Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why has NOM's chairperson been silent during scandal?

Why has NOM chair John C. Eastman (left) has been silent during this week's scandal while former chair Maggie Gallagher (right) has been spinning her heart out to explain it away?

We've all missed one fact during the scandal this week involving the revelation of confidential documents leaking the National Organization for Marriage's plans for homophobic race-baiting and other eyebrow raising tactics to stop marriage equality.

Where in the heck is NOM's chair, John C. Eastman?

We've read statements from NOM president Brian Brown and its former chair, Maggie Gallagher -  statements which were obviously coming from a sad attempt to spin this controversy into a minor blip or the fault of the gay community.

And we've seen Gallagher on MSNBC furthering that bad spin.

But throughout the entire thing, we have yet to hear or see NOM's present chair Eastman.

In September of last year, NOM announced that Gallagher was stepping down as chair to focus on specific and outside projects and that Eastman was taking her place. The organization lauded Eastman's credentials as former Dean of Chapman University Law School in California and is the Founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm associated with the Claremont Institute.

But since then, Eastman has been pretty much a ghost. And that is his prerogative. Some board chairs are very hands-off.

However, for a controversy of the magnitude we have been seeing (and I think that we will be hearing more as time goes on), isn't it strange that not only has NOM's chair been conspicuously silent, but its former chair has been the leading face and voice in trying to quell the controversy?

I think that there is more to Mr. Eastman's absence than meets the eye.

Photo from LGBTQ Nation.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Know Your LGBT History - Gay Rights, Special Rights

This week, the National Organization for Marriage has come under fire for the revelation of its strategy to divide the gay and black communities on the subject of marriage equality.

But NOM isn't the first religious right entity to do this. The following video put out by Jeremiah Films in 1993  was called Gay Rights/Special Rights.

This video is best described as a "hot mess," juxtaposing the 1963 March on Washington with the 1993 gay rights march on Washington after Clinton was elected. It was created to exploit the fear and ignorance of the African-American community regarding the lgbtq community, as demonstrated by this partial transcript (transcript does not match video footage):

Lester James (Afro-American): [The high-handed attempt on the part of gay and lesbian movements to highjack the 1964 Civil Rights Act in order to try to give national credence to their immoral lifestyle is an offence to Black America.]

Emanuel McLittle : [There are few people willing to stand up and rebut this whole notion that there is any kind of comparison to the ....]


Emanuel McLittle :... sexuality of homosexuals, and the skin tone (FADE TO A BLACK MAN IN THE 1963 CIVIL RIGHTS MARCH) of Black people. It is a horrendous lie. (CUT TO EMANUEL MCLITTLE) Black people are not born ... choosing to be Black. [But] {the} homosexual[s] on the other hand, despite what all of them seem to want to (CUT TO TWO WHITE MEN, IN WHITE SHIRTS AND BLACK BOW TIES, KISSING) indicate to us, choose their homosexual lifestyle[s].


Commentator: The group must have suffered a history of discrimination resulting in the lack of ability to earn an average mean income, obtain [an] adequate education, or enjoy cultural opportunities. (CUT TO A SPLIT SCREEN, WHITE MEN ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE SCREEN, BLACK MEN ON THE RIGHT SIDE) Compare these results of a nationwide survey reported in The Wall Street Journal between homosexuals and African Americans regarding, (FADE TO THE TITLE ON SCREEN "AVERAGE HOUSE INCOMES: HOMOSEXUALS $55,430; AFRICAN AMERICANS $12,166") average household incomes, (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "PERCENTAGE OF COLLEGE GRADUATES; HOMOSEXUALS 60%; AFRICAN AMERICANS 5%") .. percentage of College graduates, (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "PERCENTAGE OF PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS: HOMOSEXUALS 49%; AFRICAN AMERICANS 1%") percentage of those holding professional managerial positions, (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "PERCENTAGE OF OVERSEAS VACATIONS: HOMOSEXUALS 66%; AFRICAN AMERICANS 1%") ... percentage of those who have taken overseas vacations. (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "EVER DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE: HOMOSEXUALS: NO; AFRICAN AMERICANS: YES") Have either African Americans [or homosexuals] ever been denied the right to vote? (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "EVER FACED LEGAL SEGREGATION: HOMOSEXUALS: NO; AFRICAN AMERICANS: YES") ever faced legal segregation? (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "EVER DENIED ACCESS TO PUBLIC RESTROOMS HOMOSEXUALS : NO; AFRICAN AMERICANS : YES") ever denied access by law to public drinking fountains and restrooms? (CHANGE THE TITLE TO "EVER DENIED ACCESS TO BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS: HOMOSEXUALS: NO; AFRICAN AMERICANS : YES") ever been denied access by law to businesses and restaurants?


Jan Rice : Their high income, (FADE IN TITLE "JAN RICE, COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS") their education, their, their current status in society, compared to the mean, (FADE OUT TITLE) or the median, income in, in minority families today there's just, there's no comparison. So for them to want protection under this law, {is to try to} [and to try to further] beat down the minorities and further lessen their chances of equal protection and equal chances at jobs, I just think is ludicrous.

Gay Rights/Special Rights also feature an interview with former US Senator Trent Lott years before his controversial defense of former segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond. Talk about your ironies.
Past Know Your LGBT History posts:

'Maggie Gallagher fails to NOM's defend homophobic 'race-baiting' during interview' and other Friday midday news briefs

Just watch for yourself as Maggie Gallagher tries to defend NOM's homophobic race-baiting strategy. Compare what she says in this interview with her spin in my post from yesterday:

Meanwhile . . .

Matt Barber says #glaadcap profile is 'out-of-context, cherry-picked'; prove it, tough guy - And let's not forget yesterday's gem:

The fact of the matter is that the religious right can run to Tucker Carlson's rag all they want and lie but we have the facts on our side.

And Pat Robertson makes 37
... #glaadcap - That things he said about gays and demons really put him over.

The National Org. For Marriage has become the first organization on the CAP list - And this listing is brought to you by the words "inapt" and "vituperative."

In other news:

Kentucky T-Shirt Controversy Reveals Conservative Intent To Discriminate And Stigmatize - Great catch of the hypocrisy of the religious right by Zack Ford.

Anchorage Non-Discrimination Ordinance Ahead In Polls As Negative Ads Attack Trans Community - It's always fun to watch homophobia backfire.

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Civil rights legend calls out NOM for homophobic race-baiting

Civil rights legend Julian Bond gives Anderson Cooper the best reason why the National Organization for Marriage's race-baiting scandal should piss off everyone:

 It's one of the most cynical things I've ever heard of or seen spelled out in this way. The idea that these people are just pawned that can be played with -- that black people who oppose gay marriage, that  black people who support just can be moved around like pieces on a chess board. It's scary.

Regardless of how anyone feels about marriage equality, to be used as a pawn or a chess piece is not only wrong because it strips you of your humanity and dignity.

Related posts: 

Court documents prove NOM's plan to divide black, gay communities

NOM's deliberate manipulation of black, gay communities is nauseating

NOM leaders express pride in sleazy divide and conquer strategy

'What NOM implied about white gay men and black babies' and other ways it played divide and conquer game

Maggie Gallagher offers another bad explanation for NOM's race-baiting

NOM's evasion of race-baiting scandal is as bad as the controversy itself

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

NOM's evasion of race-baiting scandal is as bad as the controversy itself

Brian Brown of NOM
The National Organization for Marriage's president, Brian Brown, has responded today specifically to the race-baiting scandal which has engulfed the organization:

"Let me be the first to say that the tone of the language in that document as quoted by the press is inapt. Here's something I know from the bottom of my soul: It would be enormously arrogant for anyone at NOM to believe that we can make or provoke African-American or Latino leaders do anything. The Black and Hispanic Democrats who stand up for marriage do so on principle—and get hit with a wave of vituperative attacks like nothing I have ever seen. We did not cause it, nor can we claim credit for these men and women's courage in standing up in defense of our most fundamental institution: marriage."

Do those talking points sound familiar? They should if you read this blog. This is what NOM founder Maggie Gallagher said in the comments section of a National Review blog post she authored (the same blog post in which she asserted that the controversy was the subject of a slow news day):

Let's put up the comparison, shall we (emphasis on the important portions is done by me).

Brian Brown today:

"Let me be the first to say that the tone of the language in that document as quoted by the press is inapt. Here's something I know from the bottom of my soul: It would be enormously arrogant for anyone at NOM to believe that we can make or provoke African-American or Latino leaders do anything. The Black and Hispanic Democrats who stand up for marriage do so on principle—and get hit with a wave of vituperative attacks like nothing I have ever seen. We did not cause it, nor can we claim credit for these men and women's courage in standing up in defense of our most fundamental institution: marriage."

Maggie Gallagher just a few days ago:

"The documents used language which I would call 'inapt' - - in part because it's tremendously vain to think that I or NOM or any other white Christian conservative can manipulate black and latino church leaders. I don't think so. They speak out of their own convictions and become subject to tremendous vituperative for doing so."

You have to be kidding me! If they expect this to be some sort of credible explanation of NOM's attempt to drive a wedge between the black and gay communities, then Gallagher and Brown failed.

Almost word for word, these two folks say the same thing. 

 Apparently the leaking of the confidential documents detailing NOM's plan of divide and conquer got members of the organization scared witless. 

How else can you explain this sadly cobbled explanation? It's bad enough when one of them says it because it doesn't even address the point of NOM's discovered plan. But when both Gallagher and Brown repeat the same explanation almost word-for-word, there is a certain disturbing robotic function to it. It's like they are reading from a script. There is nothing real about this explanation. It's plastic.

It simply demonstrates cynical  and rushed planning devoid of integrity or honesty, much like the original plan which got NOM into trouble in the first place.

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Chris Matthews' defense of hate group leader reveals sad problem

In a totally awesome move, Faithful America confronted Hardball host Chris Matthews on why hate group leader Tony Perkins is an invited guest on his show:

Last weekend, Faithful America members from the Boston area confronted Chris Mathews at a book signing in Framingham, Massachusetts about his track record of inviting Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on Hardball as a representative of Christian voters. FRC was named a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010 for spreading hateful lies and junk research about the LGBT community — and in part because of an incident in which a senior FRC staffer said on Hardball that there should be “criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.”

Matthews, who just received Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality award, responded by falsely claiming that Perkins has never “pulled that homophobic stuff on my show,” and insisting that “every time he’s on he’s challenged.”

That’s just not true. After SPLC named FRC a hate group, Matthews invited Perkins on to defend his organization. Perkins took the opportunity to repeat his false accusations that gay men are more likely than heterosexual men to molest children, and said “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a risk to children.”

Since that November 2010 appearance (which did include SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok), Perkins has appeared on Hardball six times — and neither Matthews nor any of his guests have brought up Perkins’ long record of spreading hateful anti-gay lies.

Instead, Matthews has gone out of his way to give credibility to Perkins, calling him an “honest conservative” with “true views” whose conscience he trusts. Viewers who trust Matthews’s judgment and honesty come away with the impression that they should do the same of Perkins.

Asked to stop inviting Perkins on the air, Matthews accused the Faithful America members of “trying to silence people” — a curious charge given that he recently urged his fellow MSNBC anchors to stop booking Franklin Graham because of Graham’s persistent false attacks on the President’s faith.

To me, this has never been about silencing anyone. The confrontation was necessary because it exposes how Matthews is symptomatic of a huge problem the media has when it comes to religious right groups. There is little talk about how they use junk science and cherry-pick legitimate science to reach their hateful conclusions about our community.

I have a serious problem with journalists putting people like Perkins out there to repeat his talking points while interjecting every now and then with a trite question. Or, in the case of Matthews, giving him some type of credibility as a voice or expert.

In the case of Matthews, it is especially bizarre for him to give Perkins any type of adulation. You see,  days after the November 2010 appearance on Hardball, Matthews personally on the air clarified  that Perkins did not receive his information about gay men and pedophilia from a credible source.

In other words, Matthews, after having to call into question the veracity of a guest's statements, has invited the same guest (Perkins) back on his show six times.And whether Perkins and Matthews talked about gay issues during those times is irrelevant. On the other hand, maybe it is relevant that they did not.

If Matthews makes it a point to avoid mentioning gay issues to Perkins, then that means he knows what Perkins says about the subject won't be credible. Wouldn't that cast a huge shadow on Perkins' credibility when it comes to commenting on other issues?

And why avoid the issue anyway? I say invite Perkins back as long as there is a discussion on several things that he and his organization has said and done, including:

 - Saying that gay young people “have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict; homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal.

- Distributing a pamphlet that erroneously depicts gay men and lesbians as physically and mentally ill pedophiles who can be cured.

-Distributing a pamphlet that begins by likening the logic behind same-sex marriage to the logic behind man-horse marriage (complete with horse graphic)

- Comparing gay people to terrorists (at 0:31 mark): “[B]ack in the 80s and early 90s, I worked with the State Department in anti-terrorism and we trained about 50 different countries in defending against terrorism, and it’s, at its base, what terrorism is, it's a strike against the general populace simply to spread fear and intimidation so that they can disrupt and destabilize the system of government. That's what the homosexuals are doing here to the legal system.”

- Calling the It Gets Better project "disgusting," claiming it tells children "that it's okay to be immoral" and constitutes a "concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle."

- Paying $82,500 to use the phone bank of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke for an election run-off.

The lgbtq community isn't trying to silence Perkins. I, for one, just want Matthews and other journalists to ask  pertinent questions.

Related posts:

MSNBC won't run ad against hate group leader Tony Perkins

Rejected ad on anti-gay hate group becomes massive hit

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'Black leaders blast NOM's homophobic race-baiting' and other Thursday midday news briefs

African American Leaders Condemn NOM’s Race-Wedging As Artificial And Exploitative - Good. And let's get more on board.

Family Research Council Prays Against 'Homosexual Tyranny' - Oh to hear what God is thinking of such prayers.

NOM Seeks 'Glamorous' But 'Noncognitive' Celebrities To Promote Its Anti-Gay Marriage Agenda - "Noncognitive" means stupid.

Garlow Says Satan is behind 'The Radical Gay Homosexual Agenda,' then Demands Gays 'Dial Down the Rhetoric' - In other words, "How dare gays raise hell when I verbally bash them!"

City Gets Thanks for Support Against Marriage Amendment - Good for Duluth!

NC Money Bomb Day 4: more support than ever while opponents fear human-dog, human-ice cream nuptials - Meanwhile in North Carolina, the folks against that awful Amendment One definitely came to win!

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Maggie Gallagher offers another bad explanation for NOM's race-baiting

Maggie Gallagher of NOM
The more Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage tries to explain away the organization's race-baiting scandal, the deeper she digs the hole.

She registered comments on an National Review blog post she authored (the same blog post in which she asserted that the controversy was the subject of a slow news day) but her insensitive answer left a lot more questions:

So Gallagher is saying "The controversy is nothing because the documents outlined detailed what NOM was going to do in 2009 and 2010. Where is the evidence that we actually did those things during that time?"

It's a flippant answer and extremely evasive. Particularly because nothing in the document said that NOM would cease this plan of playing the black and gay community against each other.

And particularly because Gallagher omitted what NOM did in 2011 to drive a wedge between the black and gay communities.

Equality Matters lays out at least five of these acts, including implying that white gay men are taking black babies from their families and producing and releasing a video titled “Will the Black Church Rise Up in New York For Marriage?”

Gallagher has a history of giving flippant and evasive answers when caught in wrongdoing.

In 2002 and 2003 when she was a syndicated columnist, she received over $20,000 from the Bush Administration to push its Healthy Marriage Initiative. During that time, she wrote columns in favor of this policy and also testified in front of Congress for it.

And she never at the time revealed the payment she had received. When confronted with this information, Gallagher said:

"Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it? I don't know. You tell me. ...frankly, it never occurred to me."

She also said:

"I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers."

In that controversy and in this one, Gallagher seems be trying to turn the tables by asserting herself as a calm grandmother talking to children raising much ado about nothing.

It's an insulting thing to assert and its even more insulting that Gallagher thinks that she can get away with it.

Hat tip to Jeremy Hooper for the copy of Gallagher's comments.

Editor's note - yesterday, it was reported that Gallagher was avoiding an interview on MSNBC about the controversy. However this is inaccurate. MSNBC directed her to the wrong studio.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'What NOM implied about white gay men and black babies' and other ways it played divide and conquer game

Jennifer Morse of NOM's Ruth Institute
Since the news has come out regarding the National Organization for Marriage's plan to drive a wedge between the black and gay community on the subject of marriage equality, NOM leaders have called the controversy an overhyped assessment of its partnership formed with black leaders who oppose marriage equality.

However, two items posted online caught my eye because I think they contradict that claim. These items show that NOM went out of its way to create hostile situations, or at least an air of hostility between the black and the gay communities.

The first item comes from Equality Matters. The site has written a very detailed post, Looking Back: NOM’s Top Five Race Baiting Moments Of 2011, which gives an in-depth description of five times NOM attempted to drive a wedge between blacks and gays.

One moment really caught my eye because there were no black leaders involved. Jennifer Morse of NOM's Ruth Institute implied that white gay men were taking black children away from their families in order to adopt them:

2. “I Wonder What The African-American Community Thinks.” In November, NOM’s Morse criticized a banner ad campaign in California encouraging gay couples to adopt children during National Adoption Month:
And look at the children in these posters.  I wonder what the African-American community thinks about recruiting gay men to become foster parents for the children of their community who have been taken from their parents.  Do the African-American pastors have any thoughts and opinions about this? I imagine they do. But I will let them speak for themselves. [emphasis added]

At the time, folks like myself criticized Morse not only for her ugly words but also for her blatant race-baiting.

But even more eyebrow raising than Morse's statements are internal emails released by former NOM employee Louis J. Marinelli. Marinelli worked for the organization in various capacities before he resigned after becoming an advocate of marriage equality. Marinelli's position changed after conversations with those who support marriage equality.

According to Think Progress, the emails not only show NOM's emphasis on highlighting African-Americans who oppose marriage equality, but also exploiting situations pitting white supporters of marriage equality against African-Americans who did not support marriage equality.

One email with NOM project leader Joe Grisanti confirms this:

In two other emails, project leader Joe Giganti confirms that he has collected photos that portray a group of black NOM protesters clashing with white LGBT counter-protesters:
GIGANTI: I’ve been reviewing these shots this morning. From this first email, there are several good shots that demonstrate a majority Black American crowd.
GIGANTI: This is a great contrast shot of our people all happy and smiling (majority black, only one non-black in picture) versus the angry counter-protesters… Keep this one close for future use—maybe a dynamic picture point that rotates between positive, happy shots of our people versus our angry foes?

Nasty stuff.

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'Maggie Gallagher avoids interview on NOM scandal?' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Photo: This is how Maggie Gallagher responded to NOM scandal today on MSNBC - Uh oh. I think it's safe to say NOM has realized that it has a BIG problem. Maggie Gallagher did not show up for a booked appearance on MSNBC to discuss the organization's race-baiting scandal. Jeremy says that there is a video forthcoming.

Money Bomb Day 3: Peter LaBarbera pollutes Raleigh to attack ‘dangerous and hateful Sex Radical Dan Savage’ - Batten down the hatches. Porno Pete is coming to North Carolina.

Ellison Denounces National Organization for Marriage - And we have our first - but hopefully not last - member of Congress to denounce NOM's ugly tactics.

Michigan Civil Service Commission Upholds Firing Of Assistant AG Over Anti-Gay Bullying - Glad to hear about the fact that there is some justice in this world.

GOP Leaders Make Mockery Of ‘Religious Freedom’ By Appointing Commissioners Who Advocate Fear Of Others - Well this was smart of Boehner. Appointing Robert George, one of NOM's founders, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Just tell me that Boehner has no power to make other appointments.

And finally from Tea Party Jesus comes NOM Jesus: