Monday, September 12, 2011

Religious right group helped to craft NC anti-gay legislation

Some people - specifically in the gay community - underestimate the religious right. They fail to see how much power these groups have in spite of the wild words coming out of the mouths of their representatives. If you want a clue to the power of these groups, the following tidbit should give you an indication. The North Carolina legislature is presently debating an anti-marriage equality amendment. If it pass the legislature, it will be voted on in Nov. 2012. There has been a lot said about this amendment, which has just passed the House and now moves on to the Senate. But here is something you should remember:

Majority Leader Paul Stam (R) said the “public won’t get to speak because they will get to speak at the ballot box.” The proposed ballot initiative has been rescheduled to a May vote because Speaker Thom Tillis (R) wanted to remove the argument that the amendment was politically motivated by being on the November ballot.

During the Rules Committee debate, Stam acknowledged that he worked with lawyer Austin Nimocks in developing the language of the amendment. Nimocks works for the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay Christian group, and he recently testified before Congress in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.

According to Think Progress, the Allied Defense Fund has been known to spread falsehoods about marriage equality, including how it supposedly harms children and will lead to religious persecution.

But that doesn't matter, does it? All that matters is that the Alliance Defense Fund was able to work with NC legislators on this awful amendment in spite of its propensity to lie.

That's why it's necessary that the gay community work to expose the lies of religious right groups every chance we get. We need to make this exposures public and not assume that the public won't care. Sunlight is always the best disinfectant.

We need to start making the argument about them rather than us. The question should never be is the gay community deserving of equality. The question should be why are these supposed Christian groups engaging in lies and deception to keep that equality from becoming a reality.

Related post:

It's not enough to call them bigots

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Gays in the military will cause Jesus's return? and other Monday midday news briefs

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin: The DADT Repeal Will Cause The Rapture! - Forget war and famine. THIS will be the thing to bring Jesus back to Earth - gays in the military. But this statement confuses me. I thought folks like Boykin WANT Jesus to come back. If that's the case then shouldn't they support gays in the military?

NAACP Joins Maryland Marriage Fight - In Maryland as well as North Carolina, the NAACP is attacking the divide and conquer strategy of the anti-gay industry.

Minnesota Priest Advocates Ex-Gay Therapy, Compares Homosexuality To Adultery, Crime, And Addiction - Meanwhile, the homophobes try to carry on in Minnesota.

Anti-gay marriage amendment campaign hires communications director - I wonder how many "gays want marriage to corrupt children" commercials and flyers will he okay?

Wikileaks: Ugandan First Lady “Ultimately Behind” Anti-Homosexuality Bill - The sick source behind the possible genocide of the Ugandan gay community.

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NC NAACP strongly rebuke the gay vs. black divide and conquer game

William Barber
Time after time, we have seen the forces against marriage equality play the black and gay communities against one another. The divide and conquer game has brought them a lot of success. With this in mind, they are now trying it in North Carolina as they attempt to push an anti-gay marriage amendment through that state's legislature.

However, the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP simply is not being silent. In fact, the organization is very vocal in its stance against the amendment.

NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber wrote an open letter to North Carolinians last week in which he not only strongly rebukes the potential amendment but the hypocrisy of the parties involved in pushing it. Part of this letter is as follows:

Our research shows that today shadowy money with connections to ultraconservative think-tanks and millionaires are financing a cynical move to trick some North Carolina voters in next year’s election by trying to place a state constitutional amendment onthe issue of “Same Sex Marriage” on the presidential election ballot. The Family Research Council has reportedly paid for radio ads, targeting both African American and White legislators who have large African American constituencies. The millionaires who fund these election tricks could care less about who marries whom. But they invest their money in issues that will affect who votes for whom. They tried to cut back on early voting and to make everyone wait in line at the DMV to get a picture ID before they can vote. Now they want to forever write discrimination into the N.C. Constitution as a means of affecting the presidential vote. The millionaires’ purpose is simple: They want to distract voters’ attention from our pressing economic problems to a personal issue of conscience–a matter best dealt with in our houses of worship and our consciences. This is a matter of conscience, not constitutions.

. . . The issue of same sex marriage is a matter of conscience — a matter of religious or moral perspective. It should be worked out within one’s conscience, within one’s faith, and within one’s own heart and faith community. The North Carolina legislature is not the modern day Council of Nicaea — and we should not want it to be. Public policy, not personal morality, is what we ought to address in the legislature. How should the government address the public policy challenges of abject poverty, unemployment, poor education, economic justice, caring for those without health care, and equal protection under law? 

These are the questions that the legislature should be addressing. We should not allow my tax dollars, and my beloved state of North Carolina, to put their beliefs into our state’s most important document, to dictate to the consciences of other people here. This is a matter of conscience, not constitutions
A vote on the same sex marriage amendment has nothing to do with your personal opinion on same sex marriage but everything to do with whether or not you belief discrimination should be codified and legalized constitutionally.

We need to stop for a minute and remember the history of amending the U. S. Constitution. Our nation had to fight a long and bloody civil war that our Constitution, on paper at least, began to expand its protections to all persons. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery; the 14th Amendment guaranteed all persons equal protection under the law, the 15th Amendment provided voting rights regardless of race or previous condition of servitude, the 19th guaranteed voting rights for [White] women, the 23rd provided voting rights in presidential elections for residents of the District of Columbia, the 24th eliminated discriminatory poll taxes in federal elections, and the 26th provided voting rights for younger Americans. None of the other amendments ever restricted the rights of any persons, except the two that established, then repealed, prohibition. Similarly, the North Carolina Constitution has always expanded and extended the equal rights of all persons that is in the First Section quoted above. When we look at the history of our U.S. and N.C. Constitutions, there has never been an amendment to narrow their protections, but always to expand their protections to all persons, and to remedy past injustices.

The real insult to the Civil Rights Movement is that same regressive ultra conservative tea party type folks suing to overturn the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which many historians consider the most important achievement of the Civil Rights Movement, re-segregate and rob our public schools of valuable resources, block workers’ rights to organize, force us all to get photo ID’s to exercise our right to vote, cut back on the time to vote, and repeal the Racial Justice law, now somehow think the sons and daughters of the Civil Rights Movement can’t see through their Trojan Horse trick.

The ultra-conservative sponsors push their anti-gay amendment with one hand, and their restrictions on our voting rights with the other. They would write discrimination into our Constitution with one hand, but violate it by withholding enough funds for children to get a sound basic education.

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