Equality For All

Perkins Responds to NIH Grant with Transphobic Rant

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins came across a story in CNSNews yesterday about a $150,000 NIH grant to George Washington University researchers who are studying “voice production and perception” among transgender people. Naturally, Perkins was outraged. In the top story of his daily email, Perkins accuses the NIH of “directing valuable resources away from treating mental illness--to enabling it in the name of political correctness.” Derisively calling transgender people “cross-dressers,” Perkins claims they “will have trouble leading ‘healthy, safe lives’ because of the emotional and physical tolls of their ‘lifestyle.”’

“The President’s priorities are as confused as some people’s gender identities,” he adds.

Taxpayers may be losing their voice in Washington, but transgenders are sure finding theirs! America may not be able to beef up defense, but apparently, it has more than enough money to fund "voice therapy" for cross-dressers. Based on the latest grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the President's priorities are as confused as some people's gender identities.

While the Obama administration claims it's too poor to staff airports or White House tours, it continues to fund projects that should have never been considered in the first place! For the next two years, the NIH is directing valuable resources away from treating mental illness--to enabling it in the name of political correctness. The long term goal of this "voice therapy," researchers explain, "is to inform and provide new directions for transgender voice care, thereby improving the lives of transgendered people who feel their voice is a great obstacle to living as their preferred gender." As part of the $152,000 program, men and women will submit speech samples for 100 listeners who will guess the sex of the speaker.  "Those male-to-female transgenders who pass as a female voice will be placed in a separate group and then compared to those who still sound like men," CNS News explains.

How is this remotely relevant to public health, you ask? Well, as far as NIH is concerned, the study will help end the "discrimination" transgenders face when "their voice does not match their preferred gender presentation." And that, researchers insist, "limits their ability to contribute to society and live healthy, safe lives." No one seems to recognize that transgenders, by their very definition, will have trouble leading "healthy, safe lives" because of the emotional and physical tolls of their "lifestyle." And no amount of taxpayer-funded speech lessons can change that.

(Emphases are mine)

PFAW Celebrates Passage of Marriage Equality Bill in Rhode Island Senate

WASHINGTON – Today the Rhode Island Senate passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry, setting the stage for Rhode Island to become the tenth state in the nation with full marriage equality.  A similar bill has already passed the State House and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has expressed his support for marriage equality in the past.

“Today marks an important step forward and a powerful victory for all Rhode Island families,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “As Rhode Island moves toward becoming the tenth state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the growing momentum for marriage equality nationwide is undeniable. Lawmakers in Rhode Island have come to see what people all over the country understand – that preventing same-sex couples from getting married brings serious harm to women and men in loving, committed relationships.”


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CWA's Crouse : Women's Rights Advocates are Waging the 'Real War on Women'

The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, an Illinois-based conservative group, convened a symposium in Washington earlier this month to discuss topics including “Defending Faith in an Age of Christophobia,” “The Pornography Industry,” and “Economic and Social Costs of Abortion.” 

At a panel titled “The ‘War on Women’: Myth or Reality?,” Concerned Women for America senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse argued that it is in fact “those who present themselves as champions of women’s rights” who “constitute a very real war on women.” This “war,” Crouse declares, began in the 1960s and has “undermined and torn apart the faith, values and morality that have held together a diverse and multicultural people.”

Why, then, do we even have to ask, ‘Is there a war on women?’ The war began as early as 1960. Since then, our nation has been experiencing a harsh cultural winter. Howling winds of change, insidious myths and outright falsehoods have undermined and torn apart the faith, values and morality that have held together a diverse and multicultural people.

These myths and those attacks, those falsehoods by those who present themselves as champions of women’s rights constitute a very real war on women. It’s a senseless war, promoting casual sex, spreading the myth that women don’t need marriage, and pushing the cultural and public policies that inevitably lead women to be the majority of those in poverty. That war against women has loosened and upended many of the foundation stones of the Judeo-Christian principles.

PFAW Joins Over 80 Ally Organizations in Calling for Support of Student Non-Discrimination Act

Today People For the American Way joined with more than eighty other national and state organizations in sending a letter to all members of Congress asking for support of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).  SNDA, which was reintroduced in the House today by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), would prohibit discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. 

As the letter notes, the need for this type of legislation is profound:

“A 2011 study of more than 8,500 LGBT middle and high school students across the US found that eight out of ten reported experiencing harassment at their school within the past year based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and three-fifths said they felt unsafe at school because of who they are. Nearly three in ten skipped at least one day of school within the previous month because of concerns for their safety. Most tragically, LGBT youth face significantly increased risks for suicide related to mental health issues that often arise from poor treatment and discrimination in schools.”

Today a Florida eighth grader named Bayli put a face on these alarming numbers, telling the Huffington Post that her friends regularly face bullying because of their sexual orientation:

“Watching it tear apart my friends is what scared me the most. It's not right, I don't like it, and I don't [like seeing] my friends going through it.”

PFAW has long spoken out on the pervasive problem of bullying, including tracking the work of right wing anti-anti-bullying activists.  With the majority of LGBT young people reporting that they do not feel safe in their own schools, the need for action only continues to grow.  Discrimination and harassment of LGBT youth has no place in our nation’s classrooms. 
 

PFAW

Schlafly Cites 'Tradition' that Sodomy Is Worse than Rape

Phyllis Schlafly wants America to get “back to basics.” And when it comes to preventing “marriage mayhem,” that means talking about sodomy, which is “a central feature of same-sex marriage.”

Specifically, it means talking about sodomy in the “Anglo American legal tradition,” from its criminalization in English common law as early as 1533 through the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Bowers v Hardwick upholding state sodomy laws.  In Schlafly’s April 15 Eagle Forum missive she admiringly quotes from Chief Justice Warren Burger’s concurrence in Bowers, in which he quotes 18th Century commentator William Blackstone to the effect that sodomy is worse than rape:

English Common Law’s opposition to sodomy goes to the bottom of the tradition’s taproot. This progenitor of American law criminalized sodomy as early as 1533. And Sir William Blackstone, the late Eighteenth Century commentator foundational to American law, was quoted by Chief Justice Warren Burger in his concurrence in the Court’s Bowers decision: “[sodomy is] ‘the infamous crime against nature,’ an offense of ‘deeper malignity’ than rape, an heinous act ‘the very nature of which is a disgrace to human nature,’ and ‘a crime not fit to be named.’”

Schlafly doesn’t say that sodomy was punishable by death in Blackstone’s time; Burger's concurrence did note that it was a capital offence under Roman law.  But all this grand history was upended, Schlafly complains, with the Supreme Court’s “anti-tradition” decision in Lawrence v Texas, which overturned state sodomy laws and upheld the privacy and sexual freedom of consenting adults.  And that, she says, has led to the marriage equality cases currently being considered by the Court. Not surprisingly, Schlafly has strong opinions on those cases:

If the pro-homosexual rights forces win, that which is natural to the human race —marriage — is destroyed, and our venerable Constitution and legal tradition are slammed by Humanistic forces wanting to reconstruct American law and society on an anti-Judeo-Christian foundation.

Of course, Schlafly has her own “traditional” views about rape.  She has repeatedly denounced the concept of marital rape, saying that “when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about.” Last year Schlafly helped rally Religious Right support for Todd Akin when his remarks about “legitimate rape” were dooming his Senate campaign. 

Corsi: ACLU Promoting Pedophilia, Leading Us Back to Paganism

Master birther Jerome Corsi visited the Janet Mefferd show last week to promote his new book Bad Samaritans, a “scorching expose” of the American Civil Liberties Union. Like with most of his work, Corsi’s analysis of the ACLU is light on the truth and heavy on the grand conspiracy theories. He tells Mefferd that the ACLU is now promoting pedophilia “as the next sexual horizon” and seeking to indict pastors with non-existent hate speech laws. All of this, Corsi argues, means that “we’re headed right back to the paganism, maybe a broader form of paganism, that was the ancient world.”

Corsi: The ACLU has championed same-sex marriage, and along with same-sex marriage advocates, got a very effective public relations campaign arguing, you know, ‘How would you deny these two men who are in love or two women the ability to be happy,’ emotional issues. But now the ACLU is doing two things. One, they’re pushing the envelope, they’re arguing that pedophilia should be accepted next, as the next sexual horizon that is just a sexual orientation, and we should accept it as natural.

Mefferd: That’s sick.

Corsi: And they’re also arguing that any of the, the clergy, silencing the Church and ministers so that anybody who speaks out on a moral issue, objecting to, say, same-sex marriage on a moral or scriptural basis from Judeo-Christian principles, that’s hate speech and the person’s committing a crime. I mean, the left is not going to be tolerant when the window is fully pushed open and anyone who objects to their agenda is going to be suspect and silenced. And the problem is that if we continue to expand, you know, if every form of human behavior, sexual behavior, that can be imagined is all accepted and legitimated, well then we’re headed  right back to the paganism, maybe a broader form of paganism, that was the ancient world, rejected by Christianity at the fall of the Roman Empire.

Mefferd: Oh, it’s exactly the case.
 

Rios: Public Schools 'Softening Children Up' for Predators

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios claimed on her radio program yesterday that the gay rights movement is encouraging the “sexualization of our children in public schools” and “softening children up with sexual information way before they’re ready for it in order to prepare them for sexual activity, for predators.”

And even closer to home, Bobby, I think the case could be made, though I’m not sure I’ve made it on this program, that the sexualization of our children in public schools through the radical homosexual movement is really just a cousin to softening children up with sexual information way before they’re ready for it in order to prepare them for sexual activity, for predators. That’s what I think is happening in our public schools.

Rios offered her theory after a conversation with Robert Lopez, a bisexual anti-gay activist, who recalled his recent trip to France to participate in anti-marriage equality protests. Marriage equality, Lopez lamented, is “a dictatorship that is being imposed on the world.”

Those of us in the United States who are very concerned about the same-sex parenting and where that’s going are not alone. I think that there are countries all over Europe and all over the world where people feel increasingly that this is a dictatorship that is being imposed on the world. And I use the word ‘dictatorship’ very consciously because, you know, they tear-gassed children and they tear-gassed politicians who were elected officials behind me while I was at the march in Paris, and it was shameful.

Craig Parshall: Marriage Equality Victories Will Lead to 'Suppression of Speech'

Craig Parshall of National Religious Broadcasters added to the torrent of right-wing doomsday prophesies about marriage equality yesterday, claiming that a Supreme Court victory for gay rights would ultimately lead to hate speech laws wielded against Christians. In an interview with his wife Janet Parshall, a talk show host with Moody Radio, he warned that “the next victim will be not just the traditional view of marriage and the health of society, but it’s going to be the free speech rights of Christians as well.”

We have a hate crimes law on the federal level now that we didn’t used to have. It’s only been in play for a few years, but I’m already seeing indications that it could migrate toward the suppression of speech. So there’s no question in my mind that if either or both of these decisions go the wrong way, the next victim will be not just the traditional view of marriage and the health of society, but it’s going to be the free speech rights of Christians as well.

He was also upset that Justice Kennedy, during the arguments on Proposition 8, had brought up the well-being of California children being raised by same-sex couples. “There are some 40,000 children in California…that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?,” Kennedy asked.

Parshall, who has previously called the children of gay and lesbian parents “victims of gay mentality,” said that in this case the views of children shouldn’t be considered. “We don’t leave it up to children to make those decisions,” he said. “Either the parents make it, or a high-level court, or society through Proposition 8 voting, has to decide those moral, societal value questions.”

(Of course, in this case, the parents are not able to make the decision to get married because they are legally barred from doing so).

The issue was, I thought, brought to a head in a very interesting, but I think wrong-headed, question by Justice Kennedy, the swing vote again, who said, ‘Well, but what about those 37,000,’ and actually, excuse me, he said, ‘the 40,000 children living in same-sex relationships in California?’ Actually, the number’s 37,000, I think he rounded it up, that’s fine. The 37,000 children. ‘What about them? They want their putative father and other significant other to be called a married couple.’ Well, number one, do they? I don’t think a survey has been made of those 37,000 children. But, number two, we don’t leave it up to children to make those decisions. Either the parents make it, or a high-level court, or society through Proposition 8 voting, has to decide those moral, societal value questions. The child doesn’t make the decision about whether marriage should be instituted for the purpose of gay parents.

Charisma to NFL Gays: Stay in the Closet!

Jennifer LeClaire, news editor of Charisma, a magazine and publishing house for Pentecostal Christians, is terrified that the gay agenda “may soon enough seep into Sunday afternoon football” and she has a message for gay NFL players: stay in the closet. Charisma’s daily email newsletter hypes her story this way:

In an age of openly gay clergy preaching the gospel, it wouldn’t be nearly as shocking to see a muscle-bound NFL pro doing a wacky dance after scoring a touchdown. But God forbid it happens.

Don't straight players ever do wacky dances? LeClaire frets about speculation that a professional football player will come out – speculation that has grown with the number of outspoken straight-but-gay-supportive players like Brendon Ayanbadejo. She insists that gay football players should stay in the closet to avoid enticing young people into a sinful lifestyle. All emphases are in the original.

Professional sports should stay out of step. If it’s not supposed to matter whether or not an NFL player is gay, then why do we need to know about his sexual orientation? The gay agenda wants us to know because it wants to shape and mold the minds of the next generation. It’s much the same as the gay superhero drama. Shining a positive spotlight on gay role models in any industry serves to validate homosexuality, which is clearly a sin.

LeClaire is worried that “CBS is reporting that a gay NFL player may soon come out of the closet, which would stir up post-season drama in more ways than one.”

When I was a kid, watching football on Sunday afternoons was a family tradition for many on my block. But as the gay agenda makes its public relations push from all sides, expect to see more gay professional athletes coming out of the closet in 2013, especially if the U.S. Supreme Court validates gay marriage at a federal level before football season begins.

In an age of openly gay clergy preaching the gospel, it wouldn’t be nearly as shocking to see a muscle-bound NFL pro doing a wacky dance after scoring a touchdown. But you can bet whoever comes out first will be the poster child for the radical gay agenda’s campaigns as they seek to make all things LGBT mainstream in a nation under God that’s divided on gay marriage.

Where will the gay agenda go next to recruit kids who are confused about their sexual identity? How should the church respond to youth who need to know who they are in Christ so they can avoid the eternal consequences of homosexual sin?

LeClaire’s message is not particularly surprising, given that she has previously warned against the perils of gay demon rape and recently denounced as anti-God “wickedness” the protection of gay people in the  Violence Against Women Act.  And it’s worth remembering that last fall Charisma publisher Steven Strang was helping Harry Jackson raise money for his not-very-successful plan to use marriage equality as a racial wedge issue against President Obama in swing states.  

What the Right Got Wrong About Marriage Equality

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch has been closely following the Right Wing’s reaction to this week’s marriage equality arguments at the Supreme Court – which ranges from awkward homophobic discussions to outright threats of revolution.

Last night, our director of communications, Drew Courtney, went on PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton to discuss the Right’s reaction to the marriage cases. Watch it here:
 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

PFAW

Rallying for Marriage Equality – Day Two

What has stood out most for me from this experience is seeing the real people behind these cases. Yesterday, I waited at the Court until attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson walked down those famous steps with the Proposition 8 plaintiffs, Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo. Today, I watched as Edie Windsor, at 83 years old, made that same walk, to loud cheers and applause and chants of “Edie! Edie!” In return, we all got a wave and a kiss blown our way.
PFAW

Garlow: Christians Will be 'Forced Underground' if Court Affirms Marriage Equality

In an interview with Janet Mefferd yesterday, pastor Jim Garlow elaborated on his theory that gay people don’t actually want to get married. In fact, Garlow told Mefferd, gay people want to “destroy marriage” and “force us to affirm an immoral behavior.”

Garlow further warned that if the Supreme Court affirms marriage equality, Christians will be “forced underground. Their buildings will be taken away from them, many of their rights will be taken away from them.”

Garlow: I think it’s important for people to realize what’s really at stake here. And I know this sounds sound strange, most of us assume naively that what homosexuals are actually for is marriage. And that is not true, at least not universally true. What they want is to destroy marriage.

I think Masha Gessen out of Australia was the most open one I’ve seen on it. She’s a homosexual activist and she just said bluntly, ‘Let’s face it, we don’t want marriage, we want the end of marriage.’ And that’s exactly what happened, of course, in European countries, where they changed the laws regarding what the definition of marriage is and people just stopped getting marriage. And you’d think marriage rates would go up. Instead, they dropped because nobody respects the institution anymore.

And that’s what the heart of this is, not only to end marriage, they’re not demanding marriage for themselves, they want us, to force us to affirm an immoral behavior.

Mefferd: That’s it. And the religious liberty issue, and I know you’ve been really big on this as well, I think more Christians need to understand the connection between advancing LGBT rights and retreating Christian rights.

Garlow: If same-sex so-called marriage is established as the law of the land, many of the people who are listening to my voice right now, not maybe immediately but at some point in the future, if they are followers of Christ, will be forced underground. Their buildings will be taken away from them, many of their rights will be taken away from them.

Stay in Hope: Remarks by Minister Leslie Watson Malachi on Marriage Equality

Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way, delivered the following remarks to those supporting marriage equality in front of the Supreme Court today.

I greet you as one who is humbled to stand before you on this day that will be like none other and say celebrate, be glad in it, and keep standing for and with Hope!

Why Hope? As the Director of African American Religious Affairs of People For the American Way, Hope tells us DOMA will not stand but like Goliath, will fall.

Hope says same gender couples, in committed relationships will be recognized and receive those 1100 plus benefits now denied by the federal government. Hope defends what is right, Hope unites people and families, Hope stands with us and for us, and Hope is the American Way!

Why Hope? As an organizer and ally since 1996, Hope kept us waiting for this historic day. Hope gave us a process and a lesson to never take lightly judicial nominations, to make sure voter registration and mobilization is a core value, to rejoice in victories in 2012 from the proclamation from the highest officer holder in this country – President Obama - to 4 states making it 9 states total passing pro-Marriage Equality laws, and that our work in the states is not done.  Hope hasn’t just strengthened those who have always believed in marriage equality. It’s brought others to reconsider their opposition and join us on the side of justice for all. Hope is why we have so many other new and welcomed allies for equality.

Why Hope? As a Christian, during this Holy Week, from our sacred text “hope that is seen is not hope”, so you have had and must hold on with unwavering confidence that help has arrived, is sitting in between the walls of the highest court of this nation, and speaking into existence freedom that will no longer be denied.

And finally, why Hope? As an African American woman, on behalf of the Equal Justice Task Force of African American Ministers In Action, Hope says the enemy is a liar when they say African Americans and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are two separate - even hostile – communities, for “no weapon shall be forged against us” and no wedge can be driven between those who know oppression, discrimination, denial of basic civil and human rights.  Hope connects the civil rights movement to the gay rights movement, the yesterday to today, the hopeful to the hopeless.

So Beloved, stay in Hope! Stay in Hope I say for if the Justices are about the business of justice, then they will speak against hate, division, intolerance, and barriers to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Stay in Hope for my sacred text tells us what “man meant for harm, God intends for good”.

In this pivotal moment in our country's history, we must stand on the side of compassion and equality rather than on the side of oppression and discrimination. And that’s why we’re all out here on the steps of the Supreme Court today.

I leave you with these words, stay in Hope because it was the late Senator Ted Kennedy who said, and prayerfully he won’t mind me playing with it a little bit, “ For all those whose dreams have been our concern (to defeat all forms of discrimination), the work goes on (we are not going to stop trying until gay and lesbian Americans across the country have full legal equality), the cause endures (freedom to be, freedom to love, just freedom), the hope still lives ( I say again hope still lives), and the dream (for all persons to marry the person they love) shall never die.”

Be encouraged! Have faith. Expand love. Know peace. And may Hope, which is never silent, always be with you!

 

 

PFAW

NOM's 'Historic' Fail

For weeks, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has been touting the “historic” March for Marriage, telling supporters “this is our time” to "change history." A month ago he wrote excitedly about a “game-changer,” a $500,000 matching gift from one of the major donors that keep NOM afloat. Brown had been inspired by a massive turnout for an anti-marriage-equality protest  in France, and hoped for something similar in Washington. But even with big donors and heavy-weight Religious Right co-sponsors, Brown and his allies couldn’t pull it off. Not even close.

In reality, NOM’s rally had a few, perhaps several, thousand attendees.  (NOM’s Thomas Peters claims 15,000, which seems, um, generous.) And every time one of the speakers tried to make the crowd feel like part of a larger movement by talking about the 200,000 people they said marched recently for one-man/one-woman marriage in Puerto Rico, or the hundreds of thousands or millions in France and Spain, or even the 585,000 who have signed the Manhattan Declaration or the half million who marched against legal abortion, it only served to highlight how few bothered to show up in Washington. According to various speakers, the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent five busloads; anti-gay state senator Ruben Diaz claimed 32 buses from New York. Brian Brown gave a shout out to some Chinese Christians from Chicago.

The ethnically diverse speakers’ list was a mix of old and new, including some familiar faces on the anti-gay circuit, such as Harry Jackson, Gary Bauer, and Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats. Harry Jackson led the crowd in a chant that he said was a prayer for the Supreme Court: “Let God arise and his enemies be scattered.” Bauer delivered a blustery message to the Republican Party that if they “bail” on marriage, he’ll lead as many people as he can out of the GOP (which may not be that much of a threat). Vander Plaats urged Supreme Court justices to look to the Founding Fathers, Billy Graham, and Pope Francis. Also speaking were Doug Mainwaring, now making the circuit as the anti-equality gay man the Religious Right loves to love; Frank Schubert, the mastermind of the dishonest Prop 8 campaign and every anti-equality campaign since then; and Jim Garlow, who made a name for himself among the Religious Right with his pro-Prop 8 organizing. Garlow insisted you cannot call yourself a Christian and support the Court’s “obliterating” what he called a “core aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Garlow should have seen the packed crowd at the morning’s pro-equality interfaith service at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.) Garlow warned Supreme Court justices that they will one day stand before “the Chief Justice of the Universe” and will be held accountable if they defy His ways.

A couple of groups sent under-30 speakers to say how wrong the media is to suggest that Millennials are a lost cause on this issue.  But facts are facts, and polls show that support for marriage equality is overwhelming among under-30 Americans: 72 percent of Millennials believe same-sex couples should be able to get legally married, including 58 percent of under-30 Republicans.

Many of the speakers were on-message to the point of being boringly redundant, repeating the message on marchers’ pre-printed signs: “Kids do best with a mom and a dad” and “Every child deserves a mom and a dad.” Sometimes this came with a strong shot of gender stereotypes: mothers provide tenderness and fathers provide protection.  Brian Brown even showed a video of the Religious Right’s newest heroine, the 11-year old who testified against marriage equality in Minnesota and asked which of her parents she did not need, her mother or father. Perhaps someone could explain that no same-sex couples seeking to get married have any desire to force her to get rid of either parent.

NOM’s backers for the marriage march included the far-far-right-wing Catholic group Tradition, Family & Property, with its scarlet banners, capes, and marching band (see Adele Stan’s reminder who TFP is), Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, a couple of Catholic dioceses, the Knights of Columbus and the Institute on Religion and Democracy.  Brown gave special thanks to the Mormon-run GFC Foundation for providing grants for buses.

 

Rallying for Marriage Equality – Now

“What do we want?  Equality!  When do we want it? Now!”

This morning PFAW staff and members joined a crowd of thousands gathered in front of the Supreme Court to chant, march, and speak out in support of marriage equality.  As Supreme Court Justices heard the first round of oral arguments on the marriage cases before them this term, multitudes of supporters gathered on the Court steps to share a simple message: our country is ready for marriage equality.

Today, the Court heard arguments on California’s anti-gay Proposition 8. Tomorrow, it will be considering the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the weeks leading up to today, we have been asking friends of PFAW to share why dumping DOMA is important to them.  As I stood out at the rally this morning, I thought about all of the people who had been brave enough to share their story with us – and what this day meant to each of them.

For Bishop Allyson Abrams, a member of PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action, it’s time to dump DOMA “because it hurts and humiliates those who know love and who practice showing it each and every day.”  For Sam Paltrow, member of affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young People For Program, DOMA has to go because it “teaches that gay families do not matter,” and for Young People For member Erik Lampmann, it’s an “issue of economic justice.”  Missoula City Councilmember Cailtin Copple, member of affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network, “would like the chance to marry the person [she] loves someday.” 

While each person at the Supreme Court rally today – and those at the marriage rallies in all 50 states across the country – had a different reason for being there, we had a common goal:  Equality.  Now.

PFAW

Starnes and Rios: Gay Rights Opponents 'Second-Class Citizens,' Face 'Punishment' and 'Persecution'

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes joined Sandy Rios on American Family Radio yesterday to discuss the marriage equality cases being argued at the Supreme Court this week. The two took a grim view of the proceedings: Starnes lamented that opponents of gay rights have become “second-class” citizens and Rios warned that a Supreme Court marriage equality victory would lead to “tremendous punishment” for anti-gay activists.

“We are in for persecution like we have never seen,” she said, to which Starnes replied, “Well, it’s already started.”

Starnes: People are, people are very concerned about, about culture and about values and where things are going in this country. What concerns me, though, Sandy, is the vitriol coming from those who support gay marriage. You know, I’m the kind of person that is more than happy to sit down and talk and debate and listen to what people have to say. I may not agree with it, but at least, you know, it’s their right to have their opinion under our Constitution.

And yet, there seems to be this opinion on the other side that says, you know what, you and I don’t deserve the same rights. You know, it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage, or perhaps we are pro-life, and that means we’re somehow second-class citizens who don’t deserve to be in the public marketplace of ideas.

Rios: Absolutely. In fact, it’ll be worse than that. You know there’s going to be punishment. There will be tremendous punishment. If gay marriage is embraced by the country, if the Supreme Court goes south this week in its hearings, we are in for – of course, we’re not going to hear about it until June – but we are in for persecution like we have never seen it.

Starnes: Well, it’s already started.
 

Equal Protection or "Social Tradition": The Supreme Court's Test in the Marriage Cases

The Supreme Court hears two cases this week that could determine the future of marriage equality in America.

NOM's Brown Invokes Lincoln on Federal Marriage Amendment: 'We Cannot Be…Half Slave, Half Free'

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown joined Steve Deace on Friday to discuss the marriage equality cases being argued this week at the Supreme Court. If the Court rules broadly in favor of equality, Brown said, NOM would turn its focus toward advocating for a Federal Marriage Amendment banning marriage equality throughout the country. Responding to conservatives who are concerned about the Federal Marriage Amendment’s infringement on states’ rights, Brown invoked Abraham Lincoln: “We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution.”

I think we’re going to win these cases. But say the worst happens and we lose in a broad way – that means that the Court somehow does a Roe, a Roe v. Wade, on marriage and says that all these state constitutional amendments are overturned, gay marriage is now a constitutional right – well, we’re going to press forward on a Federal Marriage Amendment. We’ve always supported a Federal Marriage Amendment, and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people try and argue, ‘Well, this is against federalism.’ No, our founders gave us a system where we can amend the Constitution. We shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have to worry about activist judges, you know, making up out of thin air a constitutional right that obviously none of our founders found there and no one found there until quite recently. But if we do, for us, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a way that people can stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free. We can’t have a country on key moral questions where we’re just, where we don’t have a solution. And if the Court forces a solution, the way we’ll amend that is through  the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Ex-Gay Activist: Homosexuality 'Shameful' Like Theft and Drug Abuse

Ex-gay activist Michael Brown was very excited to get a call on his “Line of Fire” radio program last week from an “ex-gay” woman named Margaret. Margaret cried as she told Brown how she had been “caught up” in “wicked” bisexuality. “This is the first time I’ve ever, ever admitted it,” she said, “because it’s a shameful thing.”

Brown responded that “it should be shameful” because “certain lifestyles are shameful. I’m ashamed of the fact I stole money from my father and shot heroin before I was saved.”

Brown: Margaret, how long were you caught up in bisexuality?

Caller: I hate to say it because it makes me want to cry, but it was at least since I was a little girl. I hate to say that, and it’s a horrible thing. And it’s not…

Brown: I understand, but these things can be deeply rooted in people’s lives and that’s why it takes God reaching down deep to change them.

Caller: It is.

Brown: By the way, the only reason I’ve used the term ‘gay’ is because I’m often speaking to the world and secular society and trying to reach out and build a certain bridge. But, absolutely, I’m very sympathetic to what you’re saying. And I have many of my friends doing the same thing I do who will never use the word because they feel it is a capitulation already, so I recognize that, and you make a good point with it. Margaret, thank God for his grace in your life, thank God for his transformation. And remember, you’re not who you used to be, don’t ever be plagued by that, you’re forgiven and free and a new creature in Jesus, so live that out and continue to testify strongly. Your voice is needed on the frontlines, Margaret. Thank you for calling.

Caller: Actually, this is the first time I’ve ever, ever admitted it because it’s a shameful thing.

Brown: I understand, I understand, and it should be shameful. What that means is not that if someone’s struggling they can’t come for help. The Church needs to be able to say, ‘Whoever you are, whatever your background, however your struggle, we’re all messed up in one way or another, we all need Jesus.’ We need to have an open door where people can come and say, ‘Hey, these are my issues.’ But of course, certain lifestyles are shameful. I’m ashamed of the fact I stole money from my father and shot heroin before I was saved.

Earlier in the program, Brown spoke with Arthur Goldberg of the ex-gay therapy group JONAH about suicide among LGBT teens. Goldberg asserted that claims that ex-gay therapy harms teens “are greatly, greatly, greatly exaggerated” and that, in fact, “gay activists have a much greater suicide rate.”

Brown responded that gay rights activists, when they mention suicide by gay teens, are “almost encouraging it.” He compared suicide by LGBT teens to his hazy memory of the civil rights movement, when “I don’t remember ever hearing” about “black kids killing themselves, hanging themselves because they’re rejected by society.” In the 19th and early 20th centuries, he adds, “you didn’t hear about all the Jewish youth in the ghettos who were going to kill themselves because life was tough.”

Goldberg: You mention that the activists will say, ‘Oh well, people may have committed suicide that have gone through this process or have been harmed by this process.’ Well the fact of the matter is, the person who, the gay activists have a much greater suicide rate..

Brown: Of course.

Goldberg:…than the people who have tried to go through a healing journey. And, in terms of harm caused, the fact of the matter is if you look at the NARTH study, which reviewed all the professional literature on whether harm is caused or not, the truth is that reparative therapy, gender affirmation, whatever word you want to use for it, sexual orientation change, there’s a ton of different words for it, the fact is that people, the claims of harm are greatly, greatly, greatly exaggerated.

Brown: Yeah, and Arthur, we’ve just got about a minute and a half, I appreciate you pulling away from your other responsibilities to join me. But you were involved with civil rights movement years ago. Did the leaders say, ‘Look, our kids, our black kids are killing themselves, hanging themselves because they’re being rejected by society, so you’d better accept them’? Because I don’t remember ever hearing that as I was growing up. And not only so, we understand that suicide has a lot of other complex issues, that you’re average person struggling with rejection is not going to commit suicide. It seems to me almost a self-defeating thing for gay activists to keep mentioning this, as if it’s almost encouraging it. It seems very different from the civil rights mentality to me.

Goldberg: Totally, totally. And you know, they use this term of ‘internalized homophobia’ and they use these terms of saying that, ‘Oh, we’re the poor victims.’ You know, the fact of the matter is, I’m a Jew. Okay, we were heavily discriminated against as Jews, particularly early in this century and last century. You don’t see the Jews complaining about, ‘I’m a poor victim.’ They went out and did something on their own in the true American dream, and followed the American dream by being out, get out there and do what it takes to overcome.

Brown: Absolutely, and you didn’t hear about all the Jewish youth in the ghettos who were going to kill themselves because life was tough. They were among the strongest freedom fighters. So, Arthur, I’m not criticizing these kids who are struggling, I’m saying let’s help them, that they’re really hurting.

Goldberg: Absolutely. Our compassion and our heart goes out to these people who need help.
 

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