In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama used his bully pulpit to ensure that the critically important issue of voting rights is securely on the agenda in 2013. Calling it “our most fundamental right as citizens,” the President announced the formation of a non-partisan commission focused on improving our country’s system of voting.
One woman who was undoubtedly pleased to hear this news was 102-year-old Desiline Victor of Miami, seated in the House visitors’ gallery, who had waited in line for hours to cast a ballot in November’s election. President Obama noted that the country should follow her determined example: “As time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say,” he said.
After all, that is the issue at the core of a working democracy: whether folks get to have their say.
Leading up to the election, our affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s leadership programs witnessed and stood up to efforts across the country – ranging from unnecessary registration obstacles to early voting restrictions – to suppress the votes of those who have traditionally been disenfranchised: communities of color, low-income communities, and youth. In the past two years alone, more than 65 suppressive voter ID bills were introduced in 34 states.
That’s why it is important that President Obama made it clear last night that he is serious about addressing the problems in our election system. With increased access to early voting and an end to discriminatory voter ID laws, we can ensure that all Americans “get to have their say” at the polls.
Today the Senate held its first vote on a judicial nominee for a Circuit Court since June 2012. William J. Kayatta, Jr. of Maine was confirmed as U.S. Circuit Judge for the First Circuit Court of Appeals by an 88-12 vote during today’s session. Despite broad bipartisan support and the support of his state’s senators in both the 112th and 113th Congresses, Kayatta faced ten months of unnecessary delays.
“We applaud Majority Leader Reid for his leadership in pressing for today’s vote,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “We hope that this will be a turning point signaling a shift toward more timely confirmations for judicial nominees. This needless stalling – and during a time of unprecedented judicial vacancies – has gone on for far too long. The bottom line is that Americans need a functioning system of justice. They have grown weary with reckless obstruction.”
While he certainly has a lot of competition serving among the likes of Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Louie Gohmert and Steve Stockman, Rep. Tim Huelskamp is doing his best to position himself as the leading congressman of the anti-gay radical right.
Huelskamp told Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in an interview before last night’s State of the Union address that President Obama seeks “to destroy the family and replace it with his view of a radical new social agenda.”
This President has a radical social agenda and the media will probably give him a pass when instead of talking about the fact that mom and dad don’t have a job we’re going to talk about how to destroy the family and replace it with his view of a radical new social agenda. So we’re going to hear a lot about that, we’re going to hear a lot of blaming and also a lot of talk about how he would solve this and that problem but gosh darn it he’s had four years to do that and he hasn’t solved one and I would argue it’s gotten progressively worse since he took office.
The congressman went on to criticize the Republican leadership for trying to avoid a discussion of social issues. Huelskamp, who last year falsely claimed that 85 percent of people in the U.S. don’t support legalizing same-sex marriage, insisted that Republicans “defend the seventy percent position that most Americans support traditional marriage,” which in Religious Right-speak means oppose marriage equality.
Huelskamp went on to call the Department of Defense’s extension of partnership benefits to same-sex couples and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) as “radical ideas” that “most Americans do not accept” because they “specifically and selectively reward homosexual behavior.”
The response from the general leadership is: gosh, we can’t talk about social issues. But the President can? Someone has to stand up and defend the seventy percent position that most Americans support traditional marriage, most Americans understand the value of family, they understand it’s under attack and they understand that, they see it, they believe it. So we got to stand up. I’ve always been confused by Republicans that refuse to support a seventy percent position and say, ‘gosh we can’t take our stand there.’ But whether it’s Obamacare, whether it’s these radical DoD [Department of Defense] proposals coming out of the White House or changing all the employment rules to specifically and selectively reward homosexual behavior, those are really radical ideas and most Americans do not accept them.
So we’ll have an opportunity to hear from the President but again don’t forget he is a lame duck President, he’s not running for election again and I think this could be the most radical we’ll hear from him in a long time because it is Obama unleashed. We’re going to hear tonight probably exactly what he would like to do and he promised he’s going to change America and he’s still after that agenda and that goal.
“I believe we are finally at a moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp.”
Last month President Obama shared these words in a speech laying out his vision for fixing our broken immigration system. PFAW applauded the President’s approach to immigration reform, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and a focus on keeping families – including LGBT families – together.
As the national discussion around immigration reform continues, this morning PFAW submitted testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.” The testimony noted:
In 2012, Americans voted in great numbers for candidates who promised workable, common-sense solutions to our immigration crisis. Piecemeal legislation will not fix our system in the long term. Now is the time to pursue strong, lasting, comprehensive reform.
People For the American Way, our members and supporters across the country, and members of our advocacy networks urge you to create a viable comprehensive immigration reform plan that will strengthen our economic security and conform to our national values. Such a plan must provide undocumented workers already in the country with a path to citizenship so they can fully contribute to our economy and society. It must reduce the backlog of individuals seeking residency and citizenship by creating a more robust and flexible visa program. It must recognize that immigrants are an integral part of our labor force by addressing employment-based immigration needs. It must ensure strong worker protections and address our enforcement needs in a manner that is just and consistent with our existing due process and civil rights laws. And it must reunite American families by allowing US citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration to the US, a right that is currently denied based solely on their sexual orientation.
The testimony was jointly submitted by People For the American Way and its advocacy networks YP4 Action, YEO Action, and African American Ministers in Action, each of which represents communities that have experienced the strain of our broken immigration system firsthand. The testimony explains:
YP4 Action represents youth organizers on campuses across the country, a number of whom have undocumented family members or are themselves undocumented. All of these organizers are leading efforts to create positive social change in their communities and their country, regardless of immigration status. YEO Action represents young, progressive elected officials, who feel the impact of federal immigration policy with their constituents at the state and local level. Finally, African American Ministers in Action represents a multidenominational network of African American clergy, many of whom serve as faith leaders for immigrant communities, in particular those from Africa, Haiti and the Caribbean.
In President Obama’s speech last month, he asked that we “remember that this is not just a debate about policy. It’s about people.” By the same token, PFAW noted in its testimony that:
Our broken immigration system harms families, communities and our nation as a whole. It creates instability for families, deprives millions of working Americans of civil rights and workplace protections, and prevents many who are providing for their families, paying taxes and contributing to their communities from fully integrating into our country….Together, People For the American Way and its advocacy networks urge you to adopt a comprehensive immigration reform package that creates a healthy, practical, commonsense immigration system worthy of the country it serves.
Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation tried and failed to block President Obama’s re-election even after he defeated Mitt Romney, and now is asking Republicans to “walk out en mass [sic] to make a statement” against Obama during his State of the Union address. Why? Because, Phillips warns, Obama “is trying to destroy the Republican Party” as part of his “Stalinist” and “Hitlerian” drive to create “a one party state.”
He claims that liberals, especially those in the Obama administration and the gay rights movement, “are looking more and more like Nazis every day” and seek “to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.”
Unfortunately with the left having achieved its goal of political dominance, liberals are looking more and more like Nazis every day.
How could those “tolerant” liberals be so Nazi like?
Liberals love authoritarian governments. And with authoritarians and liberals, there is one thing in common. There can be no dissent.
Disagree with the liberal orthodoxy and liberals will destroy you. In fact, it is the goal of liberals to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.
At the national level, Barack Obama is trying to destroy the Republican Party. In Obama’s world, a one party state is a desirable goal. If he destroys the GOP, he gets his Stalinist wish.
It is not just Obama that wants to destroy all opposition. The examples of components of the great liberal axis of evil going after conservatives are replete.
The Boy Scouts are another good example of what happens to groups that dare to defy the liberal orthodoxy. The Boy Scouts, for very good reasons, exclude gays as scoutmasters and volunteers. For two decades the left has been engaged in a full frontal assault against the Boy Scouts for their position of not allowing homosexual scoutmasters. The left has pressured private groups not to support the Boy Scouts and pressured government entities not to allow the Boy Scouts to use their property for scouting events.
This is the tyranny of the left. There is no room for disagreement. If liberals disagree with the Boy Scouts’ policy they could start their own group. They could create the gay scouts or the diversity scouts or what ever [sic] else they wanted to call it.
But no, liberals do not want to do that. They want to destroy anyone or anything that dares to offer a contrary opinion.
Tonight Barack Obama will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. The address is no longer the State of the Union address. Instead it will be a Hitlerian screed attacking Republicans, Conservatives, The Tea Party and anyone who dares to disagree with him. If the Republicans had any courage, they would walk out en mass [sic] to make a statement. Unfortunately they will not. Obama will stand in front of Congress and blame the Republicans and Bush for all of his failures. He will demand that America double down on his failed policies.
Republicans should blame him for the Great Obama Depression, but they won’t. They should blame him for all of his failures. They won’t.
An Open Letter to Speaker John Boehner
Dear Speaker Boehner:
In the wake of a year teeming with incidents of heartbreaking gun violence, it came as quite a shock to see Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) announce yesterday that he is “excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber” for President Obama’s State of the Union address.
This so-called “patriot” has repeatedly threatened the life of the president.
With a gun in each hand, Ted Nugent once publicly called Obama a “piece of shit,” saying he “told him [Obama] to suck on my machine gun” and suggested that Hillary Clinton “might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.” In the same incident, he also threatened Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein with gun violence.
At an NRA event last year, Nugent infamously warned that he would “either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Obama were re-elected. After People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch publicized the video of his comments, the Secret Service began an investigation of Nugent.
The First Amendment protects Ted Nugent’s rights to say offensive things, but that right does not extend to making threats of violence against public officials. And it certainly does not give Nugent a “right” to be granted a privileged position of honor as a guest of the House of Representatives at the President’s State of the Union address.
So today we are calling on you, as Speaker of the House, to disinvite Nugent from attending the State of the Union address. This is not a question of civility; it is a question of whether or not to tolerate violent threats. We cannot invite those who openly threaten the life of the president to be part of this celebrated tradition. Allowing Nugent into the House chamber for the address will send a clear message of condoning such threats.
In a country still reeling from recent shooting sprees and striving to find ways to reduce gun violence, it is unconscionable to invite to the State of the Union address a man who has repeatedly threatened to kill our nation’s president.
President, People For the American Way
The Pentagon’s recent decision to extend certain benefits to the same-sex partners of service members following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has provoked the ire of the American Family Association, which is upset that they may now be eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
A new action alert from the AFA asks members to email their representatives in Congress, telling them that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has “effectively devastated our nation's military by allowing the ‘gay agenda’ to take priority over national defense.”
The AFA claims that homosexuality “presents an unacceptable risk to good order, discipline, morale and unit cohesion” and that the “most disturbing [thing] is his decision to allow homosexual partners to be buried on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.”
This means the military will recognize homosexual lovers as “married” and will give a full slate of benefits, including burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
Panetta, at every turn, has exposed the military to open homosexuality, which presents an unacceptable risk to good order, discipline, morale and unit cohesion - qualities essential for combat readiness.
Send a letter to your members of Congress, letting them know that, on their watch, they have allowed the security of our nation to be endangered by focusing on social experimentation, rather than defense.
Under your watch, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has effectively devastated our nation's military by allowing the "gay agenda" to take priority over national defense.
This week, his decision to grant "marriage" benefits to homosexuals in the military presents an unacceptable risk to good order, discipline, morale and unit cohesion - qualities essential for combat readiness.
Most disturbing is his decision to allow homosexual partners to be buried on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
I urge you to do your part in restoring sanity to the Department of Defense and stop social experimentation in the military.
David Horowitz appeared on Eagle Forum Live with Phyllis Schlafly over the weekend and made the case that the Republican Party continues to lose elections because their candidates aren’t incendiary and combative enough, arguing that Republicans should model themselves after far-right activists like Schlafly and himself if they ever want to win an election again. If not, Horowitz said that Democrats will continue to “oppress” women and minorities and take the U.S. down the path of Nazi Germany.
Horowitz: I think that Obama has awakened conservatives to the fact that they have to get involved in politics in a very serious way. One of the ways they need to, where they are way behind, is in the political battle itself. You can’t just put your principles out there, you have to sell them. The way to sell them is to tap into this basic story that politics is about: the underdog and the people that are keeping the underdogs down. The Democratic Party, the bad-hat has to be put on it. Democrats are the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the poor. Phyllis, you have been so strong and good on the way Democrats oppress women. We have to use their language against them and none of our candidates did that.
Caller: I wonder if you share the same opinion that I see the same thing happening in America slowly that happened in Nazi Germany, quickly.
Horowitz: Yeah, of course I agree with that. They’re the same kind of movement. All these movements: Nazism, communism, socialism, progressivism; they are all substitutes for an authentic religion.
Horowitz maintained that Republicans need to portray the Democratic Party as an “enemy” of people of color that has “declared war on black people and Hispanics and minorities.” “Democrats have their boot heals on the necks of poor black and Hispanic children” through the public school system, Horowitz claimed, “Imagine if the Republican convention was about that instead of just patting themselves on the back for their success stories.”
Horowitz: The Republicans did not mention in that campaign the victims, the black victims, the Hispanic victims of Obama’s policies. If you want to communicate to minority communities who care about them, then you have to take up the battle against their enemies and the Democratic Party is the enemy, it has declared war on black people and Hispanics and minorities.
Horowitz: Democrats have their boot heals on the necks of poor black and Hispanic children. Imagine if the Republican convention was about that instead of just patting themselves on the back for their success stories.
Schlafly: Well I wish they would take some good advice from you.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) appeared on today’s edition of Washington Watch Weekly with Tony Perkins in order to criticize the U.S. military for removing a small church steeple and cross-shaped windows at an Afghan base, which he claims means that the military won’t let service members worship.
As NBC News reported, the steeple and cross “violated Army regulations and could reinforce suspicions that the United States is fighting a holy war” against Islam, which is exactly how Taliban insurgents are framing the war.
But Gohmert said that by removing the steeple the military is telling service members that they “can’t have freedom of religion” or have the right to worship. The congressman said that people who “hate anything to do with Christianity” are leading a “witch hunt” in the military by pushing “active discrimination against Christianity.” He even suggested that they are banning chapels, rather than just removing symbols that violate Army regulations.
Gohmert: It is amazing how many people think that the First Amendment means that government must discriminate against Christianity when actually it says we’re supposed to avoid prohibiting the free exercise thereof. We shall make no law respecting any establishment of religion, we get that, but we’re not supposed to prohibit the free exercise thereof. It’s like, ‘oh you’re in the military you can’t have freedom of religion,’ ‘what do you mean I can’t have freedom of religion, I’m fighting for people to have freedom of religion, you’re not going to allow me to worship at the very time I need it most when my life could come to an end? You’re going to deprive me of that? You’re going to take away the symbols of the things I believe in, seriously?’ So we’ve got a witch hunt going on by those who for some reason, and you and I know the reason, but they just hate anything to do with Christianity. They certainly don’t go after Islam or Hindu [sic] or anything like that; heck we’ll let them build a Muslim worship center on Ground Zero but a Christian chapel? ‘No I don’t think so we’re not going to do that.’ There is active discrimination against Christianity.
Later, Gohmert said that suicides among service members are due to a lack of religious belief but the military is “sitting on the results” of a study proving his point.
He also suggested that the Obama administration is refusing to “speak up” about anti-Christian persecution in the Mideast, when actually the administration has repeatedly condemned the detention of pastors in Iran and anti-Christian violence in Egypt.
Perkins: Why is the military pushing out the very thing that could help them solve this problem of suicide?
Gohmert: It’s a great question and it’s because I think people who are so fervently against Christianity that they just want it squelched so the military has kowtowed to them. When you have a President that seems to be fine with us having such an important role in Afghanistan and yet under our watch the last public Christian church has closed, when you have an administration where Christians in Egypt are being pursued and even in Iran you got a Christian pastor just sentenced to eight years in prison and we don’t speak up, we don’t stand up, so the only people that are being heard and being boisterous enough are those who want to eliminate Christianity, as has been tried many times, from the face of the country. So that’s who is most vocal and so they kowtow the them.
But it is so dangerous and I talked to someone who is very familiar with the study that the military had done and now they are sitting on the results. Supposedly there is a good chance unless there’s an uproar that they won’t release them because if they will release them, they will be honest about the results of a study they paid for involving thousands of soldiers and my understanding is the results show that everyone within their study of thousands of military members who ultimately committed suicide, they were in the bottom two percent of being the most atheistic. We’ve been looking for so long, how do we help these service members? It really is just a plague of suicides like we’ve never had from military members, how do we deal with that? Well one thing is we have to be honest about the problem, what is the problem? What do they have in common? How can we address this? I think tearing down steeples and eliminating crosses in windows are not a good way to go.
Texas Republican congressman Steve Stockman announced today that he is “excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber” during President Obama’s State of the Union, once again confirming Stockman’s position as one of the most far-right members of Congress.
Nugent in the past has threatened to kill President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
“I was in Chicago and I said hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these you punk; Obama, he’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun,” Nugent screamed during a concert while brandishing two machine guns, “Then I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch…. Then I was out in California and I thought, Barbara Boxer, she might want to suck on my machine gun, hey Dianne Feinstein ride one of these you worthless whore.”
Nugent at a National Rifle Association gathering said that if Obama and his “vile, evil America-hating administration” win re-election then “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
He also told NRA members that Obama and other Democratic officials are “criminals” and like an animal that needs to be shot.
Besides threatening to kill U.S. officials, Nugent also claimed that he now wishes that the South had won the Civil War and attacked civil rights leaders over their “ebonic mumbo-jumbo.” He has even denounced what he calls Obama’s “racist agenda” and “liberal jihad.”
But unlike most people who have been visited by the Secret Service over their violent threats to elected officials, Nugent is invited to the State of the Union address.
As soon as the story broke that the Boy Scouts of America was considering a change in its national ban on gay members, Religious Right leaders immediately claimed that such a move would lead to an increase in child abuse in the Scouts.
But in a desperate attempt to play the victim, the very same conservative activists are now upset that they are facing criticism over their attempts to connect homosexuality with pedophilia.
The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios invited Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality onto her show today to defend her repeated attempts to link homosexuality with pedophilia, all the while claiming that she didn’t really say it, except that she did.
Rios: The push back to me about this topic, I get emails about ‘how dare you say that,’ they say that I say this, I didn’t, but I am indicating it or hinting at it, that all homosexuals would go into Scouting because they were recruiting, looking for love interests, sexual objects. Is that fair Peter?
LaBarbera: I just think there’s so many levels on the Scout issue. First of all, just the whole thing of biology, I have a thirteen year old daughter, I don’t care how noble a guy is I wouldn’t want him out in a tent with my daughter. Do we want these young boys—and the fact is you read the writings of some of these men, I’m sorry it’s not nice, ‘hairless boys,’ you see this in the writings over the years, do we want that temptation in the Scouts? No. Also it’s already on record. We know that homosexual pedophiles go where the boys are. Whether it’s the Catholic Church, the schools, coaches—
Rios: Shall we say Jerry Sandusky.
LaBarbera: Jerry Sandusky, the Boy Scouts. This is already a record. Homosexuality and the Boy Scouts do not mix and it’s just something that’s not appropriate and parents don’t need that worry. You have the fact of the other problem, which there’s a lot of in homosexual life, is this boy-on-boy predations.
Responding to a listener named Lawrence, Rios said that schools should once again prohibit gays and lesbians from teaching or any job involving children because they have “sexual aberrations in their life,” arguing that openly gay teachers “opened the gates to all kind of stuff” like female teachers who sleep with male students.
After complaining that the media refused to cover the murder of Jesse Dirkhising, who was raped and killed by a gay couple in 1999, Rios and LaBarbera said that Matthew Shepard was not a victim of anti-gay violence. Rios said the facts of the case were “twisted and fabricated” and LaBarbera asserted that its “absurd” to think Shepard was the victim of a hate crime.
Like Rios, Linda Harvey of Mission America also played the victim by explaining that anti-gay discrimination is necessary or otherwise people like her would feel discriminated against.
On her daily radio alert, she said that boys will be “preyed upon” and face “mental, spiritual and possibly physical corruption” if the ban on gay members is lifted, which she says “would amount to blatant anti-Christian, anti-common sense discrimination.”
Many would cave in and allow homosexual identity and attraction to be respected and welcomed among their boys; that would mean mental, spiritual and possibly physical corruption plain and simple. Parents and grandparents the nation over are appalled at the irresponsibility of this potential move and the delay is not necessarily a good sign. What the national Boy Scouts may be hoping for is more dialogue, in other words, ways to pressure local troop leaders and national Christian groups threatening to disaffiliate if this new policy goes through. The delay also allows homosexual groups to mount bigger nationwide campaigns to spin the issue as a matter of hate versus love and tolerance. Those of us with experience with these folks know this does not reflect reality.
The Scouts may have homosexuals on staff pushing for this change. We do know that the far-left Huffington Post has been encouraging companies like Intel and UPS to drop corporate Boy Scout donations. Boy Scout board members Randall Stephenson of AT&T and Ernst & Young’s James Turley have been openly pushing for this change, and of course Barack Obama also did so in a recent speech. For our young men it amounts to saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no way’ to the idea of two guys dating, kissing and even having sexual contact. It means leaders who have these attractions. It’s a matter of saying ‘yes’ to other boys in their troop calling themselves gay. A boy in these new homosexually-affirming troops won’t be able to object or say it’s not acceptable nor respectable. In other words this policy would amount to blatant anti-Christian, anti-common sense discrimination. It’s also a threat to boys who may be preyed upon by their own peers or older boys or by adults, all of whom would have more access to those whom they are attracted.
Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-MS), best known for voting against Hurricane Sandy relief after pushing for federal aid after Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac for his district, is now championing the opposition to any change in the Boy Scouts of America’s policy on gay members. In an interview last week with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who has repeatedly linked homosexuality to pedophilia, Palazzo warned that liberals are “using our very culture against us” and that “it’s time for the silent majority once again to step into the fight and protect America from the direction it’s heading.”
Palazzo: Conservative Christians across America have to wake up to reality that the liberal, the very well organized liberal base of this country is very organized and they are using our very culture against us. We have to stand up and have our voices heard. I know it’s difficult because people, you know they get up, they send their kids to school, they go to work, Friday nights they’re at the ball field, Saturday’s they’re in the yard, Sunday’s they’re in church, but if you don’t like the way this country is going and the direction it’s going down then it’s time for the silent majority once again to step into the fight and protect America from the direction it’s heading.
The congressman compared his efforts to maintain the BSA’s ban on gay Scouts to fighting in the Marines and accused President Obama and “his highly organized liberal machine” of having “unfairly attacked” the organization. “These people who are out there protesting and petitioning, I don’t think they care one thing about the Boy Scouts of America” and want the organization to fail, Palazzo said.
Palazzo: I guess the Marine in me is you know when we hear gun fire we don’t run from it we run towards it, we want to help people whether they’re our fellow Marines or whether someone’s been innocently in the crossfire. That’s one of the reasons I’ve engaged in this conversation, I’m just not wired to stand by and watch an organization that wasn’t doing anything be unfairly attacked by Obama, which I’m pretty safe to say he was probably never a Scout, and his highly organized liberal machine. You made an example of Canada; Canada did something like this and within five years fifty percent of the membership has declined. These people who are out there protesting and petitioning, I don’t think they care one thing about the Boy Scouts of America and in fact I think they would like to see the organization probably go the way of a lot of other faith and family based organizations have gone in the past ten years.
Perkins: What prompted you to weigh into this? I will say I’ve actually talked to a few members, actually some more on the Senate side, encouraging them to weigh in and there is a little reluctance on some. So what prompted you to step in?
Palazzo: You know I’ve jumped out of C-130s before, I jumped out of a few Hueys; maybe I’m just not afraid of weighing in on things that are extremely important to me. That’s the way I’m wired as a parent of three young children, as a former Boy Scout, Cub Scout, whose actually benefited from the values and principles this organization espouses to just say listen I’m tired of watching organizations be unfairly attacked.
In a letter to the BSA board [PDF], Palazzo attacked gay rights advocates who he said “only seek to impose their liberal agenda with reckless disregard of the impact that this significant membership policy change would have on our children.”
I urge the Boy Scouts of America to refuse to give in to peer-pressure from politicians and media outlets by allowing openly gay members and adults as part of the organization. They only seek to impose their liberal agenda with reckless disregard of the impact that this significant membership policy change would have on our children. They fail to recognize that such a significant change to membership policies would compromise the overall message of the Boy Scouts, undermine its spiritual principles, and create conflicting membership policies among local chapters.
She Deserves to Be My Wife
This piece is the second in a series of guest blog posts on “Why It’s Time to Dump DOMA.” In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court arguments on the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, we’re asking friends of PFAW to share why dumping DOMA matters to them. Be sure to check back soon for the latest post in the series.
Love. The love of the one who makes us smile, the one who makes us laugh, the one who makes us feel like we are the only person in the world. The one who makes us wonder, why did God wait to bring this person in our lives? The one who makes our toes curl and shiver every time we think about them, hear their voice, see their face, or have intimate moments. Yes, love is what every human being should be afforded while on this earth and on this journey called life. And once we find that true love, we want to make it official and spend the rest of our days enjoying them and experiencing life with them. However, it seems that some people only believe that this bliss or joy should be extended to those of different genders.
The first time I heard the word “partner” for same-sex couples, my friend referred to her mate in that way. I must admit, I questioned how could this term be appropriate for same-gender loving couples. Was it a business relationship? To me, partner is so formal, while wife or husband is so personal. And who refers to the one they love in a formal way? The ones we love we call “baby,” “sweetie,” “honey,” “sugar,” “darling,” and “my dear.” It seems to me that this “partner” term was given to those same-gender loving couples to diminish the true love and awesome power that they experience when being with one another. Yes, there is a partnership involved. But I think it’s time to recognize that same-sex couples are as “qualified” for marriage as heterosexual couples. Love in my faith tradition is represented in heart, soul and spirit. It is that love – that love that binds and unifies heart to heart and spirit to spirit that obligates me to say to my friend, “Yes, you have a partner and you also have a wife.”
We are in the 21st century, and the way I see it, it’s time to dump DOMA simply because it discriminates against those who deserve to have their relationships recognized in whatever way they choose – which should include as marriages. It’s time to dump DOMA because it hurts and humiliates those who know love and who practice showing it each and every day. It’s time to dump DOMA because it alienates and afflicts those who love with their heart and are simply in need of their rights being extended to them. It’s time to dump DOMA and celebrate the manifestation of love in every relationship. It’s time to afford every human the opportunity to marry and be respected as loving families who contribute to the wonderful world that God created and are a part of making it go around.
Dump it, and create a better world for all human-kind!
Bishop Allyson Abrams
Member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action