Thursday, June 30, 2011

NOM loses attempt to hide its funders in Minnesota

NOM president Brian Brown
How sweet it is.

Fresh from its crushing inability to stop marriage equality in New York, the National Organization for Marriage has been knocked on it ass again - this time in Minnesota.

According to Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent:

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled today that corporate donations to groups advocating for or against a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage must be disclosed. The Minnesota Family Council (MFC) and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) argued that supporters of marriage equality would commit violence against their donors if they were made public. On Thursday, the board disagreed.

The campaign finance board met in mid-June to vote on how to implement new independent expenditure rules and how they would apply to the 2012 ballot initiative campaign to ban same-sex marriage in the Minnesota Constitution. NOM and MFC argued that no disclosures should have to be made for fear of reprisal from supporters of marriage equality.

NOM and its allies tried to claim that alleged threats of violence from marriage equality proponents, particularly after the Prop 8 vote in California, made it imperative that they be able to hide their donors.

But the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled against them thanks in part to a coalition of groups demanding full disclosure:

 . . . a coalition of groups advocated just the opposite, that full disclosure is essential to a healthy democracy. Common Cause Minnesota, the League of Women Voters and the Brennen Center for Justice sent a letter to the board on Thursday morning criticizing the statements of NOM and MFC and urging the board to make the ballot process more transparent.

“Much like the boy who cries ‘wolf,’ it has become routine for groups like the National Organization for Marriage to complain that disclosure will leave them vulnerable to threats and harassment,” the letter stated. “The evidence shows otherwise. In reality, groups like NOM are largely complaining about the ordinary rough and tumble of political debate, particularly on an issue that touches people as personally and deeply as same-sex marriage.”

At press time, it is not known what NOM will do, but according to the article:

NOM has attempted to shield its donors from disclosure requirements in many states including Maine, California, New York, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Iowa, and been the subject of campaign finance complaints or has sued to prevent the disclosure of its donors in those states.

Let's recap, courtesy of the site


NOM remains under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for failing to register with the state as a ballot question committee and refusing to disclose the donors to its campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law in 2009.

NOM provided more than $1.8 million of the $3 million spent by opponents of marriage equality to pass Question 1 – but it illegally failed to disclose where the money came from. Public disclosure laws create transparency by informing voters who is behind a campaign effort. Maine’s law does this by requiring that any funds raised to support or oppose a ballot question be made public.

NOM flouted this law, first by soliciting funds from donors to overturn marriage equality in Maine, and then by refusing to disclose the contributions. As a result, NOM deliberately hid from the public almost two-thirds of the total money the Yes on 1 campaign spent to run its deceptive campaign to overturn marriage equality.

Based on an initial complaint filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, the Maine Ethics Commission launched a formal investigation into NOM’s fundraising tactics in late 2009. NOM has refused to cooperate with the state inquiry each step of the way, stonewalling requests to turn over documents to the Ethics Commission. The Commission’s executive director defended the inquiry in February 2010: “NOM donated almost $2 million in support of the referendum. The Commission needs to understand how NOM solicited the funds in order to determine whether campaign finance reporting was required.” In June 2010, the Ethics Commission unanimously denied NOM’s latest request to dismiss the state investigation into the organization’s finances.

Rhodes Island:
In September 2010, NOM filed suit in Rhode Island seeking to spend thousands of dollars on TV and radio ads for and against gubernatorial and General Assembly candidates – all free from the state’s reporting requirements. NOM is framing the issue as a matter of free speech. In its court filing, NOM says it intends to “engage in multiple forms of speech in Rhode Island” in advance of the November 2 elections, “including radio ads, television ads, direct mail and publicly accessible Internet postings.”

. . . Shortly after NOM filed the suit, a federal judge gave the organization one week to refile – calling the lawsuit “disorganized, vague and poorly constructed.” According to the Boston Globe, the judge said the relevant allegations were “buried” in the lawsuit.

In January 2009, NOM and ProtectMarriage sued the California Secretary of State in federal court to avoid disclosing Prop. 8 donors. California law requires campaign committees to report information for any contributors of $100 or more, which is then made publicly available. Donor disclosure is uniformly required across the country for federal, state and local campaigns and is widely accepted as a vital means to ensure that elections are conducted transparently and fairly.

Rather than follow the decades-old California Public Records Act, NOM suggested that it was entitled to a blanket exemption. NOM falsely claimed that its contributors had been subject to threats, reprisals and harassment. Serious scrutiny of these claims has revealed only isolated incidents, questionable reports and, more often than not, legitimate acts of public criticism typical of any hard-fought campaign.

In Iowa, NOM’s pattern of evading campaign laws prompted a strong written warning from the state ethics agency.

NOM spent a staggering $86,000 in 2009 in a single legislative special election, part of its effort to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would reverse the state Supreme Court’s unanimous decision recognizing marriage equality. NOM asked its supporters to contribute to the Iowa campaign in a nationwide email by saying that “…best of all, NOM has the ability to protect donor identities.”

The email and subsequent complaints prompted a letter from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Board stating that state law requires disclosure of political contributions solicited for the Iowa campaign. The board’s director and counsel wrote to NOM that he wished to “avoid potential problems in light of questions the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board has received concerning a solicitation statement made by your organization” and warned that the “independent expenditure process in Iowa is not a vehicle to shield political contributors.”

Washington State:
In Washington State, NOM and its allies waged a coordinated legal battle to hide the names of those who signed the petition to qualify Referendum 71, and those who donated to the campaign to eliminate Washington’s domestic partnership benefits. In doing so, NOM lawyers attempted to dismantle the nation’s public disclosure system as it currently exists until the U.S. Supreme Court rejected their claims.

On the same day that NOM’s lawyers sued to overturn Maine’s campaign finance laws, a mysterious group called “Family PAC,” represented by the same lawyers, sought to circumvent Washington’s campaign contribution limits and keep secret the names of donors to the campaign. The lawyers cited false claims of harassment directed at supporters of Prop. 8 in California as justification for hiding their donors.

The judge rejected the NOM lawyers’ claims, stating that, “The State has a real and vital interest in showing the money trail… I do not believe it is in the public interest for the court to intervene and change the rules of the game at the last minute.”

Folks, this is a HUGE story in the making and it needs more digging. Just what is the real reason why NOM has practically bent over backwards to hide its funders?

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Tea party leader calls anti-gay bullying healthy and other Thursday midday news briefs

Tea Party leader says anti-gay bullying is ‘healthy peer pressure’ - I and many other BEG to differ.

A President, Not A Governor - Read and memorize, especially this part: "A civil rights movement does not get its legitimacy from any president. I repeat: he does not legitimize us; we legitimize him. As gays and lesbians, we should stop looking for saviors at the top and start looking for them within."

HRC store vandalized; radical queer group claims responsibility - There's nothing like good old fashioned self-sabotage to screw the lgbtq community up.

Bachmann’s Husband Calls Homosexuals ‘Barbarians’ Who ‘Need To Be Educated’ And ‘Disciplined’ - No he doesn't mean that in a fun way. LOL

New Poll Says 48% in Oregon Support Gay Marriage, 42% Opposed - Just a little item to make the religious right's head to spin.

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How NOM lost in New York - 'race-baiting' and 'gay recruiting'

The site Equality Matters took a good look at just how the National Organization for Marriage lost its fight against marriage equality in New York.

Basically it comes down to this - the organization got lazy, cocky, and used the same deceptive tactics which helped it gain a victory in Maryland and a partial victory in Rhode Island (I say partial because Rhode Island just passed civil unions), including:

Promoting Anti-Gay Propaganda

Spreading propaganda and misinformation has always been a centerpiece of NOM’s anti-equality strategy, and things were no different in New York. In early May, NOM announced that it would be spending $500,000 on an “ad and lobbying campaign to oppose same-sex marriage in New York.”
Public Schools

Unsurprisingly, NOM relied heavily on the myth that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would result in children being forced to learn about homosexuality and same-sex relationships in school. In one thirty-second television spot, NOM warns “legalizing gay marriage has consequences for kids.

NOM also flooded New York homes with mailer ads claiming that supporters of marriage equality were looking to “poison young minds” and “forever change the innocence of
our kids:"


Working With Anti-Gay Hate Groups

NOM wasn’t working alone in New York; the organization partnered with New Yorker’s for Constitutional Freedom (NYCF) and its affiliated ministry, New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation (NYFRF), both of which have histories of relying on vile and hateful misinformation to smear the LGBT community.

NOM proudly worked with these groups to co-sponsor the “Summer for Marriage RV Tour,” which culminated in the “Mayday for Marriage” rally in Albany on May 24th (which both NOM and NYCF also co-sponsored). NYFRF provided its supporters with a number of different resources for use during the “Mayday for Marriage” Sunday, including “sermon starters” which claimed that homosexuality is “perverted and twisted” and will cause “the destruction of your immortal soul.”

The group has also likened marriage equality to child abuse, claimed to be attempting to save people like State Sen. Tom Duane, who is gay, from “an eternity in Hell,” and has asserted that the real “enemy” in the fight over marriage equality is Satan.

During the final days of the Senate’s session, NYCF began pushing widely discredited “ex-gay” therapy, even inviting “ex-gay activist” Anthony Falzarano to speak in Albany about how he was able to leave “the gay lifestyle.”

The “Mayday for Marriage” rally itself served as a platform from which religious and community leaders could spread their anti-gay messages. Speakers at the rally argued that those who practice homosexuality are worthy of “death” and claimed that gay people are “enchained and enslaved by homosexuality,” all while NOM’s Brown was in attendance.

The group American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) also played a large role in the rally, heading the professional march to the rally location and leading the crowd in song throughout the event. TFP has also actively promoted the idea that gays can “change” their sexual orientation and called marriage equality “morally wrong, sinful, and offensive to God.”

And then comes my personal favorite: 

Playing The “Race Card”

NOM is no stranger to using race as a wedge issue to gin up opposition to marriage equality. In fact, depicting marriage equality as a whites vs. non-whites issues has become a key part of the organization’s “public relations strategy.” 

In Maryland, the group frequently played the “race card” in order to motivate members of the black religious community to oppose a marriage equality bill earlier this year. This tactic ended up playing a crucial role in eventually killing the bill, with a number of delegates clearly bristling at attempts to compare the struggle for marriage equality to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.

In New York, NOM’s strategy was no different. Racial minorities were quickly pushed to the forefront of NOM’s anti-equality efforts. The organization even produced a video asking “Will the Black Church Rise Up in New York for Marriage?”:

Does this video piss you off? I hope it does. It pisses me off. That's why I watch it at least twice a week.  Those who read this blog probably noticed a while back that my focus on NOM intensified. It's because of NOM's tactic of playing the lgbt and African-American community against one another - most specifically how they did it in Maryland to defeat marriage equality. It has to do with the words of one black Maryland delegate:

Del. Emmett C. Burns -  "Those who want to ride on our coattails are historically incorrect; gay people had not endured the struggles of blacks, had not had crosses burned on their lawns or been thrown in a police wagon."

Burns later demanded that the gay community show him its Selma, AL (alluding one of the battlegrounds of he 1960s civil rights movement as a way to again claim that lgbtqs have not suffered enough to gain equality).

I was at McDonalds reading the tweets when he said this and, God help for because I hate to admit this, but I cried.There were so many reasons why I became upset at Burns's words that I can't begin to break them down to you. Sometimes there is a certain hurt someone can put on you that can never be described by words.

I don't like being put into a situation like that.

Needless to say, NOM gained a very crucial enemy that day - me.

you and I have only begun to dance.

But consider the following link to be the first salvo:

LISTEN: Alvin McEwen on Social Media to Discredit Religious Bigotry

Sample comment - "The black church is one of the greatest institutions in the world but it is also one of the most hypocritical, lying institutions in the world."

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When homophobes are reduced to picking on families they see on the subway

FOF's Glenn T. Stanton
To say the NY vote for marriage equality has thrown conservatives for a loop is an understatement.

All of the high-brow bullshit and self-righteous verbiage about traditional morality seems to have gone out of the window and is replaced by just basic meanness.

Take Focus on the Family's pseudo expert Glenn T. Stanton for example.

In an online issue of the conservative National Review, he told of an incident of a mother on a subway - who he probably thought was lesbian even though it makes no difference - playing an innocent game with her child:

My daughter and I were in Manhattan over this weekend so I could do some research at the Met. Waves of people were coming into the city for Sunday’s big gay-pride march, where they could celebrate the Empire State’s new same-sex-marriage law. We sat behind some of them on the train, three young women with a precious, excited toddler girl in tow. The very evident leader of the clan was the patriarch. Adorned as if she might be an actor portraying a hip-hop teen from Cleveland, she had her meticulous corn-rows tucked under a backwards navy-blue flat-billed ballcap, a matching wife beater revealing a mural of tats on her arms, shoulders, and back. Baggy jeans rode low, leading to her construction boots with untied laces dangling free.

She was the only one of the adult threesome that interacted with the child, mindlessly uttering reassuring words like “Daddy will be right back” or “Sit over here by Daddy.”

You see, this is one of the things that most concerns me about the legal institutionalization of genderless marriage and parenting. We are told that nothing will really change with such laws; people who really love each other will just be able to enter really meaningful, legally protected relationships.

My God, that was stupid.

I know I should be more mature here in my criticism of Stanton's absolutely ridiculous tirade on this subway incident and the subject of marriage equality, but I can't.

In the first place, Stanton didn't even know a thing about the child or the parent.

Secondly I don't recall anywhere in his piece did Stanton identify himself as the father of the child nor any indication that he was kicking in child support for this family.

To put it mildly,  it really wasn't his business what the two were doing.

It's just the basic essence of right-wing self-righteous idiocy which is channeled throughout Stanton's piece. And for that matter, almost all of their arguments against marriage equality.

The cynic in me suspects that Stanton wrote the piece to get some easy money. After all,  it is extremely lucrative to be a conservative "critic" or "senior analyst," or  "expert" on morality.  There are plethoras of organizations, magazines, and radio shows just begging to dole the money to any Tom, Dick, or Glenn out to wave the banner of morality, even if that banner is tattered and moth-eaten.

But between you and me, Glenn, I hope you spend whatever money you made on that piece of garbage on something good for your own family.

Why bother denigrating other families if yours can't benefit?

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'It Gets Better' because members of Congress told me so

TELL me this is not progress. I dare you. This is just too awesome when members of the United States Senate comes together for our lgbtq children:

Members of the Senate participating:

Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

I wish there was something like this around when I was young. But that doesn't matter. The video exists now for our children and that's all that matters.

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Religious right should denounce Barber's attacks on same-sex families, children

Matt Barber
The Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber is the lgbtq community's best ally in our fight for equality.

Forget the pseudo piss- elegance of Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage because Barber simply won't play that game.

He is from the old school where the David Dukeish turn of a phrase "we aren't anti-gay, but pro-family" won't apply.

Barber is simply homophobia defined. Pure, unadulterated, and very vindictive. He never misses a chance to demonize the lgbtq families, including our children.

Witness this monstrosity of a statement courtesy of People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch:

Matt Barber and Deryl Edwards of Liberty Counsel dedicated Faith and Freedom to discussing the dangers of allowing gay and lesbian couples adopt children. Barber, who previous said that the high suicide rate among LGBT youth is due to the fact that they intuitively know that being gay is wrong, said that his “heart breaks” for children adopted by same-sex couples who are using them as “propaganda photographs” and “props on their lap.” He elaborated that same-sex couples don’t actually care about the welfare of children but only want to further “post-modern sexual anarchy.”

Barber's heart doesn't break. If anything I would suspect that his heart skipped at yet another moment to demonize the lgbtq community. He certainly has a twitter history of doing so.

Like his tweet about the death of Osama Bin Laden:

Let's play the National Organization for Marriage drinking game

We all must recognize just how the National Organization for Marriage uses empty and repetitive talking points against marriage equality.

But let's also have a little fun with it. From various press conferences and interviews, I have gleaned a little drinking game which can be played whenever an interview is conducted NOM's Maggie Gallagher or Brian Brown, or when the organization holds a press conference. It's a minor drinking game - goodness knows that NOM has probably caused enough lgbtqs to drink as it is - so bear with me and feel free to add more categories (but no being mean).


1 Drink

When Maggie Gallagher interrupts the interviewer or the person she is debating

When either Gallagher or Brian Brown claim that marriage has meant the same things to all civilizations throughout history.

When Maggie Gallagher wears red.

When the phrase "marriage is unique and special" is used. Or when the statement "only marriage can connect parents with children" is used.

When the phrases or words  "redefine marriage, "profound consequences," or "Massachusetts" are mentioned.

When either Gallagher or Brown introduces the word "bigot" into the conversation.

When there is one African-American or Hispanic participant at a NOM press conference.

2 Drinks

Gallagher uses "jazz hands" to illustrate her point

Brown or Gallagher talks about children being "taught" homosexuality

When Brown or Gallagher sidesteps any questions asking them about same-sex households, particularly same-sex households with children.

When there are two or more African-American or Hispanic participants at a NOM press conference

When an anecdote about "religious persecution" because of marriage equality is brought up by Gallagher or Brown without any other information as to the truth of said anecdote.

When Gallagher refers to the work of "legal scholars" without mentioning that said "legal scholars" are affiliated with either NOM or the Catholic Church.

When it is mentioned that the "overwhelming majority of Americans in over 30 states voted against marriage equality." Editor's note - you do not have to take a drink if it is acknowledged that many of these votes took place in 2004 or 2006 when people did not full understand marriage equality or that propaganda was used to scare parents about gays "recruiting" children during these votes.

Related posts:
NOM's Brian Brown vs. Rev. Al Sharpton - it's not even a contest

NOM astroturfed 'legal scholars' in New York

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NOM's Brian Brown vs. Rev. Al Sharpton - it's not even a contest

The National Organization for Marriage's loss in New York is making the organization look for new avenues to spin its talking points.

A few months ago, when NOM was riding high with "victories" in Maryland and Rhode Island, I doubt the group would have agreed to appear on MSNBC news.

But after New York, NOM president Brian Brown appeared on the news channel in a debate with the Rev. Al Sharpton while anchor Thomas Roberts directed traffic.

Maybe the word "massacre" is too extreme a word to use, but it's safe to say that Sharpton took Brown's antiquated talking points and played him like a yo-yo. Brown seemed edgy and uncomfortable throughout the entire segment, as if he didn't want to be there. In other words, I highly enjoyed it.

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NOM astroturfed 'legal scholars' in New York

In a press conference held by the National Organization for Marriage and its allies days before the NY Senate voted for marriage equality, NOM head Maggie Gallagher brought up the so-called negative religious impacts of marriage equality by citing the work of "leading legal scholars."

Skip to 16:29 of the video where Gallagher makes these comments

Gallagher: It's not just pastors who are talking about it. My understanding is that there was a letter from a Stanford law professor who is an expert on religious liberty, a Harvard law school professor; Mary Ann Glendon, and one of the editors of a book called Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberties. The leading legal scholars are acknowledging . . . that the foundational idea that equality requires gay marriage . . . is going to impact people who disagree . . . "

According to Equality Matters, these scholars Gallagher spoke of are not objective, but have a very strong personal disregard to not only marriage equality but to the gay community in general. For example, take Mary Ann Glendon:

She has called marriage equality a "radical social experiment," warning that "children will have to be taught about homosexual sex" and fear mongering about the threat posed by "alternative family forms":

But, believe it or not, Gallagher's biggest deception at the press conference is a name she chose omit.

A man by the name of Robert George  was one of the so-called legal scholars who signed the letter and my guess is that Gallagher chose to omit his name for following reason (brought to you by Equality Matters):

George is the Chairman Emeritus of the board for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and has a long history of anti-gay activism. George has argued that marriage equality will pave the way for polygamy and claims same-sex marriage will lead to "disastrous effects" on children.

Allow me to break it down: in a high intense press conference, Gallagher nonchalantly snuck in a notion that "leading legal scholars" have an objective concern over the plight of religious liberties should marriage equality be passed in New York.

However, she omitted - and probably not by accident - the simple fact that these so-called "leading legal scholars" have negative views on marriage equality in general.

Also, Gallagher omitted - and again probably not by accident - that one of these  so-called "leading legal scholars" (Robert George) is on NOM's Board of Directors - the very same board on which she also serves.

Of course Gallagher pulled a big deception and as sure I am sitting here, count on her doing it again and again.

And frankly, neither Gallagher nor NOM really care about getting caught because very few have made an effort in calling them out on their questionable tactics.

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THE GAYS ARE COMING - a short history of homophobic documentaries

Batten down the hatches (and keep down your breakfast) because the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council is coming out with a documentary about the so-called dangers of marriage equality:

FRC's documentary is, in reality, one-sided trash will feature such phony horror stories as:

  • The British couple whose Christianity supposedly barred them from becoming foster parents - omitting the fact of course that it wasn't their religious beliefs which caused problems, but their ineffective answers as to how they would treat the bullying of lgbtq foster children who may be placed in their care,

  • Julea Ward, who not only felt that her personal beliefs that homosexuality is a sin should take precedent over the needs of the patients she will be paid to counsel, but also that Eastern Michigan University should accommodate this madness,

I should be upset but instead, I am exasperated. Is this the thousandth "homosexuals are evil space aliens who are plotting to take over the world if we don't stop them" documentary coming from the religious right?

I'm exaggerating but religious right groups do have a history of anti-gay "documentaries."

Let's look at some of the past junk:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Long-term Minnesota gay couple explains family and love

One thing that always infuriates me in the argument about marriage equality is how the opposition is always trying to frame the issue while doing all they can to keep us from getting a word in edgewise.

It's not an inadvertent tactic. As long as folks like Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown and the National Organization for Marriage can bogart the conversation, the more difficult it is for us to tell our stories.

That's why the above video is so important. Minnesota couple David and Mark talks what family means to them as well as their 28 year relationships.

And their words are reality rather than the stupid hypotheticals the opposition tries to shove down our throats.

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Minnesotans hit the ground running against hateful amendment and other Monday midday news briefs

 From my online buddy Mat Algren:

Philip and Randi Reitan have joined their activist son  Jacob in a video for the  Minnesotans United For All Families media campaign against the state’s proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment.

I like this! What happened in New York is awesome but the fight for equality continues, particularly in Minnesota. All of us should show our families and tell our stories!

In other news:

TNR asks "What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?" - A very compelling article.

'Kill All Gays' Graffiti in Lancaster, CA Thought to Be Reaction to NY Marriage Equality Vote - Of course there will be a backlash. But let's not stop moving forward!

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Activists React to Marriage Equality in Albany - According to this article, National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown wept in sadness when the bill passed. What the heck was he sad about? No one was making judgments about HIS family?

Trans woman wants drag acts banned from Pride festival - A controversial desire which I do not support. I will go into detail about it at a later time.

And now time for a little fiber for your diet:

Harvey Warns That The "Perpetual Pansexual Pagan Party" Is About To Get Crazier

Robertson: God Will Destroy America For Marriage Equality

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It Gets Better - a video in which I was proud to participate

Okay, I've bombarded you all last week with NOM activities and such but I do put happy positive stuff on my blog from time to time.

And this morning is one video of which I am very proud of. A huge group of bloggers, writers, organizers, and activists participated in a "It Gets Better" video at Netroots Nation, myself included (I'm at 13:35 and I am a mess), two weeks ago to encourage our lgbtq children not to despair or give up because some members of society are hateful.


Participating in this video:

Names and Twitter accounts, in order of appearance.

Markos Moulitsas @markos -- straight ally
Pam Spaulding @pam_spaulding
Scott Wooledge @Clarknt67
Tom Torres @_floatingworld
Evan Haliburton @evanhaliburton
Viktor Kerney @wondermann5
Mark Snyder @ColageNational
Jason Haas @jasonlhaas
Zack Ford @zackford
Andy Szekeres @AndySzekeres
Cynthia Wright @cynisright
Noah Baron @noahbbaron
Joe Sudbay @JoeSudbay
Phil Reese @ReallyPhilReese
Christopher Edwards @xtopher1974
Daniel Villarreal @hispanicpanic79
Alvin McEwen @holybullies
Carlos A. Quiroz @CarlosQC
Jake Weinraub @jakeweinraub
Mel England @melengland
Scottie Thomaston @indiemcemopants
John Aravosis @aravosis
Michael Rogers @MichaelRogersDC
Ian Finkenbinder @OneAngryQueer

If you have any questions about this campaign, please check out the It Gets Better Project website:

If you feel alone, you need help or you are considering suicide, please call 24-hour confidential:


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

A 'Christian' child was beaten to death, but the 'moralists' won't say a word

As we all know, the National Organization for Marriage has pledged $2 million dollars to reverse the recent ruling which gives marriage equality to same-sex couple in New York and to punish the senators who voted for it.

Well as far as I'm concerned, NOM can stick its $2 million where the sun doesn't shine.

You know why? Because of this:

Records of the Indiana Department of Child Services reveal that Christian Choate, a boy who authorities claim lived locked in a cage and died from savage abuse, wrote letters describing his situation and saying that he wanted to die.

According to the Chicago Tribune, DCS visited with the Choate family in Gary, Indiana more than a dozen times starting in 1999, investigating allegations of abuse and neglect. Authorities never discovered what prosecutors claim was the true depth of the misery in which young Christian lived.

Based on accounts from his sister and stepsister, Christian, who died in 2009 at age 13, spent much of the last year of his life locked in a three-foot-high dog cage, with little food and drink and few opportunities to leave. When he did get out of the cage, he endured savage beatings from his father Riley.

Part of me didn't want to talk about this story.  I didn't want to mention it for fear of being accused of exploiting the situation.

But my spirit won't let me keep quiet.

Two million dollars to keep punish lawmakers for standing up for equality? And by a nasty extension, two million dollars to remind same-sex families like the Gill family in Florida (who took in two abused children and nurtured them , providing them with the love of a family) that no matter how much they love their children and each other, they will always be inferior because God says so?

No. Not God. God never said.

His so-called messengers who have volunteered to speak for him have said so - the National Organization for Marriage, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Jason McGuire, Ruben Diaz, Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, and the rest of the assorted ecclesiastical odd balls.

Because people like the Gill family and same-sex couples in general dilute marriage? They take away from children "the chance" to be raised by their natural mother and father?

Meanwhile, a 13-year-old child was placed in a cage by his natural father and subjected to so much abuse that the poor thing actually wished he was dead. Pretty soon, he got his wish.

Why can't $2 million be devoted to stopping travesties like this?

As God is my witness, I am so sick of phony traditional values groups with more money than shame or self-respect, who will use meaningless hypothetical terms  and scare tactics to divide and distract simply because they lose battles to legally force the rest of us to abide by their definition of "family."

It's starting to make me sick.

All of us need to send up a prayer for Christian Choate. We should be thankful that he is finally with SOMEONE who loves him.

And finally, we all need to pray that these self-appointed moral squads (i.e. NOM, etc) get a clue or at least get the hell out of the way of reality.

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NOM's lies and hypocrisy on video. Enjoy and spread around

Okay you all are going to hate me for this but remember in school when you had to take notes when watching a filmstrip?

Well take notes. You will be tested on this later in the public arena. TRUST ME

I didn't create this video, but its point is succinct and compelling.

Related post:

Marriage Equality - Simple answers to NOM's complicated lies

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Does NOM even care not to put its hypocrisy on centerstage?

As the repercussions of the victory in New York is being felt worldwide (it was even a topic of conversation at the SC Black Pride Expo today), a comment on the site  Box Turtle Bulletin (a site which I highly recommend) nailed down the hypocrisy of the National Organization for Marriage and Maggie Gallagher when it comes to legislative votes:
Maggie on why a majority party blocking a vote in a state Senate is an unfair thing to do, and why those who do it should face consequences:

“It’s one thing to vote no on a bill – but quite another to use your position to block the will of the Senate”

Now, Maggie on why a majority party NOT blocking a vote in a state Senate is such a bad thing, and why those who refuse to do it should face consequences:

“N.Y, [sic] Republicans did not have to bring gay marriage up for a vote: What does it mean that they passed gay marriage in N.Y.?…Sad that the N.Y. GOP has caved. Consequences to be continued.”

The first comment was NOM's complaint earlier this year when Majority leader of the Iowa Senate, Michael Gronstal, wouldn't allow a referendum for marriage equality to come up for a vote.

At the time, NOM was practically screaming bloody murder over this, even encouraging emails to be sent out to Gronstal.

The second comment is from a July 24 piece published by Gallagher in the right-wing National Review whining that the New York Senate was not obligated to bring the bill approving marriage equality up for a vote.

The irony is stark when one considers the language that NOM asked its supporters to use in the email demanding that Gronstal allow the Iowa referendum vote to happen:

I am concerned that one individual, Senate Majority Leader Gronstal, would use his authority to force his personal opinions on the entire state, denying the people of Iowa the chance to vote on this important issue.

The marriage amendment is simple, straightforward, and supported by the overwhelming majority of Iowans.

But with the majority of New Yorkers actually supporting marriage equality, shouldn't it have caused concern to NOM that the NY Senate would use its authority to force its personal opinions on the people of New York if it had not allowed the vote?

Of course it wouldn't cause concern to NOM. Since when has the organization ever been a beacon for the consistency of integrity?

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Justice rolls down like a mighty stream in New York

As seen from the blog post below this one, the National Organization for Marriage has gone shrill over its loss in New York.

But it's not about them. Its not about Brian Brown or Maggie Gallagher, or even the Catholic Church.

It's about the millions of lgbtqs and their families who received the validation they richly deserved from last night's vote. And it's about the future battles - like the one coming up in Minnesota- for more families to get their equality and justice. With that in mind, savor this moment because it was well fought for, not just by the lgbtq community but also their allies who had their back:

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Friday, June 24, 2011

NOM compares NY loss to betrayal of Jesus

Four GOP Senators betray marriage to pass SSM bill in New York: Grisanti, Saland, McDonald and Alesi.

Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, as four Republican state senators joined 29 Democrats in voting for the bill. The Senate galleries were so packed with supporters and opponents that the fire marshals closed them off. ...outside the Senate chamber, about 100 demonstrators chanted and waved placards throughout the night.

Forgive the amateur way I posted this screen save from the National Organization for Marriage's Facebook page. But go here to see the original.

This monstrosity is the caliber of NOM - comparing its much deserved loss in New York to Jesus's betrayal by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Biblical scholars all know that this betrayal led to Jesus's crucifixion.

To say that NOM is being just a tad too dramatic is an understatement. Comparing a legally passed law which will ensure protection for thousands of families to the bloody execution of possibly the greatest religious figure in history demonstrates just how NOM has absolutely no problem with exploiting everything at its disposal to dehumanize lgbtqs.


Editor's note - I forgot to give proper credit to former NOMbie Louis J. Marinelli for alerting me to this.

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33-29! New York passes bill allowing marriage equality

Congratulations those in New York, nationwide, and worldwide who fought for this victory. This is just the first step to a process. Our opposition won't take this lying down, but they will learn.

But for tonight, this video by Etta James is for you:

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

New York marriage equality vote is now at the crux of history

 Editor's note - Dear readers, I wrote this Thursday night but I feel that because of what it says, it should stay as the main blog post of attention for at least a few more hours, with a few alterations of course.

In a huge shocker,last night's all night NY Senate session, in which marriage equality was possibly going to be decided, has been reconvened until tomorrow morning.

There were several explanations given for this, but none of them matter.

We are now at a point that marriage equality in New York has to be voted on because after over a week, this situation has reached epic proportions.

A yes for marriage equality vote would have been historic in itself. But the fact that the Republican led NY Senate has stalled and stalled on this bill for over a week - for whatever reason be it religious exemptions or otherwise - has now given this vote a page in American gay history

What will the end result be? Marriage equality in New York was approved or marriage equality in New York was voted down after over a week of suspicious stalling by the NY Republican party?

Those are the two choices regarding the stories which will be told to future generations. And for the NY Republican Party, there is no third choice.

We are now at the point where actualities and technicalities don't matter.

Because of what happened just now, marriage equality in New York must be voted on in this session.

I'm personally hoping that it will be approved and in all honesty, it would be in the best interest of the NY Republican party that this be the case.

Votes come and go, but a reputation for shadiness (whether earned or unfairly given) will stay with you forever.

And trust me when I say that neither history nor the lgbtq community will not forget the ongoing proceedings. Neither history nor the lgbtq community will forget the nervous waiting, the burst of optimism at positive rumors that the vote is coming soon, nor the despair over negative rumors that the vote has been delayed over and over and over again.

The National Organization for Marriage isn't going to be able to throw enough sugar over these proceedings to make them palpable should marriage equality fail to pass. My guess is that the organization itself will be running for cover over the negative publicity after a while.

So the question now to the Republicans  in the NY Senate is a simple one - how do you want history to remember you?

Lastly, I want to send a message to my lgbtq brothers and sisters in New York.  Don't give up. Don't give in to frustration or anger. Lgbtqs throughout history have faced great odds and have persevered. It is the stock we are made of. We sacrificed ourselves to bring down  mighty armies in Ancient Greece. Our genius helped to save the world during World War 2, our organizational skills brought together one of the greatest marches in the history of United States in 1963. And a whole bunch of us, considered outcasts by so-called normal society, taught the country how to stand up and be counted in a little corner bar in New York during the summer of 1969.

We are a people who have endured so much, whether they be lies under the guise of religion or blows struck at us in wanton hate.

But the one thing we aren't are quitters. Don't start now. You will win this by the strength of your endurance and the capacity of your love.

Never give up.

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Maggie Gallagher greets St. Peter at the Pearly Gates

Not surprising, we didn't get a "we shall overcome" moment from President Obama during his speech. And meanwhile, the argument over the marriage equality vote in NY still continues.

But let's have a break from the tension with a little levity from the following video. It's meant to showcase the hypocritical stances of Maggie Gallagher and the National Organization for Marriage:

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The hard lesson behind Obama's 'evolution'

Word has come down that during his speech tonight in front of lgbtq donors, President Obama will address the situation regarding the New York marriage equality bill.

However, the rumors continue, that it will not be a forceful mention. Already some of us wanting marriage equality is calling whatever he may say to be a failure.

As for myself, seeing how rumors flew around the NY vote this week, I will reserve judgement until I hear what exactly he will say.

However, if Obama's words exactly as milquetoast as some are predicting, color me not surprise.

It's not really a knock against Obama but just a hard lesson that many of us - whether we be lgbtq or not - should remember when it comes to historical figures, especially those who become president.

Eisenhower is remembered for calling the troops to enforce desegregation in Little Rock, AK after the Supreme Court decision. But he did so after Governor Orval Faubus laid down the gauntlet by disrespecting his power as president.

Kennedy is remembered for Camelot. However his record on civil rights protections for African-Americans isn't really that strong. Also, it is rumored that had he not been assassinated, he was going to distance himself from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Johnson is remembered for his steadfast pushing of civil rights legislation. However, he did try to sabotage the testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer during the 1964 Democratic convention when she spoke on how the Democratic party in her stae was violently disenfranchising African-Americans.

And even Robert F. Kennedy, who will always be remembered for what he could have accomplished as president had he not been murdered, was the same fellow who, as U.S. attorney general, allowed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap Dr. King.

The point is this - those elected president do so with lofty rhetoric about soaring on eagles' shoulders.

When elected president, they tend to find out that they have to tone it down a bit.

That's unfortunate but it is a fact of life.

So while I await to hear what Obama says, I fully support those of us who merely seek to remind him of the hope and change he helped us believe in.

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Tyree pulls the 'won't someone think of the children' card and other Thursday midday news briefs

Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson breaks it down rather nicely on Anderson Cooper on CNN

Meanwhile . . .

David Tyree: ‘I Don’t Want My Kids To Think Homosexuals Are Normal’ - David Tyree continues to make himself look as bigoted as he claims he isn't. Pulling the "teaching children that homosexuality is normal, ergo recruiting children" card, David? Tacky, tacky, tacky. Tyree thinks that his children are more important than the children in same-sex households. That's just wrong.

Related post: White supremacist praises David Tyree on anti-gay marriage stance

GLAAD Board Announces Resignation of President Jarrett Barrios and Board Member Troup Coronado - They both needed to go.

NY Senate Repubs. meeting today to decide if marriage equality bill will get a vote - Keep prayers consistent and fingers crossed.

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Catholic Church declaring full scale WAR on marriage equality

 As we wait on the marriage equality vote in New York, we remember the words of MLK - "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice."

I'm all for that, but why does it have to take doggone long!

One thing missing from the fight over marriage equality in New York is the how the New York State Catholic Conference feels about the negotiations going on about religious exemptions. According to the New York Daily News, they have not seen the language of the bill and are being left out of negotiations.

Naturally they aren't happy over it:

"Obviously, this is an issue of grave import to the Catholic Church," said Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust. "Were this bill to pass, we would need protection in order to continue our ministries. We raised the issue, and now it seems like we've been cut out of the loop."

With all due respect to the NY State Catholic Conference, they shouldn't be involved because they don't like marriage equality in the first place. Any move they make would most likely be to sabotage negotiations.

Meanwhile, according to Andy Birkey of The Colorado Independent, regardless of what happens in New York, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are preparing to hit against marriage equality with huge amount of its resources:

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of the Subcommittee for the Defense of Marriage said the Roman Catholic church would push back in the war of “language,” which he said same-sex marriage proponents were winning with words like “hate” and “equality.” The church is planning a video campaign in both English and Spanish, and its efforts have already been felt in states like Minnesota where the church was successful in getting an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot.

“Strategies of language are crucial here, and what we see happening in the marriage debate with terms such as ‘equality’ is similar to the manipulation of language found in the pro-abortion rhetoric of ‘choice,’” Bishop Cordileone said at the Bellvue, Wash., conference.

Cordileone, who was appointed to the Subcommittee for the Defense of Marriage in January, says the church plans to increase production of a series of videos intended to change Catholics’ minds on same-sex marriage.

“To be considered and labeled a ‘bigot’ or ‘discriminator’ by the government and by law has serious implications for the religious liberty of both institutions and individuals and their freedom of conscience,” he said. “The video will seek to demythologize popular claims and call attention to what is really at stake.”

That video, “Made for Freedom,” is part of a five-part video project by the church. The first is “Marriage: Unique for a Reason,” which was produced last fall. Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis used that video in an anti–gay marriage DVD package that was sent to 800,000 Minnesota Catholics just before the 2010 election.

The Colorado Independent said that "elements" of this video has already appeared in Minnesota:

Pastor Sergio Choy of Ministerio Evangelistico Mundial Maranatha in Bloomington testified at the House Rules Committee. He said, “To redefine marriage is like trying to redefine water. Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, and marriage is made up of one man and one woman.”

That line is very similar to the DVD created by the Catholic Church. In it, a husband said that the marriage of a man and a woman is like water, “two completely different things, like hydrogen and oxygen, and combining them to make water, something entirely new, unique.”

This is a dangerous new development - not for the lgbtq community, but to the Catholic Church. There are already rumors as to just how deeply is the Catholic Church involved in the efforts of the anti-gay group,  the National Organization for Marriage, and whether this involvement is the reason as to why NOM fights so hard to keep from disclosing its funding sources.

The Catholic Church is playing fire by courting potentially devastating publicity. Does it really want to be seen as a less of a body of Christ and more of an ominous force out to deprive millions of families of their rights and protections as Americans?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Something to keep our spirits up as we await on New York

There have been so many rumors floating about today as to what is going on about the New York marriage equality vote, and all of them positive.

I won't speculate on them. I just want to leave you with these two videos to lift your spirits:

We've come a long way, brothers and sisters.

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NOMbies gloating before vote even happens and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Six GLAAD board members step down over AT&T flap, but not former AT&T employee Coronado - I'm not usually for one about who is or isn't a part of "Gay,Inc." but what's happening here is a damn shame and is a reason why it's so hard for us to gain equality.

NOM hubris gone wild: Org's Thomas Peters claims NY marriage win - Christian people don't get cocky. But NOM certainly is by declaring that they won in New York BEFORE the vote has even been taken. BTW the column has now been taken down.

Time To Put Things In Perspective: Elections Have Consequences - We need to remember these days come 2012.

Kevin Jennings Is Right: Sean Hannity Failed - Give it up Hannity. You lost this one. Deal with it.

Barber: Right Wing Watch Are Creepy Cyberstalkers!- This from a guy who visited my blog over 60 times in one day.

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Dear President Obama - open your mouth about gay equality!

 The vote on marriage equality in New York is today. I pray that it turns out successfully for our community.

 In light of President Obama's incredibly slow process to fully embrace lgbtq equality, I've caught some criticism from some of my lgbtq compadres, including a very manic person calling me an Uncle Tom for my considered praise of Obama (ponder that one at your own peril). But still I am steadfast in my support of Obama.

However . . .

The brotha is gonna really need to step up and comment on lgbtq equality. Whether the marriage equality bill in New York passes today (and it really needs to) or not, Obama is going to have address the situation, particularly because he will be speaking at a lgbt fundraising dinner in New York on Thursday.

Equality Matters's Kerry Eleveld said it best:

He can’t avoid the subject altogether. Can you imagine the headlines? Obama Rains on Gay Parade. POTUS O-bombs In New York. Obama’s Not-So-Fierce Fundraiser. Ok, true enough, all those apply even if he mentions marriage equality at the dinner but doesn’t come out in favor of it.

So let’s assume he does talk about marriage, civil unions, relationship recognition – call it what you will. Here’s the thing, it will be devilishly difficult even for our pitch-perfect president to effuse enough lofty rhetoric to obscure the elephant in the room.

The last time Obama addressed a massive LGBT fundraiser was at a Human Rights Campaign Gala in October of 2009. That speech, most certainly, was the starting point for the president’s speech writers as they eyed his Thursday predicament.

“It is no secret that issues of great concern to gays and lesbians are ones that raise a great deal of emotion in this country,” Obama told the audience in ‘09. “But these issues also go to the heart of who we are as a people. Are we a nation that can transcend old attitudes and worn divides? Can we embrace our differences and look to the hopes and dreams that we share? Will we uphold the ideals on which this nation was founded: that all of us are equal, that all of us deserve the same opportunity to live our lives freely and pursue our chance at happiness? I believe we can; I believe we will."
Hmmm… where can he go from here on Thursday? Seriously. It’s hard to imagine. I believe we can, I believe we will… but sorry, I just need a little more time.

Look, everyone knows this is a political calculation. President Obama was for marriage equality as a state senator in 1996 before he was against it as an aspiring presidential candidate in 2004 (the evolution of his positions are traced here). But as he heads into the 2012 election cycle, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to have it both ways on same-sex marriage – to carry the magic mantle of hope and change, to appeal to the better angels of our nature, while literally falling behind the trend lines on supporting something as fundamentally American as the expression of our liberty.


Editor's Note - The subject of President Obama and lgbtq equality seems to bring out the wolves so I am telling folks now (and this is a first) feel free to criticize or praise Obama, but any comments simply posted for the purpose of being nasty  at him AND especially me will not be tolerated.

As a matter of fact, allow me to say in advance to those who will call me names - @!&^%!

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