Monday, August 01, 2011

Articles on gays in Charleston, SC causes good controversy

Some folks in South Carolina aren't exactly happy because the Charleston Post and Courier featured three articles on South Carolina's gay community.

I personally enjoyed the articles.

One  featured a lesbian couple who went to New York to get married,

Another article featured a gay couple - both Republicans and self-made businessmen and one being a former military man who left the Armed Forces because of his relationship, and

The last article was a very informative Q&A with Christine Johnson, the director of SC Equality.

Naturally all three articles generated a lot of responses, some positive and some negative. The article receiving the most responses was the one featuring the married lesbian couple. Various comments featured Biblical verses, talks of Sodom and Gomorrah, the idea that children will be corrupted, etc.

And of course other comments were very supportive.

The point is, regardless of the comments, the articles and the discussion is needed. I am Southern born and bred and personally I get a little annoyed with the idea that the lgbtq identity encompasses solely the big cities like New York and California. And I also get annoyed with anyone thinking that South Carolina is backwoods.

So spare me the ignorant comments about the South. The lgbtq identity is a multi-national, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural. Our struggle did not begin at Stonewall but way before it. And while many of us have never seen the Castro, that still doesn't mean our contributions to the lgbtq culture should be ignored or seen as second-rate.

No matter where we are - be it the North or South, a small city or a big city - we should all encourage members of our community be open and truthful. That's how we win.

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Porno Pete's tax exempt status gets revoked and other Monday midday news briefs

IRS Revokes Peter LaBarbera’s AFTAH Tax Exempt Status - Asskicking report by Ex-Gay Watch. Amongst the juicy bits, Porno Petey received a salary of over $75,000 in 2009. Hate is certainly lucrative.

Ugandan gay rights group has computers, member list stolen - This ain't good, folks.

The Revenge of Obama's Anti-Bullying Czar - How Kevin Jennings survived the onslaught of the religious right.

Religious Right Activist Compares California LGBT History Law To Nazism - Taking a page from the Bryan Fischer book of craziness no doubt.

Bachmann Continues To Dodge Ex-Gay Questions - You can run but you can't hide, Michele.

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MRC whines that CNN is pushing 'gay marriage' on its viewers

The Media Research Council, a right-wing "media watchdog" group is griping that CNN is showing favoritism towards the idea of marriage equality:

A Culture and Media Institute analysis of 239 programs aired on CNN from the period June 15 to July 15 revealed that CNN quoted or interviewed nearly four times the number of gay-agenda supporters as critics.

Nexis searches for the terms "gay," "homosexual," "LGBT," "same sex marriage," and "marriage equality" revealed that CNN quoted or interviewed 98 people who supported the gay agenda, 48 people who posited no opinion regarding gay issues, and 28 critics or defenders of traditional marriage.

And CNN's on-air personnel haven't been shy about their advocacy. Whether congratulating newly "married" gays, excoriating marriage traditionalists or citing skewed statistics from gay organizations, pro-gay groupthink is obvious at the network - and some even admit it.

Sounds sinister, don't it? Well think again. MRC's report is filled with slight of hand examples which supposedly constitutes a bias if one ignores certain facts. Take for the example the claim that celebrities advocating marriage equality are treated better than those who are against it:

On June 27, a Showbiz Tonight segment favorably quoted five celebrities who supported the Marriage Equality Act in New York, which legalized gay marriage. Host A.J. Hammer weighed in with his opinion in an interview with openly gay George Takei, stating that: "I've been hearing a lot of people today comparing New York's new gay marriage law to other major civil rights victories over the ages." Actor Tom Hanks and actress Charlize Theron were allowed to express their support for gay marriage without question or opposition.

The same can't be said for former New York Giant David Tyree, a public opponent of gay marriage. Tyree went through a hostile June 17 interview with Kyra Phillips in which she relentlessly demanded he justify his position. "There are women and women come together and raise a family as well and a man and a man come together and raise a family as well." When Tyree stated that he understood her views, Philips underscored her point by stating that "Oh, no, I'm not expressing my views. I'm just stating a fact."

There is no unfairness here. The Showbiz Tonight segment was comprised of brief comments from celebrities. Tyree, on the other hand, was being interviewed on a serious news program as a spokesperson for the National Organization for Marriage. MRC omitted the fact that Tyree comments (gay marriage will lead to anarchy) was a part of a campaign by NOM to stop marriage equality in New York.

Certainly his comments deserved more scrutiny than brief comments from celebrities.

And while continuing to make the case that marriage equality opponents are discriminated against on CNN, MRC undercuts its own credibility:

When Tyree stated that he understood her views, Philips underscored her point by stating that "Oh, no, I'm not expressing my views. I'm just stating a fact."

Her facts, of course, came from citing a study by the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, which "advances sexual orientation law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public."

In other words, the Williams Institute is a gay advocacy think tank. In 2008 Williams bizarrely claimed that same-sex marriage was a remedy for California's budget deficit, raising "about $63.8 million in government tax and fee revenue over three years," and be boon to the state's economy. Simple arithmetic, however, showed that, even using The Williams' Institute's own numbers, gay marriage would ease the deficit by less than three tenths of a percent and ad a little more than 1/100th of a percent to the economy.

In other words, MRC seems to be saying that we can't believe the Williams Institute because it is a pro-gay group and will have a natural bias for marriage equality.

But if this is the case, then why should we believe MRC's report on CNN and marriage equality in the first place, because that group is anti-gay and therefore has a natural bias against the lgbtq community.

Equality Matters puts it best:

Kudos to CNN for refusing to treat the lives and relationships of gays and lesbians as just another political controversy between two equally valid perspectives. CNN -- along with a majority of Americans -- realizes that the LGBT community deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect afforded to everyone else. Anti-gay advocates like David Tyree -- who asserted that marriage equality will lead to “anarchy” -- deserve to be grilled by news networks for their irrational beliefs.

If MRC is looking for a news network that gives air-time to members of anti-gay hate groups, fear mongers about the “gay agenda,” and ignores major LGBT news developments, maybe it should check out Fox News.

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