Saturday, April 30, 2011

'Porno' Peter LaBarbera called ME an 'extremist'

 Earlier this month, noted homophobe Peter LaBarbera had some awful things to say about me.

He was talking to Linda Harvey (another homophobic individual who just recently blamed the lgbt community for the mortgage crisis) about his recent pathetic attempt to smear GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) days before its annual Day of Silence event via a fake controversy involving pictures on a facebook page not even associated with GLSEN:

. . . homosexual bloggers led by Alvin McEwen an AFTAH-hating extremist with a penchant for twisting facts – began speculating that Americans For Truth might have placed the photos on GLSEN’s Facebook page as a “homophobic smear” to “frame” this homosexual activist organization! Just one more lie from a movement built upon lies…

While Peter's attack on my character is amusing, I believe in never letting an opportunity to rag on the religious right go by without taking full advantage.

To whit, it is true that I do not like AFTAH (Americans for Truth About Homosexuality). And that's because it is a hate group.

AFTAH is not a pro-family group. It is not a morality group. It certainly is not a Christian group.

AFTAH is an officially declared hate group.

AFTAH disseminates propaganda and vicious lies about the lgbt community. It is a hate group forged from  the mind of a man (LaBarbera) whose body may be in the present, but mind is stuck in some lurid fantasy world where gay men are leather encased sexual boogeymen, lesbians are baba yaga-type monsters, transgenders are "confused" self mutilators, and same-sex families are entities with lobotomized children trained to believe that they are not being harmed.

And all of these groups assemble together at least once a day in a secret underground chamber where their leader - a bald white man with a scar wearing a neat white Nehri jacket- barks out orders of world domination while lovingly stroking his pet Persian cat.

Any person with a shred of decent common sense would despise AFTAH.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Michelle Malkin accuses the lgbts of creating 'harassment lists' while omitting she did the same thing

After my Know Your LGBT History segment post below, I told myself that I wasn't going to post anymore tonight.

But right-wing firebrand Michelle Malkin did something that just called my name.

According to Equality Matters, Malkin was throwing out a usual whine about how the "left tries to silence opponents:

In an April 29 blog post, she criticized the Left’s attempt to “use campaign finance disclosure as a weapon to intimidate and silence political opponents.” The majority of her post was dedicated to attacking activists who planned to protest companies that have sent donations to Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker.

And she had the temerity to call out the lgbt community:

We saw it during the Proposition 8 traditional marriage battle in California, where gay rights avengers compiled black lists, harassment lists and Google target maps of citizens who contributed to the ballot measure.

We saw it when “progressive” zealots smeared Target Corporation and Chick-fil-A for daring to associate with social conservatives.

Now Equality Matters shoots down Malkin by saying the following:

If companies have a right to endorse certain candidates, causes, or political ideologies, consumers have the same right to endorse (or oppose) particular companies because of their political affiliations. If a company is willing to take a controversial political position (backing policies denying millions of gay and lesbian Americans equal treatment under the law, for example), then it must also be prepared to deal with the significant backlash it could potentially face from its customers.

Free speech does not require that companies or people br shielded from criticism for their political activities. On the contrary, it requires that Americans not be restricted in their ability to mobilize, organize, and protest against activities that they disagree with.

And for the record, it’s not exactly accurate to say companies like Target and Chick-fil-A were attacked for “daring to associate with social conservatives.” Target donated $150,000 to a group working to elect a notoriously anti-gay Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate. Chick-fil-A donated over $1 million to some of the country’s most notorious anti-gay groups, including several known hate groups.

These companies were doing more than simply “associat[ing]” with social conservatives – they were actively involved in using money they had made off of their customers to prevent LGBT Americans from receiving equal treatment under the law. 

Significant doubt has already been cast on Malkin’s assertion that “gay rights avengers” harassed and targeted supporters of Proposition 8. Still, even in that instance, LGBT activists weren’t taking issue with anyone’s speech – they were taking issue with an orchestrated political campaign that ultimately succeeded in denying marriage rights to thousands gay and lesbian couples.

Excellent retort, but I am stuck on her claim about "black lists" and "harassment lists" because on December 7, 2009, Malkin did the same thing she accused "the left"of doing.

It was in the middle of the ridiculous attempt by folks on the right to get Obama to fire Kevin Jennings, his appointee to the Department of Education.

While others on the right were spinning all sorts of lies about Jennings "indoctrinating children into homosexuality,"  Malkin took it upon herself to compile a list of the companies which supported the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) - the organization which Jennings founded - and advised her readers to:

Make sure they know that you know what they’re helping put in public school classrooms.

So Michelle, what's the difference between what you did and what you are accusing "the left" of doing?

Or better yet, before you pick up another rock to throw, perhaps you check out the shape of your glass house.

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Know Your LGBT History - Not Another Gay Movie

Not Another Gay Movie (2006) typifies the saying "you've come a long way, baby."

Another other time in our nation's history, this motion picture would have probably caused huge controversy.

But it went by without a whimper and is actually a cult classic in some circles.

Not Another Gay Movie is an extremely low-brown takeoff of another low-brown comedy (American Pie) which tells the story of four gay teens seeking to lose their "anal virginity."

All of the stereotypes are present - the nerdy guy, the cute jock, the flamboyant queen, and the overly horny guy.

And since it's low-brow there is nudity (a lot of nudity), and toilet humor (the enema scene is one I refuse to describe for you).

So what do I think of this movie?

I liked it. It was hilarious.

Not every lgbt movie has to be serious or have "a message." Nor do lgbt movie characters have to be virtuous . There is nothing wrong with a little crass humor every now and then.

I personally believe that there is a thin line between offensiveness and crass humor and this movie doesn't cross that line.

Barely, that is:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Hate group creating new anti-gay documentary and other Friday midday news briefs

Coming (condemnation of certain) attractions - Let me guess the plot: Lgbts are evil bloodsucking monsters out to destroy the universe.

'Glee' Episode Under Attack For Gay Themes - The religious right must be slipping. It takes them this long to get angry at Glee?

Linda Harvey Blames Mortgage Crisis On Homosexuality - Oh yeah. That's the reason for the mortgage crisis.

U.S. Labor Department strives to be 'model workplace' for gay, lesbian, transgender employees - Good for the Department of Labor.

With Drudge Report's Help, Birthers Latch Onto Phony Forgery Theory - Birthers are like the religious right. When the facts contradict them, they create their own "facts."

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'Porno' Pete LaBarbera getting desperate, returns back to his old habits

Virulent homophobe Peter LaBarbera got the nickname of "Porno Pete" for his habit of going to subcultural leather events, taking pictures, and then giving "loving" details of the shenanigans there by the gay men while ignoring the activities of heterosexuals in attendance.

For a while, it looked like LaBarbera has shied away from the behavior which made him infamous.

But I guess old habits die hard. However instead of prowling subcultural leather events, our "friendly neighborhood anti-gay activist" is now prowling universities, most specifically the University of Chicago:

The University of Chicago provided nearly $3,200 to a “kink” student group for a traveling sadomasochistic “leather library” exhibit at the University that eroticized pedophilia, incest, and the most deviant pornographic perversions known to mankind.

Americans For Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH) sent a reporter yesterday to the exhibit – at the University’s International House – and came back with photos of the shockingly perverse offerings of the “Carter Johnson Leather Library,” including:

. . . Incredibly, the University of Chicago now officially sanctions a “student group” for sexual sadists: RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink), through which the traveling “leather library” exhibit was funded. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, RACK “received nearly $3,200 in university grant money to bring the display to campus.”

The grant for the “fetish” exhibit came from the “Uncommon Fund,” a $40,000, student-run program that “offers a chance for students to pursue a wide range of ideas that can benefit the campus community and campus life,” a U-Chicago spokesman told the Sun-Times.

Photo-"art" from the Leather Library shows a woman beating her male "slave," who has a ball-and-chain attached to his ankle. Why would the University of Chicago pay to promote such "sexualized cruelty" to its students?

The sadistic-sex exhibit was free and open to the public, and while AFTAH’s reporter was present, a few young women and men – who appeared to be around 20 – came to view the depraved materials.

My guess is that the "reporter" was Peter himself. It's always amusing when he attempts to make his organization sound like a big group rather than the depraved fantasy of one man who masks his bizarre interest in subcultural leather events into a crusade "for morality."

And of course LaBarbera provides graphic pictures and descriptions of this event, which by the way, was not lgbt specific. At no time does the original Chicago Sun Times article, which LaBarbera alluded to, called it an lgbt-specific event.

Welcome back, "Porno Pete." Those of us pining for amusement have missed you.

A more balanced view - and between you and me, I probably wouldn't go to an event like this - is here in The Chicago Sun Times.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

N @&!%r, show me you papers!

It's true I am a gay man. And I am also a black man and as such, I'm still pissed over what President Obama was forced to do yesterday. So I will hand it over to Goldie Taylor, contributing editor of The Grio. She breaks it down to a level of understanding which needs to be seen far and wide. The title of this post is extreme (which is not in Taylor's monologue), but it's the one thing that has been consistently flashing in my mind since yesterday. If it offends you, good. Now you have a little taste of how I feel right now.:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Read Taylor's original piece here.

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Homophobe don't like black people either and other Thursday midday news briefs

Oklahoma GOP Lawmaker Sally Kern: ‘Blacks’ Don’t Work As Hard As White People - If the lgbt equality movement and the African-American equality movement aren't linked, then how come we seen to draw the same enemies?

Focus On The Family Warns That Gay Rights Will Devastate The Judiciary - And here I thought that all we were concerned with was the "indoctrination of children."

Video: 'Lesbians are lesbians because they're too ugly to get a man'; 'should not be allowed to vote' - No comments necessary.

Feds To Hold Bullying Hearings - Now these are hearings that I can support.

Johnson & Johnson Turns Its Back on AIDS Patients - This is NOT good.

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Planned Parenthood billboards called too gay-friendly

From The Advocate:

Planned Parenthood billboards that advertise services to LGBT clients in rural New York State have prompted objections from critics including a state senator who says the billboards use tax dollars to promote same-sex marriage.

In February, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes installed the billboards in locations throughout Chemung, Steuben, and Tompkins counties in western New York. The billboards say, “Someone you know is in love” and feature two men embracing, with a tagline that says Planned Parenthood is “proudly serving the LGBT community.”

While Planned Parenthood says the billboards aim to engage isolated rural LGBT people in managing their health, state senator Thomas O’Mara, a Republican who represents the area, interprets the billboards as a state-sponsored advertisement for marriage equality. WETM TV, which first reported on the controversy, included his comments about one of the billboards on Route 352 in Big Flats near Elmira.

“I object to this message that seems to be in support of same-sex marriage and using taxpayer dollars to support that political agenda,” he told the station.

Before the sodomy laws were struck down, they were used as a shield to keep lgbt positive information from being spread and lgbt positive groups from being formed. They were used as an excuse for some folks not to employ openly lgbt individuals.

Now, the "we don't want to promote gay marriage" argument is in its place. It doesn't have the same wide effect of the sodomy laws, but from this example in New York, we see how devastating that argument can be.

Studies show that a main obstruction to lgbts gaining good health information is a fear of being exposed to homophobia, as well as not having enough health entities solely focused on their needs. This billboard by Planned Parenthood is the right step to providing lgbts with good health information by easing their fears.

The failure to equip lgbts with good health information leads to a self-actualizing dichotomy that the religious right will no doubt exploit.

Or more to the point (and this is hypothetical):

  • Studies show that homophobia leads to lack of good health information in the lgbt community.
  • Planned Parenthood begins a campaign, including billboards to combat this problem
  • The billboards face objection from folks claiming that they are "advocating" gay marriage (or "indoctrinating children into homosexuality")
  • Religious right groups (i.e. Family Research Council's Tony Perkins or Peter Sprigg) condemn the billboards in emails and on Fox News.
  • Because of the outcry, the billboards come down and the campaign is toned down for fear that Planned Parenthood could lose funding.
  • Lgbts continue to have health problems because of homophobia.
  • Religious right groups (i.e. the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins or Peter Sprigg) repeat the notion that homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle and cites the studies talking about lgbt health problems, making sure to omit the portion about how homophobia leads to these problems.

It's madness when looking at it from the outside. But imagine how it is when you are an lgbt caught in the middle of this maelstrom of madness.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And how do African-Americans feel about this 'birther' mess?

Granted, the media will probably never ask the African-American community how we feel about this birther mess, but I can safely say that this young man, Baratunde Thurston, pretty much sums it up not only for me but a wide majority of black folks:

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Wanna piss off a birther? Check out this post

Please forgive me for getting distracted from lgbt issues for a quick second, but in honor of President Obama issuing his long-form birth certificate and officially becoming the first president to ever be racially profiled (oh come on, how many other presidents were put through this and they were white. I think we should have at least checked Nixon's birth certificate and DNA to see if he was part snake), I simply must repost this piece I ran a little while ago:

Related post:

Birtherism's 10 Most Embarrassing Moments

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Historically black college to hold lgbt summit and other Wednesday midday news briefs

In Interview With Fischer, Fox Anchor Worries That Gay Couple In Glee Is "Product Placement" - Yep. That's how it happened with me. Or was it a Joan Crawford movie?

Spelman to host LGBT summit for black colleges - A historically black college holding lgbt summit. Awesome!

Mass. high court pick faces confirmation hearing - If confirmed, Barbara Lenk would be the first openly gay justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Sponsor Seeks To Revive Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill - And he is trying sooo hard too.

Church calls attention to its support of gays - Yes being gay IS a gift from God. Period.

Obama Birth Certificate Released By White House - In case you haven't heard.

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National Organization for Marriage needs to get off of its phony cross

Brian Brown, president of NOM
The National Organization for Marriage says that it's going to investigate why the law firm handpicked by Speaker of the House John Boehner to defend DOMA decided not to take the case:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a conservative organization fighting against the legalization of same-sex marriage, said Monday it would launch an "investigation" into the decision of the law firm King & Spalding to drop its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"We will convene a panel of legal experts and ethicists to determine if any rules of professional conduct have been violated, or if the firm has acted illegally in reaching their decision," NOM
President Brian Brown said in a statement posted on their website. "We already know they have violated the moral imperative of acting in good faith and fair dealing. If our review concludes that the firm has violated any statutes or rules of professional conduct, we will initiate the appropriate disciplinary complaints."

Maggie Gallagher, chairwoman of NOM
At the same time, NOM is claiming that the lgbt community "bullied" the law firm into deciding not to take the case:

Same-sex marriage advocates have launched yet another campaign of cultural intimidation—pressuring the nation's top law firms in an attempt to silence and marginalize those who would stand for marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act.

If NOM really wanted to know the truth, they should read this very thorough article in the Huffington Post by Jennifer Bendery which points out that it was a combination of outside pressure and pressure from employees inside the firm (who were totally caught by surprise by the decision to defend DOMA) which led to the backtrack.

But who am I really kidding, really? NOM is simply exploiting this situation to get a moment in the spotlight and maybe even wrench some money from its gullible supporters (as if it doesn't get enough from mysterious money source which it fights tooth and nail not to reveal).

But here is the thing which bothers me.

For all of NOM's talk about intimidation, isn't this the same group which was part of a coalition that sent out a letter to 30 organizations during the Proposition 8 vote in California demanding that they support the effort to ban gay marriage in the state or "be outed as an opponent of traditional marriage"?

And didn't NOM spend over $235,000 on a recent campaign to recall three Iowa judges, not for any judicial malfeasance, but simply because those judges ruled against the state's defense of marriage act?

In terms of intimidation, NOM has written the book. Perhaps the group is upset because organizations whom it doesn't agree with are reading and editing that book?

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Anti-gay hate group mad at Obama over no 'Easter Proclamation'

The American Family Association - named an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center - has come out with a new video attacking President Obama over what they call a disrespect of Easter, and by proxy, Christians:

In a statement, the AFA said the following:

This is consistent with other egregious examples of disregard for our Christian heritage on the president's part, such as omitting "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence, which he has done on at least three occasions.

The president has shown far more interest in promoting Islam than his own self-proclaimed Christian faith, the faith of our Founding Fathers.

The president has been devoted to issuing statements marking all major Muslim holidays, which are of no historical significance to the United States whatsoever. He has released statements in honor of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, holidays which most Americans cannot pronounce and certainly do not celebrate.

So apparently when they are not bashing lgbts, the AFA is practicing a bit of Islamophobia, i.e. making sure to exploit the ignorance of some Americans who see Obama as a Muslim (which translates to them as a threatening outsider determined to destroy the United States from within).

It's a cheap piece of junk from what is supposed to be a Christian organization. Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly point out:

The first is that the Obama White House didn't exactly ignore Easter. The First Family, for example, attended services yesterday. There's not only a big Easter Egg Roll for families at the White House today, but President Obama also hosted an Easter prayer breakfast last week, during which he told attendees the following:

"I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason -- because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there's something about the resurrection -- something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.

"We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work... But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples' feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross. And we're reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.

"In the words of the book Isaiah: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Benen points out that Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha didn't get that type of treatment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Distorting science on Easter? For shame, Family Research Council

In a post this morning, I talked about a debate between the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and Bernard Whitman of Faith in America. The two were debating on Fox News during Easter Sunday about an Arizona law which gives preferences in cases of adoption to married heterosexual couples.

My point was that Whitman bested Perkins in the debate by being aggressive and countering his talking point of "decades of studies favor homes with a mother and a father" with some facts of his own.

Now comes something new about this debate which may interest you. I alluded to the fact that Perkins addressed children in same-sex households by citing an Australian study (starting at 3:11) which supposedly said children do worse in same-sex households.

Perkins gave no background on the study. However, a facebook friend of mine, Christopher Mongeau, tracked down the study and discovered that it has been discredited by the American Psychological Association:

A study from Australia (Sarantakos, 1996) has been cited as demonstrating deficits among children raised by gay and lesbian parents in Australia compared to children raised by heterosexual couples. The anomalous results reported by this study--which contradict the accumulated body of research findings in this field--are attributable to idiosyncrasies in its sample and methodologies and are therefore not reliable. An expert reading of the Sarantakos article reveals that certain characteristics of its methodology and sample are highly likely to have skewed the results and rendered them an invalid indicator of the well-being of children raised by gay and lesbian parents in at least three respects:

1. The children raised by gay and lesbian parents experienced unusually high levels of extreme social ostracism and overt hostility from other children and parents, which probably accounted for the former's lower levels of interaction and social integration with peers (see pp. 25-26);

2. Nearly all indicators of the children's functioning were based on subjective reports by teachers, who, as noted repeatedly by the author, may have been biased (see pp. 24, 26, & 30); and

3. Most or all of the children being raised by gay and lesbian parents, but not the children being raised by heterosexual married parents, had experienced parental divorce, which is known to correlate with poor adjustment and academic performance.

Indeed, although the differences Sarantakos observed among the children are anomalous in the context of research on parents' sexual orientation, they are highly consistent with findings from studies of the effects of parental divorce on children (see, e.g., Amato, 2001, and Amato & Keith, 1991). Children Australia is a regional journal that is not widely known outside Australia. As such, it cannot be considered a source upon which one should rely for understanding the state of scientific knowledge in this field, particularly when the results contradict those that have been repeatedly replicated in studies published in better known scientific journals. In summary, the Sarantakos study does not undermine the consistent pattern of results reported in other empirical studies addressing this topic.

Now in all honesty, let me throw some caveats out. Maybe Perkins was talking about another study. Or perhaps Perkins was not aware of the problems with this study he cited.

But with the caveats, there is another thing which should be mentioned.

This isn't the first time Perkins has misrepresented legitimate science during debate. Last year on Hardball when he was debating the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok (on the charge that FRC is a hate group because it deliberately spreads distortions about the lgbt community), he misrepresented a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior to make the false connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.

He also cited work from a religious right sham group, The American College of Pediatricians, to further back up this claim.

Hardball's host, Chris Matthews, later had to make a clarification regarding the American College of Pediatricians after emails and phone call complaints.

My grand point  - other than mock surprise that Perkins would have the temerity to lie on Easter Sunday - is to demonstrate yet again that Whitman won this debate. I know folks don't like to think about winners and losers when it comes to things like this, but to try and pretend that this isn't the case is a flight of fancy.

The battle over lgbt equality is a war between us and those who get paid handsomely to exploit the beliefs  and fears of Christians and other Americans regarding our community.

But then others have said Perkins won the debate because he was able to interrupt Whitman on some points. Unfortunately to some members of the lgbt community, a win over a religious right figure in a debate isn't a win unless that person is left in a quivering pool of sweat in the midst of a huge epiphany of how they have been wrong to demonize lgbts.

Folks, that ain't gonna happen. Perkins, Maggie Gallagher, Peter Sprigg, and the rest are media slick. They have been trained to be so. You are not going to shake them from their talking point so easily. But you can make what they say work for our side.

Whitman was able to do this not only because he was consistent and aggressive but, as you have read, he led Perkins to tell a sloppy lie which could work for us - that is if we as a community take the time and energy to publicly show it as yet another example of religious right distortion of legitimate science (God knows there have been so many).

To paraphrase the words of actor Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter, "to these aged eyes, that's what winning looks like."

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Liberty University denies complicity in Miller kidnapping and other Tuesday midday news briefs

FRC's Tony Perkins gets stymied in attempt to criticize gay adoption

An item in a Family Research Council email, via President Tony Perkins, caught my eye because of how it was phrased:

Yesterday morning, I appeared on Fox News for a discussion (that turned into a debate) of the Arizona law with a homosexual adoptive father. His first comments were that law was driven by "religion" and by "animus" against homosexuals. It was downhill from there. Remember, this law is silent about homosexuals and treats them no differently than any other person wanting to adopt who isn't married. No qualified person is precluded from adopting, although a number of states have made rational arguments as to why homosexuals should be. It's stunning how adept homosexual activists have become at playing the "victim" -- even if it means using kids as pawns. Adoption is about children -- not childish activists.

Perkins was talking about a debate on Fox News which took place on Easter Sunday between him and Bernard Whitman of Faith in America about Arizona's new adoption law. This law gives preference to married heterosexual couples.

There is a reason why Perkins had such a negative view of the debate. To put it mildly, he stunk. Whitman stuck to his point that "religious-based bigotry" is behind the push to make it more difficult for same-sex couples to adopt children.

Meanwhile, Perkins was left stammering with the same inaccurate talking point about "decades of social science" claiming that children do best in a two-parent heterosexual household. Whitman countered that inaccuracy by mentioning the studies which say that same-sex households are good environments for children. Of course Whitman could have said that none of the studies Perkins referred to even looked at same-sex households, but it was better that he didn't.

By not doing this, Whitman made Perkins address the argument on his terms, i.e. making Perkins address the existence of same-sex households.

And Perkins did this by pathetically citing a vague Australian study claiming that same-sex households are a danger to children. I call it pathetic because Perkins didn't give an pertinent details as to when this study was published or who published it.

Perkins was finally reduced to trying to talk over Whitman.

Basically when faced against someone who knew what he was talking about and didn't back down in the face of his lies, Perkins came across as weak . . . very weak. But judge for yourself:

Hat tip to LezGetReal.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Maggie Gallagher called out for giving misleading testimony at DOMA hearing

Religious right figures giving misleading testimony during Congressional hearings isn't a new occurrence, but this one needs to be shouted about from the rooftops.

According to Equality Matters, the witnesses speaking for DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) during the April 15 Congressional hearing gave incorrect testimony on several occasions. I invite everyone to take a look at the section, but the one which stands out for me is a statement made by the National Organization for Marriage's Maggie Gallagher.

She claimed that social science proves that the best place to raise children are in homes with biological, married parents as opposed to same-sex households:


GALLAGHER: From what we know from the social science evidence, marriage protects children to the extent that it increases the likelihood they are born to and raised by their own mother and father in a low-conflict, enduring relationship. We know this because, frankly, children do not do better under remarried parents than they do with solo mothers on average, which means that it is not simply a set of legal benefits that we can transform. It is the extent and way to which marriage as a legal and public institution helps to protect a particular kind of family that it helps to protect children or fails to protect children.

However, according to Equality Matters, in her written testimony, Gallagher cited a study on heterosexual single parents:

We know this from the social science evidence showing that children do no better, on average, in remarried families than they do living with single mothers. 1 Marriage protects children to the extent that it helps increase the likelihood that children will be raised by their mother and father.
1 See Sara McLanahan & Gary Sandefur, Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps (Harvard U. Press 1994) (“In general, compared with children living with both their parents, young people from disrupted families are more likely to drop out of high school, and young women from one-parent families are more likely to become teen mothers, irrespective of the conditions under which they began to live with single mothers and irrespective of whether their mothers remarry or experience subsequent disruptions.”). [Statement of Maggie Gallagher, Hearing on “Defending Marriage,” 4/15/11]

Equality Matters went on to use the words of Judith Stacey, Professor of Sociology and Professor of Gender and Sexuality at New York University to call out Gallagher and others on the right who inaccurately use studies on the heterosexual family dynamic to demonize same-sex parenting, and by proxy, marriage equality:

According to the child protection discourse that Professor Wardle, Maggie Gallagher, and others deploy, social science research demonstrates that legalizing same-sex marriage poses dangers to children and families… In particular, claims that research establishes the superiority of the married heterosexual-couple family and that children need a mother and a father conflate and confuse research findings on four distinct variables - the sexual orientation, gender, number, and the marital status of parents… Unfortunately, opponents of same-sex marriage, like Maggie Gallagher and Professor Wardle, and even some advocates, draw selectively, indiscriminately, and inappropriately from research findings about all four variables to address questions the studies were not designed to, and are not able, to illuminate.
Opponents of same-sex marriage draw on a third body of literature in which researchers have achieved an unusual degree of consensus. Most family researchers agree that, all other things being equal (which, of course, is almost never the case), two parents are better than one. Research indicates that children raised in single-parent families are at greater risk of various negative outcomes (e.g., dropping out of school, delinquency, unwed teen pregnancy, substance abuse, etc.) than children raised in comparable two-parent families. All of this research, however, as Maggie Gallagher acknowledged, has been conducted on heterosexual-parent families. Moreover, this research generally compares children in married-couple and single-parent families, thereby confounding the effects of the number and the legal status of parents. None of the research cited to demonstrate the importance of fathers (or mothers) examines the adjustment of children raised by same-sex couples. Moreover, this research does not indicate that it is the gender or the sexual orientation of the absent parent that is responsible for the different outcomes of children raised in single versus two-parent families. Rather, most researchers conclude that the number and economic resources of parents as well as the disruptive effects that parental desertion or divorce can inflict on children's lives account for these differential risks. N12 [University School of Quinnipiac Law Review, via Lexis, emphasis added, 2004]

Gallagher has done this sort of thing before. In in January of last year, she distorted a study on child abuse to make the case that children in married biological homes do better to protect children from abuse than children in same-sex households.

The distortion comes because the study in question - the one she cited - didn't even look at children in same-sex households. We know this because Gallagher even admitted at the time that same-sex households wasn't a category in the study:

All the other family structures studied (which does not include same-sex parent families probably because these are such a small part of the population), but does include solo parents, other married parents (remarried primarily), single parents living with a partner, cohabiting parents, and no parents.

Please bear in mind that at that same April 15 Congressional hearing,  Gallagher said it was unfortunate that people misinterpret things she says as a condemnation of "gay people" and "their parenting skills."

If Gallagher wants people to not think that she is condemning "gay people" and "their parenting skills," then maybe she should stop being so deceptive in her testimony.

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Boehner's lawyers withdraw from DOMA case and other Monday midday news briefs

Boehner's DOMA lawyers have withdrawn from the case - Hot damn! This is huge! What caused them to drop the case? The news of the $500,000 cost? The "vetting process?" Or maybe us "mean, nasty, pushy homosexuals." One guess whom the religious right, especially NOM is going to blame.

BREAKING: John Boehner’s $5 Million Attorney Drops DOMA Defense - ThinkProgress gives more details.

Reactions to the news - And reactions to the decision, courtesy of Pam's House Blend.

American Experience to focus on the Stonewall Uprising - The event that gave birth to the modern lgbt equality movement. This should be required viewing for everyone especially our young lgbts. Know your history, boys and girls!

Equal Time for 'Traditional Values' - Nasty, sneaky business going on in Texas. If it's successful, watch it go nationwide.

Lil B’s “I’m Gay” Album Title Results In Death Threats - Strange . . . just strange.

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Reports: Eddie Long is close to settlement in sexual misconduct lawsuit

Reports are coming out that Eddie Long, pastor of the megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is close to settling a case with four young men who filed a lawsuit last year claiming that he coerced them into sexual relationships.

This comes months after Long made a huge announcement in front of his congregation that he intends to fight charges:
Judge Johnny Panos said lengthy negotiations might soon bring the civil lawsuit involving New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Bishop Eddie Long to a close. Long has denied the allegations.
Panos said Friday that lawyers for both sides began meeting Monday and have spent a total of more than 60 hours in face-to-face negotiations.

The irony of this entire thing is, of course, the fact that Long is known for speaking out publicly against lgbt equality, especially marriage equality. According to blogger Rod2.0Beta:

In addition to being one of the nation's most prominent pastors, Long is also among the most vocal critics of gay rights and same-sex marriage in the Black church. In December 2004, one month after voters approved an amendment to the Georgia state Constitution that banned gay marriage, Long led a 25,000 person march against gay rights and marriage equality.

And according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Long has also been very vocal in expressing his anti-gay opinions:

"Men can look attractive when they are dirty," writes Bishop Eddie Long in his 1997 book I Don't Want Delilah, I Need You! "We see sweating, dirty, hardworking men on television all the time and we say to one another, 'There's a macho guy.'"

Despite this affinity for sweaty, macho men, Long is one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement. His book, subtitled What a Woman Needs to Know, What a Man Needs to Understand, appeared in the midst of a roaring growth period for Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., near Atlanta. During the mid-'90s, it swelled to over 18,000 congregation members, men and women who worship in a multimillion-dollar complex that's the size of most major universities, spread out on 240 acres of land.

Much of what appears in I Don't Want Delilah was espoused in the videotaped "Back to the Future” sermon Long gave when his church was still small.

"It is the most unattractive thing I have ever seen, when I see women wearing uniforms that men would wear, and women fighting to get in the military!" Long shouted to his congregation then. "The woman gets perverted to turn towards woman … and everybody knows it's dangerous to enter an exit! And everybody knows, lady, if you go to the store and buy these devices [marital aids], it's Memorex! It ain't real!"

Even if there is a settlement, this will no doubt leave a huge stigma that will no doubt follow Long for the rest of his ministerial career.

Whatever the case may be, there is one good thing about this entire hot mess. I seriously DOUBT that Long will be saying stuff like the following for a loooooong time:

Related post:

Eddie Long scandal - Chronology of what has happened and where we are now

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eleven examples of NOM's bigotry

Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage
Editor's note - This is a repost of a February piece I wrote regarding Maggie Gallagher and NOM. I am presenting it again because it needed to be updated and also we need to be reminded of Gallagher and NOM's duplicity.

These days, it's relatively easy to be a talking head on news programs.

Just find some sucker with a lot of money willing to fund you,  created an organization with an important sounding name, give yourself an important sounding but meaningless title (senior fellow, research analyst, president, etc.), and they'll practically be beating at your door.

An incident recently on Fox News more than demonstrates that point. Not long after Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama Administration would no longer defend DOMA, Fox News personality (you really don't think I'm going to call her a journalist, do you) Megyn Kelly had National Organization for Marriage head Maggie Gallagher on her show to whine about how evil this decision is for families.

Of course Gallagher's definition of families never seems to include lgbt families, leaving a lot of people out.

Nevertheless, Kelly allowed Gallagher to push her usual silly talking points, including one about how gays are inaccurately being compared to black people in terms of civil rights.

I sincerely hope that in discussing the DOMA decision - and hopefully this piece - no one falls for the divide and conquer technique of this person - Gallagher - who cares as much about the black community as she does the lgbt community.

And that level of care is zero.

What Gallagher and Kelly did were evasive tactics, much like other tactics Gallagher seems to have mastered when talking about gay marriage. Give her five minutes and she will try to pivot the conversation from the same-sex households negatively affected by her activism to how she and others like her are supposedly unfairly called "bigots" for supposedly simply trying to "protect marriage."

Okay, let go on that angle. Let's break down the acts of Gallagher and NOM and pose the question - are these the acts of a bigoted, homophobic organization or people simply trying to "defend marriage:"

November 20, 2009 - Signer of Manhattan Declaration wanted to jail gays and lesbians - By signing an anti-gay document, The Manhattan Declaration, Gallagher and NOM affiliates themselves with folks who want to jail lgbts.

February 1, 2010 - Maggie Gallagher commits 'sin of omission' to make case against marriage equality - Gallagher cites a study to bash gay marriage and gay parenting, even though the study had nothing to do with either concept.

March 8, 2010 - TinyU-R-Gay: @NOMupdates limits gay lives to less than 140 characters/years - A NOM tweet actually pushing the lie that gays have a short life span.

June 14, 2010 - National Organization for Marriage: Gays Were Never Hunted Down and Murdered Like 'Jews, Christians, and Blacks' - NOM is found to be affiliated with Louis J. Marinelli during its failed summer for marriage tour. Amongst other things, Marinelli claims that gays want to molest children. When Marinelli's words became public, NOM claimed that the organization had no affiliation with Marinelli. However certain links posted as an update to the story demonstrated that NOM did have an affiliation with Marinelli. Editor's note - earlier this month, Marinelli disavowed his work with NOM as well as many of the things he said in the past about lgbt. He is now a supporter of marriage equality.

A Teabagger fails miserably in refuting racism charge

In all honesty, I don't believe that the entire tea party movement is racist. I believe it's a naive movement which allowed itself to be co-opted by the wealthy powers that be, but that's another argument entirely.

What I do believe, however, is that the tea party movement houses vindictively racist elements who can't get over the fact that an African-American is president or that the United States is becoming more multicultural. I also believe that those who have sense in the tea party movement know this but are afraid to admit so for fear that it would reduce the credibility of their entire movement.

However, this video speaks for itself. This is an authentic teabagger, Grady Warren, griping about how unfair it is to brand the tea party movement as racist. However, I don't think his argument will fly when you listen to what he has to say. If you can listen to the entire piece, then you deserve an award.

As much as I hate to remind folks, this video was done before the 2010 midterms, where thanks in part to folks like Warren, the Republican Party took over the House of Representatives and several state governorships. So any thing that's happening now, i.e. the problems with unions in Wisconsin, the Republican Party trying to make Medicare into a voucher system, insane anti-abortion legislation, is solely on the shoulders of folks like Warren.

See what happens when reasonable people don't vote like they should.

Big hat tip to a Facebook friend of mine of who pointed out this video.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - My Beautiful Laundrette

To those who claim that an actor playing a gay character is a career kiss of death, I present Exhibit A of how wrong you are.

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) is a stunning movie on so many levels. It came out in 1985 - a time when lgbt affirming movies were rare.

It featured an interracial relationship between middle class Pakistani man (Gordon Warnecke) and working class white man (Daniel Day-Lewis) in 1980s Great Britain.

Warnecke is tasked with taking a run down laundrette and making success out it during the backdrop of Britain's international politics and conflicts between whites and Pakistanis.Lewis decides to help him.

Now the beauty of the relationship between the two, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that it was already in existence when the film begins.

And another thing is how the film doesn't shy away from showing the two being affectionate - and not in a gritty, "we gotta have sex before we explode" manner, but in a loving, realistic way.

Lastly - and you know I have to reveal this - the movie has a happy ending.

Now about that idea that playing a gay character is the" kiss of death," if that were the case, Daniel Day-Lewis's career would have been over when this movie came out.

But as it is, he is one of the most acclaimed actors in Hollywood today with two Oscars under his belt.  This isn't surprising when viewing My Beautiful Laundrette. Lewis's talent shines through big time.

The following clip are scenes from the movie featuring Warnecke's and Lewis's characters. Check this movie out. It's a good one:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Fighting 'gay zealots' costs $29.95 and other Friday midday news briefs

Arrest Made in “Ex-Gay” Custody Case - It's a small step but it brings Janet Jenkins closer to her daughter.

Hate group lies about House DADT hearings - The Family Research Council just can't help itself.

Dobson-, FRC-backed campaign: Gay activists are 'zealots' who'll bring 'the destruction of Western Civilization' - For $29.95 you too can fight the "zealots." These turkeys have more ways of getting money out of people than all five of my exes put together.

Barber: Obama And Democrats Are "Anti-God" - I almost miss the days when Matt Barber concentrated solely on "gay sex."

Defense of Marriage Act: Attack the law, not the lawyer - Good points but it's still $500,000 partly authorized by a man (Speaker Boehner) who claims that the country is "broke."

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NOM tells blatant lie about encounter with GetEqual

Part of the National Organization for Marriage's game plan is to exploit the "gays are angry bullies who are threatening Christians" angle. Go to their blog (if your stomach can take it) and you will see this angle consistently repeated.

Or better yet, listen to a speech or read something written by NOM chairperson Maggie Gallagher and count how many times the word "bigot" comes up. Or "racism." Or "hatred."

You can almost make a drinking game out of it.

It is a deliberate attempt by Gallagher and NOM to shift attention away from the same-sex families who are discriminated against because they aren't allowed to marry.

And it's like I said in another piece - when you can paint your opponent in less than flattering light, it helps you win the battle.

The thing about the lgbt community is that those who oppose our equality make it easy for us by their words and actions to paint them in a less than flattering light (even though sometimes we don't take advantage of it.)

However, it's not that easy for NOM to do the same to us since - even though a lot of us are angry at the basic dishonest of the group and its tactics - the lgbt community doesn't tend to go off the deep end like a Peter LaBarbera or Matt Barber.

So NOM has to lie, just like it did regarding the encounter Gallagher had with a member of GetEqual before last week's Congressional hearing on DOMA.

To hear the story from Brian Brown, NOM's President, Gallagher faced the equivalent of a rabid wolf (I took the liberty of highlighting the pertinent phrases below):

Just before testifying . . . Maggie was accosted by a similarly angry gay marriage advocate who wanted to get an "ambush" interview and engage in a little fire and brimstone moral condemnation of Maggie for standing up for marriage.

Now, folks don't usually publish "ambush videos" made by the other side on their own website or newsletter, but I think Maggie did such a wonderful, graceful job of responding to this one angry dude that I want you to see it and judge for yourself.

The video Brown is speaking about is Get Equal's Michael Dixon presenting Gallagher with the "Anita Bryant" award for her part in trying to stop marriage equality.

But as Brown says, look at the video:

Vicious, just vicious. Dixon looks like he is ready to hit Gallagher with a pair of brass knuckles. And by saying that, I am being highly sarcastic.

Angry dude? I don't think so. Seems to me that the only person who got angry on that tape was Gallagher.

Granted, I'm not one for a tactic like this. However in this case, it was very useful not only unnerving Gallagher (she was forced to republish an old piece on lgbt teen suicides as a way of diverting the conversation from what Dixon asked her about), but also in showcasing the absolute phoniness of NOM's game plan.

Painting Dixon as an "angry dude" is not only a stretch, it's a blatant lie. But for NOM, it's par for the course.

Related post:

NOM wants to paint LGBT ‘crazy’ (I can prove it)
- According to former NOM member Louis J. Marinelli, the attempt to paint the lgbt community as angry people is a standard NOM tactic. Marinelli says Brown specifically asks for pictures showing lgbts in a negative light.

Hat tip to

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ex-gay group, Peter Sprigg trying to cause anti-gay havoc in Maryland schools

Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council
A situation is brewing in a Maryland school district which demonstrates not only the duplicity of the so-called ex-gay movement, but also the Family Research Council.

From the webpage Teach The Facts:

 . . .  the MCPS Citizens Advisory Committee for Family Life and Human Development voted to make some minor changes to the sex-ed curriculum. These changes were actually recommended by a previous citizens advisory committee and rejected by the district in 2007, and now a new committee has asked the Superintendent again to recommend to the Board that they modify the curriculum.

Last year the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to the Montgomery County Public Schools noting that some statements that had been recommended for inclusion in the curriculum were rejected, and urged the Board of Education to consider adding the material. The letter was partly a reaction to an anti-gay fake pediatric group contacting the school district. The statements are:

* Homosexuality is not a disease or a mental illness (teachers currently can only say this in response to a question)

* Sexual orientation is not a choice and the American Medical Association opposes "therapies" that seek to change sexual orienation that are premised on the assumption that people can or should change their sexual orientation

* Children raised by same-sex couples do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals, and are no more likely to be homosexual

* Children who have fleeting same-sex attractions may assume incorrectly that they are gay or lesbian. Mere fleeting attraction does not prove orientation.

* Homosexuals can live happy, successful lives; they can be successful parents

The citizens advisory committee voted 9 to 3  . . .  to add these recommendations to the curriculum, removing the words "can or" from the second item.

Naturally some folks aren't happy about this. An ex-gay group, PFOX (Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays) claims that the statements are bashing ex-gays, even though none of the statements say a word about "ex-gays."

PFOX told the American Family Association's One News Now:

. . .the initiative for the statements appears to come from David Fishback, the advocacy chair of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). That group, says PFOX, "actively supports hate against the ex-gay community" -- and Fishback, the group adds, "has a long history of ex-gay bashing."

Of course PFOX conveniently didn't go into detail just what PFLAG has done to "support hate against ex-gays."

However on its webpage, PFOX says the following about Fishback:

Fishback is the discredited chairman of an earlier Committee which had drafted controversial lessons on homosexuality and condom use that the School Board threw out after a federal court ruling in a lawsuit brought by PFOX. The School Board’s attorneys at that time had reviewed and rejected the statements. Fishback’s illegal curriculum cost Montgomery County taxpayers over $36,000 in legal fees.

However, according to Teach The Facts, Fishback:

chaired a citizens advisory committee that developed a comprehensive sex-ed curriculum for our county. The school district in the end decided not to adopt the curriculum as part of a legal deal to prevent a lawsuit, and also reformed the committee with all new members, including its chair, in accordance with the same settlement agreement. The curriculum was not "illegal" in any sense whatsoever. PFOX and other nutty groups won a temporary restraining order against implementation of the curriculum, and the school district bargained with them to prevent a lawsuit, so they could move forward improving the curriculum.

The site also says the following about PFOX and the legal fees allegedly caused by Fishback:

. . . it is ludicrous for PFOX to say that Fishback cost the county $36,000 in legal fees, when they themselves were the suers.

But the most interesting part of the story comes with the inclusion of another party. From the same article in One News Now:

Peter Sprigg is senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council and a member of the board of directors of PFOX. He represented PFOX on the advisory committee and tells OneNewsNow he was offended by most of the statements -- especially the one condemning individuals who seek therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions.

. . . according to Sprigg, the other statements praise homosexuals as "successful parents" with children who "do just as well as those raised by heterosexuals," and that "homosexuals can live happy, successful lives."

The other statements, says the PFOX representative, "were basically presenting a rosy picture of life as a homosexual without presenting some of the counter-evidence or counter-facts about this lifestyle."

Sprigg said he plans to voice his disapproval at the next school board meeting.

Of course Sprigg didn't go into detail about said "counter evidence." Nor did he say just how he will voice his disapproval at the next school board meeting.

One has to wonder will he repeat the statements that led his organization (the Family Research Council) to be named as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Statements such as:

  • Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals,
  • Same-sex parents harm children, or
  • Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals.

It would be interesting if he did, seeing that these statements have been refuted or debunked numerous times, including by the SPLC in this piece.

Or will Sprigg cite distorted pieces he wrote, especially one called The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality is rife with numerous errors including:

1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.

2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of  the organization National Association for  Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited "ex-gay" fringe organization that peddles fraudulent "cures" for homosexuality.

3. Most importantly, Ten Myths intentionally distorts information to make it seem that negative behaviors, i.e. drug and alcohol abuse, are indicative of the lgbt orientation. The pamphlet accomplishes this by citing data in regards to the lgbt community and such negative behaviors while omitting the fact that much of the data places the blame on homophobia for these negative behaviors.

A more detailed break down of Sprigg's errors and deceptions in The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality is in this Huffington Post article.

As one can see, religious right groups cause chaos not only on the nationwide scene, but also on local scenes.
Sometimes the lgbt community and our allies tend to miss what can happen on these local scenes and it has the potential of coming back to haunt us.

I hope the folks in Montgomery County who support the new sex-education curriculum will not let this happen.

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