Equality For All

Perkins: SCOTUS Gave Gays Benefits Meant for 'Real Spouses'

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has already called the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act “absurd,” and warned that it presents “a clear and present danger to the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion in our country” and pushes America further down the road to becoming Sodom and Gomorrah.

In a member email today, Perkins elaborates on his outrage, claiming that the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision means “the landscape has been fundamentally altered in a society where the rule of law is slowly unraveling.” In guaranteeing that legally married same-sex couples are treated as married by the federal government, Perkins writes, the Supreme Court requires the government to provide benefits to married gay couples that “until yesterday, were reserved for real spouses.”

And, of course, Perkins added that we are on our way to legalized polygamy, which he claims is a part of the liberal “agenda.”

That said, the landscape has been fundamentally altered in a society where the rule of law is slowly unraveling. Twelve states can now force taxpayers to supply more than 1,100 benefits which, until yesterday, were reserved for real spouses. And both the court and rogue leaders like Jerry Brown have, in the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, "declared open season on any law that... can be characterized as mean-spirited." In a nation where our own President feels no obligation to defend the law, it's no wonder the Human Rights Campaign thinks it can impose same-sex "marriage" on every state in five years.

When the Left fell short of their goals yesterday, it gave our movement the most valuable commodity of all: time to persuade the country of the consequences. But it also meant that the waves of attack will keep coming -- stronger and more vicious than ever before. Emboldened by Justice Anthony Kennedy's sharp rebuke of our side, liberals aren't even bothering to hide the rest of their agenda. Polygamists popped the corked on a little champagne of their own after Wednesday's rulings, as they wait their turn for nationwide acceptance.

Dumping DOMA: The Next Step

PFAW is a strong supporter of the Respect for Marriage Coalition and applauds Representative Nadler, Senator Feinstein, and their 200 bipartisan cosponsors for taking swift action to dump DOMA.
PFAW

LaBarbera Reacts to DOMA Ruling: 'Craven' Kennedy 'Sold out Almighty God for a Place in the Gay Hall of Fame'

Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality apparently had to spend quite some time stewing over the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, finally coming out today with a press release slamming the decision. The high court’s decision, LaBarbera writes, “continues America’s godless trajectory toward sexual and gender chaos” and helps to make us “a Profane Nation at war with our own heritage.”

He saves his special vitriol for Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the DOMA opinion, whom he predicts “will go down in history as one more craven elitist who sold out Almighty God for a place in the Gay Hall of Fame.”

Yesterday’s decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and effectively invalidating Californians’ vote to preserve marriage as between a man and a woman — continues America’s godless trajectory toward sexual and gender chaos.  We have become a Profane Nation at war with our own heritage and the Judeo-Christian moral values that helped make us great.

Healthy societies discriminate against sexually immoral behavior: homosexuality, sex outside marriage, pornography, incest, etc. This benefits children and adults by using the law to reinforce stable moral boundaries and steer citizens away from destructive (sinful) behaviors. So it was stunning to read the majority decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy – a Reagan appointee – overturning DOMA’s pro-natural-marriage provision in the name of the children.

Kennedy surely has earned his future laudatory obit in the New York Times for capitulating to “gay” activist ideology — but among clear-thinking Americans who still know right from wrong he will go down in history as one more craven elitist who sold out Almighty God for a place in the Gay Hall of Fame.

The Kennedy majority’s legal insanity is what emerges from an Isaiah 5:20 culture (evil is good and good evil) that puts deviant sexual identities on a pedestal, to be celebrated as protected “civil rights.” The LGBT Pandora’s Box has been flung open, and there will be much more folly and destruction to follow — including the public policy madness of establishing “gender identity” (read: extreme gender confusion) as a parallel “civil right.”

At least the Supreme Court did not create a national “right” to homosexual “marriage.” But we must be vigilant, as future LGBT litigation, coupled with the appalling self-righteousness of Kennedy’s liberal court majority, will combine to make this the next goal of the judicial supremacists.

LaBarbera also discussed the DOMA decision on VCY America’s Crosstalk yesterday. He attacked President Obama’s statement praising the Supreme Court’s decision, calling it an example of “radical egalitarianism,” and warned that marriage equality will now be “foisted” upon children which is “not good for their hearts and souls.”

The other thing that strikes me, Jim, is the radical egalitarianism of that statement. You know, this idea of homosexual love, homosexual unions are equal to marital unions, it’s not all equal. A marriage between a man and a woman produces children, it’s the very foundation of human civilization. And the idea that two men or two women is somehow ‘equal’ to that is a liberal falsehood. And I’m worried that it’s going to be foisted by necessity now upon children, especially in the states that have so-called homosexual marriage, they will be taught that same-sex so-called marriage is equal to the real thing, and that’s not good for their hearts and souls.
 

LaBarbera: Homosexuality a 'Masculinity Deficit,' a 'Weird Sin'

Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality visited the Janet Mefferd show on Tuesday to discuss “ex-gay” ministry Exodus International’s decision to shut its doors and apologize to the gay community. LaBarbera, unsurprisingly, was none too pleased with Exodus’ reversal. He told Mefferd the story of an “ex-gay” acquaintance, Andrew Franklin, who helped him understand that homosexuality is merely a curable “masculinity deficit.”  He added that people react to homosexuality differently than other “sins” because it “is just a weird sin, so it’s different.”

LaBarbera: The Lord worked in his life, he’s acquiring, you know, masculinity. I think the issue that really hit me, Janet, was, this is really, homosexuality is a masculinity deficit. It’s an issue of masculinity for these guys.

Mefferd: Interesting. And yet, you hear from the other side all the time that people like Andrew Franklin don’t exist. I mean, Wayne Besen has made a whole career on the ex-gay movement as, you know, a misnomer, it doesn’t exist and it’s a big lie.

LaBarbera: Well, they exist. And God is working in their lives just as God works in the lives of all of us, helps us overcome our sin. And I think this is just a weird sin, so it’s different. And that’s why I think people, they want to cop out and say, ‘Oh, they’re born gay, just leave them alone.’
 

In 2016, Remember This Week at the Supreme Court

It's been a week of mixed emotions for those of us who care about civil rights. There was the elation today when the Supreme Court overturned the so-called Defense of Marriage Act -- the discriminatory law that has hurt so many Americans in its nearly 17 years of existence -- and let marriage equality return to California. There was the anger when the Court twisted the law to make it harder for workers and consumers to take on big corporations. And there was the disbelief and outrage when the Court declared that a key part of the Voting Rights Act that was so important and had worked so well was now somehow no longer constitutional.

But throughout the week, I have been reminded of one thing: how grateful I am that Mitt Romney will not be picking the next Supreme Court justice.

It remains true that this Supreme Court is one of the most right-leaning in American history. The majority's head-in-the-sand decision on the Voting Rights Act -- declaring that the VRA isn't needed anymore because it's working so well -- was a stark reminder of why we need to elect presidents who will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand both the text and history of the Constitution and the way it affects real people's lives.

We were reminded of this again today when all the conservative justices except for Anthony Kennedy stood behind the clearly unconstitutional DOMA. Justice Antonin Scalia -- no stranger to anti-gay rhetoric -- wrote an apoplectic rant of a dissent denying the Court's clear role in preserving equal protection. If there had been one more far-right justice on the court, Scalia's dissent could have been the majority opinion.

Just think of how different this week would have been if Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were not on the court and if John McCain had picked two justices instead. We almost certainly wouldn't have a strong affirmation of LGBT equality. Efforts to strip people of color of their voting rights would likely have stood with fewer justices in dissent. And the rights of workers and consumers could be in even greater peril.

As the Republican party moves further and further to the right, it is trying to take the courts with it. This week, we saw what that means in practice. As we move forward to urge Congress to fix the Voting Rights Act and reinforce protections for workers and consumers, and work to make sure that marriage equality is recognized in all states, we must always remember the courts. Elections have real consequences. These Supreme Court decisions had less to do with evolving legal theory than with who appointed the justices. Whether historically good or disastrous, all these decisions were decided by just one vote. In 2016, let's not forget what happened this week.

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

PFAW

Supreme Court Dumps PART of DOMA

The Supreme Court today ruled that the core section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. DOMA’s Section 3, which the Court vacated, prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in the states, thereby hitting legally married gay and lesbian couples with extra taxes and depriving them of a slew of federal protections.

People For the American Way Foundation president Michael Keegan said of the Supreme Court’s ruling: “Today’s  DOMA ruling is a profound step forward for loving, committed same-sex couples across the country. The decision is premised on the plain fact that there is no good reason for the government to recognize some legally married couples while discriminating against others.”

PFAW launched a campaign to “Dump DOMA” in 2008. Since then, our petition calling on Congress to repeal the discriminatory law  has gathered 230,000 signatures.

But the effort to overturn DOMA is not over. While Section 3 was the law’s most damaging provision, DOMA’s Section 2, which says that states don’t have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, still stands. We will continue to work to overturn the remainder of DOMA and ensure that all gay and lesbian Americans have the right to marriage, no matter which state they make their home.

While our work continues, today’s decision represents a historic turning point for equality.  DOMA will no longer tear apart binational couples. It will no longer impose a “gay tax” on legally married same-sex couples. It will no longer deny benefits to same-sex spouses of federal employees. It will no longer deny gay and lesbian veterans benefits for their spouses.

The story of Edith Windsor, the plaintiff who brought DOMA to the Supreme Court, and Thea Spyer, her late wife and partner of 40 years, illustrates what this decision will mean to so many Americans:
 

PFAW

DOMA Decision Slices Right Wing Talking Point on Referendums

Today's opinion shatters the ridiculous right-wing line that marriage equality laws are illegitimate without a referendum.
PFAW Foundation

PFAW Foundation Applauds Wins at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court's rulings in the marriage cases mark an important victory for all Americans who value the principle of equal justice under law.

HUD Report Documents Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples

A new report released this week by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the first-ever national study documenting discrimination against same-sex couples in the private rental market.
PFAW

Delaware Passes Historic Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill

Last Tuesday Delaware Governor Jack Markell wrote that in his state, it is high time “our laws reflect our values.”  The bill in question was the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act of 2013, which adds gender identity to the state’s hate crime prevention and non-discrimination laws.  As Gov. Markell pointed out,

“Under our State's laws, it is currently legal to fire someone, deny them housing, or throw them out of a restaurant simply because they are transgender. This is simply not the Delaware way…”

And it’s not the American way. With bipartisan support in the state House and Senate, the bill passed the Delaware legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Markell Wednesday evening, making Delaware the 17th state with an employment non-discrimination law covering gender identity in addition to sexual orientation.

This is a profound victory for transgender Delawareans like Jay Campbell, who has so far felt unable to come out in his workplace. Campbell told the News Journal of Wilmington earlier this month,

“Without basic protection from discrimination, I can’t afford to tell my employer. I can’t obtain health coverage for the fear I’ll be outed and fired.”

Campbell shares this concern with other transgender – as well as lesbian, gay, and bisexual – people across the country.  In the majority of U.S. states, it remains legal to fire someone for being LGBT. This means that far too many people find themselves forced to choose between risking their livelihoods and undertaking the painful work of hiding who they are, day after day.

Today’s victory in Delaware underscores the need for employment protections for LGBT workers in every state through the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.  This common-sense solution would help ensure that employees like Campbell are judged by how well they do their job, not by who they are or who they love.

PFAW

Anti-Bullying Protections Headed to Senate Floor

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to bring the bill to the floor but has not released a date. People for the American Way will continue to monitor ESEA’s progress and the anti-bullying provisions it contains.
PFAW

Tell Congress: Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is a very basic, commonsense measure that would protect LGBT Americans against the very real discrimination many of them face in the workplace -- one that the public overwhelmingly supports.

Corsi Warns Gay Rights Will Lead to Legalization of Snuff Films, End of Freedom

In a speech recently posted online, prolific conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi claims that the gay rights movement will ultimately lead to the legalization of pedophilia, bestiality and “snuff films” in which you “kill a few people because it’s sexually exciting.”

“If sex becomes disassociated from a biblical purpose, than all the abuses we saw in paganism are about to return,” Corsi warns, adding that if the country “proceeds down this path…there will no longer be any basis for freedom in the United States.”

Porter: Boy Scouts Letting 'Confused Children Who Are Sexually Attracted to Other Boys Go Camping With Your Son'

In recent remarks posted on YouTube by right-wing activist Cliff Kincaid, Faith2Action’s Janet Porter gave her take on the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to allow openly gay scouts while continuing to bar openly gay troop leaders.

The Boy Scouts’ decision, Porter said, means “the last secular organization has capitulated to the homosexual agenda.”

“While they’re keeping out the homosexual predator scoutmasters,” she said, “they’re allowing these confused children who are sexually attracted to other boys to go camping with your son in the same tent.”

This, she added, would be just like the Girl Scouts opening up camping trips to boys.

For LGBT Seniors Fighting DOMA is About Economic Survival

For the elderly, the fight against DOMA often isn’t only a question of receiving federal recognition for a marriage – it’s also a question of basic economic survival.
PFAW

Delaware Senate Passes Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill

Yesterday afternoon the Delaware Senate passed a historic civil rights bill adding gender identity to the state’s hate crime prevention and non-discrimination laws.  Despite damaging lies about transgender Americans pushed by organizations like Focus on the Family and the Delaware Family Policy Council, the state Senate approved the bill in an 11-7 vote.

Sarah McBride of Equality Delaware said,

“The Senate vote today inspired a lot of hope in me and I’m sure that’s true for many other transgender people across Delaware. It was inspiring to see a majority of the Senators stand up for a group that has seen disproportionate levels of discrimination and violence.”

If enacted, Delaware will become the 17th state with an employment non-discrimination law that covers gender identity in addition to sexual orientation. 
 

PFAW

FRC Doubles Down on Blaming DADT Repeal for Military Sexual Assaults

In his daily email to members yesterday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins doubled down on his totally unfounded claim that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to a spike in sexual assaults in the military.

Perkins writes that “most” servicemembers have become “victims -- not just of assault, but of this new sexually-charged environment,” adding, absurdly, that when Congress repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell it “made sexual attraction a qualification for military service -- on par with academic performance, community service, physical fitness, or moral standing.”

We’ll repeat: a study one year after the policy was repealed found that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly has had no negative effect on the military.

It must have taken a lot of restraint for America's top military leaders to sit through yesterday's Senate hearing on sexual assault and never say the one thing on everyone's minds: "We told you so." A little over two years ago, the same Senate ignored the warnings of many of the men assembled Tuesday and charged ahead with its repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" against the military's advice. Now, a year and half into this post-DADT era, these Senators demand to know why sexual attacks are through the roof.

Isn't it obvious? The Pentagon downplayed the effects of open homosexuality when it was implemented in 2011 -- something it will have a tough time doing now, with the rate of male-on-male assaults at a record high. While the media rightly highlights the female victims, the Pentagon's 1,400-page report explains that service men are just as affected -- if not more so. According to the Defense Department's own numbers, military men suffered 2,000 more sexual attacks than their female counterparts in 2012, the first full year that open homosexuality was tolerated. All together, "unwanted sexual conduct" climbed to 26,000 cases (up from 19,000 in 2010) -- a 37% spike in two years. And some believe that's a low estimate -- in part because men are so reluctant to report abuse, especially from other men.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said a "focus" of the assault office "is specifically geared toward male survivors and will include why male survivors report at much lower rates than female survivors..." Unfortunately, most are victims -- not just of assault, but of this new sexually-charged environment. And while the military could certainly do a better job of cracking down on abuse, lawmakers are blasting service chiefs for a problem that, in many ways, they helped create! Senators like Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), for example, led the charge to overturn DADT -- and then spent yesterday's hearing complaining about the result.

Of course, the liberal members of the Armed Services Committee were careful to dance around the same-sex assault issue, but there's no mistaking the elephant in the room. The White House has spent Barack Obama's entire presidency sexualizing the military, beginning with the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that when Congress made sexual attraction a qualification for military service -- on par with academic performance, community service, physical fitness, or moral standing -- it radically altered America's fighting force.

New Report Sheds Light on Inequalities Suffered by LGBT Workers

Our society is one which remains afflicted by institutionalized discrimination. Although most Americans believe protections already exist, it is still perfectly legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual in 29 states, and for being transgender in 34.

Indeed, a new report released Tuesday by the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, and others provides a comprehensive synthesis of the wealth of evidence documenting the inequalities faced by LGBT workers. Titled “A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers,” the report presents extensive documentation of bias in the recruitment process, of hostile work environments, of persistent wage disparities as compared to non-LGBT employees, and of dramatically reduced access to health insurance, family and medical leave, retirement benefits, and disability and survivor benefits – despite paying higher taxes due to the inability of LGBT households to file jointly.

The impact on families is devastating. According to the report, inequality when looking for jobs, inequality on the job, and inequality in benefits received from jobs combine to make LGBT parents twice as likely to live near the poverty line when compared to non-LGBT counterparts.

Left to right, seated at panel: Bill Hendrix, Nicole G. Berner, Dorian Warren,Sam Hall, Mia Macy, T.J. Maloney. Photo of release event at Center for American Progress.

While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently found that existing Title VII law covers gender identity, courts are not required to give any deference to its legal interpretations, so legislation is required. Such a bill to guarantee much-needed federal employment protections for LGBT people was recently introduced in the 113th Congress. Known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the bill has been introduced in nearly every Congressional session since 1994, and the fight for basic workplace equality continues to the present day.

Further, corporate America knows that ENDA is good for business. As Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said Tuesday morning at the release event for the report,

“When we asked employers about this, many of them said, ‘well, isn’t it already illegal’? … In our Fortune 500 companies, over 400 have policies addressing LGBT discrimination, and well over half have addressed gender identity. In the 21 state laboratories in which this has been implemented, there has been no concern over [costs to business caused by] additional lawsuits … they are a small percentage of all lawsuits to do with gender, religion, and race. This is a non-issue.”

Passing ENDA, then, would not only help alleviate discrimination faced by LGBT workers, but would also help businesses attract the best qualified employees possible. As Bill Hendrix from Dow Chemical said at the event,

“It’s hard enough already to find good people to fill jobs. Why would you begin by excluding parts of the population?”

PFAW

Student Non-Discrimination Act Sorely Needed in Our Nation’s Schools

“I stopped going to school four months before graduation because I couldn’t handle the bullying anymore. I will not get to attend my senior prom, and…throw my graduation cap in the air.”

Harassment and bullying in schools are widely understood to be pervasive nationwide problems.  But as the above quote from an LGBT student highlights, for LGBT young people the situation can be especially severe.  Yesterday the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in public schools, was both reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and included in Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) proposed education bill updating the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 

Studies show that this kind of legislation is sorely needed. The most recent Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network National School Climate Survey found that in the past year alone, more than eight in ten LGBT students had been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation and more than six in ten because of their gender expression.  The majority of students who were harassed did not report it to school staff, believing that nothing would happen if they did – or that the situation could get even worse. 

As one student shared,

“Bullying in our school is mostly verbal, but it hurts just as much as any physical pain… Teachers rarely do anything about it.”

Those who were harassed frequently had lower GPAs and were less likely to say they planned to go on to college or other post-secondary education.  Many LGBT students reported missing class because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, with nearly one in three LGBT students missing at least one full school day in the past month.

When harassment at school is associated with missed classes, lowered grades, shifted educational ambitions, or even depression, it can have long term implications for the wellbeing of LGBT youth.  No student should face this kind of hostility at school because of who they are or who others perceive them to be.

PFAW

American Family Association: Gay-Accepting Straights Inviting 'Devastation Wrought by God's Wrath'

In last month’s American Family Association magazine, Ed Vitagliano lamented that gay people might not want to be friends with Christians who are opposed to marriage equality. Vitagliano is probably not boosting his chances of making gay friends with his article in June’s AFA Journal, a two-page spread with “Sodom” plastered across the top.

The thrust of the article is that “embracing homosexuality is a sign of deep spiritual sickness” in a culture.  America, he writes, is on the verge of suppressing the truth about God’s plan and the duality of gender. “A downward death spiral results from such suppression,” he warns.

The homosexual movement has had such great success because Americans have become arrogantly self-indulgent and idolatrous. Straight America has embraced homosexuality because straight Americans first embraced the sexual revolution for the satisfaction of their own perverse sexual appetites.

Judgment came to Sodom because violent homosexuality was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. As a prevalent sin, however, it was the manifestation of an underlying wickedness that permeated the entire culture – a wickedness that was not limited to the homosexual.

Thus homosexuality often becomes the barometer of a culture rotting out from the inside. If the problem were only homosexuality, then the simple act of pushing it back into the closet  (if that were possible) would be enough to forestall judgment.

But what Ezekiel 16 teaches us is this: By the time a culture accepts idolatry, abortion and homosexuality, it is already ripe for the devastation wrought by God’s wrath.

Whether they live in a decidedly pagan culture or one, like America, that is an admixture, Christians are called to be salt and light.

Standing against the unrighteousness permeating our society might not be the easy thing to do, but it’s a whole lot easier than running from the fire and brimstone that inevitably follow.

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