Thursday, May 10, 2012

Barney Frank vs. Tony Perkins on Hardball. It was good!

The following video is openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) debating Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Hardball about Obama's support of marriage equality.

It was good:

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Maggie Gallagher evades question about NOM's 'race-baiting' during interview

Maggie Gallagher
President Obama's announced support of marriage equality yesterday seems have the media running towards everyone who considers themselves an expert on marriage.

The Huffington Post just published an interview with National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher in which she claimed that Obama's position on marriage equality would help his opponent, Mitt Romney.

It's to be expected that she would say that. But what she didn't talk about, or rather choose to evade, during the interview is something which caught my eye.

Lila Shapiro, the Huffington Post reporter, asked Gallagher directly about the scandal which erupted when it was discovered that NOM had planned to exploit the difference of opinion between blacks and gays on the subject of marriage equality:

Shapiro: Were you involved in drafting the National Organization for Marriage's internal documents recently unsealed in the court case in Maine? Do you think that the president's announcement will effect the "wedge" strategy laid out in the section "Not a civil right project"?

Gallagher: I think African-American church leaders will continue to teach Christian understanding of sex and marriage to their flocks. African-Americans in their flocks may well continue to vote for Pres. Obama and also oppose gay marriage. NOM did not create these divisions. I'm happy to apologize for the aggressive sounding tone of that long-ago memo, but not for the project which involves white, suburban, Republican girls like me reaching out to people of all races, creeds and colors on the marriage issue. Marriage truly forges a unique political coalition.

Gallagher did not really answer the question. If her explanation sounds rehearsed then trust me when I say that it is not your imagination. This is what she said when the controversy broke in March:

"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."

So in March, Gallagher said the language was inapt. Now she is saying that sounded too aggressive.  The language is as follows:

The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.

And Gallagher continues to miss the point, deliberately no doubt. It doesn't matter that NOM did not create the division between the black and gay communities over the subject of marriage equality. It matter that NOM is trying to exploit the division.

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Finally! A journalist challenges Tony Perkins rather than kissing up to him

For a long time, many on my side of the spectrum have been raising holy hell at news organizations like MSNBC and CNN for giving the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins a platform even though his organization is an SPLC-declared hate group for the way it demonizes gays through lies and cherry-picked research.

I differed with those on my side who didn't want to see Perkins being interviewed at all. For me, it wasn't the fact that he was interviewed, it was the fact that he was not challenged on his views or the behavior of his organization.

Journalists treated Perkins like a pundit or an expert when he is neither.

But finally, one journalist, Soledad O'Brien of CNN did what other journalists have not done - she neither let Perkins soft pedal his way through, nor did she let him go on a monologue. O'Brien asked him the tough questions and challenged some of his assertions.

THIS is journalism, folks. Enjoy:

From Mediaite comes a portion of the interview:

The two discussed whether allowing same-sex couples to marry would ultimately redefine the institution of marriage.

“When government takes a policy position on marriage, it has an effect,” Perkins said.

O’Brien pressed him over what the consequences would be for gay marriage. Perkins said it went back to the 1960s with no-fault divorce and adoption.

“We’ve seen the consequences of that and have over 40% of children being born out of wedlock. We have a decline in marriage, the rise in cohabitation. The social costs of that are tremendous,” he said.

“When government took a position, let’s say, against the ban on interracial marriage it had an effect too, right? It brought legal marriage to blacks and whites,” O’Brien noted.

Perkins disputed the basis of O’Brien’s question.

“You’re talking about redefinition,” Perkins said. “There is no rational reason to keep people of different races that were of opposite sex to marry. They met the qualifications of the definition of marriage. What we’re talking about here is a further redefinition of marriage…”

“But hasn’t marriage been redefined and redefined?” O’Brien interjected.

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'Daily Show blasts Amendment One vote' and other Thursday midday news briefs

Nuff said

In other news:

Anti-Gay Activists Say Obama's Marriage Equality Stance Seals his Defeat - So the right is very, very, very angry with President Obama. And in other news you already knew, it's Thursday.

NOM's Hypocrisy on Civility - I just had to run this post about how NOM tries to keep its hands clean while allowing its allies to do the "dirty work."

House Responds To Obama’s Marriage Endorsement By Reinforcing Discrimination - I take it that they aren't on board with Obama's announcement.

Log Cabin And GOProud: WTF? - To paraphrase Ms. Joan Crawford, "there is a word to describe the Log Cabin Republicans and GoProud right now, but it isn't used in high society, outside of a kennel.

For Christians, President Obama Said Much More Than You Think He Said - Finally, a good friend of mine gives us something to think about.

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Family Research Council pushing another video of anti-gay lies

FRC head Tony Perkins
One of the problems we have when it comes to dealing with the religious right is that we do not challenge their lies aggressively. It's not enough to call these groups bigoted. When they come out with distortions, we need to sound the alarm, get on the highest mountain top and beat the drums, and basically let everyone know HOW these groups are lying.

With that in mind, I want to focus on a recent video pushed by the Family Research Council called The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage. It is a video which supposedly gives a true view of the problems with marriage equality that supposedly us gay activists aren't telling folks.

Don't be fooled. It's a propaganda video which pushes phony horror stories. Now the clip below is simply a preview but based on the people in it and the charges made thus far, it's enough to call FRC's video a charade:

Let's break down the distortions:

1. David Parker - At .05 of the preview, we hear a man, David Parker, saying "I have a little girl saying I have a girlfriend, I must be gay." He goes on to say that someone told him that he doesn't have a problem with that. And since the background of the video features children going to school, I am guessing that he is talking about a school official.

Here is the thing you should know. The man talking, David Parker, isn't exactly an innocent parent. And he doesn't have a little girl (so I am guessing that he is talking about someone else's child). In  2005, Parker  was arrested for trespassing for not leaving his son's school after a meeting with school officials. Parker claimed that the school would not “allow him to opt his child out of discussions about homosexuality.”  Supposedly the school was breaking state law that said parents have a right to opt out their child when it comes to discussions of human sexuality.

The school had already assured Parker that discussions of human sexuality were not a part of his child's curriculum, but – and they checked with district policy on this – discussions about differing families was not a human sexuality issue AND  since several students in the school came from same sex households, they couldn't control these students talking amongst themselves about their families.