Monday, December 29, 2014

Steve Scalise and racist groups, Tony Perkins and racist groups - it's all relative

Rep. Scalise
Washington is all abuzz about a huge scandal regarding Rep Steve Scalise, soon to be House Majority Whip, and a 2002 speech he made to a meeting of a white supremacist group founded by known racist David Duke:

Twelve years before he was elected by his colleagues as House Majority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke at a conference hosted by white supremacist group European-American Unity and Rights Organization.

Louisiana political blogger Lamar White Jr. dug up a number of posts on Stormfront, one of the original white supremacist websites, that place Scalise at the 2002 gathering. According to one user who attended the conference, Scalise -- then a state representative -- spoke to the organization at a workshop "to teach the most effective and up-to-date methods of civil rights and heritage related activism."

According to another Stormfront post, the National/International EURO Workshop on Civil Rights was held from May 17 to 18, 2002, at the Landmark/Best Western Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana. The conference was also listed on an Anti-Defamation League list of extremist events for that year.

Scalise has admitted to making the speech, but claimed that he was unaware of the group's racist nature.

Of course to the media, that's like dipping a bloody toe in shark-infested waters with them being the sharks.  Several members have asked how could Scalise have not known what the group was all about, with others implying that his speech was covertly racist.

Will Scalise be forced to resign? Who knows. It's too early to tell. But to me, there are two interesting things about this controversy. For one, there is my snarky observation involving the Republican party. It is usually when they have power in Congress that a member or two will make a supreme mind-blowing screw up.

The second is even a bit more to the purpose of this blog.  If one asks will Scalise survive, one needs to look to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.  While Perkins is now looked upon in Washington as a "voice of morality" by some, he has a history with racist groups probably more checkered than Scalise (at least for now.)

'Top anti-lgbt stories of the year' & other Monday midday news briefs

The Year In Homophobia: Ten Of The Worst Anti-LGBT Stories Of 2014 - What are the top 10 anti-lgbt stories of the year? I will give you a hint about one of them. Apparently comparing lgbts to Nazis was the "in" thing to do for the religious right. 

College professor and anti-gay activist Robert Oscar Lopez yet again lies about me—in a legal document - Here is something interesting which should answer the annoyingly perennial question of why folks like me shine a bright light on the anti-gay industry. Not only is Lopez lying about Jeremy Hooper but he has also locked down his own website and has been scrubbing the internet of his ugliest comments. As if that could hide what he has been saying about lgbts. This is what happens when you expose the rhetoric of homophobes. In common language, it's known as "plucking the turkey."  

Sam: Coming Out Was Right Thing To Do - Yes it was, Michael Sam.  

How Florida Officials Plan To Undermine A Federal Marriage Equality Order - For Pete's sake, y'all. Give it up already. You lost. 

 Heroine of gay marriage movement feels pride in progress - Last, but not least, an awesome interview with Edie Windsor, heroine of the marriage equality movement.

Is the anti-transgender 'bathroom bill' lie losing its sting?

 . . . given the public’s general lack of familiarity with transgender people and their experiences, it hasn’t been hard to get voters more concerned with the prospect of wig-donning criminals sneaking into public bathrooms.

The myth has been used to attack all kinds of pro-LGBT protections -- city non-discrimination ordinancesfederal employment law, and school diversity policies. It’s not unusual for anti-LGBT conservatives to simply rebrand broad non-discrimination laws as “bathroom bills” – phrasing that was unfortunately often adopted by news outlets.

That trend was strong in 2014, with conservative media outlets like Fox News regularly peddling “bathroom bill” talking points to attack non-discrimination laws like the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

But the “bathroom bill” horror story appears to have lost some of the weight it once carried. HoustonSan AntonioMiami-Dade CountyPlanoSpringfield, Missouri, and other cities all enacted non-discrimination laws protecting transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations. The Cleveland City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would explicitly repeal the bathroom exemption of its non-discrimination law -- a proposition that would have been dead in the water just a few years ago. Schools across the country have adopted policies allowing transgender students to use the locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, and the Department of Education’s official recommendation for public schools is now in line with that position.

According to Carlos Maza of Equality Matters, the "bathroom bill" fear tactic is losing its sting because of two factors - transgender folks are receiving visibility and the horror stories of predators invading women's restrooms are turning out to be more blather than truth.  While this homophobic lie does retain some power, it's nice to know that yet another religious right tactic geared to denying lgbt equality is slowly but surely going the way of  the dinosaur.