Thursday, January 09, 2014

Indiana marriage equality opponents starting campaign with 'spooky' ad about voting

According to People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, Indiana marriage equality opponents have officially kicked off their campaign for the state to pass an anti-marriage equality amendment with the following ominous ad:

Right Wing Watch also points out:

 Advance America is the same group that has been distributing flyers warning that marriage equality will result in the imprisonment of pastors and lead the state to “legalize ‘gender identity.’” 

 According to Think Progress, those flyers included the following familiar anecdotal stories designed to swing voters against marriage equality:

 1. Beginning in kindergarten, schools would be required to teach children that homosexual marriages are normal and acceptable and the same as heterosexual marriages. 
 2. A Pastor that preaches what the Bible says about homosexuality could be prosecuted as a criminal under a hate crime law resulting in jail and fines.  
 3. The next step would be to legalize “gender identity” which would give men who dress as women legal access to women’s restrooms and women’s dressing rooms.  
 4. Christian businesses could be fined and sued if they refuse to participate in homosexual wedding ceremonies (ex. bakers, florists, catering halls, photographers, etc.). 

 Think Progress also points out why these claims are false:

 1. Marriage law does not dictate curriculum, so no change in marriage law would impact what kindergartners are taught. Regardless of whether marriage equality passes — which isn’t even on the table right now because state law still bans same-sex marriage — there are same-sex families raising children who go to Indiana schools. Advance America’s objection to acknowledging the normality of these families does not account for their actual visibility.
2. Hate crimes laws only apply to behaviors that are already designated as crimes, so no speech would ever be impacted. The Indy Star notes that Eric Miller, head of Advance America, has campaigned heavily against hate crimes protections based on sexual orientation for many years. In that regard, he’s been successful, because Indiana doesn’t even have such a law. If constitutionally codified discrimination is rejected, it will impact neither hate crime laws nor the freedom of speech — for pastors or anybody else. 
 3. Gender identity is not something that is currently illegal, which is a good thing considering that everybody has a gender identity. Advance America seems to be referring to people who are transgender — offensively so, given trans individuals are people who present as the gender they identity with, not “men who dress as women” — but being trans isn’t illegal either. Unfortunately, nor is it very well protected. Indiana offers absolutely no nondiscrimination protections based on either sexual orientation or gender identity, which means it’s still perfectly legal for LGBT people to be fired, denied housing, or refused access to a public accommodation just because of their identity. Advance America seems to want to prevent LGBT people from having any shred of equality, through marriage, nondiscrimination protections, or otherwise.  
 4. Lastly, marriage law has little to do with whether businesses treat all customers equal under the law. In other cases where professionals lost in court after denying service to same-sex couples, like the New Mexico photographer or Colorado cake shop, those states have laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Incidentally, neither New Mexico nor Colorado actually have marriage equality, thereby debunking Advance America’s claim. Given Indiana doesn’t even have such protections and none exist at the federal level, there is nothing to prevent Christian businesses in Indiana from continuing to discriminate against the gay community. 

 Advance America demonstrates the dishonesty behind the "let the people vote" charge and also shines a light on why courts have been overturning these votes. It's easy to talk about letting people vote when you beat them down with horror stories about gays supposedly recruiting children or pastors being arrested in their pulpits, or the especially vile lie of "men dressed as women sneaking peeks in female bathrooms and locker rooms."

However, there is a difference between public opinion and a court of law. Unfortunately public opinion can sometimes be swayed with an easily proven lie. Not so in a court of law.

The playbook in Indiana against marriage equality is a familiar one. But either way - and I am hoping that if there is a vote, our opponents lose - I'm not too worried. Yet.

'Anti-gay donor pulls funding from orphanage' and other Thursday midday news briefs

Well if you want Google Alerts, anti-trans Californians, here's one for ya... - Will there be a referendum on the California law protecting transgender students? We don't know yet. I've heard so many interpretations regarding the awful campaign to stop the law that my head is spinning.

Lakewood Cake Maker Appeals Order To Serve Gays - Using the vast resources of anti-gay groups no doubt.

Utah Marriages Of Same-Sex Couples “On Hold” Pending Appeal, Governor’s Office Says - This is terrible.

 3 Big Questions About The 1,360 Same-Sex Couples Married In Utah - So where does that leave these folks?

NOM makes desire for anti-gay marriage amendment official, then changes its mind

According to my online blogging friend, Jeremy Hooper of, this post is now gone from NOM's blog.  Luckily for us, he managed to save a copy of it. Exploiting the now old Duck Dynasty controversy, NOM is officially pushing for an anti-gay marriage equality constitutional amendment: