Ohio

There Will Be No Coaching For 'Coach' Dave Daubenmire

As we noted yesterday, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire was the finalist to become the new head football coach at Lakewood High School in Ohio, pending a vote by the Board of Education.

Last night, the Board cast its vote and, by a margin of 3-2, rejected Daubenmire for the position.

Of course, Daubenmire has responded by firing off a press release blaming the decision on outside groups which "used lies, intimidation and threats to bully the school board into rejecting the administration's recommendations" and claiming that he was the victim of illegal discrimination:

It is painfully obvious that the anti-Christian lobby demand not just acceptance but obedience to their far left dogma and will smear anyone who speaks up for Christian values.  The message that the Lakewood Board of Education sent last night is that anyone with deeply held Biblical beliefs is not welcome in our public schools.  The board's actions were both immoral and illegal.  My family has resided in this community for over 50 years. The rejection by this school board is a slap in the face not only to Christians everywhere, but to our family in particular. In America, only Christians can be discriminated against.  Homosexual teachers and coaches would be welcomed with open arms.

As we've noted before, it is amazing how Religious Right activists seem to believe that the First Amendment exists to protect their right to say any bigoted thing they want while simultaneously guaranteeing that they should never suffer any consequences for having said those things.

FRC Preposterously Blames 'Left-Wing Extremists' For Most 'Incidents Of Domestic Terrorism In This Country'

Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council are attacking the Obama administration over a Ohio National Guard training drill last month that simulated a threat from “two school employees who are disgruntled over the government’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.”

News of the drill started circulating in conservative media this week, feeding anti-Obama paranoia (even though last year’s drill simulated a threat from a radical environmentalists).

On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Blackwell and Perkins said that the drill must have been the idea of the federal government, and argued that there is no reason at all to fear any danger from right-wing extremists. “When you look back at incidents of domestic terrorism in this country, it’s not done by right-wing, conservative people or organizations, it’s done by left-wing extremists,” Perkins said. Blackwell concurred: “Absolutely, that’s been the factual history of domestic terrorist attacks and efforts.”

That is completely false, of course.

The nonpartisan New America Foundation found that the pool of “‘non-jihadist’ terrorists” is “overwhelmingly made up of right-wing extremists.” The Director of Terrorism Studies at the West Point-based Combatting Terrorism Center found attacks by right-wing extremists up “more than 400%” since 2000.

John Tirman of the MIT Center for International Studies notes that in “the START database on terrorism in America,” from “1990 to 2009, START identified 275 ‘homicide events’ that killed 520 people and were committed by right-wing ideologues. There were many more incidents of destruction of property, nonfatal attacks, and other acts of thuggery by white supremacists, private militias, and the like.”

“Fifty-six percent of domestic terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. since 1995 have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists, as compared to 30 percent by ecoterrorists and 12 percent by Islamic extremists,” writes Ken Sofer. “Right-wing extremism has been responsible for the greatest number of terrorist incidents in the U.S. in 13 of the 17 years since the Oklahoma City bombing.”

Since Perkins and Blackwell were already just making things up, why not one more? The two FRC leaders proceeded to accuse the Southern Poverty Law Center of being listed on “the domestic terrorism list. ”

“It’s not conservatives,” Perkins said. “If it were conservatives who were doing that kind of stuff we would never hear the end of it.”

Putting The 'Coach' Back In 'Coach' Dave Daubenmire's Name

Readers of this blog know "Coach" Dave Daubenmire best as the rabidly anti-gay Religious Right activist and full-blown conspiracy theorist who is perfectly willing to defend the infamous "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church while declaring that not allowing Christians to bully gays is itself a form of bullying against Christians.

But what a lot of people may not know is that the "Coach" in his name is quite literal, as he is also a high school football coach ... or at least he has been in the past, since he has been fired several times from previous coaching positions.

Given his tendency to get fired, Daubenmire is currently available for hire and, amazingly, he is now the finalist for a head coaching position at a public high school in Ohio:

Lakewood school board members will vote on a new football coach tonight, but no matter how they cast their ballots, people are likely to be upset.

There have been strong opinions on both sides ever since it was announced that outspoken minister, radio host and motivational speaker Dave Daubenmire was in the running. Tonight, Lakewood Superintendent Jay Gault will recommend hiring Daubenmire; it’s then up to board of education members to decide yes or no, Gault said.

If hired, Daubenmire would be paid $5,520 for the 2014-15 school year.

Daubenmire is the founder of Pass the Salt, a ministry dedicated to bringing together Christians to be the salt and light of the world, as is stated in the Book of Matthew. He is also a 1971 Lakewood High School graduate, but he is perhaps best known for his time coaching at London High School, where the American Civil Liberties Union accused him of mixing religion with teaching and coaching.

Daubenmire also was head football coach at Heath High School from 1981 to 1988 and, more recently, at Fairfield Christian Academy.

The Lakewood job opened up after coach Rex Sponhaltz retired after going 1-9 this past season. News that Daubenmire might take Sponhaltz’ place sparked an online petition titled “Do NOT hire Dave Daubenmire.”

The petition labels Daubenmire as “a man so obsessed with a domineering vision of masculinity that he encourages bullying, particularly when it is directed at homosexuals.” As of Tuesday night, it had 4,605 supporters.

Daubenmire could not be reached Tuesday for comment, but in a previous statement to The Advocate, he wrote that his critics are misrepresenting his stances, and his personal beliefs shouldn’t disqualify him from a coaching position.

“I have been a vocal defender of Christian values which has caused some to take offense at my positions,” he wrote. “But those positions were expressed as a minister not as a public school football coach.”

Daubenmire said he respects individual liberty and the right of students to be free from “coercion in their personal lives.”

“No one understands better than me what can and cannot be done in my position as football coach at a public high school and I will not cross that line,” he wrote.

The people making this decision really ought to watch some of Daubenmire's videos - not necessarily the ones of him calling for the banning of pornography, but the ones where he lays out his coaching philosophy, such as how he hates dealing with the whiny mothers of his players who are worried about injuries and safety because it is his job to turn his players into manly men and teach them all of just "suck it up!"

UPDATE: The Lakewood School Board voted 3-2 not to hire Daubenmire:

It appears that the two great passions of Dave Daubenmire’s life — coaching and preaching — are incompatible, at least to three of the five board members of Lakewood Local Schools.

The board voted 3-2 tonight to reject Superintendent Jay Gault’s recommendation to hire the controversial Daubenmire as Lakewood High School’s head football coach.

Assault On Voting by Ohio GOP Ahead of November 2014 Elections

Ohio Republican legislators are up to their voter suppression tricks again, trying to limit absentee ballot registrations and restricting voting hours ahead of the November 2014 elections. The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday that GOP Rep. Mike Dovilla, Chairman of the Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee, said the committee will vote on Senate Bill 205 and Senate Bill 238 as early as Tuesday.  If passed out of Dovilla’s committee, it could be off to the full House for a floor debate on Wednesday.

SB 205 would ban county clerks from mass mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters, holding that duty only for OH Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has proven in the past that he will restrict voting access almost every chance he gets.

SB 238 would achieve one of Husted’s anti-voter policy agenda items by limiting early voting days, effectively eliminating Ohioans’ ability to register and vote on the same day anywhere in the state.

These legislative moves come just days after the news broke that Hamilton County officials might relocate Cincinnati’s largest early voting location to a new, much less accessible location.  That decision met with considerable push-back from voting rights activists and the media, resulting in a deadlock vote from the Board of Elections. The final decision now also goes to Secretary Husted to decide, effectively putting the power to restrict access to early voting in Cincinnati’s largest city in his hands.

If you are from Ohio, call your Representative now and tell them to protect your early voting rights by voting ‘NO’ on SB 205 and SB 238. You can find your Representative’s contact information here: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory. Once you have talked to your Representative, drop us an email at political@pfaw.org to let us know what they said.  We’ll keep tabs on the situation and update you on voter suppression efforts in Ohio – and across the country – on the PFAW blog.

PFAW

"Stand Your Ground" Comes To Ohio

On the same day that George Zimmerman appeared in a Florida court for allegedly pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend during a reported domestic dispute, “stand your ground” laws are reaching new levels of absurdity in Ohio. A state House committee approved sweeping gun legislation which would eliminate the duty to retreat if they are safely able to do so before using deadly force in self-defense. Critics have warned this could lead to a “Wild West” situation, encouraging a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to self-defense. Given that the law already says the use of deadly force in self-defense is acceptable in one’s own home or car and if a safe retreat is not possible, this law seems designed not to improve safety but instead to further an extreme pro-gun agenda that staunchly refuses to accept anylaw restricting the use of weapons. For these legislators, and groups like the NRA and ALEC that support these types of bills, a person’s right to shoot someone they deem a threat, without even attempting to make a safe retreat, seems to be worth more than a potential increase in homicides.

The bill also relaxes other gun control regulations, including a reduction in the number of training hours needed to obtain a concealed handgun license from twelve to four hours. This would make it eight times easier to carry a concealed deadly weapon than to drive a car, which requires a total of 32 hours of training in Ohio.  It also introduces “reciprocity” on concealed handgun licenses, requiring the state to recognize concealed handgun licenses from any state that recognizes those issued by Ohio. This is especially troubling given that the number of concealed carry licenses issued in Ohio is at a record high: in just the first nine months of 2013, more concealed carry permits were issued than during any calendar year since 2004, when authorities started issuing such permits. 

PFAW

Bad News For Kasich And His Allies - PPP Poll

A poll released Monday by Public Policy Polling has thrown a big bucket of cold water on Ohio governor John Kasich’s rumored White House ambitions—and it’s not great news for others in his administration, either. The poll shows Kasich trailing likely Democratic challenger Ed Fitzgerald by three points, and puts the governor’s disapproval rating at 47%, compared to 42% approval, a significant drop from a June Quinnipiac poll.
 
The poll also shows Secretary of State Jon Husted’s approval rating stagnant at 28% approve/28% disapprove, and barely breaking out ahead of his likely Democratic challenger Nina Turner in a hypothetical race, polling at 37% to her 36%. Husted, famous for his work to make it harder to vote in Ohio, was recently smacked down by a federal judge who ruled against his attempts to block some ballots from being counted.
 
Finally, the poll shows state treasurer Josh Mandel in trouble, with 41% disapproving of his job and only 30% approving, and losing a hypothetical matchup against Democrat Connie Pillich by five points—which might reflect the trouble he’s in over his poor decision-making on pensions, potentially costing Ohio workers millions in fees.
 
It might be tempting for Kasich and his supporters to put this down to a bad poll from PPP, but given PPP’s record as the most accurate pollster of 2012, it seems much more likely it’s the result of a flood of bad news, bad decisions and just plain bad ideas from his administration. The Cleveland Plain Dealer points out that, since the more favorable June poll, Kasich has “signed a state budget that included anti-abortion amendments,” including a medically-unnecessary ultrasound provision – a bill that’s already limiting Ohio women’s access to healthcare they need. On top of that, Kasich has “begun to take more flak for the dealings of the state economic development agency he privatized” – and the criticism is understandable, because six of the nine members of JobsOhio’s board of directors “have direct financial ties to companies that have received tax credits and other assistance from state government.” The newly-created non-profit has also assisted a company at which Kasich spent nine years as a director, and which in the past has paid Kasich personally. It’s hard to feel sorry for Kasich’s tanking approval numbers and dim reelection prospects when these problems are his own fault- his own bad policy decisions, and his own shady dealings with companies that take government money. So… Kasich 2016, anyone? 
PFAW

Dumped By National Anti-Choice Group Over Marriage Stand, Cleveland Right to Life Pushes Back

On Monday, Brian wrote about an interesting schism emerging within one of the nation’s largest anti-choice groups, National Right to Life.

When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that, inspired by his openly gay son, he had switched his position to support marriage equality, the National Right to Life’s Cleveland affiliate announced that it would no longer support Portman. In response, National Right to Life cut ties with the Cleveland group, citing its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue.”

Although National Right to Life’s letter [PDF] was sent in July, it hit the news this week when Cleveland Right to Life decided to fight back, releasing the letter to the media,  alleging “coordination” between Sen. Portman’s office and the national group and asking, “How can you be for the child if you are not for the family?”

Yesterday, Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith took the group’s case to the Steve Deace show, where she speculated that National Right to Life dropped her chapter because they are “terrified about Sen. Portman’s position and the fact that they might lose his support on his pro-life stance.”

Smith told Deace that she had met with Portman and that “he assures us he’s never going to abandon the pro-life cause when it comes to abortion and the issues we’ve just spoken about.”

“But when it comes to gay marriage, he’s 100 percent behind his son,” she said. “That’s not pro-life!”

Deace was skeptical that Portman would hold onto his opposition to abortion rights.  “Does that mean that if he has a daughter that has an abortion, he changes his mind on that too, Molly?” he asked. Smith responded, “Absolutely.”

Smith concluded her interview with an odd caveat: “Even as I say all of this, Steve, I feel so terrible, because this is a very private matter for Sen. Portman’s family.”

Harvey: Homosexuality Is A Lot Like Overeating

Linda Harvey says gay people aren’t all that different from those who struggle with eating too much and obesity. The Mission America president argues that, like overeating and having unhealthy appetites, homosexuality is not innate and can be unlearned:

Many people struggle with appetites for food that lead to obesity but very few were born with a hormonal imbalance leading to weight gain, almost everyone learned these appetites along the way so unlearning them will also be a step-by-step process but it is most certainly possible, starting with facing the truth. It’s kind of similar with homosexual feelings. But no, the world’s message today is go for it, declare yourself and join the out-and-proud community.

Harvey claims the gay community relies on “feelings, identity and behavior: FIB…. And yes, that’s exactly what homosexuality becomes if acted upon. It’s a big lie.”

Harvey: Dying Gay Ohio Man Should've Married A Woman, Merely Pretending to be Married

Ohio-based Religious Right activist Linda Harvey today expressed outrage that a district court judge ruled on behalf of a gay couple, who are both Ohio residents but were married in Maryland, against the state’s ban on same-sex unions. One of the men has Lou Gehrig’s disease and is seeking to have his partner listed on his death certificate as his surviving spouse and be buried in the same family plot.

Harvey called their lawsuit “nonsense” and charged that if the men wanted to be married, they should have married women: “There’s no discrimination or inequality, either of these men could be married to a woman.” She said that the couple is in a pretend marriage, just like a girl who pretends to be a doctor simply because she believes she is one:

Can marriage just be what anyone thinks it is? Here’s a possible analogy. Sophie wants to be a doctor, she’s never gone to medical school but in her mind she’s qualified to treat patients, even perform surgery. But the law only allows the practice of medicine by those who have attended medical school, passed the state board exams and so on. But isn’t this unequal protection? Aren’t Sophie’s fantasies valid? She believes she should be allowed to practice medicine therefore the requirements to be a licensed MD are unconstitutional for her.

That’s right: a married gay person is no different than an unlicensed surgeon.

Harvey: Children of Gay Parents 'Sense Deep Deception'; Rob Portman Will Back Marriage Amendment Repeal

Linda Harvey yesterday hailed Cleveland Right to Life for adding opposition to marriage equality to its mission statement, which previously focused on issues like abortion rights and stem-cell research. During a radio alert, Harvey said that Cleveland Right to Life leaders recently met with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and “made it clear that going forward his support for same-sex marriage will put him at odds with any official endorsement they are willing to give.”

“As part of that meeting, Portman revealed that he would throw his support behind any upcoming effort to overturn our Ohio marriage amendment.”

While Portman announced that he backs marriage equality earlier this year, the Associated Press reported this month that “the senator has indicated he doesn’t want to take a position as a campaign operative.”

Harvey later recounted her experience at a Pride Parade this year to rant against same-sex parents, suggesting that their kids intrinsically know something is wrong and are disturbed by their parents’ relationship: “Children know and sense deep deception and most children will sense something is not right with being proud of homosexuality.”

She found it “heartbreaking to see homosexuals haul their children proudly in front of thousands of people in the recent Columbus Pride Parade,” particularly a family with an “exploitative sign” which read “I love my two dads.”

Harvey hopes listeners tell the kids of same-sex couples that they should urge their parents to become ex-gays: “No one has to pursue a homosexual lifestyle and anyone with sense and genuine love for both the child and for our God and for his plans for us will tell that child the truth: lots of people have left homosexual desires and behavior to live lives consistent with the way God clearly made us.”

Phil Burress Doesn't Understand What 'Bisexual' Means

Ohio anti-gay activist Phil Burress, head of Citizens for Community Values, is gearing up to fight a proposed ballot measure to make same-sex marriage legal in his state, and he’s not letting the facts get in his way.

Burress tells the Canton Repository that polls showing increasing support for marriage equality are just plain wrong:

“On no other issue in America is the polling data is so wrong,” he said. “The real polls are when people go to the polls and vote.”

He then warns of the “slippery slope” created by marriage equality. “What are you going to do for bisexuals?" he asks. "They have to have a man and a woman to make them happy.”

“Ask the question, how do you prohibit polygamy?” Burress said. “Or anything? You’ve gotta give them anything they want. When you start using words like ‘equal protection,’ or when you can say there’s discrimination, what are you going to do for bisexuals? They have to have a man and a woman to make them happy.”

Ohio Law Meant to Force Abortion Providers 'Out of Business,' Anti-Choice Leader Admits

On Sunday night, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law some of the most restrictive anti-choice measures in the country, including requiring that women seeking an abortion undergo costly and medically unnecessary ultrasounds, mandating that physicians give a pre-written anti-choice speech to women seeking abortions, preventing rape crisis centers from counseling women on abortion options, and dramatically cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and redirecting some of that money to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers,” and even redefining pregnancy.

The bill also includes a requirement that all abortion providers have formal “transfer agreements” with local hospitals…but bans public hospitals from signing these agreements. This transfer agreement provision is a classic TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) law, meant to place such unnecessary and burdensome requirements on abortion providers that they are forced to shut their doors.

Generally, anti-choice activists defend TRAP laws by claiming that they are merely looking out for women’s health and safety. But in an interview with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday, Ohio Religious Right activist Phil Burress admitted that the goal of Ohio’s new law is in fact to force abortion clinics “out of business.”

Perkins, recognizing that Burress had strayed from the anti-choice movement’s talking points, tried to get things back on track by insisting that “these agreements are generally good health practices.”

Burress: Not only did we pass pro-life legislation, but in Ohio $1.4 million in federal money that will be diverted from Planned Parenthood to many of the crisis pregnancy centers.

Perkins: That means President Obama’s going to have to go out and do another fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.

Burress: Exactly. They’re reeling, aren’t they, they’re really hurting for money. But, you know, $1.4 million is a lot of money, but in terms of the amount of money that Planned Parenthood spends, it’s a drop in the bucket. It’s a statement. And we praise Gov. Kasich and the Republicans that put this through. And they also have passed legislation called a transfer agreement, that every abortion clinic has to have a transfer agreement with a hospital, but they are prohibited from signing one with a public hospital. So we can put pressure on hospitals to not sign agreements, and we may see some abortion clinics go out of business.

Perkins: Yeah, and these agreements are basically good health practices.

Ohio School District Offering Summer Course in David Barton's Revisionist History

Warren Throckmorton reports today that Ohio’s Springboro School District is planning to offer a summer course on the Constitution…taught via video by revisionist historian David Barton and his Christian Reconstructionist pal John Eidsmoe, and sponsored by the extreme Christian-nation group Institute on the Constitution.

The announcement for the course offers families an opportunity to “learn your Godly American heritage and birthright”:

As RWW readers know, David Barton is the discredited “historian” whose most recent book on the nation’s “Christian heritage” was pulled by its conservative Christian publisher because it was riddled with factual errors. John Eidsmoe is a leading Christian Reconstructionist thinker and intellectual mentor of Michele Bachmann.

Springboro’s school board made national headlines last month when it debated adding creationism to its curriculum.

You won't believe what's in the OH GOP's budget...

Not content simply to pass a definitively right-wing budget, in recent weeks the extremist Republicans in control of Ohio’s legislature tacked on a slew of amendments to a substitute budget bill that read like a Radical Right Christmas wish list, including:

  • Cracking down on student voting -- Republicans are attacking young people’s ability to cast a ballot by threatening state universities and trying to discourage them from supplying the proof-of-address documentation needed by students to get a voter ID! They’re going after universities’ revenue by requiring that any students to whom the schools provide utility bills or other proof be charged significantly less expensive in-state tuition -- a massive deterrent to keep schools from providing these forms to would-be voters.
  • War on women -- The bill would block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family-planning dollars … You might be thinking, “Ah, that old chestnut… will right-wing attacks on women’s health ever cease?” Well, if you live in Ohio, the answer is clearly, “not this year!”
  • Attacking sex ed & teachers -- A provision about sex education opens teachers up a $5,000 fine and lawsuits from parents if their instruction “promotes gateway sexual activity.” Translated, this means that sex education teachers now face stiff penalties for teaching certain evidence-based lessons about health care, and for providing materials or information about contraception or several other topics the Religious Right doesn’t like (ie. doing their job).

If you live in Ohio, please help STOP this budget bill by calling now and urging your state representative to OPPOSE Sub. H.B. No. 59. Click here to find your legislator.

PFAW

Prison Privatization: Reality vs. 'Magic of the Marketplace'

People For the American Way’s 2012 Right Wing Watch In Focus report, “Predatory Privatization,” included a section on the pernicious private prison industry. The report documented that, for all the talk of efficiency and accountability among lawmakers pushing privatization, the evidence pointed to a different reality: private prisons often deliver worse service, at higher costs to the taxpayer, with little accountability. One reason: massive spending by prison corporations on lobbying and political contributions.

Today, Think Progress points to new evidence: a sordid tale of prison privatization in Ohio. It links to a timeline produced by the ACLU of Ohio that chronicles the abysmal record of the Lake Erie Correctional Institute in the 18 months since Ohio sold the prison to the Corrections Corporation of America.

In that short period, the prison flunked two inspections, with independent reports documenting “filthy, broken facilities, as well as much higher rates of crime and violence in and around the prison.”

What about accountability? Think Progress notes:

Despite Lake Erie’s multiple violations of state standards, Ohio has stubbornly maintained its infatuation with private prisons. The state plans to outsource prison food to Aramark, a private vendor already under investigation in Kentucky for multiple contract violations, including serving old food that had not been stored properly and overbilling the state.

Republican-dominated state legislatures are all too eager to ignore the private prison industry’s dismal record. CCA and other companies like GEO are paying well to maintain their massively profitable government contracts; the industry spent $45 million on lobbying in the past decade. CCA has done especially well for itself, rebounding from near bankruptcy in 2000 to rake in a net income of $162 million in 2011.

PFAW

Harvey: Pray Rob Portman's Son Will Become 'A Former Homosexual'

Still outraged by Sen. Rob Portman’s reversal on marriage equality, Ohio-based Religious Right activist Linda Harvey of Mission America used her radio bulletin today to urge people to pray that the Senator’s openly gay son will become “a former homosexual” who will “exercise the option he has right now” of marrying a woman.

Harvey dubbed Portman’s endorsement of marriage equality “a betrayal of the first order” and lamented that conservative Ohioans are stuck “with a Senator who has caved because apparently he believes things that just aren’t true.”

The highest court in the land this week is hearing arguments to overturn man-woman marriage and if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, families here in tomorrow just experienced a betrayal of the first order by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. Because his own son is involved in homosexuality, Sen. Portman has rationalized away his former objections to same-sex marriage; he now says he wants the same opportunity for his son. Are you as frustrated by this as I am, friends? First of all, his son already has the right to marry now, he can marry a woman and someday when he is, we can all pray, a former homosexual, perhaps he will choose to exercise the option he has right now. I do hope you will join me in praying for this young man.

Rob Portman had obligations beyond his family however, when you’re a public figure you have enormous influence over public opinion by the policies you support or refuse to support. People in this state worked for Rob Portman and not for a candidate with liberal social values, one more like Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown, for a reason. People thought they could count on Portman if and when the going got tough on these issues. Well here we are with a Senator who has caved because apparently he believes things that just aren’t true.

Ohio Anti-Gay Leader Encouraged Portman to Put Son in Ex-Gay Therapy, Vows to Fight His Reelection

Sen. Rob Portman has, unsurprisingly, been faced with a barrage of criticism from Religious Right groups since he announced that, inspired by his gay son, he had changed his mind to support marriage equality. But perhaps no one has been more upset with Portman than Ohio anti-gay leader Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values. Last week, Burress called Portman “a very troubled man” who is  “distraught over what’s happened to his son.”

On Wednesday, Burress took to “ex-gay” activist Michael Brown’s “Line of Fire” radio program to recount a conversation he had with Portman shortly before the senator’s announcement. Portman was “dejected” and “basically sad throughout the conversation,” Burress says. And while Burress had initially thought Portman was “looking for help for his son to walk away from the lifestyle” through "ex-gay" therapy,  it eventually became “obvious that he was going to embrace his son’s behavior, which was devastating, because he just gives his son no chance whatsoever of understanding, you know, that he doesn’t have to be that way.”

Burress knows who to blame for this change of heart in father and son: Yale University, where the younger Portman is currently a freshman. At Yale, Burress says, Portman’s son was “probably associating with the other homosexual activists” and ultimately “forced his dad’s hand on this thing.”

Burress: He called me the night before he went public and told me that he was the first one that he wanted to call, and we shared ideas and thoughts. And when he first called me, I thought he was looking for help for his son to walk away from the lifestyle, because I’m pretty sure that he knows that I spent four and a half years on the board of an international organization helping people walk away. And he dropped the bomb on me by saying he was going to change his opinion, which I still today cannot believe that he did that because this is a principled issue and you just don’t turn your back on principled issues.

Brown: Phil, do you think, and you wrote a very gracious but firm editorial that’s getting a lot of national exposure, do you think that he was unaware before this that his son felt that his homosexuality was not a choice? Because he announced it as if this was a new revelation.

Burress: Well, he knew about it for two and a half years. So, apparently in thinking back, he, they learned about it while he was a freshman in high school, and now he’s a, excuse me, a junior in high school, and now he’s a freshman at Yale. And I don’t think there’s any coincidence to this whatsoever that he came home, probably associating with the other homosexual activists at Yale, and I think maybe he forced his dad’s hand on this thing because, that’s just my gut feeling, because Rob started off the conversation by saying, ‘I’ve got some really bad news,’ and he was dejected and basically sad throughout the whole conversation. And it ended up being a conversation, a dad to a dad, but it was obvious that he was going to embrace his son’s behavior, which was devastating, because he just gives his son no chance whatsoever of understanding, you know, that he doesn’t have to be that way. And I told him that it’s not innate, it’s a learned behavior.

Later in the program, Burress promised electoral defeat for Portman if he runs for reelection in 2016. Burress notes that former Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine lost his bid for reelection in 2006 after opposing a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Burress neglects to mention that DeWine, who supported a federal gay marriage ban,  in fact lost to Democrat and gay-rights supporter Sherrod Brown.


Brown: What do we do now? Do we just say, ‘Another loss, throw in the towel, America’s capitulating,’ or can we bring about change?

Burress: We can bring about change alright, and what’s surfacing now is what happened to Mike DeWine, Senator Mike DeWine, when he opposed us in 2004. I chaired the marriage amendment in Ohio to change the constitution here in Ohio and Senator DeWine came out against us. And he’d been in the Senate for, I think, two or three terms, and obviously that cost him his election. When he ran again, he got beat because he switched his position. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the same thing’s going to happen, based on the emails and the calls we’re getting, is that people are not only devastated but are angry that they have somebody up there that they voted for to represent their point of view and their values and he’s turned his back on them. This is a non-negotiable issue with our organization and he will be listed on our annual, what we call Ohio Election Central, our reporting agency where we endorse candidates, as ‘unacceptable for public office.’

 

Anti-Gay Activists Attack Rob Portman's Son's 'Disorder' and 'Abhorrent Lifestyle'

Last week, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced that, inspired by his son’s coming out, he now supports marriage equality. Religious Right activists are, of course, responding with a characteristic lack of tact and grace.

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, for example, denounced Portman for trying to “accommodate his son’s abhorrent lifestyle.”

“... Perhaps [the senator’s] love for his son has deceived him in not being able to differentiate between loving his son and helping his son to do the right thing, versus changing his entire worldview and his view of the natural institution of legitimate marriage in order to accommodate his son's abhorrent lifestyle,” says Barber.

Portman told reporters his previous views on marriage were rooted in his Methodist faith and his change of heart came because of "the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion." Barber challenges that interpretation.

“This provides us a perfect example of the danger of looking at things through the jaundiced prism of our own feelings rather than on objective truths,” says the Liberty Counsel attorney.

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wondered how Portman would respond if his son came out as a serial killer:

I’ve heard some wacky excuses by politicians for changing their minds on some of the most important moral issues facing American, but Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s rationale for flip-flopping on same-sex marriage takes the proverbial wedding cake.

In case you haven’t heard, his son is a homosexual.

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in a commentary published Friday in the Columbus Dispatch.

I guess we should all be grateful Rob Portman’s son didn’t choose to become a polygamist or a serial killer.



People like Todd Akin and Steve King don’t represent a threat to the future of the Republican Party. People like Rob Portman and Karl Rove represent a clear and present danger to its future.

What they are pushing is not liberty, it is licentiousness. What they are pushing is not morality, it is moral relativism. What they are pushing is not the kind of virtue and personal responsibility that makes self-government possible, it is the kind of pop-culture immorality that makes self-government impossible.

Ohio-based activist Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, lamented Portman’s decision to support his “rebellious” son’s “disorder” and “delusion”:

It’s not that I can’t empathize with the position his son has put him in. Every parent hopes never to face a rebellious child. But Portman has decided not to call this rebellion. Whether it was pressure from his wife or some kind of ultimatum by his son, Portman now issues editorial statements that ring with “gay marriage” advocacy. What a slam on Ohio families!

He opines about “civil marriage rights” as if they don’t exist now. These unions will be a stabilizing force bringing “renewed strength” to the institution, he thinks – but Portman is either woefully uninformed or deliberately ignores the mounting evidence against these lifestyles and the political militancy they are unleashing . There is no excuse for a sitting senator to jump on board a movement that viciously targets challengers, forces indoctrination of children in taxpayer- funded schools and bullies the corporate culture as well as the Boy Scouts into bowing before its altar of deviance.

And it’s so unnecessary. Every person out there who claims a “gay” identity has the ability to get married in Ohio or anywhere else now. He or she can marry someone of the opposite sex, because that’s what marriage is and because a “gay” identity is a delusion. Two men, no matter how sincere they feel, or two women, will never be a marriage. The person who believes this disorder is “who he is,” as apparently Portman’s son does, has tragically internalized a lie.



The deception of the culture is easy to accommodate if your principles are weak at the core. Homosexual feelings may seem unchosen, but we do have a choice about what fantasies and desires we nurture and feed. And we always have a choice about public identity and behavior.

His son needs to hear the hope of change and the stories of the thousands of former homosexuals in this country. But his father is apparently not going to tell him. How sad!

Ohio Anti-Gay Leader Calls Rob Portman 'A Very Troubled Man' For Endorsing Marriage Equality

Anti-gay activists have started hurling attacks against Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for reversing his opposition to marriage equality after his son came out as gay.

Phil Burress of the Religious Right group Citizens for Community Values, which is based in Ohio, told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow that Portman is a “a very troubled man right now” and is “distraught over what’s happening with his son.”

Burress added that Portman had assured him that he won’t help any campaign to repeal Ohio’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage despite his new position: “Rob did tell me that he would not campaign for the same-sex marriage issue if it got on the ballot in Ohio. He would not be their spokesman or participate in their campaign.”

Phil Burress is chairman of the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values Action Political Action Committee. He says Portman, who is a personal friend, talked with him Thursday night.

"I just have a feeling that his son was pushing him into this for political reasons,” Burress tells American Family News. “But Rob did tell me that he would not campaign for the same-sex marriage issue if it got on the ballot in Ohio. He would not be their spokesman or participate in their campaign."

But Burress says Portman's comments on CNN seemed to contradict what the senator told him.

"Now I'm seeing some of his remarks that he gave the news last night about repealing DOMA, and it seems contrary to what he told me [in our conversation] last night,” says the traditional values advocate. “So I think he's a very troubled man right now. I think he's distraught over what's happening with his son."

Burress now wonders if Portman can be trusted on the pro-life issue as well. “If he had a daughter and she became pregnant, would he change his position on abortion, too?” he asks. “Because he told me last night that [he had not] changed his position on abortion or any other issue. You don’t change your mind on principled positions.”

And Burress says his political action committee cannot support Portman in light of his new position. "CCV has what we call non-negotiable issues; if you're wrong on any of these issues, we cannot support you for public office – and two of those issues are abortion and same-sex marriage,” he explains. “So therefore Rob cannot receive our endorsement for his next election."

Senator Portman’s change of heart and the legacy of Harvey Milk

Why did Senator Portman’s change of heart take two years? Why has he continued to support the anti-gay policies of his party? There’s a lot of debate on both points, but one thing is certain: it was his son’s own coming out that forced the Senator to come out in support of marriage equality, and to do that interview and write that op-ed.
PFAW
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