Thursday, May 05, 2011

Anti-gay groups to get an huge infusion of money, taking homophobia to state levels

If you want any indication of how successful the lgbt community has been in this so-called culture war, the following item in Minnesota Independent gives you a huge clue:

Anti-gay rights groups around the country will see a cash infusion over the next two years through a plan called “Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation.” And the groups are remaining mum about who is responsible.

The campaign, which largely targets states where Republicans won control of legislatures or governorships, has garnered the support of Republican political superstars such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.), and Rep. Trent Franks (Ariz.). The groups intend to pass anti-gay marriage amendments, curtail abortion rights and, in at least one case, ban “transgender bathrooms.”

Family policy councils — a creation of Focus on the Family in the 1980s — have launched the Ignite plan in 15 states. Each family policy council has a three-prong plan to achieve their legislative goals over the next two years: lobbying for legislation, mobilizing pastors and social conservatives and supporting candidates that have backed their initiatives. Each group has used a stock brochure containing nearly identical wording to explain their plan and to solicit funds. In many cases, an Ignite plan was launched with an anonymous matching-grant donor.

Requests for information from many of the policy councils were denied, and Focus on the Family told the Minnesota Independent that they have no involvement, declining to offer information on any organization that might back the plan.

The article goes on to list groups and dollar amounts. It ain't pretty:

In several states — such as Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — Ignite plans seems to be targeted at getting anti-gay marriage amendments passed.

 . . . The Family Policy Council of West Virginia (FPCWV) plans to spend $168,000 through 2012 (it’s average yearly budget is $132,000) during its two-year Ignite campaign to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, and also to defeat laws that would prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

 . . . The Pennsylvania Family Institute plans to spend $1.5 million through 2012 on anti-abortion rights measures as well as a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage in the state. The average yearly revenue for the group over the last three years was $1.4 million.

The group also received a matching donation of $7,500 at the end of 2010.

 . . . In Minnesota, the Ignite plan calls for adding an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution banning gay marriage; the Minnesota Family Council is planning to spend $4.71 million in the next two years. The group averaged $832,000 in revenue over the last three years between the Council and it’s affiliate, the Minnesota Family Institute. If the Ignite campaign goes according to plan, the group will spend more than twice its historical average in working to abolish gay marriage in the state.

Seems to me that these groups are following the game plan of the National Organization for Marriage, i.e. get a mysterious, highly moneyed backer to fund their plans - funds which will pay for obscene amounts of flyers to spread, commercials to be filmed, and publicists to develop talking points as well as book spots on local television shows.

Get on the ball folks, cause it's coming. Whining about "Gay, Inc." ain't gonna cut it. It's safe to say that we are kicking serious ass on the national level with DADT overturned and DOMA and Proposition 8 slowly but surely on the way out.

There is definitely a lot more stuff to do on that level, but let's not forget the local levels. It's obvious that the other side hasn't.

Hat tip to my Facebook buddy Philip Lowe Jr. for this tip.

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Ex-gay group disses 'It Gets Better' and other Thursday midday news briefs

Exodus International Attacks Google And Toy Story Over Anti-Suicide Ad - What a load of tripe from Exodus International, especially that part about "thousands of ex-gays." If this is truly the case, then I challenge them to have a march. Show your numbers instead of attacks on those of us comfortable with our orientation.

Photo: Meet the purchased families that'll drive down the L.I.E - Great! Another phony "we have to save marriage" tour.

Guest column by Irene Monroe: Marriage equality film comes to Harlem - Excellent news because despite what has been implied by "some people," marriage equality is not solely a "white" issue.

Fit to Rule on Same-Sex Marriage - Even the New York Times tells Proposition 8 proponents not to blame the judge simply because their case was piss poor.

VIDEO: First gay justice on Supreme Judicial Court confirmed in close vote - Barbara Lenk is confirmed in Massachusetts.

ACLU threatens to sue Clovis schools - Good. There is NOTHING wrong with gay/straight alliance clubs in high schools.

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Proposition 8 defenders shouldn't blame the judge because their case was poor

By now, you all have heard the latest from the Proposition 8 proponents. They have filed a suit asking the courts to vacate the decision against Proposition 8 because the judge, Vaughn Walker, is gay.

These folks assert that since Walker was gay, he had a interest in the case and should have recused himself.

Let me just say that if that is the case, then I think the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that gays shouldn't be allowed in the Boy Scouts should be overturned because all of the justices ruling were heterosexual. But that is ridiculous.

And that is the point.

While legal experts agree that this gambit is desperate and will not prevail, it has succeeded in obscuring the fact that Proposition 8 proponents lost because their case was poor.

I mean really, really poor.

In the 13 day trial, lawyers fighting Proposition 8 brought out the experts, academics, and same-sex couples who were affected by the law.

In contrast, proponents only brought two witnesses.

Where was Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage or all of those pastors who rallied their congregations against marriage equality, such as Miles McPherson of the Rock Church of San Diego?

All of these "brave defenders of marriage" conveniently didn't not to testify.

It is not known why Gallagher didn't testify but others, like McPherson, claimed that they were fearful of violent reaction by those who supported marriage equality.

Some, like myself, felt that McPherson was worried less about violence and more worried about being questioned on bogus positions he took, such as using discredited research to make a link between pedophilia and homosexuality.

In the words of legal analyst Andrew Cohen, the trial was an "uneven matchup" which led to the foregone conclusion that Walker would rule against Proposition 8:

Judge Walker will so rule, in large part, because he has been left with virtually no other choice as result of the odd tactics and weak case presented to him by opponents of same-sex marriage.

Take, for example, the bizarre courtroom display Wednesday by Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for defenders of Prop 8. His side presented only two witnesses during the long course of the trial, neither of whom was particularly compelling. In fact, one of the defense witnesses, David Blankenhorn, was so hapless during his testimony a while back that Judge Walker on Wednesday questioned his credentials as an expert on marriage. When you have bad facts, you argue the law. When you've presented little evidence, or the evidence you've presented is not so hot, you say that evidence doesn't matter. That's partly why Cooper told Judge Walker during closing arguments, "Your honor, you don't have to have evidence for this."

But you do need evidence. And commercials telling lies about how children will suddenly become gay if  marriage equality becomes law or leaflets featuring phony horror stories about states which did pass gay marriage laws or pastors thundering about morality from the pulpit just ain't going to cut it.

It's easy to persuade voters that way, but in a court, you need logic, you need evidence, and you need witnesses.

Those who defended Proposition 8 had neither of the first two and very little of the last.

And that's why they lost.

Their pathetic maneuver of "gaming the referee" after the fact is just a matter of sour grapes by people who unfortunately have enough money to turn those sour grapes into wine.

But I don't think any court is going to swallow it.

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