrative to him and his family.


What Made Trump Hire Religious Right Lawyer Jay Sekulow?

 Sekulow and the  ACLJ have been active in the U.S. and overseas in opposing legal equality for LGBTQ people. Sekulow has said that the state has a “compelling interest to ban the act of homosexuality” and the ACLJ argued on behalf of state laws criminalizing gay sex that were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003. Sekulow said the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act meant that “we’re now living in a monarchy.”

The ACLJ and its international affiliates engage in anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice culture wars in the U.S., Africa, Europe and Russia. In Africa, it worked to shape constitutional language in Zimbabwe, where it has fought to maintain criminalization of homosexuality, and Kenya, where it lobbied to eliminate an exemption to an abortion ban to save a woman’s life. Both the European Center for Jaw and Justice and the Slavic Center for Law and Justice supported Russia’s notorious anti-gay “propaganda” law, which has been used against journalists and gay rights activists.

Trump’s new conservative Christian lawyer Jay Sekulow is just another right-wing grifter

The ACLJ reported more than $19 million in contributions and grants for 2015, according to IRS filings, which also showed that Sekulow received no salary from the organization that year.
 
But the group transferred more than $5 million to the Washington law firm Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, in which Sekulow owns a 50-percent stake, Bloomberg reported.
Sekulow also serves as president of the Georgia-based nonprofit Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, or CASE, which raised more than $52 million in 2015, according to IRS records.
Four of Sekulow’s family members — including his wife, Pam, and Gary Sekulow — serve as the board of directors for CASE, which transferred nearly $16 million to ACLJ and paid almost $1.2 million to businesses owned by Jay Sekulow.

An analysis by The Tennesseean newspaper found ACLJ and CASE had paid out more than $33 million between 1998 and 2011 to members of Sekulow’s family or to businesses they own.

I wonder how much Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson, and the rest pull in.  Oh to be "persecuted" like that!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Pregnant Transgender Male Soldiers - A religious right fear tactic coming soon!

From the religious right and anti-LGBTQ groups which brought you:

Marriage equality will corrupt the innocence of children



Gay men want to recruit children




And the recent transgender women are predators out to harm children



comes a new meme which will attack the right of transgender men and women to serve openly in the Armed Forces:

Pregnant Transgender Male Soldiers:

NOM's anti-marriage equality march is another disaster' & other Mon midday news briefs

The National Organization for Marriage has another sad march.

March For Marriage Draws Tens, But Promises Ultimate Victory Over Obergefell - The National Organization for Marriage held their annual "March for Marriage" last weekend. And it was a larger disaster than last year's 'Ben Hur' movie. Apparently there was only 50 people there. HOWEVER, and I say the following because our community has been known to celebrate victories too soon, there was an ominous statement made at the march which we should all remember and be prepared for:


Longtime NOM strategist Frank Schubert also addressed the rally, calling the Obergefell decision “anti-constitutional” and “illegitimate” and saying that “it will only take one new justice on the Supreme Court” to reverse it. 

 In other words, prepare ourselves should this situation of a right-wing SCOTUS judge coming. And start it now by fortifying our stance and our marriages. No one can take marriage away from us if we fight. But not expecting a fight is the surest way of losing one.

Here’s A Great Way To Explain The LGBTQ Rights Movement To Kids - Wonderful! I love this! 

Trump admin issues new Title IX memo for transgender kids - Don't even think that we aren't watching you, Ms. DeVos. 

 72 congressional Dems blast Trump for no Pride proclamation - Damn skippy!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Remembering LGBTQ of Color Trailblazers

Lately, there have been many heated discussions on situations regarding the inclusion of lgbtqs of color and our issues into the general view of the lgbtq community.

I won't mention those issues because I've deliberately kept them from this blog. This blog focuses on the external enemies of our community, Unfortunately, the figures and groups which threaten our rights don't get the attention and condemnation they deserve when we are focused on internal fights complete with folks beating each other over the head with academic catchphrases or insipid ideas of "unity."

I, however, will comment on the situation in my own way, which is to celebrate those who generally get left behind. Those below should have note in our community, our magazines, our media, and our circles at all times. They all may not emanate from popular circles or places like California or New York, and they may not fit the lgbtq status quo. But their existence and accomplishments says it all: