Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is outraged that Congress nearly approved a Defense Department spending bill that included a provision encouraging the military to allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to enlist. Gohmert told talk radio host Greg Garrison today that provision, which was stripped from the bill in a narrow vote yesterday, would have been a “slap” at the U.S. district court judge in Texas who has placed a hold on President Obama’s executive actions deferring deportation for some undocumented immigrants.
Gohmert praised Judge Andrew Hanen, who is known as one of the most conservative federal judges in the country, for “singlehandedly stopping the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty,” and declared that it would have been “just totally inappropriate to slap him after he was being such a stand-up man for the Constitution.”
Can you imagine if you’re the U.S. district judge in the Southern District of Texas that’s single-handedly stopping the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty, and then you have the House of Representatives, not only with not enough guts to stop the illegal amnesty like they promised, but then turn around and slap the one judge that’s acting constitutionally? I mean, that would have been such an outrage, and I’m glad we were able to beat that back yesterday.
This was even more egregious because it was slapping in the face the one stand-up judge who stood against the illegal amnesty while Republicans in Congress were breaking their promise that we’d stop the illegal amnesty. Our leadership didn’t stand on their promises as they promised, but we had a judge that did the right thing by the Constitution, and it was just totally inappropriate to slap him after he was being such a stand-up man for the Constitution.
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Jonathan Saenz of the Religious Right group Texas Values criticized state lawmakers for failing to vote on a proposal that would have invalidated several LGBT nondiscrimination measures passed by cities throughout the state.
In particular, Saenz denounced the Texas Association of Business, which opposed the measures and said “they would devastate economic development, tourism and the convention business.”
Saenz said that the business lobby offered “absurd” reasons to “oppose religious freedom efforts,” adding that members would be “shocked” if they knew about the organization’s “extreme,” “far-left” leadership.
Laws against LGBT equality, Saenz said, “have helped Texas and have been a part of what makes Texas great. You see flocking from New York and California because of our business climate but it’s also a part of the values that we have. So this type of war on values from the Texas Association of Business within our state has got to end.”
Cathie Adams of the Texas Eagle Forum similarly told a Texas Values gathering last year that people are leaving states that “embrace homosexual marriage” for Texas. Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly has also claimed that “many Americans are dissenting with their feet” and moving to states that ban gay marriage.
Soon after an event she hosted in Texas was targeted by Islamic extremists, anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller compared herself to Rosa Parks. Now, some of her allies are comparing her to Martin Luther King, Jr., including, reportedly, one Tea Party activist who previously made headlines for suggesting that he didn’t want black people to vote.
In an interview with Indianapolis talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney recalled attending a Tea Party event in Dallas the night before where Ken Emanuelson, a Tea Party activist who is an advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, compared the attack on Geller’s event to the civil rights march that King led in Selma.
Greg, I was in a Tea Party meeting in Dallas last night, and a guy who was in the room in Garland, Texas, gave a rather chilling account of what happened. And he made an observation at the end of it that I think is directly relevant to how we all should be thinking about this.
You know, there’s been much made of late, particularly thanks to a bestselling movie on the subject of Martin Luther King’s experiences and leadership in Selma, Alabama. And this fellow, Ken Emanuelson, said, ‘You know, this is our Selma. This is a moment when people are telling us we can’t do the right thing, and we have to go right at it and do it, do exactly the right thing. Because if we allow our freedom of speech to be taken away from us, that isn’t the end of it, that’s the beginning.’
This is an interesting comparison coming from Emanuelson, who made headlines a couple of years ago for telling a Texas GOP gathering that “the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
Later in the interview, Gaffney told Garrison that any attempts at “multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity” will just invite “jihad, and the violent kind at that”:
We shouldn’t be under any illusion, that whatever we call this conduct of ours, we follow whatever the smart people are telling us, we engage in political correctness or multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity. The enemy has another name for it. They call it ‘submission.’ And under their doctrine, the Sharia program, the Koran and so on, they are hardwired to respond to submissive behavior on the part of infidels with what? With violence, with more violence. You must make them feel subdued, the Koran says.
So far from making this go away or letting us all be friends or kumbaya or whatever you want to call it, this actually is an exhortation — that’s not how we think of it, but that’s how they see it — an exhortation to redouble the jihad, and the violent kind at that.
It has now been more than five years since the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which anti-gay activists predicted would lead to the end of free speech and the criminalization of the Bible. None of these predictions has yet to come true, but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Louie Gohmert from warning that the catastrophic consequences of the hate-crimes law will materialize any day now.
The Texas Repubilcan joined Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday to discuss the attempted attack on a Texas anti-Islam event hosted by Pamela Geller. Kaufman was not pleased with Bill O’Reilly for criticizing Geller’s event, which she said was an attack on Geller’s free speech. This made Gohmert think of the hate-crimes law, which he said was also an attack on free speech and was useless anyway because “people who have this kind of hate, they have the best chance of being rehabilitated.”
The government will eventually use the hate-crimes law, he said, to charge Christians who quote the Bible with “hate speech.”
“I mentioned some years back that hate crimes, eventually, somebody is going to bring that up when a Christian says, ‘I believe what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, nobody goes to the Father but through me,"’” Gohmert said. “That is hate speech. You’re saying that nobody else but you goes to Heaven? That’s hate speech. I mean, this is where it ultimately goes if we’re not free to say what we believe and have disagreements about it without being shot.”
In an interview with Indianapolis-based talk radio host Greg Garrison last month, Rep. Louie Gohmert warned that “this is a really dangerous time for America,” citing the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules and a right-wing group’s debunked report of an ISIS camp just south of the border in Mexico.
Gohmert spoke with Garrison at the annual radio row event hosted by the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where the topic inevitably turned to President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, which Gohmert compared to what he called the FCC’s “taking over” of the Internet with the net neutrality rules.
“Look at the FCC,” he said. “I mean, the FCC had no intention of taking over the Internet. I mean, gosh, even though it was one of the most amazing developments in the history of man when it comes to entrepreneurism and just amazing, you know, free enterprise, innovation. It was awesome. But it was doing so well Obama couldn’t stand the thought of the government not taking it over. So, he says the FCC’s going to take it over, they had to scramble and redo their thinking, and then they come out with regulations saying, in essence, they would take it over. I mean, this is really a dangerous time for America.”
“But you know, Greg, the old adage is democracy ensures a people are governed no better than they deserve,” he added. “And what breaks my heart, and I know it does yours, is Americans that have not awakened are getting what we deserve. It is really a shame.”
Garrison agreed, saying that President Obama is “batting for the other team,” as “evident” at the southern border.
This led Gohmert to bring up the debunked Judicial Watch report of an ISIS camp south of El Paso: “Then we find out this week there’s an ISIS camp three miles south of El Paso, a training center, and they’re working closely with the drug cartels. This is a dangerous time for the king of America to be allowing open borders.”
In a speech to a Gladewater, Texas, conservative group last week, former Rep. Allen West blamed high school football injuries on the end of state-sponsored prayer in schools, saying that when he was in high school, “I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
Discussing a conflict between the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the University of Tennessee about sectarian prayers before football games, West said that in the days of state-sponsored school prayer, there was no problem with football injuries.
“Now see, I remember growing up in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia,” he said. “I went to Grady High School and I played football and we didn’t have all this high-speed gear and everything like that, there was no such thing about ‘targeting.’ I mean, you were not a tough football player unless you did try to hit someone head-on. And even in high school, before every game at Grady Stadium, the pastor would come down and pray before every football game. I don’t remember catastrophic injuries. I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
Needless to say, West’s selective view of the history of football injuries is not exactly accurate.
Cathie Adams, the former chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party who now leads the state chapter of Eagle Forum, told a Republican group yesterday that if Texas doesn’t defy a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality this year, it “could be the end of America.”
“On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear arguments on marriage, and we expect that they’re going to do the wrong thing,” she said in at the end of a speech on Islam to the Smith County Republican Women, which was posted on YouTube by an attendee.
Adams told the group that before the Supreme Court decision comes down, Texas must pass a proposed bill denying compensation to county clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She said that while she admired Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defiance of the federal courts on marriage equality, “Alabama is Alabama.”
“Texas holds a whole lot more power and a whole lot more authority,” she said, “and if we don’t come out and do something before April 28, this could be the end of America.”
“If we don’t get this done by April 28, I don’t know that we’re going to be able to hold back what is happening,” she said. “And folks, if you are a believer, you understand what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. You understand. And we are on the threshold. “
“I mean, young people in schools, elementary all the way through universities, are being lied to that these people are ‘born this way,’” she continued. “No, they’re not. I’ve met friends who have come out of that lifestyle, I’ve met men who are willing and ready and begging for a bill to come up in the Texas legislature that they can testify in support of in order to defend the right of parents and defend the right of those individuals who choose to seek a way out of sexual perversion.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, stopped by the anti-immigrant group FAIR’s annual radio row today to talk with Joyce Kaufman, a conservative radio host famous for her brief stint as chief of staff to then-Florida Rep. Allen West, which ended when her years of extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric came to light.
The two started out by discussing the recent hearing at which Gohmert started yelling at a female ICE official, which got them to talking about charges of a conservative “war on women,” which Gohmert said he wasn’t part of because his chief of staff is a woman.
“It’s usually the liberals that care more about race, they care more about gender and all kinds of, sexual habits,” he continued. “We don’t care about that stuff. Are you going to do the job, are you going to do what’s right, are you going to be honest? Those are the things that we’re more concerned about. In fact, we [conservatives] are coming closer to the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. because we care more about the content of the character than we do the color of anybody’s skin.”
“I could care less what race somebody is coming into America unless they’re coming to do harm, and even then I don’t care what race it is, I care about are you going to come do harm?” he added.
Kaufman agreed, adding that it is in fact immigrants who are dividng America because by maintaining their languages and cultures they “force the indigenous people” to “ become tribal.”
There is “more discussion of race in this country than in the last 20 years,” she lamented.
“But I think that’s, a large part of that is because of this administration,” Gohmert responded. “They have been more polarizing.”
In a speech to a Georgia Tea Party group on Monday in which he warned that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, “you might as well kiss this country goodbye,” Rafael Cruz also declared that President Obama has “cursed the Jewish people” and that it is only people like his son, Sen. Ted Cruz, who are saving America from destruction at the hands of an angry God.
Calling Obama’s interactions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “shameful,” the elder Cruz proudly told the story of his son leaving an event focused on the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians after some members of the audience booed his statements about Israel.
“Let me tell you, the word of God tells us in Genesis 12:3, God’s speaking to Abraham, the father of Israel: ‘I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you,’” Rafael Cruz told the Georgia group. “This current administration has cursed the Jewish people, has cursed the nation of Israel more than any other administration in history. I believe the only reason judgment has not fallen upon America is because of the faithful remnant that is standing in the gap.”
At another point in his appearance, Cruz blasted what he called Obama’s “disastrous” move toward relations with Cuba.
“Well, he’s out to destroy us,” an audience member interjected.
“Oh, of course,” Cruz responded.
In a speech to a Tea Party event in Rome, Georgia, last week, Rafael Cruz declared that if Hillary Clinton is elected president next year, “you might as well kiss this country goodbye.”
The father and close adviser of GOP presidential candidate and Texas senator Ted Cruz echoed his son’s frequent comparisons of himself to Ronald Reagan, telling the audience that “there are so many parallels” between Reagan’s election in 1980 and the 2016 contest.
Drawing directly from Ted Cruz’s misleading talking points about the Carter and Obama economies, the elder Cruz reassured his audience, “It took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan. Because of Jimmy Carter, we were able to mobilize millions of Americans. We did it in 1980, we can do it again.”
“If we did it then, you bet we can do it again,” he said. “And let me tell you, if we have someone like Hillary Clinton elected in 2016, you might as well kiss this country goodbye, this country’s gone. We are fighting for the survival of America.”
In the weeks leading up to oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of marriage equality cases being heard at the Supreme Court this month, groups on both sides of the issue have been flooding the Court with amicus briefs.
These have inevitably included some very bad arguments from lawyers arguing on behalf of anti-LGBT groups. Here are five of the worst:
5. Gays Need ‘Tough Love,’ Like Smokers Or Drug Abusers
Mike Huckabee Policy Solutions (which identifies itself as a group “backed by private citizens and organizations who support the national policy aims of Mike Huckabee”) and anti-gay “statistician” Paul Cameron’s Family Research Institute tell the Justices that “[h]omosexuality and same-sex marriage are tied to early death” and thus gay people, much like drug abusers, need “tough love” instead of marriage rights.
As with smoking or drug abuse, it would be neither compassionate nor kind to normalize and encourage a known and significant public health risk such as homosexuality. Heightened early mortality risk suggests that homosexual practice (whether in casual or long-term unions) is self-injurious and therefore would put undue financial, emotional, and health burdens on survivors, especially children, as well as society, pursuant to any normalization of same-sex marriage by decree of this Court.
Just as in the cases of drug abusers or suicidal individuals, it would not be compassionate nor kind of this Court to attempt to further normalize and encourage known and significant public health risks represented by LGBT lifestyles and unions. Thus, the expansion of LGBT activity by decree of this Court is likely to proliferate undue financial, emotional, and health burdens upon survivors, especially children, and upon wider society as well. Far from “hateful,” the amici curiae herein hold that deference to the States in the regulation of lawful marriage, as well as federalist restraint and humility by this Court, would represent an act of love. “Tough love,” perhaps, but love nonetheless.
4. Marriage Equality Will Lead To Civil War
While the Texas chapter of Eagle Forum, in a brief written by Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andrew, never exactly says in its Supreme Court brief that a broad ruling in favor of marriage equality would lead to civil war, it does draw an awful lot of parallels between the effects of Obergefell and those of the infamous pre-Civil War Dred Scott case.
The Texas Eagle Forum brief warns of “a badly fractious effect” if the Court declares that “the Bible is wrong about marriage,” drawing out “regional differences” similar to the regional divide over slavery before the Civil War. The group warns that, like Dred Scott, “any ruling by the Court that imposes homosexual marriage on Texas and every corner of the United States would cause vastly more conflict, along regional lines.”
In 1857, as now, there were sharp regional differences over a fundamental social issue. But rather than allow Congress to sort the disputes out, the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and attempted to dictate one solution nationwide about slavery. That poured fuel on the fire, as history teaches. Likewise, any ruling by the Court here that attempts to establish homosexual marriage for every region of our country, thereby declaring that the local voters are wrong, their political leaders are wrong, and the Bible is wrong about marriage, will have a badly fractious effect.
The disunity will greatly worsen if the Court rules that Texas and other southern states must begin performing homosexual marriage. Far from unifying the Nation, as some argue, such a Court ruling would have a divisive effect similar to that of the Dred Scott decision. The Dred Scott Court felt that by imposing its view of slavery on the entire Nation, the Court was resolving the conflict. In fact, of course, the decision made the conflict far worse. Likewise, any ruling by the Court that imposes homosexual marriage on Texas and every corner of the United States would cause vastly more conflict, along regional lines.
Texas Eagle Forum specifically argues that the supposedly unbiblical nature of same-sex marriage would “be disastrous for the unity of our Nation” because the Bible is “the strongest link that holds our society together.”
The Bible is perhaps the most unifying force of our Nation.
A Supreme Court ruling that endorses homosexual marriage would directly conflict with clear teachings in both the Old and New Testaments. See, e.g., Genesis 2:24 (“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”) and Mark 10:6-8 (“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’”) (ESV). In essence, the Court would be rejecting the Bible as false, and by implication perhaps even disparaging the Bible as hate speech. Whether the large percentage of Americans who respect the Bible would be persuaded by such a ruling remains to be seen. But if they are persuaded, then the results would be disastrous for the unity of our Nation, because it would weaken the strongest link that holds our society together.
3. Marriage Equality Is Bad For Gay People’s Kids Because Right Wing Watch Criticized Robert Oscar Lopez
There was a big splash in the right-wing media when four adults who were raised for at least part of their lives by same-sex couples, most prominently activist Robert Oscar Lopez, submitted an amicus brief against marriage equality.
Lopez cites one flawed study about same-sex parenting and uses it as a jumping-off point for discussing what he speculates is a trend toward things getting “harder, not easier” for children raised by same-sex couples as “gay marriage has become a broader and more accepted phenomenon."
It has gotten harder, not easier, for COGs [Children of Gays], to the extent that gay marriage has become a broader and more accepted phenomenon. The younger generation of COGs has lived with an enormous amount of surveillance and speech policing by people interested in ensuring that they say nothing to undermine the social prestige of their gay guardians. The younger generation of COGs seems to feel more uprooted from the missing half of their ancestry and more fearful of defying the authority of gay stepparent figures whom they still tend to view as stepparents even if they are fond of them.
COGs are now treated with less dignity, more suspicion, fewer protections and heightened discrimination/harassment/retaliation than they saw before same-sex marriage achieved a level of national success. All of this is emanating from within the gay community, enabled by complacent groups such as COLAGE and emboldened by the gay-marriage equality movement. Put simply, the situation for COGs has worsened as their numbers have multiplied.
Lopez’s main piece of evidence for the “heightened discrimination/harrassment/retaliation” being directed at the children of gay parents since those parents began to gain marriage rights seems to be his own experience being criticized by blogs, including Right Wing Watch, which he details at great length in a separate section of the brief.
2. It’s Okay To Discriminate Against Women, So Why Not Gays?
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate flagged a brief submitted by the state of South Carolina which illustrates at length the concern that the drafters of the 14th Amendment had about it granting rights to women. Since the state at the time sought to discriminate against women, the brief argues, then it is absurd to apply the amendment’s protections to gay and lesbian people who want to get married.
Here’s a representative paragraph:
Nor did the framers and their contemporaries conceive that the definition of marriage consisted of anything other than the union between man and woman. Indeed, the framers insisted upon leaving untouched those state laws depriving women of basic rights upon marriage to a man. Surely then, those state laws exclusively defining marriage as between a man and woman were hands off under the Amendment’s original meaning.
Representatives from the South Carolina solicitor general’s and attorney general’s offices followed up with Stern to clarify that “that their state does not wish to implement the sexist laws outlined in its brief—though it could if it wanted to.”
1. Marriage Equality Will Cause God To Destroy America
Really any constitutional argument you can come up with becomes irrelevant if we are threatened with God’s judgement on America. A coalition of right-wing groups (two of which have close ties with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore), pulled out that trump card in a brief in which they warn the Justices that should they “require the States and the People to ‘ritualize’ sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation.”
The groups, including Public Advocate of the United States and the Institute on the Constitution (run by longtime Moore funder and Maryland GOP official Michael Peroutka) and assisted by former Moore collaborator Herb Titus, assure the Justices that the warnings of Leviticus are still very much in effect:
Should the Court require the States and the People to “ritualize” sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation. Holy Scripture attests that homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions violate the law of the land, and when the land is “defiled,” the people have been cast out of their homes. See Leviticus 18:22, 24-30. Although some would assert that these rules apply only to the theocracy of ancient Israel, the Apostle Peter rejects that view: “For if God ... turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:4-6. The continuing application of this Levitical prohibition is confirmed by the Book of Jude: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering 1 Kings 14:24. 41 the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Dorrie O’Brien, a leader of the Texas chapter of the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America, warned at a rally in Austin last month that Islamist extremists are implementing “stealth jihad” in America by putting Muslim holidays on calendars and teaching foreign languages in schools.
“Stealth jihad is working in about every circle of influence you can think of in the United States, like law, politics, entertainment, like in movies and books and videos, in advertising and in publishing,” O’Brien said, in remarks captured in a YouTube video of the event, which was organized by the far-right groups Overpasses for America and 2 Million Bikers to DC as part of a national anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant day of protests and which featured representatives of a number of anti-immigrant groups.
“Have you guys noticed, I mean really noticed, calendars lately, that the Islamic holy days are in all the calendars?” she asked.
O’Brien went on to tell of an incident at a high school in New York state where students protested after the Pledge of Allegiance was read in Arabic as part of a foreign language week.
She said that it was “fantastic” that the school eventually apologized, but that it “happened for the wrong reason.”
“The school was celebrating ‘world languages’ or some such thing, ‘multiculturalism’ — socialism, in other words,” she lamented. “There is a whole lot wrong with pledging to the flag in Arabic, the language of the people trying to kill us, but the schools should be celebrating English! I don’t think we should have to have a ‘celebrate world languages.’”
This led O’Brien to criticize New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio for adding two Muslim holidays to the city schools calendar, which she asserted was proof that DeBlasio is a “dhimmi” who is “paying his jizya,” a tax levied on non-Muslims.
Ted Cruz raised more than a few eyebrows last week when, barely a week into his presidential run, he proposed a radical plan to strip federal courts of the ability to decide cases involving marriage equality.
As Esquire’s Charles Pierce notes, Cruz is echoing a time-honored rallying cry of people who are losing a battle in the federal courts: “Previous attempts include trying to remove the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over cases in a number of instances, including those involving school prayer, school busing, abortion, and pornography.”
The strategy has also been used in recent memory by another prominent player in today’s marriage equality debate: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Back in 2004, shortly after Moore was removed from his first stint in the court after he defied a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, he worked with attorney Herb Titus to draft a bill that would have stripped jurisdiction over all such cases from the federal courts.
The bill, which would have barred federal courts from ruling on cases challenging officials who recognized "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," never made it out of committee, but it managed to garner 37 cosponsors in the House and five in the Senate; when it was reintroduced the next year, it was up to 50 House cosponsors and nine Senate cosponsors.
Despite the bill’s failure to make it off the ground in Congress, it was a publicity boon for Moore. One of Moore’s top financial supporters, the Christian nationalist and southern secessionist Michael Peroutka, spent $12,000 on a campaign to drum up support for the measure and accompanied Moore to at least one event touting it along with Peroutka’s 2004 campaign for president as the nominee of the Constitution Party.
As far as we know, Moore hasn’t spoken publicly about Cruz’s idea to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over marriage issues. But it seems that on this issue, they are two peas in a pod.
One of the anti-gay movement’s favorite pieces of ammunition is a 2012 study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus purporting to find that the children of gay and lesbian people are more likely to suffer negative outcomes, including drug abuse, poor school performance, and child abuse.
As soon as Regnerus’s “New Family Structures” study was released, fellow social scientists began picking apart Regnerus’s data, pointing out that barely any of the people that he interviewed had actually been raised by same-sex couples and that he failed to control for factors like family instability. Regnerus himself has acknowledged that his study didn’t actually say anything about parenting by stable same-sex couples, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-gay right from using it to bolster its case against marriage equality…and Regnerus from providing testimony in court cases against gay marriage.
This week, the Daily Texan, the newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, published documents it had obtained from an internal review of Regnerus’s study that found a series of methodological flaws to the research.
The findings were summed up by the dean of UT’s College of Liberal Arts, Randy Diehl, who noted that while the school wouldn't conduct an ethics investigation into Regnerus's work, “no policy implications about same-sex parenting should be drawn from the study”:
The post-tenure review committee met again in January of this year and was tasked by Diehl with considering only methodological problems. Based on this charge, the committee found the following, as summarized and endorsed by Diehl: “Valid methodological concerns have been raised. … A key one is this: Because the design of the study ensured that the parental same-sex relationship variable was confounded with the family structure stability variable, it is not possible to conclude that the different life outcomes between the two groups were caused by the parental relationship variable.” Diehl, citing this finding and Regnerus’ original caution that the article did not deal with same-sex marriage legal rights, agreed that “no policy implications about same-sex parenting should be drawn from the study.” But the fact is Regnerus did use those findings in court.
Specifically, UT’s review found what other critics had noted: that the Regnerus study was not about same-sex parenting, but about family instability. From Diehl’s summary:
- The design of the NFS [New Family Structures] study survey instrument guaranteed that any participant who reported that their parent participated in a same-sex romantic relationship would have also experienced some form of family instability.
-Increased likelihood of negative outcomes for children who experience family instability are well-documented within existing scholarly literature.
Nobody is arguing that it isn’t difficult to find large-scale data about children raised by same-sex parents – even Regnerus has acknowledged some of his study’s shortcomings. But the problem with the Regnerus study is that the anti-gay Right continues to insist it proves a case against marriage equality – no matter how often that interpretation is debunked.
In an interview with Dana Loesch on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz praised Indiana’s new “religious liberty” law, which goes even further than similar measures in other states to allow businesses to discriminate against customers in providing services.
Deliberately obfuscating the history of the bipartisan federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was skewed by the Supreme Court in its Hobby Lobby decision, Cruz claimed that Democrats have recently “decided that religious liberty is disposable, that it is unnecessary” and “accordingly, we have a vilification of people who are engaging in acting out their faith.”
Cruz declared that a “partisan leftist group” is now “demonizing the state of Indiana for acting to protect religious liberty there.”
Harkening back to the Pilgrims, who he said (inaccurately) wanted “a land where every one of us could seek out the Lord God Almighty free of government getting in the way,” Cruz said that “we really have gone through the proverbial looking glass that there is now a concerted effort targeting people of faith.”
Laws preventing businesses from discriminating against LGBT people in public services or requiring them to offer full health care coverage for female employees, he implied, are as much as an infringement on religious liberty as forcing a rabbi to eat pork.
“Nobody in their right mind would force a Catholic priest to perform a Protestant wedding. Likewise, nobody in their right mind would force a Jewish rabbi to perform a Christian wedding or, for that matter, to violate kosher and go consume pork,” he said. “We have long had a tradition from the beginning of this country of respecting religious liberty and accommodating and respecting the good-faith religious views of our citizens.”
“And it is only the intolerance of the current day of the far-left that views with which they disagree — the far-left is such a radical proponent of gay marriage that anyone whose faith teaches to the contrary, anyone whose faith teaches that marriage is a sacrament of one man and one woman, a holy union before God, the far-left views that religious view as unacceptable and they’re trying to use the machinery of the law to crush those religious views. And I think it is wrong, I think it is intolerant, and I think it is entirely inconsistent with who we are as a people,” he added.
At a panel discussion on abortion rights at this weekend’s Awakening conference, the topic at one point turned to how abortion rights advocates are supposedly nasty and mean while anti-choice activists are kind and compassionate to their adversaries.
This caused Vision America’s Rick Scarborough to recall the time God disrupted a protest of “radical homosexuals” from the gay rights group ACT UP when the late Jerry Falwell was speaking at his church in Texas.
Falwell, Scarborough recalled, asked him to send pitchers of ice water out to the protesters outside those church, “and those radical gays were just astounded by the kindness.”
Then, Scarborough recalled, “God got involved” and in an apparent act of solidarity with Falwell’s magnanimity drove away the “radical homosexuals” with a torrential downpour.
Falwell was speaking in our church back in the days of ACT UP. Radical homosexuals showed up, I mean the police literally stood between them and our congregation. Rev. Falwell said, ‘Rick, while I’m preaching, send your men out there with pitchers of ice water because it was a roaring July day in Texas. And so our men when out there and those radical gays were just astounded by the kindness.
And then God got involved. This is really humorous to think about and remember. But right about halfway through Dr. Falwell’s sermon, with these radical gays outside, we heard a clap of thunder and lightning…and a torrential rain fell. By the time he finished, the sun was shining, but the gays were wet and gone.
So, sometimes when we radically live the faith, God gets involved.
Rafael Cruz, the father and frequent campaign surrogate of Sen. Ted Cruz, made a stop at this weekend’s The Awakening conference in Florida to deliver a David Barton-infused American history lesson to a room full of Religious Right activists.
Echoing a theme brought up by many of the conference’s speakers, Cruz told the audience that America was inviting God’s judgment and it was up to them as conservative Christians to become politically active and bring the country back.
“Let me tell you, judgment begins in the house of God,” he said. “But also, the restoration of America begins in the house of God.”
“Let me tell you what I am hearing from the Lord,” Cruz declared. “We are going to see in America a dual revival, a parallel revival. We are going to see a spiritual revival in tandem with a political revival, both together to restore America to the greatness that our forefathers gave it.”
He added his version of America’s founding — which he has laid out a number of times before — that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution “were written by revelation from God” and are therefore divine mandates to “elect righteous leaders.”
“If the righteous are not running for office, if the righteous are not even voting, what is left?” he asked. “The wicked electing the wicked. And we get what we deserve.”
Next Monday, March 23rd, Conservative Republicans of Texas, with the support of over 100 state officials, will host a Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment Rally outside the state capitol at which Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will be the keynote speaker.
Last week, the organization's president, radical right-wing activist Steven Hotze, released a video calling for activists to "join our army to protect biblical marriage" and prevent Texas from having "to grant public approval and acceptance to homosexual activity."
"It's time for Christians and conservatives to draw a line in the sand and to rise up and take a stand for God's truth about marriage," Hotze said. "A fierce battle for the soul of Texas has begun. The liberals and their pro-homosexual allies want to force Texans to redefine marriage and to accept homosexual mirage [sic] as morally right. The idea that homosexuals could be married is a mirage. It is contrary to God's moral order. It's a counterfeit. It's a fake. It's a lie."
"The homosexuals and their supporters are using the liberal federal judges to redefine marriage against the will of the people of Texas," he continued, "which will force Texans to grant public approval and acceptance of homosexual activity. This will lead to homosexual behavior being taught to school children":