The Right to Vote Under Attack, 2012 Update

Here we detail, as of October 6, 2012, except where otherwise noted, the latest efforts across the country to suppress the vote, as well as some encouraging successes in expanding the franchise.

Harvey: California Promotes 'Child Endangerment' and 'Psychiatric Malpractice' by Limiting Ex-Gay Therapy

Linda Harvey of Mission America is still incensed by California’s new law preventing minors from undergoing pseudo-scientific sexual orientation conversion therapy, and on her radio show this weekend she called it a “fascist” law that is “banning heterosexuality.” She suggested that parents and counselors work to break the law, which she said would be more loving to gay or lesbian youth.

This SB 1172, passed in California, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, bans all counseling that would reduce or eliminate same-sex attractions and especially they ban this for minor who are people under the age of eighteen. So that means that parents, if you have a child who has come to you and said they have same-sex attractions and they think they are gay, and many kids with all the propaganda that is very one-sided are believing that the were born that way if they feel that way, but it’s the blessed parent who at least gets a chance to counsel them differently. Hopefully your response will be one that is, ‘I love you no matter what but this is wrong,’ so the two things at the same time, ‘but I will help you to find the counseling you need.’ California is basically banning heterosexuality. So for these children, if a child has been persuaded that they are born this way, that they have same-sex attractions, and you as a parent want to take them to a counselor, no licensed, professional counselor in the state of California is now going to be able—unless they break the law. Perhaps some of them will have a conscience on this and think differently and think that maybe their responsibility to their client on this as in other areas of counseling and that the client might want to have a choice in the matter as they do in other areas of counseling, they’re not supposed to counsel anything but ‘oh no, homosexuality, you must embrace that.’ It’s so anti-choice, it’s so rigid, it’s so fascist, this is just the same old stuff you get from the supposedly tolerant folks, tolerance is actually intolerance, inclusivity is actually exclusivity.

She also argued that the resounding criticism of ex-gay therapy by the country’s major medical and counseling organizations is “baloney” because she knows “tons of ex-homosexuals.” According to Harvey, the only reason such counseling doesn’t work for some people is that the clients simply aren’t working hard enough to change their sexual orientation because they think it is “too tough.”

Harvey later lamented that school counselors in California will not tell gay and lesbian students to change their orientation, warning of “child endangerment and child corruption” along with “educational malpractice” and “psychological malpractice” in California schools.

‘There’s no such thing as change.’ That’s baloney. I know tons of ex-homosexuals and people that have been ex-homosexuals for twenty years or more, I know ex-transgender people. The fact that a few people try it and it doesn’t work or they give up doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for some people, and that’s true of all counseling. How many people do you know who throw their hands in the air and say ‘oh this is too tough’ and they are just more comfortable where they are even if it’s painful. That is human nature, that is what people do all the time, so it is not going to be any different in counseling. Think about school counselors, every single high school and middle school have counselors on site, in California if a child confidentially comes to them and says ‘I’m struggling with—I think I might be homosexual,’ this person is going to have to say, ‘great, then you’re born that way.’ This is child endangerment and child corruption and I think it is educational malpractice, it’s certainly psychiatric malpractice.

Staver & Barber: Banning 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Is Like Encouraging Alcoholism, Pedophilia, & Kleptomania

California recently passed a law banning sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors and the anti-gay Religious Right is predictably outraged, prompting Liberty Counsel to file suit because, as Mat Staver and Matt Barber explained on the "Faith and Freedom" radio program today, banning therapists from seeking to turn gay kids straight is like requiring therapists to help people accept and embrace their alcoholism, pedophilia, or kleptomania: 


Harvey: California is 'Helping Troubled Youth Feel Comfortable with Deviance' by Barring 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

With lawsuits challenging and calls to defy California’s new law barring the use of dangerous and unproven sexual orientation conversion therapy on minors, Mission America’s Linda Harvey today argued that the law violates the teachings of Jesus and is meant to make “troubled youth feel comfortable with deviance.” Harvey earlier described the proposal as “seriously evil” and, like one of her radio show’s guests, lamented that school counselors in California cannot perform such therapy on gay and lesbian students.

If a teen is struggling with homosexual feelings or gender confusion and has been convinced he or she may have been born gay, counselors in California will not be able to tell them there is no science to back that up nor to warn them and help them to begin to change these feelings. Many people have overcome homosexual desires but in California such advice will not be coming from school counselors or other therapists a parent might choose, instead they will be helping troubled youth feel comfortable with deviance.

Religious freedoms are being assaulted by the left regularly now and every Christian family needs to stay informed to understand what is happening. We always have a choice to believe God, in season or out. In the Bible, homosexuality is always a sin and there’s no indication our Lord acknowledges anything like a homosexual orientation. Yes people can have persistent struggle with the same sin but are we ever supposed to adopt a sin identity? No. We are supposed to flee sexual immorality and we are also warned by Jesus not to draw children into sin. But when government tells people they must allow their children to be led into homosexual sin, it is definitely time for new leadership.

Randy Thomasson: 'Gay Rights are Antithetical to a Free Society' and the 'Devil's Work'

Save California’s Randy Thomasson went on yet another anti-gay tirade while appearing on The Janet Mefferd Show, this time excoriating gay rights advocates for successfully pushing a new law in California that puts limits on harmful and discredited sexual orientation conversion therapy. He claimed that the Democrats who backed the measure decided “to do the Devil’s work” and “to go against religious freedom, against free speech, against the freedom to even love your own child and care for your own child.” He argued that LGBT people were likely abused as children but because of the new law, parents will be prohibited by the “completely insane” law from providing counseling to a child who survived sexual abuse.

Let’s talk about hepatitis, let’s talk about HPV, let’s talk about a whole host of sexually transmitted diseases, let’s talk about higher cancer rates for homosexual men, let’s talk about earlier deaths for homosexual men; you’ve got to realize the harm of children going into this lifestyle, it puts them at greater risk of all of these ills. Again, the Democrats are saying ‘no, no, no,’ we want to go with our homosexual activist friends, our volunteers, our political supporters, we are going to go against religious freedom, against free speech, against the freedom to even love your own child and care for your own child, and we are going to do the Devil’s work here and that exactly what’s been done.

To label something that is helping the child overcome a conflict, the feelings that have resulted from trauma, you cannot say that it’s harmful to be helpful to a child deal with trauma, it’s absolutely opposite of that. So the state is coming in to say ‘let’s push aside parental rights, this is a health or safety issue’ is completely bonkers, it’s calling black white and white black, it’s calling right wrong and wrong right, it’s completely insane and it’s very angering to think about the child who belongs to the parents and the parents have a God-given right to seek what’s best for that child and if the child’s been molested at a camp or somewhere else, the parent wants counseling for the gender-confusion that’s resulted, even if the parent wants the counseling, even if the parent pays for the counseling, even if the parent finds the counseling, the state says to the parent ‘you can’t do that’ and tells the molested child ‘no help for you.’

Later, Thomasson said that gay rights supporters want to “wipe out all the competition” by placing limits on the pseudo-scientific practice, warning that next the state might decide to ban vaccinations or chemotherapy. He concluded by telling Mefferd that gays and lesbians should not receive civil rights protections since they can change their sexual orientation as “people get out of addictions in America when they work at it and try,” calling gay rights “dangerous for America” and “antithetical to a free society.”

Look at what we have in our society, we have conflicts in society, we have disagreements in society, but do we allow those who are in power to wipe out all competition? In fact, we have rules about companies can’t have a monopoly, right? The US Supreme Court has been involved in those types of rulings. But here we see that a rival, homosexual activists say ‘we want to wipe out our rivals here,’ look if something is controversial then you can’t wipe it out, otherwise, you have to apply the same rule: let’s wipe out regressive therapy, which is controversial, let’s wipe out tarot card therapy, let’s wipe out chiropractic care, let’s wipe out vaccinations, let’s wipe out chemotherapy, see you can’t in a free society get rid of all controversies, you have to allow controversy and disagreement within a free society.

Homosexuality is not biologically based, we’ve never heard bisexuality or transsexuality is biological, it’s obviously a chosen thing. But when you look at what has happened is it’s been turned into a minority even though a minority civil rights protected class requires that there be an immutable, non-changeable, characteristic. We have thousands and thousands of former homosexuals, showing that change occurs; people get out of addictions in America when they work at it and try. Now we have this turned into a hammer upon everyone else; ‘gay rights’ defeats and trumps everyone else’s rights who disagree and that’s why it’s so dangerous for America, gay rights are antithetical to a free society.

Charisma Says Satan is Behind Law Limiting Ex-Gay Therapy, May Lead to Bible Ban

California’s new law preventing pseudo-scientific sexual orientation conversion therapy from being used on minors has not gone over well with anti-gay activists. Charisma magazine news editor Jennifer LeClaire even believes that California may soon decide to “outlaw the Bible” as a next step. LeClaire claimed that homosexuality is caused by demonic “spirit of immorality” that “enters in through some sort of abuse and the lies of the enemy,” Satan. “Sexual orientation change efforts can help set the captives free,” LeClaire said. “That’s why the enemy saw to it that California, a state with a high gay population rate, bans such therapy.”

When he signed the bill on Saturday, the liberal governor said change therapy would “now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”

Really? Since when is helping a confused teenager under assault by powers of this dark world a dustbin of quackery?

I don’t believe kids are born gay. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe there’s a spirit of immorality involved at the root level. I believe it often enters in through some sort of abuse and the lies of the enemy that follow. I believe it involves emotional and spiritual brokenness. I believe deliverance is available to those oppressed by this spirit. And I believe sexual orientation change efforts can help set the captives free. That’s why the enemy saw to it that California, a state with a high gay population rate, bans such therapy.

What’s next for California lawmakers? Banning the gospel—or any practice that aims to reduce or eliminate people going to hell? Will Brown relegate the good news of Christ to the dustbin of quackery, too? Will California outlaw any ministry that does not affirm or encourage experimentation with or acceptance of homosexuality? Will churches lose their tax-exempt status if they preach the gospel?

Don’t think it can’t happen. It’s illegal to carry a Bible in some countries. Missionaries are barred from evangelizing in some countries. It’s officially against the rules to pray in the public square in some countries. Many countries are closed the gospel altogether and if you preach you could end up in prison or heaven.

California leads the nation in many trends. After trampling parental rights with this new bill, could it be possible that California will be the first to outlaw the Bible, prayer, missionaries or even the gospel itself, too?

More Court Vacancies, More GOP Obstruction

Republicans are blocking judicial nominees in Illinois and California, even though new vacancies in those states were announced just this morning.

Harvey: 'Seriously Evil' Bill Restricting Ex-Gay Therapy Puts Youth 'At Risk'

Mission America’s Linda Harvey is weighing in on the debate over California’s SB 1172, the legislation detested by anti-gay activists because it will prohibit counselors from engaging in discredited sexual orientation conversion therapy with minors. Harvey said the bill is another move by the “aggressive homosexual lobby” to keep children and teenagers from hearing the truth about sexuality, and she is hoping that more Americans will begin to “see how false and harmful the gay agenda is and it’s our youth who are particularly at risk” before other states consider similar bills. Later, she decried the legislation as “seriously evil” as it could lead gay and lesbian youth “down the road of spiritual, emotional and physical tragedy.”

If Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill just passed by both houses of the California assembly, that state will essentially ban heterosexuality for some kids. Despite a huge controversy, Senate Bill 1172 recently passed anyway, it bans all forms of sexual orientation change efforts by licensed counselors for people under the age of 18, even if the patient and parent want this type of therapy. For some teens, this means they will never hear that a person who has same-sex attractions does not have to act on those desires. They may also never hear the fact that no science has demonstrated that people are born gay, but reality doesn’t stop the aggressive homosexual lobby. It is expected that this law will be signed by the Governor. California has many radicals in its legislature and the bill’s sponsor claims that efforts to help teens who have homosexual feelings to change are always harmful, that’s simply not true. I’m sure you are thinking ‘well that’s goofy California, how can we expect anything else?’ Yet similar bills may soon be introduced in New Jersey and a few other states. It’s the latest strategy of those who oppose biblical morality to portray high sexual standards as being mean and hateful. Good luck with that because most of America is starting to see how false and harmful the gay agenda is and it’s our youth who are particularly at risk.

There are no words to describe how seriously evil this is. It can affect certain children in a make it or break it way. Imagine you are the parent of a thirteen year old son who announces that he think he might be gay and wants to start daring other guys! You as a well-informed Christian know this is not the way he was born and that he could easily start down the road of spiritual, emotional and physical tragedy. But no counselor in California can now share this information with your son if they choose to follow this law.

Prop 8 Backers Urge Supreme Court to Review

The ballot initiative that revoked marriage equality in California has taken a big step towards having its constitutionality determined by America’s highest court.  In a long-awaited move, proponents of Prop 8 have petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Hollingsworth .v Perry that the ballot initiative violated the federal Equal Protection Clause.  A nearly 500 page document, which can found here, lays out their rationale for urging the court to review the case.

Prop 8 Trial Tracker broke down the core of their argument:

The question presented in the case is: “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” The proponents tell the Court that they should answer the “profoundly important question whether the ancient and vital institution of marriage should be fundamentally redefined to include same-sex couples.” They write that leaving the Ninth Circuit’s decision intact would have “widespread and immediate negative consequences” and would leave the impression that any “experiment” with marriage would be “irrevocable”.

The Ninth Circuit issued a very narrow ruling, avoiding the question of whether gay and lesbian couples in general have a constitutional right to marry.  Instead, it based its ruling on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking their designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.

The Supreme Court will likely decide in early October whether or not to hear the case.  Back in February, PFAW applauded the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in upholding the decision of the district court striking down Prop 8.

Marriage equality is just one of the many critical issues that will come before the Supreme Court when they reconvene next session.  The elevation of Prop 8 to the highest level of the judicial system underscores the increasing importance of the Supreme Court and the Presidential election.

It is a difficult to imagine a more conservative Court than the one we have now, but Mitt Romney has pledged to appoint justices even further to the right then John Roberts and Samuel Alito.  Romney has also enlisted far-right judge Robert Bork to advise him on judicial matters.

Visit  for more on Mitt Romney’s extreme vision for the Supreme Court.


California Passes Citizens United Resolution

Today, Assembly Joint Resolution 22 passed the California Senate with a 24-11 vote, and thus California became the sixth state – joining Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont, Maryland and Rhode Island – to call upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision.  That decision opened the floodgates to corporate and special interest spending in our elections; and sparked a grassroots movement to amend the Constitution and restore government of, by, and for the people.

AJR 22 was introduced by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, who stated, “Today’s vote sends a clear message that California rejects this misguided ruling made by the conservative activists on the Supreme Court.” That same block of conservative Supreme Court justices who supported the majority opinion in Citizens United just weeks ago summarily reversed a case brought to the court by Montana, which refused to strike down their century-old anti-corruption law prohibiting corporate expenditures in elections – proving now, more than ever before, the need for an amendment to overturn the ruling. 

California’s largest cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have already passed amendment resolutions, as have well over 30 other municipalities in the state.  Support for the amendment strategy has been following this bottom-up trend (from grassroots to local; local to state; and state to federal) in a democratic surge of activism that demonstrates the power of the movement.  As recently witnessed in Philadelphia, public officials take note when these resolutions pass.

It is now the responsibility of the Californian congressional delegation to join – if they have not already – the growing list of public officials who have pledged their support for constitutional remedies.  And it is the responsibility of Californians, and people across the nation, to keep fighting and pushing for an amendment.

The money in politics problem is not going away … but neither are we.  Onward!


Save California: Bill Limiting Ex-Gay Therapy is 'Locking Children into Homosexual Bondage'

After the California State Senate and an Assembly committee approved a bill placing limits on sexual orientation conversion therapy, the right-wing group Save California is framing the legislation as an attack on victims of child abuse. Relying on the discredited claim that homosexuality is a result of molestation, Save California is urging members to contact legislators to stop “this horrible bill locking children into homosexual bondage” that will prohibit counseling for those “who have often been molested or raped.” “What lack of love for children suffering from gender confusion disorder, who’ve often been molested and become confused as a result,” the group maintains, including an image stating: “Democrat politicians to molested kids: No help for you.” Led by the virulently anti-gay activist Randy Thomasson, Save California also recently launched a new page, “Not Born This Way” to expose the supposed “myths” about homosexuality.

UPDATE: SB 1172, the Democrats' tyrannical bill banning gender-confusion counseling for minors was skipped over during Monday's floor session of the California State Assembly. But this horrible bill locking children into homosexual bondage could still pass on Thursday, July 5, so it's important that you take a couple minutes right now to oppose it. Leave a recorded message or send an email to your assemblymember.

SB 1172, which has already passed the Senate, would:

1. Ban California parents from seeking counseling for their son or daughter who falsely think they are "homosexual"

2. Penalize licensed counselors who care enough to counsel these gender-confused children, who have often been molested or raped

SB 1172 reads, "Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age, regardless of the willingness of a patient, patient's parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts."

What an attack on parental rights and on mental health professionals! And what lack of love for children suffering from gender confusion disorder, who've often been molested and become confused as a result. The Democrats pushing this bill on behalf of homosexual activists want to lock children into thinking they are "homosexual," when these kids' gender confusion often results from an attack by a sexual perpetrator.

New TBN Lawsuit Alleges Rape Cover-Up

Back in April we reported on a suit filed against TBN – the right-wing televangelism powerhouse based in Orange County, California – by Brittany Koper, a granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch and a former senior executive at the organization. The suit alleged “multiple cover-ups of sexual and criminal scandals,” including a cover-up of a “bloody sexual assault.” A new suit, filed last week by Koper’s 19-year-old sister Carra Crouch, sheds signficant light on the allegation. 

Teri Sforza, who has closely covered TBN’s legal woes for the Orange County Register, broke the news about the suit:
A granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Jan and Paul Crouch filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that she was plied with alcohol and raped by a TBN employee when she was just 13 — and that her family covered up the incident, rather than report it to authorities, to protect TBN’s reputation.
Carra Crouch, now 19, was distraught after the 2006 assault by a 30-year-old man, and told her grandmother what had happened. “Jan (Crouch) became furious and began screaming at Ms. Crouch, a thirteen year old girl, and began telling her ‘it is your fault,’” according to the suit.
Carra Crouch then told John Casoria, TBN’s in-house counsel and her second cousin; he became agitated and told her that he didn’t believe her, it says. “He elaborated by stating he further believed she was already sexually active ‘so it did not really matter’ and he ‘believed she may have propositioned him,’ ” the suit alleges.
According to the suit, both Jan Crouch and Casoria are ordained ministers and therefore legally required to report such an incident. They allegedly failed to report the rape and prevented Carra Crouch from speaking with the police, a counselor, or any other third party.
In 2006, Carra Crouch traveled with her grandmother Jan to TBN’s spring telethon in Atlanta, where she was given her own hotel room. As Sforza reported:
The 30-year-old TBN employee, who Crouch had known for years, wound up in her room and ordered a bottle of wine from room service on Trinity’s account (“Trinity Broadcasting makes a regular practice of providing alcohol to its employees during business meetings”), the suit alleges. He coerced her to drink it “in an attempt to get her intoxicated,” and she did, it says. She asked him to leave her room, and he responded by giving her a glass of water to “help her feel better.”
Carra Crouch drank the glass of water and passed out immediately, according to the suit. When she awoke the next morning, the man was lying next to her, there was blood on the bed sheets, and she had “severe pain and soreness in her body in places which indicated she had been molested and raped,” it alleges. She locked herself in the bathroom and screamed at the man to leave her room, and returned to California that day.
That glass of water, Crouch now believes, contained a date rape drug which caused her to pass out.
TBN’s attorney Colby May vehemently denied any wrongdoing by TBN when contacted by Sforza. However, TBN did fire the 30-year-old man shortly after Carra Crouch reported him to her grandmother and Casoria:
Casoria, TBN’s in-house attorney,  fired him over the telephone, saying Trinity had gathered enough evidence to terminate him with cause, that the evidence was “most probably sufficient to bring criminal charges” against him, and that Trinity would not disclose the evidence to the police if he would not file for unemployment, worker’s compensation or an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim, the suit alleges.
Carra Crouch, until recently, worked at the TBN gift shop. She was fired, however, as part of what she calls a sweep by Paul and Jan Crouch against family members who are close to her sister, Koper.
We’ll check in periodically on this suit and others against TBN. Stay tuned.


Election Day Registration takes center stage in California

Seeking to increase turnout, the California Assembly has voted in favor of Election Day Registration.
PFAW Foundation

Prop 8 Appeal Sent to the Supreme Court

This afternoon, the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal of the Prop 8 case.  In February, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down Prop 8, finding California's revocation of the right of same-sex couples to marry same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit's decision means that either the Supreme Court will take up the case or the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down the law will stand.

The appeals court ruling is on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking away gay and lesbian couples’ designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. The Court did not address the larger question of whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.

PFAW Foundation

Anti-Gay and Anti-Muslim Activists Come Together for 'Rise Up California'

Eagle Forum’s San Diego chapter is hosting a conference in June to unite conservatives in Democratic-leaning California before the upcoming election:

Tomorrow, Friday June 1, 4-9pm prominent national, state and local leaders will address hundreds of conservatives at the "Rise Up California" Eagle Forum San Diego Convention at Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego. The purpose of the convention is to gather, energize, educate, empower and activate conservative Californians 4 days prior to the primary, and into the November general election.

Skyline Church is led by Jim Garlow, a close adviser to Newt Gingrich who led efforts to pass Proposition 8 and has since become a national spokesman for anti-gay causes.

Brian Brown and Jennifer Roback Morse of the National Organization for Marriage will also address the conference alongside Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, a birther and “Christocrat” who believes AIDS is part of God’s judgment and is working against the “sexual anarchy led by sodomites.” The NOM leaders’ appearance with Scarborough, who as Kyle noted earlier today mourned the decline of the white population, won’t help their attempts to distance NOM from a campaign memo based on sowing racial divisions and build a “rainbow coalition” to oppose the gay rights “storm.”

Joining them will be Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, the anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who was banned from CPAC and the “Weyrich lunch” for his extremist views and attacks on fellow conservative leader Grover Norquist.

Another speaker is Dinesh D’Souza, who is turning his discredited book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, into a movie with the help of Republican megadonor Joe Ricketts, who recently had to drop a proposed plan to finance racially-charged ads linking President Obama to Jeremiah Wright.

Other activists appearing at the event include Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Charles LiMandri of the far-right Thomas More Law Center, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice President in 2008 Wayne Allyn Root, Dran Reese of the Salt and Light Council, and anti-environmentalist campaigner Holly Swanson.

African American Ministers in Action Praise Confirmation of Paul Watford, Urge Continued Diversity in Obama’s Judicial Nominations

 The Senate yesterday confirmed prominent Los Angeles attorney Paul J. Watford to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Watford, whose qualifications earned him the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association, becomes just the fourth African American ever to hold a seat on the Ninth Circuit. He is now one of two African American judges on the 29-member circuit court, the busiest in the country, which covers nine western states, as well as two territories.

“Paul Watford as an exceptionally qualified nominee will effectively and judiciously serve the people of California as a Ninth Circuit judge,” said Rev. Dr. Lewis Logan of Los Angeles, a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action. “And now, thanks to Judge Watford’s confirmation, there are two African Americans out of 29 active judges on the Ninth Circuit. Clearly, there’s much more work to be done to ensure that our court system reflects the diversity of people that it serves. This particular confirmation represents a substantive and significant step forward.”

President Obama has brought more diversity to the federal courts than any other president in history. Of the president’s exceptionally qualified judicial nominees, nearly 40 percent have been people of color and nearly half have been women. In contrast, just 18 percent of President Bush’s judicial nominees were people of color and just 23 percent were women. Unfortunately, President Obama’s efforts to diversify the bench have met with strident opposition from Republicans in the Senate, who have used procedural tactics to block qualified nominees.

“Diversity in our courts matters,” said Rev. Leonard Jackson of Las Vegas, also a member of African American Ministers in Action. “A diverse federal court system inspires confidence in those who turn to it for justice and ensures that many voices are heard in the halls of power. Paul Watford is a stellar nominee, and will bring an important voice to the busiest circuit court in the country.”



PFAW Celebrates Confirmation of Paul Watford to Ninth Circuit

 The Senate today confirmed the nomination of Paul J. Watford to sit on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Watford, who has a stellar resume as a Supreme Court clerk, prosecutor and appellate litigator will fill one of three emergency vacancies on the Ninth Circuit, the busiest circuit in the country. He will become just the fourth African American ever to serve on the Ninth Circuit.

Despite Watford’s qualifications and the urgency of filling the vacancy, Senate Republicans stalled his nomination for over three months after he was approved by the judiciary committee. Sen. Reid was forced to file cloture to break the months-long filibuster of Watford’s nomination. Faced with widespread support for the nomination, including from their own constituents, Republicans dropped their planned filibuster this afternoon and at last allowed a straight yes-or-no vote. Watford was confirmed in a 61 to 34 vote.

“Paul Watford is a stellar choice for the Ninth Circuit,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “He promises to be an intellectual leader on the court and a fair and thoughtful jurist. He also makes history as only the fourth African American judge ever elevated to the Ninth Circuit, and one of only two African Americans currently sitting on the 29-member court.

“It is shameful that Senate Republicans filibustered for so long such a highly qualified nominee to fill an emergency vacancy. Sen. Reid is to be commended for forcing a vote. Again and again, the Senate GOP has used political gridlock to interfere with the proper functioning of America’s courts. The result has been an unprecedented vacancy crisis and unacceptable delays for individuals and businesses seeking their day in court. The American courts deserve better than this unprincipled, unrelenting gridlock.”


Brad Dacus Claims Bill Curtailing 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Will Lead Youth 'Down a Path of Death and Destruction'

The New York Times on Saturday covered Dr. Robert Spitzer’s retraction of his 2003 study on the supposed effectiveness of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy, concluding that it “failed the test of scientific rigor” and was irredeemably flawed. Reparative therapy, also known as sexual orientation conversion therapy, has been deemed ineffective, harmful, and unethical by leading medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association and the Pan American Health Organization (a division of the World Health Organization).

But that doesn’t stop Religious Right activists from parroting blatant falsehoods about reparative therapy, as Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute told talk show host Janet Mefferd on Friday that the effectiveness of such therapy is “at least over 80%,” citing discredited “therapist” Joseph Nicolosi. Speaking about a bill in the California state legislature that would place limits on reparative therapy, Dacus claimed that if the legislation passes it will mean that “many hundreds of thousands or millions of youths who will be led down a path of death and destruction.”

Mefferd: Brad, is there overwhelming evidence that reparative therapy is a fraud?

Dacus: Actually it’s contrary, there’s overwhelming evidence that reparative therapy actually works. It’s not 100% because you have individual will and every person has their own issues. But Dr. [Joseph] Nicolosi and other famous psychiatrists who have treated this, thousands and thousands of patients, report a very high success rate, I know it’s at least over 80%, I believe it’s 80-85% success rate. These are people who leave the lifestyle, get married to people, have children, and enter heterosexual relationships. It’s a big mass of deception that they are trying to carry out at the expense of many hundreds of thousands or millions of youths who will be led down a path of death and destruction, unfortunately, if they get away with this.

Dacus, who earlier called the bill a “gross and outrageous violation against humanity,” also dubbed the bill “diabolical” and maintained that being gay is a result of child abuse or strained parental relationships, and that gay men have “an average lifespan of the age of 40.”

Dacus: This attempt to politicize this issue is going to leave a huge number of casualties and victims in its wake in the form of children and even adults.

Dacus: It’s very diabolical, it’s undermining parents. The assumption of those who are pushing this lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual movement, is that the average parent out there is ignorant, is harmful, is dangerous to children when they don’t affirm the child’s sexual orientation. Of course parents want what’s best for their children, parents love their children, and parents know that the homosexual lifestyle gives for boys an average lifespan of the age of 40. It’s worse than being a chain cigarette smoker. Parents who love their children are going to want to do everything they can, especially in the developmental, preadolescence, to steer them in the right direction. In fact, the majority of children work it through. But when you have children who have been sexually abused or youth who have not had any kind of bonding with their father or affirmation of their father, they are very subject to this and are in need of counseling.

Engle Tells Robertson that Prayer Defeated the 'Homosexual Agenda' in California

Like his fellow Proposition 8 supporters Che Ahn and Jim Garlow, Lou Engle maintains that their prayers led to the reversal of marriage equality in California in 2008 and a “sovereign appointment” with former San Francisco mayor (and current Lt. Gov.) Gavin Newsom “to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda.” While speaking today with Pat Robertson on the 700 Club to publicize the upcoming The Call: Virginia, which Robertson has endorsed, Engle said his September, 2010 prayer rally in Sacramento “removed” the state’s governor from office. However, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had already made the decision not to run for re-election in November, 2009, and Democrat Jerry Brown won the gubernatorial race later that year.


Robertson: Tell me one example where prayer that you know of—I know many—changed things in a nation?

Engle: I look at my own story and my prayer history in California, on a forty day season of fasting and prayer, God spoke to me that I needed to contend with those heavenly powers through humility and fasting. We believe, two stadium gatherings, a forty day fast across California, the governor of California, right after The Call in Sacramento, was removed from office, also put me in front of Gavin Newsom in a sovereign appointment to call him to accountability to what he was going to do in that city concerning the homosexual agenda. It’s actually changed so much, in my life and with the journey that I’m in, let alone many, many, stories of prayer changing history.

Robertson: One more time, Fredericksburg, Virginia, a linchpin state, there’s people coming all around the nation to join The Call.
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