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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a California-based Religious Right group, is attacking a bill that would bar minors from undergoing discredited “ex-gay” reparative therapy and ensure that older patients sign a disclaiming informing of reparative therapy’s well-known “harmful” effects. In an interview with LifeSiteNews, PJI president Brad Dacus called the legislation a “gross and outrageous violation against humanity” and an “egregious attack on children and youth”:
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), one of several groups who testified against the bill last week, said the bill’s anti-conservative bias was extreme even by California’s standards.
“I can honestly say this is one of the most outrageous, speech-chilling bills we have ever seen in California - and that’s saying a lot,” said Dacus, who told LifeSiteNews.com that the bill is “a child’s welfare issue.”
Dacus pointed out that clinical evidence has shown that sexual molestation and other trauma at an early age can lead to sexual confusion. “To deprive these young people of quality psychiatric counseling and therapy is a gross and outrageous violation against humanity,” he said.
Coupled with California’s recent legislation mandating that public schools use textbooks highlighting homosexual roles in history, Dacus said California’s legislators are waging an “egregious attack on children and youth.”
Today on Washington Watch Weekly Family Research Council president Tony Perkins hosted California pastor Jack Hibbs, who is promoting a petition drive to overturn SB 48 through a referendum. SB 48 ensures that prominent LGBT historical figures are included in textbooks, and has been a major target of fierce opposition from Religious Right groups, including the FRC. “Our children are being under attack,” Hibbs told Perkins, “we need to stand up and take our schools back so we can rescue our children.” Hibbs concluded, “We’re fighting for our children’s lives, right here in California.”
What we need Tony of representatives across the nation is to stand for what’s right, we need to be very careful, we’re not standing for some political kingdom or some political direction, this has come to a point now Tony where our children are being under attack, on our watch. Jesus said, woe to the man who allows the littlest of these to be offended for it would have been better for him to have never been born. That’s a serious issue, as pastors, as Christians, as churches, for that matter, as concerned citizens no matter what your belief is, we need to stand up and take our schools back so we can rescue our children from quite frankly an ongoing group of people who I don’t think any longer has what’s best in my child in mine any longer. There is an agenda and we need to push back from that agenda.
Get people in California that you know to sign the petition. You need to be a registered voter, at our church for example, you can register to vote and then move right on over the piece of paper and sign the petition. Signing the petition, dear friends, if we cannot sign a petition when it’s as easy as this then what are we going to do when things really get tough? So, you asked Tony how is it going, it’s going well but it can be going better. We need people involved, we need people to step up. We’re fighting for our children’s lives right here in California.
A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court against televangelism powerhouse TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) threatens to blow the lid off alleged misconduct and criminal activity at the very highest levels of the organization. TBN, which advertises itself as the “World’s Largest Christian Network,” is home to such luminaries as Rod Parsley, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, John Hagee, Benny Hinn, James Robison and the larger-than-life founders of the network – Paul and Jan Crouch, and their son Matt – who are a constant presence in front of the camera.
The lawsuit alleges that Paul Crouch Sr. obtained a $50-million Global Express luxury jet for his personal use through a "sham loan," and that TBN funds paid for a $100,000 motor home for dogs owned by his wife, Janice Crouch, a network director.The suit also alleges that TBN bought residences across the country for its directors under the pretext that they were "guest homes" or "church parsonages." The properties include mansions used by the Crouch family in Newport Beach; side-by-side mansions in Windermere, Fla.; and homes in Nashville; Miami; and Irving, Texas, according to the suit.
"The soundness and veracity of these stories are completely undermined when you realize that they depend almost exclusively upon accusations from individuals who admitted they had embezzled and misappropriated over $1 million from the network, and its companion ministry, International Christian Broadcasting," May explained. […]"What the bulk of media stories don't explain is that these individuals used lawsuits to contrive absurd allegations that trusted TBN officials had illegally funneled millions of dollars for their own use," said May. "Add to that the fabrications that Dr. and Mrs. Crouch were using ministry funds to buy jewelry, jets, mansions, and mobile homes for dogs, and you have all the ammunition for a stereotypical attack against an esteemed media ministry."
Early on in the interview, Gingrich accused the Obama administration of waging "war on religion" and Robinson later asked Gingrich if he really meant to use the word "war" and gave him an opportunity to take it back and clarify.
But Gingrich was having none of it, standing by his use of the phrase while accusing the Obama Administration of believing that President Obama is superior to the Pope and being part of a half-century long campaign by "secularists [to] get between man and God":
Robinson: You mentioned a moment ago that the Obama Administration had declared "war"on religion in America, particularly on the Catholic Church. I'm just going to give you a moment to take back the word "war."
Gingrich: Well, listen ...
Robinson: Do you want to?
Gingrich: No. I think that it's very clear that this is an administration which believes that secular government - they believe that the President is superior to the Pope in the ability to define what the church is allowed to do.
Obama's position, which is truly dishonest - this new compromise is, I mentioned Orwell's "1984." this is Orwellian ... We have been through a fifty year period, starting in the 1960s, in which the courts, and the bureaucracies, and now the politicians have waged war on religious freedom in America. And I think we need to understand this is just one more phase in an ongoing assault on Christianity and on Judaism and on organized religion by secularists who believe that they have the right to get between man and God.