Equality For All

Dolores Huerta: My Message to the National Organization for Marriage


By Dolores Huerta

I am a proud Latina and a proud supporter of LGBT rights.

The National Organization for Marriage seems to think I can’t be both.
In a 2009 strategy document that was made public last month, NOM outlines a “wedge” strategy to drive black and Latino Americans away from supporting gay rights. About Latinos, NOM writes, “Will the process of assimilation to the dominant Anglo culture lead Hispanics to abandon traditional family values? We can interrupt this process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity.”

There are many great values that can be put forward as “key badges of Latino identity.” Opposition to gay rights should not be one of them. In fact, if NOM wants to keep Latinos from embracing LGBT equality, they’re already falling behind. A poll late last year found that a majority of Latinos – like a majority of all Americans – support legal recognition of same-sex unions. Opposition to LGBT rights is no more a hallmark of Latino culture than it is of American culture as a whole.

This is the deep cynicism of NOM and other groups that devote themselves to stopping equality for gay and lesbian Americans. They will attempt to exploit and inflame existing prejudices and fears in order to reach the ends they desire. They forget that the people they attempt to exploit have our own thoughts, opinions and experiences. We have our own relationships with God. We have gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends and family members. And we know when we’re being used. Nom should learn what Latinos live by, the words of the great Mexican President Benito Juarez, “Respecting the rights of others is Peace.”

NOM’s attempt to stir up mutual resentment between African Americans, Latinos and the gay community echoes some of the most destructive politics of our past. That they are resorting to this kind of dangerous and divisive tactic shows just how desperate the anti-gay movement has become.

NOM’s mistake is to think that our cultural identity is a definition of who we are not and whom we are against. But of course, our identities are definitions of who we are and what we love. Latinos across America are embracing equal rights for our gay and lesbian friends and family. Those of us who support LGBT equality haven’t abandoned our Latino identity. We’re embracing the values that define who we are as individuals, as Latinos and as Americans.

Dolores Huerta is a member of the board of People For the American Way.


Family Research Council Defends Anti-Transgender Workplace Bias

A veteran who transitioned from male to female filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that she faced sex and gender discrimination after being denied a job by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The EEOC decided this week to let the complaint to proceed, and naturally, the Family Research Council is upset about the commission’s ruling on the case, and senior fellow Peter Sprigg in an interview with the Associated Press defended discriminatory employment practices targeting potential transgender employees:

Mia Macy, an Army veteran and former police detective, initially applied for the position as a man and was told that she was qualified for the job as a ballistics technician. Then she informed the contractor that she was changing her gender. After that, she was told funding for the job was cut. She later learned someone else was hired for the position.

The ruling does not yet determine that she was discriminated against, but that she can bring a charge of discrimination under the law.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Washington-based Family Research Council, said the EEOC's decision is misinterpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

"Those who are discriminated against because they are transgender are not discriminated because they are male or female, it is because they are pretending to be the opposite of what they really are, which is quite a different matter," he said.

UPDATE: Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel tweeted that the EEOC’s decision represents “tyranny” and “homofascism.”

Ryan Sorba Calls Homosexuality a Hobby

During the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” right-wing activist Ryan Sorba said that homosexuality is a hobby akin to playing basketball and surfing, as part of his argument that conservatives should “stop using the word gay” since it may lead people to believe that “they’re born gay.” In fact, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber kindly provided us the headline for this post!


Sorba: The other issue is, a lot of people lose their confidence when they talk about this issue, because the other side is so good at putting you into a corner with their terms, which is why this panel is so important, because he who defines the terms controls the debate. Stop using the word gay, because implicit in the notion of a gay identity is the fact that they’re born gay and that it should be a fundamental human right, but fundamental human rights are based on human nature not on capricious desires. If fundamental human rights are based on capricious desires, guess what, we’d have every group on this planet with a different hobby arguing for fundamental rights and benefits based on the fact that they play hockey, based on the fact that they play basketball or surf, or anything that they’re interested in.

Barber: Did you catch that, Brian? I can see the Right Wing Watch headline now, ‘Sorba Calls Homosexuality a Hobby.’ I just gave it to you, go ahead and use that.

PFAW Report: The Anti-Gay Lobby’s Pro-Bullying Agenda

As students around the country participated Friday’s “Day of Silence” to show solidarity with bullied LGBT children and teens, anti-gay activists continued to step up their efforts to prevent schools from protecting bullied students.

A new report from People For the American Way details the efforts of right-wing activists and organizations to prevent school districts from implementing strong anti-bullying policies that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived students.

The full report can be found online at: http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/updated-big-bullies-right-wings-anti-anti-bullying-strategies

“It’s no secret that anti-gay bullying is a growing problem in our schools,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Yet anti-gay activists are determined to keep parents, teachers and administrators from confronting the problem.

“It's almost unbelievable that there are organizations dedicated to opposing anti-bullying programs, but they're out there and stronger than ever. These groups are so determined to fight every step of progress for LGBT rights that they’re willing to hurt children and teens in the process. That’s just shameful.”

The new report supplements a PFAW investigation released last year, updating it with the latest activities of the anti-anti-bullying movement, including:

  • The Tennessee legislature moved forward on a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would prohibit teachers from discussing homosexuality.
  • Anti-gay groups fought anti-bullying measures in states across the country, including Arizona, Minnesota and West Virginia.
  • Prominent Religious Right groups rallied against the Day of Silence: the Family Research Council called it “a cover for the promotion of homosexuality,” the American Family Association accused it of “hijacking of the classroom for political purposes,” and Focus on the Family said it was all about “indoctrination.”
  • Several anti-gay activists blamed the gay rights movement for the suicides of LGBT teens.
  • Anti-gay groups attacked positive portrayals of LGBT teens in the show “Glee,” accusing the show of “radical homosexual promotion,” “deviant sexuality” and “demonic manipulation.”

Click here to read the full report.


UPDATED! Big Bullies: The Right Wing's Anti- Anti-Bullying Strategies

An update to last year's report detailing the Religious Right’s anti-anti-bullying efforts. After the Religious Right's obstinate resistance to common-sense measures against bullying stunned even some conservatives, many of these groups are now proposing their own "remedies" — remedies that would ultimately weaken endeavors to prevent bullying.

Mitt Romney, Judge Bork, and the Future of America’s Courts

People For the American Way launched a major new campaign today highlighting what a Mitt Romney presidency would mean for America’s courts. Romney has signaled that he’s ready to draw the Supreme Court and lower federal courts even farther to the right. And no signal has been clearer than his choice of former Judge Robert Bork to lead his campaign advisory committee on the courts and the Constitution.

In 1987, PFAW led the effort to keep Judge Bork off the Supreme Court. Ultimately, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate recognized his extremism and rejected his nomination.

Last night, PFAW’s Jamie Raskin went on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss PFAW’s campaign and what a Supreme Court picked by Mitt Romney and Robert Bork would look like:

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


Watch our full video, Don’t Let Romney Bork America:

To find out more about Judge Bork and what a Romney presidency would mean for America’s courts, visit www.RomneyCourt.com.


Romney and Bork, a Dangerous Team: People For the American Way Campaign Exposes Romney’s Embrace of Judicial Extremism

Today, People For the American Way launched a major new campaign – including a website, a web ad and an exclusive report – exposing Mitt Romney’s dangerous agenda for America’s courts.

The campaign highlights Romney’s choice of Robert Bork to lead his constitutional and judicial advisory team. By allying with Bork, a jurist so extreme he was rejected by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate 25 years ago, Romney has sent a clear signal that he means to drag America’s courts even farther to the right, endangering many of the civil rights, liberties and economic protections won by the American people over the past five decades.

The ad, Don’t Let Romney Bork America, and the report, Borking America: What Robert Bork Will Mean to the Supreme Court and American Justice, can be viewed at www.RomneyCourt.com.

“The debates over health care and immigration have reinforced the importance of the Supreme Court to all Americans,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “However, few are aware of the extreme agenda Mitt Romney has for the High Court – an agenda exemplified by his close alliance with Robert Bork.

“In 1987, People For the American Way led the fight to keep Judge Bork off the Supreme Court,” Keegan continued. “25 years later, we are as relieved as ever that we succeeded. When Bork was nominated, Americans across the political spectrum rejected the dangerous political agenda that he would have brought to the bench – his disdain for modern civil rights legislation, his acceptance of poll taxes and literacy tests, his defense of contraception bans and criminal sodomy laws, his continued privileging of corporations over individuals. Since then, he has dug his heels even deeper into a view of the law that puts corporations first and individuals far behind.

“It is frightening that a quarter century after Robert Bork’s jurisprudence was deemed too regressive for the Supreme Court, a leading presidential candidate has picked him to shape his legal policy.”

People For the American Way Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin, the author of the report, added: “The return of Robert Bork and his reactionary jurisprudence to national politics should be a three-alarm wake-up call for all Americans. In his work on the bench as a judge and off the bench as a polemicist, Bork has consistently placed corporations above the government and government above the rights of the people. The idea that Bork could be central to shaping the Supreme Court in the 21st century is shocking because he wants to turn the clock back decades in terms of the civil rights and civil liberties. His constitutional politics are even more extreme today than in 1987, when a bipartisan group of 58 senators rejected his nomination to the Supreme Court.”

The new report and ad review Bork’s record from his days as solicitor general to President Richard Nixon to his turn as co-chair of the Romney campaign’s committee on law, the Constitution and the judiciary. Highlights of Bork’s career include:

  • Consistently choosing corporate power over the rights of people. As a judge, Bork regularly took the side of business interests against government regulators trying to hold them accountable, but the side of the government when it was challenged by workers, environmentalists and consumers pressing for more corporate accountability.
  • Opposing civil rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, gay rights and individual free speech. Bork disparaged the Civil Rights Act of 1964; defended the use of undemocratic poll taxes and literacy tests in state elections ; disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling that overturned sodomy laws; and believes that the government should be able to jail people for advocating civil disobedience.
  • Advocating censorship and blaming American culture first. Bork promotes censorship to combat what he calls the “rot and decadence” of American society, saying “I don’t make any fine distinctions; I’m just advocating censorship.” He writes that “the liberal view of human nature” has thrown American culture into “free fall.”
  •  Rejecting the separation of church and state. Bork rejects the science of evolution, advocates legalizing school-sponsored prayer and has written that he wants to see the Constitution’s wall of separation between church and state “crumble.”
  • Turning back the clock on women's rights: Bork has argued against Supreme Court decisions upholding abortion rights and decisions upholding the right to contraception for single people and even married couples. He believes that the heightened protections of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause don’t apply to women. As a judge, he authored a decision reversing the Secretary of Labor and holding that federal law permits a company to deal with toxic workplace conditions by demanding that female employees be sterilized or lose their jobs.

Learn more at www.RomneyCourt.com.


Schlafly: 'American Women are the Most Fortunate People who Ever Lived on this Earth'

Earlier this month, we posted a report on remarks that Phyllis Schlafly delivered to a class at The Citadel entitled the "Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America" during which she warned the cadets not to date feminists.

The Citadel has finally posted the video of Schlafly's appearance, which turned out to be an excruciatingly dull hour and forty five minutes of Schlafly railing against feminism and gay marriage and abortion to a group of cadets who, based on the question and answer session toward the end, clearly did not share many of her views.

The bulk of Schlafly's remarks was dedicated to recounting the rise of the conservative movement and her efforts to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, which she said was unnecessary because "women have had every constitutional right men have [had] since the day it was written" ... which seems like a rather odd statement considering that the Constitution had to be specifically amended to give women the right to vote.

We managed to grab a few "highlights" from Schlafly's remarks, such as we she said that feminism "is a bad word and everything they stand for is bad and destructive" because "American women are the most fortunate people who ever lived on this earth." 

She then went on to explain that the true motive of feminists is to destroy the stay-at-home mother as a model because it gives men an advantage over women in the workplace.  As Schlafly explained it, men have wives at home cooking them dinner and raising their children and the feminist "is insanely jealous of that [and since] she can't have a wife of her own, she wants to abolish the wife of the man."

Finally, she warned the cadets not to date women who are feminists, no matter how pretty they are and offered a surefire way to know whether a woman is a feminist or not - simply ask her how she feels about Phyllis Schlafly:

DOJ takes step forward with latest hate crime indictment

President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law on October 28, 2009. Two and a half years later, its sexual orientation protections are being use for the first time.

NOM Promotes Anal-Obsessed Patrick Wooden… Again

Once again, the National Organization for Marriage is promoting North Carolina pastor Patrick Wooden, who stars in a video meant to drum up support for the state’s discriminatory Amendment One. The North Carolina Traditional Values Coalition includes Wooden and other Religious Right activists in the video urging people to vote for Amendment One, which would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state constitution, and Wooden maintains that there is “no bigotry” against gays and lesbians in their efforts:

NOM likes to claim that they are not “anti-gay” but simply against “redefining marriage,” but they’re not fooling anybody when they use a spokesman who called anti-LGBT violence “normal” and encouraged parents to beat their transgender child, blamed Oprah, Tyler Perry and the cast of Glee for promoting “wicked” and “perverse” causes, said that Chaz Bono is controlled by demons and claimed homosexuality is a “wicked, deviant, immoral, self-destructive, anti-human sexual behavior.”

And those are just his least notorious statements.

Wooden in an interview with Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality alleged that gay men ultimately “have to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels”:

In a second interview with LaBarbera, Wooden went on to describe how gay men have “literally died in diapers” because of their inability to control their bowels as a result of shoving cellphones, baseball bats, and gerbils up their anuses, saying that he thanks God he is a human being so he is not put up a gay man’s rectum.

NOM should really stop pretending to be confused when critics call the group “anti-gay.”

Wisconsin’s Walker Signs Religious Right Wish-List of Bills

We noted on Friday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, working with a Republican-led state legislature, had taken the extraordinary step of repealing the state’s enforcement mechanism for pay discrimination lawsuits.

But it turns out that’s not all. Daily Kos points out that along with equal pay repeal, Gov. Walker signed what reads like a wish list of bills from the Religious Right:

The first bill bans abortion coverage through policies obtained through a health insurance exchange, set to be created under the federal health care reform law starting in 2014. The only exceptions would be in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity. [...]

The second bill requires a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an exam and consult with a doctor alone, away from her friends and family. The doctor must determine whether someone is pressuring the woman into the procedure. Doctors who break the law could be charged with a felony. [...]

The sex education bill requires teachers in schools that offer sex education to stress abstinence as the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The bill also declares that sex education teachers do not have to address contraception. That's a dramatic shift from current state law, which requires teachers to instruct students on birth control options.

And it doesn’t end there. Walker has now decided to stop defending a law that gives gay and lesbian couples the right to visit each other in the hospital, a law that an anti-gay group is disputing in court.

That’s right. After making it harder for women to sue for pay discrimination, setting up demeaning hurdles for women seeking legal abortions, and giving the go-ahead for ineffective sex ed, Gov. Walker is going out of his way to try to keep same-sex couples from visiting each other in the hospital.

Is this the governor’s “jobs” agenda?


Donnelly: Women in Combat, Gays Will Topple Military Like Jenga Blocks

The Center for Military Readiness’s Elaine Donnelly has been making the rounds this week to discuss what she alleges is the Pentagon’s attempted cover-up of a marked increase in violent sexual assaults in the Army since 2006. The increase in sexual assaults was reported [pdf] by the Army in January and Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta immediately called the trend “unacceptable” and vowed to take steps to stop it. This week, a federal judge ordered the Army to release more detailed records on the assaults, at the request of the ACLU and the Service Women’s Action Network.

Donnelly, however, asserts that the Pentagon has been trying to cover up the increase in sexual assaults in order to cover for a new policy allowing women to officially serve in combat positions.

Speaking with Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio yesterday, Donnelly said that adding “social burdens” to the military – like allowing women to serve in combat and gays to serve openly – will eventually topple institution like a tower of Jenga blocks. Donnelly has previously claimed that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would  "break the all-volunteer force."

Gaffney: Are we at risk, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, of breaking the all-volunteer force with all of this?

Donnelly: Yes, yes we are. And what we’re heading toward is what I call the Jenga block military. If you’ve ever played that game with wooden blocks, you know you take the blocks out of the bottom, and you load more burdens on the top. Eventually, the tower becomes so unstable it collapses. And it’s a fun game to play on your kitchen table. But if you take things away from our military, and you keep adding social burdens on top, what you do is make a weakened force, you make that tower unstable. You, in essence, weaken the infrastructure of the culture of the military.

And let’s face it, it isn’t just about the weapons and the planes and ships and all of those hardware things, it’s the people who defend the military – the all-volunteer force. If we are doing great harm to both men and women in the military, if sexual assaults become so demoralizing, so conducive to indiscipline, what we’re doing is weakening the finest military in the world, we’re doing it gradually and according to this Army report, the progression is relentless. And it’s going in the wrong direction, it’s getting worse. And we certainly should not make it even worse than that by placing female soldiers into direct ground combat infantry battalions.

Somebody’s got to blow the whistle on this. Social engineers never are held accountable for their handiwork. Instead, the Pentagon invites them in to do more mischief, to create more problems. They don’t know what they’re doing. This report indicates that we need to really analyze this thing, and frankly Congress needs to intervene before it is too late.

Donnelly also dropped by the Janet Mefferd Show yesterday, where she claimed the Pentagon is “pretend[ing] there’s no problem” and mocked the Defense Department’s hiring of Sexual Assault Response Coordinators as a “jobs program” boondoggle:

Donnelly: You can understand why the Army did not want to trumpet these findings: they don’t fit the template. Well, now we’re going to put women into land combat battalions, the ones that are all male, the tip of the spear. They just pretend there’s no problem, and if theirs is a problem, well the problem is a myth. So, we’ll just do more training, we’ll hire more, what do they call it, ‘sexual assault response coordinators.’

Mefferd: Oh, good grief.

Donnelly: Starts to make a pretty good salary. You’re talking about a jobs program here.

American Apartheid? The Republican "Dream" Scheme

After years spent bashing Latinos, polls show the GOP brand suffering among that demographic, so Republicans are now trying to bamboozle Latino voters with a new dream-free version of the DREAM Act.

Matt Barber says there is 'No Evidence' of Anti-LGBT Violence, Discrimination

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber once again is trying to deny reality by arguing that there is “no evidence” of violence against the LGBT community. Barber said that while he opposes “violence against people who engage in these aberrant sexual behaviors,” he also opposes efforts to investigate and prevent such violence and discrimination. While speaking with Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver on Faith & Freedom today, Barber reiterated his support of countries that outlaw homosexuality and warned that anti-violence measures are a “Trojan Horse” to repress the church and anyone who holds “traditional values.”


Unless any of our detractors, which I know they will, attempt to say that we are advocating violence against people who engage in these aberrant sexual behaviors, that is of course not the case, nobody I know favors of course violence, we all are opposed to violence against any individual for anything. But that’s not what’s happening here. What’s happening is they’re using this specter of some kind of notion of ‘mass violence’ committed against homosexuals, they do the same thing here in the United States, ‘mass discrimination,’ something where there is no evidence of course against people who are engaged in these behaviors. They use that as a Trojan Horse to force, to compel nations and individuals and groups and churches that embrace traditional values, relative to sexual behavior, to push them into the closet and say ‘no, no, you have to adopt a full affirmation of these perversions.’

Activists to Rally at ALEC HQ in Honor of Trayvon Martin

Tomorrow, activists and progressive organizations will descend on the headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Washington, DC to protest the NRA-designed “Shoot First” laws that ALEC has shopped to state legislatures around the country. As Calvin posted earlier this week, “When politicians enact ALEC legislation that benefits corporations, real people suffer the consequences. The results are tragic:”



(Source:  Data issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement)


Information for the rally is below, and pictures will be posted after the event.

WHAT: Rally in Washington, DC, to protest the ALEC campaign to pass the "Shoot First" laws that protect Trayvon Martin's shooter, and delivery of letter to ALEC headquarters demanding disclosure of NRA funding and immediate cessation of “Shoot First” legislative advocacy:

WHEN: Thursday, March 29, 2012 at Noon

WHERE: ALEC Headquarters, 1100 Vermont Ave., NW Washington, DC


Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL); Hilary Shelton, NAACP; Marc Morial, National Urban League; Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange; Lisa Graves, CMD/ALECexposed; Mike Livingston, National Council of Churches; Diallo Brooks, People For the American Way; Doug Clopp, Common Cause.

PFAW Foundation

Fight for immigration equality extends to the customs line

Has your family ever filled out a customs form? LGBT families face a “double” standard when they travel internationally. CBP wants to make things easier.

Disturbing Campaign Literature in Maryland

A candidate's campaign material seems to imply there are too many Jews in the U.S. Senate.
PFAW Foundation
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