Today’s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, it’s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.
In recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, that’s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.
Today the President did the right thing. For thousands of supporters who donated, canvassed and phone banked to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, this is a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place.
Now, we must redouble our efforts to knock down one of the biggest barriers to full legal equality nationwide: the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
With your continued dedication to core American values like Equality, and your support of our work expand the promise of our country and our Constitution to all families, together, we’ll Dump DOMA and achieve basic fairness for all: the American Way.
Today, President Obama at last acknowledged that he personally supports the right to marry for gay and lesbian Americans. Although the president maintains his position that marriage laws should be decided on a state-by-state basis, his personal statement provides a huge boost to the marriage equality movement. At a time when over half of Americans want full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, the endorsement of a sitting president is a meaningful signal of progress.
Sixteen years ago, in May 1996, People For the American Way became one of the first national groups to endorse marriage equality and vow to work toward it. In a note to members of the organization’s board, which was to vote on the issue, PFAW’s staff wrote that the Right had started to use the “marriage issue” to “polarize Americans” – a strategy that had its first major victory in the passage of DOMA later that year.
Despite all the progress that has been made for LGBT equality in the past sixteen years, the 1996 memo could have been written yesterday:
In recent years, People For the American Way has come to be a very important voice in the ongoing effort to rid America of discrimination and prejudice against gay men and lesbians.
We have done that over the years for the simple reason that it’s the right thing to do. Opposing discrimination and fostering respect and appreciation for diversity are core values for People For the American Way. These are precisely the values under attack in this latest campaign.
Of course, the marriage issue has very real implications for the everyday lives of millions of Americans. In the area of health care for example, existing marriage laws allow a spouse to make critical decisions for an incapacitated spouse; not so for unmarried couples wou haven’t gone through the necessary legal steps. In many hospitals, the right to visit patients in an intensive care unit is limited to immediate family; gay and lesbian partners – lacking the legal status of family – are often excluded, to the great detriment of both partners. In addition, enormous economic consequences flow from the inability of gay men and lesbians to marry, including significant tax and inheritance benefits.
The lack of legal recognition of gay and lesbian families is of particular concern when children are involved, since the children are deprived of the protection of a legal relationship with the non-biological parent and the ability of that parent to make important decisions for them in any number of settings, including schools and hospitals. And if the biological parent dies, the children may well be taken away from their other parent, who has no legal relationship with them.
Sixteen years later, marriage discrimination continues to hurt gay and lesbian American and their families. That a sitting president has publicly acknowledged the impact of that discrimination is very powerful. We hope that soon the injustice we outlined in 1996 will be hopelessly out of date.
While gay conservative groups have come out attacking President Obama for endorsing marriage equality today, Religious Right groups have also started to berate Obama on the issue.
Tony Perkins of Family Research Council said Obama’s position has handed Mitt Romney “the key to social conservative support”:
The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.
As demonstrated by yesterday's overwhelming vote in North Carolina, redefining marriage remains outside the mainstream of American politics, especially in the critical battleground states and among minority voters. In North Carolina, the amendment received more than 60 percent of the vote in majority-black counties.
Considering that ten of the sixteen battleground states have marriage amendments that could be overturned by the President's new policy position on marriage, today's announcement almost ensures that marriage will again be a major issue in the presidential election.
The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama.
American Values head and former FRC president Gary Bauer claimed to be perplexed that Obama “is spending even one second of his time thinking about how and to radically transform the institution of marriage”:
The charade is finally up. We've always known that Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage. With every action he's taken, from court appointments to his rhetoric, he's been preparing the way to undermine traditional marriage. Obama's finally made that support explicit.
Every American who can't find work, whose home is under water or who can't afford to fill up his gas tank should be wondering why the president is spending even one second of his time thinking about how and to radically transform the institution of marriage. It's a political move meant to energize his left-wing base and distract Americans from his disastrous economic policies."
Bauer later commented in an email to supporters that Obama “may have just lost the presidency”:
President Obama just told ABC News that he now supports same-sex marriage. Surprised? Didn’t think so. Obama is no doubt hoping to energize his leftwing base. And he is betting this will help him to re-energize the youth vote this November. But in fact he may have just lost the presidency.
Attention Republican Party: Obama’s announcement is a chance for boldness. There are many Republicans who would rather not talk about this issue. But if the GOP confronts Obama over marriage, it could make him a one-term president. If Republicans allow Obama to exploit this issue, then it could prove decisive for him. Republicans need to remember that if their candidates can manage to win as much of the vote as the state marriage amendments have received in 31 states, they will win in a landslide in November.
Now look at North Carolina. It is considered a swing state. Obama won it by only 14,000 votes in 2008 – and it is a high priority for the Dems this year, which is why they are holding their national convention in Charlotte and why he has visited the state repeatedly. This morning Obama might be second guessing that Charlotte venue.
Voters in North Carolina passed a marriage amendment yesterday, making clear that marriage is one man and one woman. Obama, Biden and the entire media establishment opposed the amendment. Bill Clinton did robo calls opposing the measure. The voters felt otherwise by a 61% to 39% vote – a huge landslide and a record turnout. Current polls have Romney beating Obama in North Carolina by only two points! Governor Romney should look at the results of the marriage issue. He can win North Carolina by a landslide if he takes on Obama on this issue.
Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage pledged to defeat Obama and warned, "God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim”:
President Obama has now made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. Voters in all these states, and over two dozen more, have adopted state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. President Obama says that although he personally supports gay marriage, he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. However, that is completely disingenuous. His administration is already trying to dismantle the nation's marriage laws by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. All the state marriage amendments and laws are at risk under a president who actively wants to change the definition of marriage. NOM will work ceaselessly in these swing states and across the nation to preserve traditional marriage because it is profoundly in the public good to do so. God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim. The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has ever voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November.
The Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty maintained Obama’s view on marriage equality displays his “radical ideology”:
This isn’t exactly a bold move by the president. Forced by Joe Biden’s big mouth, Obama had no choice left but to publicly embrace an agenda he has privately promoted for years.
I’ve been saying this for the last four years. Obama has always been in favor of homosexual marriage, but was forced to keep his enthusiasm at a distance for fear of offending the American public.
Obama needs new friends. His leadership has completely alienated Wall Street, financial investors, small businesses, soccer moms, and virtually every other constituency by pushing his radical ideology at a time when America needed principled leadership. Who better to appease than the LGBT community with tons of disposable income to fund his re-election campaign?
North Carolina just became the 31st state to affirm the sanctity of marriage. As if mainstream Americans needed any further reasons to reject Obama’s radical social agenda, we were most certainly reminded today.
Matt Smith of the Catholic Advocate said Obama’s support for marriage equality is part of “an anti-Catholic agenda”:
Once again, the President is spending time advancing an anti-Catholic agenda. Marriage was created long before any government came into existence. It is a settled issue in the eyes of the Catholic Church and should not be redefined.
First, the Obama administration takes away grant money helping victims of sex-trafficking over the Church refusing to refer the victims for abortions. Then the Obama administration violates our religious liberties by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as the President's health care law is being implemented. And now, should his advocacy for same-sex marriage succeed, Catholic institutions could be forced once again to violate our beliefs.
Many faithful Catholics were fooled by clever political rhetoric in 2008. This year, the anti-Catholic record of the Obama administration should inform their vote."
Rob Schenck of the Faith and Action commented: “Frankly, I question whether he really does in his heart-of-hearts. Maybe I'm naive, but, if I'm right, it's even worse, because it means he has surrendered a moral conviction for political expediency. Very wrong and very sad.”
Update: Faith and Freedom Coalition chairman Ralph Reed said the announcement shows the President is “tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans”:
Four years ago 2008 Barack Obama promised if elected not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term — and made clear his support for traditional marriage. All those promises are now broken.
At a time of high unemployment and severe economic distress, President Obama chose the week he launched his re-election campaign to flip-flop on same-sex marriage.
Combined with his administration’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, it reveals a president who is tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans. This is an unanticipated gift to the Romney campaign. It is certain to fuel a record turnout of voters of faith to the polls this November.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League claimed Obama “has fully broken with his Christian moorings” and suggested he also favors polygamy:
In 1996, when Barack Obama was up for a state senate post in Illinois, he said he supported gay marriage. Eight years later, when he set his sights on the U.S. Senate, he discovered his Christian roots and said he was against it. In 2008, he said he was opposed to homosexuals marrying, but he also opposed a ballot initiative in California, Proposition 8, that affirmed marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman. In other words, his Christian roots were losing their grip. Since then he’s been “evolving.” Now the evolution is over and he has fully broken with his Christian moorings.
The president of the United States likes the idea of Tom and Dick marrying. He did not say whether he supports Tom, Dick and Harry marrying, or whether he is “evolving” in that direction. Perhaps he has to consult with his mentor on this issue, Mr. Joseph Biden of Delaware.
Yesterday, North Carolina voters affirmed marriage as being between a man and a woman. In the 32 times voters have been asked to decide this issue, they have voted 32 times to support traditional marriage. Gay rights advocates have never won.
President Obama will be hurt by this decision in the swing states. More than that, he has now made this cultural matter a major issue in the presidential campaign.
The time has finally come to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as an institution reserved to the only two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman.
NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher, now with the Culture War Victory Fund, writes:
On the one hand, morally this is good because lying to the American people is always wrong. President Obama has come clean that he is for gay marriage. Politically, we welcome this. We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage. We now have clear choice between Romney and Obama, and we look forward to demonstrating in November that it's a bad idea for a national candidate to support gay marriage. Marriage is a winning issue for the GOP.
American Family Association president Tim Wildmon tells OneNewsNow:
[He] has finally come out of the closet, if you will, on the homosexual marriage issue. He's in favor of it. He always has been. The only reason he didn't say anything about it before the election last time is because he didn't want to hurt himself [politically].
President Obama, [in] his first year in office, had the homosexual activists to the White House for a dinner and he promised them he would be their 'champion' -- and so he is coming through for them on many different fronts, including the military, changing the military to allow open homosexuality there.
Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund said his endorsement “promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes”:
This shows that the Obama administration doesn’t understand the public purpose of marriage. Marriage–the lifelong, faithful union of one man and one woman–is the building block of a thriving society. It’s not something that politicians should attempt to redefine for political purposes. The president has spoken eloquently about how fatherless homes often hurt children and society. Today’s statement is a tragic contradiction that promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes.
Liberty Counsel Action released a statement [pdf] from chairman Mathew Staver, who said the country under Obama’s leadership is “headed to disaster”:
“The President has made the issues in this election very clear,” said Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel Action. “Today, Governor Mitt Romney said he unequivocally supports natural marriage and opposes ‘marriage between people of the same gender,’ drawing a stark contrast in the upcoming election. For most voters, this election will now be an easy choice,” said Staver.
The decision by the President is not a surprise. He needs to appeal to his far-left base that helped propel him to the White House in 2008 but whose support has weakened in 2012.
“We are six months away from arguably the most critical national election in our lifetime,” said Mat Staver. “America is headed in the wrong direction: we are on the edge of a moral, financial, spiritual, and national security abyss. President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan is ‘Forward.’ The Titanic was moving forward but headed to disaster. We need to change course.”
In response to President Obama’s public comments in support of marriage equality, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement.
“Today’s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, it’s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.
“In recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, that’s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.
“Today the President did the right thing. For thousands of supporters who donated, canvassed and phone banked to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, this is a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place.”
The Family Research Council recently called for boycotts and prayer requests against the Girl Scouts, typically by pushing a false and misleading claim that Girl Scouts are distributing brochures from Planned Parenthood and suggesting that proceeds from Girl Scout Cookies go to the women’s health group, which is also not true.
Yesterday, FRC president Tony Perkins spoke with FRC senior fellow Cathy Ruse on Today’s Issues, the program Perkins co-hosts with American Family Association president Tim Wildmon, where Ruse attacked the Girl Scouts for hiring LGBT staff members and supporters of gay and abortion rights. Perkins explained that the reason the “progressive agenda” is targeting Girl Scouts for “liberal indoctrination” is because “they’re not having kids [and] so they want to make sure they can get our kids.” Perkins said the Girl Scouts’ decision to hire LGBT staffers, unlike the Boy Scouts which bans gays, is “like leaving the door wide open at the chicken coop for the fox”:
Ruse: They have been taken over by these radicals, and there’s no other word for them, they’ve got people on their board that are also on the board of the Human Rights Campaign and push for same-sex marriage, they’ve got people on their board that outwardly promote abortion and work in clinics on the side, it’s been taken over. The Girl Scouts’ leadership is completely now at odds with what I believe most of the families of the girls think Girl Scouts is all about.
Perkins: Folks we couldn’t make this up. Truth is stranger than fiction in this city and in this nation when we see really the progressive agenda behind this liberal indoctrination, they are going to where the kids are. They’re not having kids so they want to make sure they can get our kids, and they are going to these organizations. As you described Tim, Boy Scouts have been at the forefront of saying ‘hey look, we’re standing true to our founding values, we’re not departing from that, we’re not going to go down to this path of political correctness,’ and a lot of people think, ‘well, the Girl Scouts are probably the same way.’ In fact, it’s really like leaving the door wide open at the chicken coop for the fox.
Last week, PFAW’s Right Wing Watch reported that a who’s who of Religious Right activists had recently gathered in the Capitol, with the endorsement of Speaker John Boehner, for a George Washington-themed prayer event.
Last night, Rachel Maddow did a segment on the event, drawing heavily from Right Wing Watch research to expose the extremism of its participants:
Right Wing Watch uncovered video of Lou Engle claiming that marriage equality would “unleash” a “sexual insanity”; Engle praying against health care reform with Sen. DeMint and then-Sen. Brownback; Jim Garlow saying that Satan is attacking the U.S. with marriage equality; David Barton claiming that AIDS can’t be cured because it’s God’s punishment for being gay; and the head of Alveda King’s group saying that supporting abortion rights is akin to supporting terrorism.
Here at People For the American Way, we spend a lot of time monitoring right-wing figures who seem far out of the mainstream. And then the Speaker of the House invites them to the Capitol.
To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way
Date: May 9, 2012
Subject: Debunking the GOP’s Disinformation Campaign on Judicial Obstruction
On Monday, 150 Americans from 27 states met in the White House with senior Administration officials and spent the day lobbying their senators to end the obstruction of qualified judicial nominees. For those Republican senators who may have thought the obstruction that is keeping our court system from functioning properly had gone unnoticed, it must have been an unpleasant surprise to learn their constituents are paying attention.
In response, Senate Republicans are throwing out a lot of irrelevant numbers and misleading comparisons in a desperate attempt to fog the issue, but they are plainly unable to rebut the clear fact that their constituents have noticed: that Republicans are needlessly obstructing judicial nominations.
For instance, because President Bush’s confirmed nominees at this point in his term were processed so much more quickly and fairly than have President Obama’s, the Republican Policy Committee concocts an excuse to ignore that inconvenient truth. They say we should be comparing President Obama’s first term to President Bush’s second term, because both saw two Supreme Court nominations that took up a lot of committee and Senate resources.
That lets them point out that President Obama has had more lower court confirmations in his first term than President Bush did in his second. But there is a reason Bush had fewer judges confirmed in his second term: There were fewer vacancies. When Bush entered office, there were 80 vacancies in the federal courts, a number he cut down to 37 by the end of his first term. In contrast, because of Republican obstruction, the number of vacancies began to climb sharply when President Obama became the person making the nominations, and it has remained at crisis levels his entire time in office.
In addition, although Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were confirmed in 2009 and 2010, the slow-walking of lower court nominations continued in ensuing years. In the 112th Congress, which began five months after Kagan’s confirmation, nominees have been held up on the floor more than three months on average, even if they are unopposed.
Republicans also blame President Obama for not making enough nominations. But the political reality is that the president needs the approval of home state senators if a nomination is to even get a committee hearing. And contrary to the practice of President Bush, the current White House actually consults home state senators in an effort to find consensus nominees. If GOP senators won’t work with the president to identify candidates who they can all agree on, the president is not the one to blame.
In any event, finding a nominee for every vacancy would not solve the bottleneck that Republicans have created at the end of the confirmation process. There are currently 19 nominees on the Senate calendar awaiting votes who could be confirmed today if the Republican leadership gave their consent.
But perhaps the most disingenuous talking point comes from Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. In yesterday’s floor debate on the confirmation of Kristine Baker to a district court in Arkansas – whose nomination has been pending on the floor since February – he says a Bush nominee to the same district was treated far worse:
I would note that President Bush’s nominee, J. Leon Holmes, sat on the executive calendar for more than 14 months awaiting confirmation. From nomination, his confirmation took over 17 months. Again, why was President Bush’s nominee treated worse than this President’s nominee?
Sen. Grassley isn’t comparing apples and oranges – he’s comparing apples and skyscrapers. Holmes was so controversial that even the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee did not approve of his nomination. In a rare step reflecting serious concerns about the merits of the nomination, a sharply divided committee voted 10-9 to forward it to the floor without a formal endorsement. After that, it was the Republicans who then controlled the Senate who delayed the confirmation vote for more than a year, fearing the Senate would reject Holmes. When he was finally confirmed in 2004, it was by a 51-46 vote.
So Republicans delayed a vote on Holmes because he was extremely divisive and lacked support in the Senate. In contrast, Kristine Baker – who cleared committee with a 17-1 vote and was confirmed by a bipartisan voice vote – was delayed by Republicans because of the Sotomayor and Kagan confirmations?
Republicans cannot deny that they are making President Obama’s judicial nominations wait more than 4 times longer for votes than was the case at this point in the Bush presidency, even though most of them are consensus nominees with strong bipartisan support. Their efforts to distract the American people from that stark fact resemble the Wizard of Oz trying to get Dorothy to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
Ultimately, though, this isn’t about statistics. It’s about people. It’s about the people who count on having their day in court, only to learn first-hand that justice delayed is justice denied. It’s the victims of predatory lending practices, consumer fraud, environmental destruction, and civil rights violations. It’s the business owners who can’t get relief from anti-competitive activities, can’t complete their mergers, and can’t enforce their contracts. This is about Americans across the nation who deserve a justice system that works.
Press contact: Miranda Blue, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 467-4999
Today the 700 Club aired a story about a woman who claims that after converting to Christianity she quit drinking and the “lesbian lifestyle,” which she said was brought about by child abuse, and married a man. Following the segment televangelist Pat Robertson prayed for gays and lesbians and linked homosexuality to child molestation: “So many people who are in the so-called homosexual lifestyle found that some camp counselor, some coach, some older person, older teenager or whatever, had started them on the road to homosexuality.”
Later, Robertson said those who are “involved in a lesbian relationship or a homosexual relationship or got tendencies” should join him in prayer “to turn away from that which is displeasing in Your sight” and to “set me free from whatever would bind me.”
The ultraconservative website LifeSiteNews today is boasting that Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia and a leading candidate for Governor, told a gathering of activists from groups such as the American Life League and the Campaign Life Coalition, which founded LifeSiteNews, that he uses the website as part of his anti-choice activism:
Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is one of the rising stars on the national pro-life stage – and he reads and supports LifeSiteNews.com.
LifeSiteNews.com is “the homepage for one of the computers in our house,” the eloquent lawyer and former Virginia state senator told a gathering of influential members of the pro-life movement at the website’s 15 anniversary gala in Herndon, Virginia, on April 28. During his 20-minute speech to a special VIP event before the banquet dinner, he said to advocates for the unborn, “You’ve got to have the tools, the information. That’s what you get from LifeSiteNews.”
He said that often when reading the website’s stories he says to himself, “I haven’t read this anywhere else.”
“I’m very appreciative of that fact,” he said. “And we use it. And we’ve learned from it.”
He closed by thanking LifeSiteNews.com founder Steve Jalsevac by name and “all the reporters…for the work you all do to give us that ammunition to convert the other side in the battle we’re in for life.”
This is the same website that demanded the Catholic Church excommunicate Democratic politicians, maintained that feminists were to blame for the Costa Concordia disaster, compares gays and lesbians to pagans and fervently supports ex-gay ‘reparative’ therapy. Jalsevac even asked for donations to promote “freedom from the homosexual lifestyle”:
With the enthusiastic help of the rich, the powerful, and the famous, and the all-too-willing mainstream media, the tactics of the “gay pride” agenda are proving to be frighteningly successful - to the detriment of the family, traditional sexual ethics…and our freedoms.
Have no doubt about it. Many gay rights activists are not satisfied with mere “tolerance” - they want acceptance, even if it tramples on our basic rights. Already we are seeing devout Christians losing jobs, being fined, and being ostracized, simply for speaking up in defense of the family.
As I was standing watching Sunday’s Gay Pride parade, I was filled with sadness for all the lost, confused souls who were participating in it.
The fact is, despite the unprecedented levels of social acceptance for homosexuality, the gay community continues to be plagued by soaring levels of deadly sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, depression, and suicide. And no wonder!
We know that only God can provide the peace and happiness for which we all crave. What could be more opposed to this than the promiscuous gay lifestyle?
As our editor-in-chief, John-Henry Westen, wrote last week, it isn’t acceptance that homosexuals need. It’s freedom from the homosexual lifestyle, and all its dangers and miseries.
So please, for our culture, our children, and for the homosexuals themselves, who are in need of God’s love and freedom from the homosexual lifestyle, please consider making a donation to LSN today.
Capping off an extremely important day of discussions with senior White House officials and Capitol Hill offices about ending the unprecedented Republican obstruction that is contributing to our severe federal judicial vacancy crisis, several state and national advocates had the opportunity to meet with President Obama about the urgency of addressing this crisis.
PFAW President Michael Keegan and I joined several representatives from among the 150 advocates from 27 states who participated in the Summit, in a meeting in the West Wing of the White House, where we heard the President reaffirm his commitment to press for the confirmation of judicial nominees who are ready for a vote in the full Senate or being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee – and his commitment to continue vetting and making nominations through the balance of this year in an effort to fill the remainder of the vacancies.
We celebrated the Administration’s extraordinary success so far in diversifying the federal bench, while agreeing that there was even more to be done. Advocates talked about the millions of Americans who are denied meaningful access to the courts because there simply are not enough judges on the bench. And we heard the President affirm the importance of pressing obstructionists in the Senate to end the unprecedented dysfunction that is impeding individual Americans’ access to justice.
For me this was a sobering day as we focused on the urgency of filling our federal bench with quality judges who will keep faith with the Constitution -- and inspiring to see the allies we have in states around the country, on Capitol Hill, and in the White House to get the job done.
Last week, in response to pressure from the Religous Right -- much of which was documented by PFAW's Right Wing Watch -- the Romney campaign forced out an openly gay spokesman who had been on the job for less than two weeks.
While the Romney campaign attempted to deny that right-wing pressure led to the spokesman's resignation, news reports suggested that that is exactly what happened.
But Romney's effort to appease the anti-gay right didn't even work. Right Wing Watch caught a clip of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, the leading critic of the candidate's decision to hire an openly gay spokesperson, criticizing Romney for listening to him. "How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me?" Fischer demanded.
Earlier this week, Lawrence O'Donnell played and discussed the Fischer clip on his show. Watch:
As North Carolinians go to the polls today to cast their ballot on an anti-gay constitutional amendment which would write discrimination into the state’s constitution and potentially harm all unmarried couples regardless of orientation, The Guardian put together an interactive feature summarizing the state of LGBT equality across America.
The infographic examines each state’s laws pertaining to LGBT persons’ right to marry, visit loved ones in the hospital or adopt a child, as well as protections from hate crimes and from discrimination in employment, housing and schools. While progress has been made, there is much work to be done.
Regardless of today’s vote, North Carolina will not be adding a dark red section to the outer ring, since state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment simply inscribes discrimination into the state constitution.
Unfortunately, not all Americans have access to the all the protections and responsibilities that only marriage can provide, and this map demonstrates striking differences from state to state and region to region. That’s why we need the federal Respect for Marriage Act more than ever – to ensure that all Americans, straight and gay, are treated equally under the law.
The Greene County, Virginia Republican Committee publishes a monthly newsletter for members called “The Constitutional Conservatives.” The newsletter is heavy on Tea Party rhetoric about how Obama and liberals are ruining America, and so forth. But even by these standards, an item in the March newsletter stands out.
We have before us a challenge to remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed or recognized.An individual who has come to power within a Nation which yields it’s strength over the entire world.An elected leader who shuns biblical praise, handicaps economic ability, disrespects the honor of earned military might.In the coming days and weeks ~ we the people must come to grasp as a common force, our very soul’s, that our future as a sovereign nation is indeed at risk.If every single individual that you know, would contact 25 other individuals ~ we can make a difference that will be heard across the Commonwealth and in Washington.The ultimate task for the people is to remain vigilant and aware ~ that the government, their government is out of control, and this moment, this opportunity, must not be forsaken, must not escape us, for we shall not have any coarse but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November ~ This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.
Over the weekend, Republicans and right-wing activists gathered for a rally in Oshkosh, WI. The Oshkosh Northwestern filmed the event, and our friends at We Are Wisconsin PAC clipped some highlights (below).
The rally seems to have consisted of right-wing politicians spewing one distortion after another about the Walker administration’s policies and their opponents’ intentions. The interviews with the audience members unfortunately show a typical “tea party” misunderstanding of the issues, and that Republicans’ talking points about collective bargaining and teachers’ health benefits have taken root with at least the party’s avid supporters.
Some of the highlights included in the video above show U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde angrily railing against public unions (and completely rewriting the history of Scott Walker’s union busting in the process), a downright bizarre song-and-dance number mocking the protests against the Walker administration’s anti-middle class policies and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch noting the national importance of the recall elections. (Kleefisch begins 1:54 into the video.)
You can support PFAW’s Recall the Right campaign to send Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his right-wing cronies packing on June 5 here >>
This week anti-choice activist Lila Rose of Live Action, best known for her deceptive attacks against Planned Parenthood, is the featured guest of televangelist James Robison on Life Today, where she called for the church to “rise up” because “this is our country.” Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has reported “a string of suspicious incidents” at their clinics “in which a woman walks into a clinic, claims to be pregnant and asks a particular pattern of provocative questions about sex-selective abortions.” While it is unclear who is behind the hoax visits, it is very similar to Live Action’s visits of Planned Parenthood clinics posing as sex traffickers, which Planned Parenthood reported to the FBI.
Just as Robison and Rose talked about how “the enemy” is trying to make Christians disinterested in politics, Rose told the audience at Awakening 2012 that she is battling the “lie of Satan” that is meant to “discourage us” because “he doesn’t want our nation to be a nation under God.” Rose also claimed that she intends to “take out Planned Parenthood” until “they are no longer operating in our communities.”
We’re facing many challenges, I know with the election coming up with our president, we need a new president. We need to take out Planned Parenthood, we need to stop funding them, we need to make sure they are no longer operating in our communities.
The whole lie that we don’t need Christ, or that there’s no hope for us, there’s no hope for the girl that’s struggling, there’s no hope for the trafficking victim, there’s no hope for the unborn child, there’s no hope for our country, it’s a lie. I believe it’s a direct lie, it’s a lie of Satan himself, because he wants to discourage us and because he doesn’t want our nation to be a nation under God.
Today on Faith & Freedom, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber railed against Dan Savage, with Barber reminiscing that “there used to be a time when we arrested middle aged men who got their jollies talking dirty to children” and accusing Savage of trying to “poison” the minds of children. Staver warned that anti-bullying measures will even lead to students who oppose “homosexuality or any kind of deviation outside of normal sexuality” being punished and suspended from school.
Barber: You know there used to be a time when we arrested middle aged men who got their jollies talking dirty to children, well Dan Savage does that for a living.... This is a forty-seven year-old self-identified homosexual who advocates publicly, he advocates what he calls non-monogamy, he advocates having the occasional three-way tryst, this is a guy who is a sex columnist who MTV has given a platform to reach out to our children and to put this poison in their minds.
Staver: What he has done here and what I think this really unmasks is what ultimately is behind some of these anti-bullying laws: it is reverse bullying, it is the opportunity to use a club to people who are Christians or have moral convictions with regards to homosexuality or any kind of deviation outside of normal sexuality. Anybody who believes that sexuality outside of normal sexuality with a man and a woman in a husband and wife relationship will ultimately be the target of bullying, they will be ridiculed, they will be attacked, they will be punished, they will be sent to the principal’s office, they will be disciplined, they will be suspended, they will be ultimately forced to accept that agenda and that was exactly what was unmasked here with Dan Savage.
After Ohio passed a marriage amendment in 2004, which not only enshrined a ban on same-sex marriage in the state’s Constitution but also barred legal recognition of any union outside of opposite-sex marriage “that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage,” a judge struck down part of the state’s domestic violence law because it “recognizes the relationship between an unmarried offender and victim as one ‘approximating the significance or effect of marriage.’”
Like in Ohio, North Carolina’s Amendment One similarly prohibits the state from recognizing any union besides opposite-sex marriage and could potentially have a devastating impact on domestic violence laws. Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence is out today with a column defending Amendment One, which voters will decide on today, and arguing that banning same-sex marriages and protections for unmarried couples, gay or straight, “would help promote” the goal of stopping domestic violence:
The distorted, fear-mongering claim that the marriage amendment will protect those who batter their unmarried partners from criminal prosecution is simply false and has been effectively refuted. This claim has not come true in any of the 30 states that have approved marriage amendments. Anyone who beats up another he lives with should be prosecuted criminally.
But there is a bigger issue here: multiple studies show that women in unmarried relationships and their children are more likely to suffer domestic violence than women married to the biological father of their children. We as a compassionate people need to warn our neighbors about living arrangements that expose them to physical harm. State authorities must prosecute batterers, but prevention is better. Approving the North Carolina marriage amendment would help promote this goal.
In an interview with the Fayetteville Observer, Republican state legislator Paul Stam said the ADF “overruled” an effort to pass “a more narrowly worded amendment.”