Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snippets from today's ENDA hearing

Today's Congressional hearing on ENDA went well.

There was so much testimony on why ENDA is needed, but to me, the testimony that stands out is this one:

Vandy Beth Glenn was fired from her Georgia state legislative job when she told her supervisor she was transitioning from male to female.

With last year's ugly and unnecessary disagreement about whether or not ENDA should be trans-inclusive fresh in the mind, Glenn's testimony brought it home for me. If we don't fight for all the rights of everyone in our community, then our fight is in vain.

Hearing clearinghouse page with links to PDF testimony, Chairman’s statement, archived webcast, and a photo slideshow of today's ENDA testimonies -

The Committee on Education and Labor's blog post with plenty of comments -

The Committee on Educaton and Labor's YouTube playlist with more ENDA testimony-

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Phony public school teacher in Maine ad has no problem with distorting studies

As the fallout from the second Maine anti-gay marriage ad continues, we are learning more about the misrepresented public school teacher, Charla Bansley.

These are the facts about Bansley via

Bansley serves as the Maine state director of Concerned Women for America, an anti-gay group I have talked about numerous times on this blog.

In 2005, she joined anti-gay spokespeople such as Peter LaBarbera, Diane Gramley, Gary Glenn, Scott Lively, and Brian Camnker (among many others) on a group letter to the Southern Baptist Convention, which called on them to pass a ‘Resolution on Homosexuality in Public Schools.' And in that letter, she's not credited as a teacher. She's one of the "leaders of almost 50 statewide pro-family organizations from around the country" who are "involved in public policy on a daily basis.

The letter criticized steps schools were taking to ensure the safety of lgbt students under false claim of "indoctrination."

But the thing that caught my attention was the words she delivered at delivered at the recent, media-closed Stand For Marriage event in Augusta. The speech was the usual nonsense about "marriage is needed to rear children, etc. etc." Then she makes this statement:

A study in the Netherlands found that the average duration of a homosexual marriage was just one and a half years certainly nothing to build a society upon. The same study found that committed homosexual couples were also intimate with an average of eight extra marital partners per year . . .

That statement is a lie.

The study Bansley was speaking of was conducted by one Maria Xiridou of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service. Her study did not look at gay marriage but was to "access the relative contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam and to determine the effect of increasing sexually risky behaviours among both types of partnerships in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy."

For this study, Dr. Xiridou received her information from the Amsterdam Cohort Study of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS Among Homosexual Men. To gain this information, researchers studied 1,800 gay men between the years of 1984- 2001. Same sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands in 2001. More about the study from Box Turtle Bulletin here.

But basically this means that it is impossible for any gay man in the study Barnley mentioned to have been married at the time the study was conducted.

This means Bansley, whether intentionally or unintentionally, misrepresented the study.

So far, the Maine anti-marriage equality folks have lied about "homosexual marriage being taught to children," misrepresented studies, and misrepesented the professions of their spokespeople.

Okay, who is on God's side again?

Huge hat tip to and Box Turtle Bulletin.

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The anti-gay marriage forces tell another BIG lie in Maine

Today is the hearings for ENDA. I hope to have video and commentary later. Keep your fingers crossed.

Via and Americablog Gay comes the news of lazy anti-gay marriage folks in Maine.

It appears that they are running the same fear stories about gay marriage and children with the same ad used in California's Proposition 8 fight:

California ad:

Maine ad:

And from Jeremy from comes the news that the woman in the Maine ad doesn't even teach in public schools:

Ms. Bansley is the state director of the Concerned Women For America of Maine, and has appeared onstage at many Stand For Marriage Maine rallies. She has made her interest clear time and time again.

And while she is a teacher, she doesn't teach at a public institution. She teaches at Calvary Chapel Christian School. A Christian school where she is already freely stifling pro-gay speech, at least according to one of her very own students. To identify Ms. Bansley as merely a "teacher" is like simply calling Barack Obama a CEO of an important entity.

In truth, Ms. Bansley is one of Stand For Marriage Maine's own (paid?) staffers who is motivated almost exclusively by her faith. It is almost unbelievable that the campaign would use her, a private Christian school teacher, to speak on this civil matter and and think that nobody would notice.

And by the way, the Wirthlins (the man and woman in the commercial) joined 'Mad Dad' David Parker in his ridiculous losing lawsuit against Massachusetts. I did not talk about them as much because Parker's antics attracted so much attention.

But don't be fooled because they are being as deceptive as Parker, especially in the part of the commercial when the father said:

"The courts said we had no right to object or pull him out of class."

Actually that is a clever misconception. Yes the courts did say that the reading of King and King was not an issue of human sexuality, therefore it had nothing to do with the opt-out policy.
But Mr. Wirthlin is clearly deceiving people when he said the courts said the parents could not pull their children out of class. The courts actually advised parents who object to do just that:

In the 38-page decision, Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf, of the U.S. District Court, said that families who don’t agree with the teachings of the public school, have the choice of private schools or homeschooling.

And no their case had nothing to do with gay marriage in Massachusetts. The courts affirmed the idea that not all families are the same two-parent heterosexual model.

It's good to remember that both the Wirthlins and Parker lost at every avenue of the courts. But now I am beginning to see why the religious right pushed the case to the limits despite losing at every turn. It has provided them with huge dividends in the court of public opinion.

It's religious right distortion technique #2 - repeat a lie no matter how many times it has been refuted.

Will the lies win in Maine? Let's hope not.

But like Americablog Gay says:

. . . if this pisses you off, donate to the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality here.

Related posts:

The Maine anti-gay marriage forces tell a huge lie in its first ad

What are the top religious right lies about the gay community?

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