Today, President Obama at last acknowledged that he personally supports the right to marry for gay and lesbian Americans. Although the president maintains his position that marriage laws should be decided on a state-by-state basis, his personal statement provides a huge boost to the marriage equality movement. At a time when over half of Americans want full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, the endorsement of a sitting president is a meaningful signal of progress.
Sixteen years ago, in May 1996, People For the American Way became one of the first national groups to endorse marriage equality and vow to work toward it. In a note to members of the organization’s board, which was to vote on the issue, PFAW’s staff wrote that the Right had started to use the “marriage issue” to “polarize Americans” – a strategy that had its first major victory in the passage of DOMA later that year.
Despite all the progress that has been made for LGBT equality in the past sixteen years, the 1996 memo could have been written yesterday:
In recent years, People For the American Way has come to be a very important voice in the ongoing effort to rid America of discrimination and prejudice against gay men and lesbians.
We have done that over the years for the simple reason that it’s the right thing to do. Opposing discrimination and fostering respect and appreciation for diversity are core values for People For the American Way. These are precisely the values under attack in this latest campaign.
Of course, the marriage issue has very real implications for the everyday lives of millions of Americans. In the area of health care for example, existing marriage laws allow a spouse to make critical decisions for an incapacitated spouse; not so for unmarried couples wou haven’t gone through the necessary legal steps. In many hospitals, the right to visit patients in an intensive care unit is limited to immediate family; gay and lesbian partners – lacking the legal status of family – are often excluded, to the great detriment of both partners. In addition, enormous economic consequences flow from the inability of gay men and lesbians to marry, including significant tax and inheritance benefits.
The lack of legal recognition of gay and lesbian families is of particular concern when children are involved, since the children are deprived of the protection of a legal relationship with the non-biological parent and the ability of that parent to make important decisions for them in any number of settings, including schools and hospitals. And if the biological parent dies, the children may well be taken away from their other parent, who has no legal relationship with them.
Sixteen years later, marriage discrimination continues to hurt gay and lesbian American and their families. That a sitting president has publicly acknowledged the impact of that discrimination is very powerful. We hope that soon the injustice we outlined in 1996 will be hopelessly out of date.
In response to President Obama’s public comments in support of marriage equality, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement.
“Today’s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, it’s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.
“In recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, that’s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.
“Today the President did the right thing. For thousands of supporters who donated, canvassed and phone banked to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, this is a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place.”
As North Carolinians go to the polls today to cast their ballot on an anti-gay constitutional amendment which would write discrimination into the state’s constitution and potentially harm all unmarried couples regardless of orientation, The Guardian put together an interactive feature summarizing the state of LGBT equality across America.
The infographic examines each state’s laws pertaining to LGBT persons’ right to marry, visit loved ones in the hospital or adopt a child, as well as protections from hate crimes and from discrimination in employment, housing and schools. While progress has been made, there is much work to be done.
Regardless of today’s vote, North Carolina will not be adding a dark red section to the outer ring, since state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment simply inscribes discrimination into the state constitution.
Unfortunately, not all Americans have access to the all the protections and responsibilities that only marriage can provide, and this map demonstrates striking differences from state to state and region to region. That’s why we need the federal Respect for Marriage Act more than ever – to ensure that all Americans, straight and gay, are treated equally under the law.
North Carolina voters today are casting their ballots on Amendment One, an extreme measure that would write discrimination into the state’s consitution and potentially take away important protections for all unmarried couples, gay and straight.
The amendment states that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic union that shall be valid or recognized” in North Carolina. It would not only deal another blow to gay and lesbian couples in the state, who are already prohibited by law from marrying, but endangers protections for all unmarried couples, including domestic violence protections and health insurance coverage.
The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families is running a handful of powerful ads showing Amendment One’s potential devastating impact. Here are a couple:
President Bill Clinton also recorded a robocall on behalf of the anti-Amendment One campaign. You can listen to it here.
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show on Friday where he argued that the Obama administration is pushing America into a “constitutional crisis” following a decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that deems discrimination “against employees or job applicants on the basis of gender identity” as a “violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—specifically its prohibition of sex discrimination in employment.” Barber, who earlier called the decision a “gross abuse of power” and a sign of “Tranny Tyranny” and “homofascism,” told Mefferd that EEOC commissioner Chai Feldblum was using the case, which was “issued without objection by the five-member, bipartisan commission,” to implement the Employment Non-Discrimination Act “by executive fiat.”
Barber: This is the Obama administration doing what we have come to expect from the Obama administration, that is ruling by executive fiat, and Barack Obama here with his EEOC is doing arbitrarily through the executive what the legislature has not been able to do for decades now and that is pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. So this is the Obama administration just saying ‘well we’re just going to do what we do,’ he’s once again setting up a constitutional crisis here with this gross overreach in power.
Mefferd: What immediately came to mind was Chai Feldblum, because Chai Feldblum is a commissioner there at the EEOC, she was made as a recess appointment, this is the woman who co-authored or authored ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which Barney Frank sponsored multiple times and was never able to get through Congress, so you’re absolutely right. So putting Chai Feldblum at the EEOC was a really good move if Obama wanted to do this by executive fiat.
Barber: Well sure, and Chai Feldblum of course was a former Georgetown law professor, radical lesbian activist, has advocated polyandrous marriages, communal marriages if you will, involving men, women, any combination thereof. She is a radical, what I call her a sexual anarchist.
Barber: This is a tactic that she has openly, at least she has honestly and openly said that she will apply and that homosexual activists should apply, she has said that when it comes to this notion of newfangled LGBT rights, and the T in LGBT is this notion of transgender, that “gays win, Christians lose.” That when you put that up against religious liberty that the newfangled LGBT rights trump religious liberty, so this is to be expected from a Chai Feldblum led EEOC.
Mefferd: Right, you’re absolutely right about that and I’ve heard her say that at different conferences that she’s attended.
This weekend Tom Minnery, the head of Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink, announced that the group will be withdrawing a so-called “Religious Freedom Amendment” from consideration in the upcoming election, citing what he deemed cumbersome rules on petitions. Zack Ford of Think Progress points out that the amendment effectively would give certain groups or individuals “veto power over all policy decisions,” as pharmacists could cite “a sincerely held religious belief” not to fill prescriptions like birth control, teachers could refuse to teach evolution, and employers could have free rein to discriminate against LGBT employees.
The Denver Post reports that Minnery is considering “another attempt at a ballot measure in the 2014 election cycle or look at a legislative push next year”:
Focus on the Family senior vice president Tom Minnery said Friday the conservative Christian advocacy group soon will withdraw its ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment prohibiting state interference with the religious freedom of a person or organization.
The draft language of the ballot measure said government may not directly or indirectly burden a person or organization by withholding benefits, assessing penalties or excluding a person or group from government programs or facilities.
"There's a tangled thicket of regulations that make it difficult to negotiate our way through the process," Minnery said. "When you think of a genuine grassroots effort by volunteers, (some rules) are a wet blanket in that process."
Minnery said there is pending federal litigation — the Independence Institute, Jon Caldara et al. vs. Bernie Buescher — challenging many aspects of state rules governing the initiative process. It could result in removing some of the worst thorns, Minnery said.
Minnery said one drawback in the process as it now stands is that anyone can file a civil lawsuit alleging fraud against ballot-petition circulators if any petition signers falsify information.
Colorado Springs-based Focus would consider another attempt at a ballot measure in the 2014 election cycle or look at a legislative push next year, Minnery said.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently established that gender identity employment discrimination violates sex discrimination protections, thus allowing the complaint filed by Mia Macy to proceed.
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.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a California-based Religious Right group, is attacking a bill that would bar minors from undergoing discredited “ex-gay” reparative therapy and ensure that older patients sign a disclaiming informing of reparative therapy’s well-known “harmful” effects. In an interview with LifeSiteNews, PJI president Brad Dacus called the legislation a “gross and outrageous violation against humanity” and an “egregious attack on children and youth”:
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), one of several groups who testified against the bill last week, said the bill’s anti-conservative bias was extreme even by California’s standards.
“I can honestly say this is one of the most outrageous, speech-chilling bills we have ever seen in California - and that’s saying a lot,” said Dacus, who told LifeSiteNews.com that the bill is “a child’s welfare issue.”
Dacus pointed out that clinical evidence has shown that sexual molestation and other trauma at an early age can lead to sexual confusion. “To deprive these young people of quality psychiatric counseling and therapy is a gross and outrageous violation against humanity,” he said.
Coupled with California’s recent legislation mandating that public schools use textbooks highlighting homosexual roles in history, Dacus said California’s legislators are waging an “egregious attack on children and youth.”
Yesterday on Faith and Freedom, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber railed against—what else?—LGBT equality, warning of a “tyranny of sexually deviant rights” that will overthrow the Constitution. Barber, who previously said that the push for equal rights is part of an attempt “to impose a globalist, communist structure” and put conservatives “behind bars,” asserted that the “LGBT agenda and Constitutional rights cannot exist in harmony.”
This tyranny of rights, this tyranny of the minority, and we’re not talking about racial minorities, neutral minorities, we’re talking about people who define their identity based upon sexually deviant behaviors and proclivities. This is a tyranny of sexually deviant rights and it’s by design to replace the enumerated Constitutional rights given by our Creator based upon the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, these so-called rights violate the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, and yes violate the expressed guarantees that we have to religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of association granted to us by the United States Constitution. The LGBT agenda and Constitutional rights cannot exist in harmony. At Liberty Counsel, we defend the Constitution.
Today, Mitt Romney spokesman Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, resigned from his job on the Romney campaign. Grenell’s hiring less than two weeks ago provoked harsh criticism among Religious Right activists including the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, former FRC president Gary Bauer and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Fischer went so far as to suggest that Grenell posed a national security risk, as reported by People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:
“Mitt Romney is once again trying to have it both ways: claiming that he personally tolerates gays and lesbians while at the same time pandering to the anti-gay right-wing base whose intolerance is legendary. Obviously, it’s not working.
“Romney is clearly depending on Religious Right leaders to help him energize a wary base and they insist that he toe the line. But the support of those leaders comes at a price. If Romney is letting the likes of Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer dictate all his hiring decisions, he leaves no doubt as to what kind of president he would be.
“If Romney will cave to the far-right fringe on this, is there anything he won’t give them when they ask?”
Calls have been made for some time now for President Obama to officially support anti-bullying legislation. As of April 20, he stands strong behind the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Mitt Romney is eager these days to change the subject from what the public sees as his party's "war on women." He seeks to close the huge gender gap that has opened up as women flee the party of Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh in search of something a little less patriarchal and misogynistic.
But Romney's problems with America's women may be just beginning. He can distance himself from the theocratic musings of other Republicans and the macho bullying of Fox News talking heads, but he cannot run away from his own selection of former Judge Robert Bork, in August of last year, to become his principal advisor on the Supreme Court and the Constitution.
Bork hopes to wipe out not only the constitutional right to privacy, especially the right to contraception and to abortion, but decades of Equal Protection decisions handed down by what he calls a feminized Supreme Court deploying "sterile feminist logic" to guarantee equal treatment and inclusion of women. Bork is no casual chauvinist but rather a sworn enemy of feminism, a political force that he considers "totalitarian" and in which, he has concluded, "the extremists are the movement."
Romney may never have to elaborate his bizarrely muted reaction to Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" ("it's not the language I would have used"), but he will definitely have to answer whether he agrees with his hand-picked constitutional advisor that feminism is "totalitarian"; that the Supreme Court, with two women Justices, had become "feminized" at the time of U.S. v. Virginia (1996) and produced a "feminization of the military"; and that gender-based discrimination by government should no longer trigger heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.
Romney has already said that, "The key thing the president is going to do... it's going to be appointing Supreme Court and Justices throughout the judicial system." He has also said that he wishes Robert Bork "were already on the Court."
So look what Robert Bork thinks Romney's Supreme Court Justices should do about the rights of women.
Wiping Out Contraceptive, Abortion and Privacy Rights
Romney certainly hoped to leave behind the surprising controversy in the Republican primaries over access to contraception, but Robert Bork's extremist views on the subject guarantee that it stays hot. Bork rejects the line of decisions, beginning with Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), affirming the right of Americans to privacy in their procreative and reproductive choices. He denounces the Supreme Court's protection of both married couples' and individuals' right to contraception in Griswold and Eisenstaedt v. Baird (1972), declaring that such a right to privacy in matters of procreation was created "out of thin air." He calls the Ninth Amendment -- which states that the "enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" -- an "inkblot" without meaning. For him, the right of people to decide about birth control has nothing to do with Due Process liberty or other rights "retained by the people" -- it is the illegitimate expression of "radical individualism" on the Supreme Court.
Bork detests Roe v. Wade (1973), a decision he says has "no constitutional foundation" and is based on "no constitutional reasoning." He would overturn it and empower states to prosecute women and doctors who violate criminal abortion laws. Bork promises:
Attempts to overturn Roe will continue as long as the Court adheres to it. And, just so long as the decision remains, the Court will be perceived, correctly, as political and will continue to be the target of demonstrations, marches, television advertisements, mass mailings, and the like. Roe, as the greatest example and symbol of the judicial usurpation of democratic prerogatives in this century, should be overturned. The Court's integrity requires that.
In other words, the Court's "integrity" would require a President Romney to impose an anti-Roe v. Wade litmus test on all nominations to the Court.
Ending Heightened Scrutiny of Government Sex Discrimination under Equal Protection
Bork is the leading voice in America assailing the Supreme Court for using "heightened" Equal Protection scrutiny to examine government sex discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment. While women and men all over America cheered the Supreme Court's 7-1 decision in United States v. Virginia (1996), the decision that forced the Virginia Military Institute to stop discriminating and to admit its first women cadets, Bork attacked it for producing the "feminization of the military," which for him is a standard and cutting insult --"feminization" is always akin to degradation and dilution of standards. He writes: "Radical feminism, an increasingly powerful force across the full range of American institutions, overrode the Constitution in United States v. Virginia." Of course, in his view, this decision was no aberration: "VMI is only one example of a feminized Court transforming the Constitution," he wrote. Naturally, a "feminized Court" creates a "feminized military."
Bork argues that, outside of standard "rational basis" review, "the equal protection clause should be restricted to race and ethnicity because to go further would plunge the courts into making law without guidance from anything the ratifiers understood themselves to be doing." This rejection of gender as a protected form of classification ignores the fact that that the Fourteenth Amendment gives "equal protection" to all "persons." But, if Bork and his acolytes have their way, decades of Supreme Court decisions striking down gender-discriminatory laws under the Equal Protection Clause will be thrown into doubt as the Court comes to examine sex discrimination under the "rational basis" test, the most relaxed kind of scrutiny. Instead of asking whether government sex discrimination "substantially" advances an "important" government interest, the Court will ask simply whether it is "conceivably related" to some "rational purpose." Remarkably, Mitt Romney's key constitutional advisor wants to turn back the clock on Equal Protection jurisprudence by watering down the standards for reviewing sex-discriminatory laws.
Judge Bork Means Business: the Case of the Sterilized Women Employees
If you don't think Bork means all this, go back and look at his bleak record as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Take just one Bork opinion that became a crucial point of discussion in the hearings over his failed 1987 Supreme Court nomination. In a 1984 case calledOil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union v. American Cyanamid Co., Bork found that the Occupational Safety and Health Act did not protect women at work in a manufacturing plant from a company policy that forced them to be sterilized -- or else lose their jobs -- because of high levels of lead in the air. The Secretary of Labor had decided that the Act's requirement that employers must provide workers "employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards" meant that American Cynamid had to "fix the workplace" through industrial clean-up rather than "fix the employees" by sterilizing or removing all women workers of child-bearing age. But Bork strongly disagreed. He wrote an opinion for his colleagues apparently endorsing the view that other clean-up measures were not necessary or possible and that the sterilization policy was, in any event, a "realistic and clearly lawful" way to prevent harm to the women's fetuses. Because the company's "fetus protection policy" took place by virtue of sterilization in a hospital -- outside of the physical workplace -- the plain terms of the Act simply did not apply, according to Bork. Thus, as Public Citizen put it, "an employer may require its female workers to be sterilized in order to reduce employer liability for harm to the potential children."
Decisions like this are part of Bork's dark Social Darwinist view of America in which big corporations are always right and the law should rarely ever be interpreted to protect the rights of employees, especially women, in the workplace.
No matter how vigorously Mitt Romney shakes his Etch-a-Sketch, Americans already have an indelible picture of what a Romney-run presidency and Bork-run judiciary would look like and what it would mean for women. With Robert Bork calling the shots on the courts, a vote for Mitt Romney is plainly a vote against women's rights, women's equality and women's freedom.
People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement congratulating PFAW board member Dolores Huerta, who was yesterday named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
“Dolores Huerta is an inspiration to all who work to make our country a fairer, freer and more just place. She has dedicated her life to fighting for the downtrodden and speaking for those whose voices are too rarely heard. Her tireless work on behalf of working people, women, immigrants, gays and lesbians and others has improved – and continues to improve -- countless lives. We are enormously grateful for the leadership and guidance she’s provided to People For the American Way, and we couldn’t be prouder for her to receive this honor.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the official announcement from the White House, others to receive the honor along with Huerta include former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, singer and poet Bob Dylan, astronaut and Senator John Glenn, writer Toni Morrison, and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
“All of us at People For the American Way congratulate Dolores Huerta on this great honor,” said Keegan. “There is no one who could be more deserving.”
National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman talked to conservative radio talk show host Steve Deace yesterday where he assured Deace, a vocal critic of Mitt Romney, that NOM is confident that Romney will actively oppose marriage equality if elected president and dismissed fears that his donors who favor legalizing same-sex marriage might influence his views:
Deace: John, I want to ask you about a story that came out over the weekend, three men, Paul Singer, Dan Loeb, Cliff Asness, they are hedge fund managers, they are major Romney donors, and they each cut six figure checks toward the effort to redefine, or destroy, marriage in the state of New York. Is that a concern of your group that the Republican nominee has major donors in his camp that are funding the other side of this debate?
Eastman: You know, people running for president accept donations from all sorts of people who don’t always agree with them on all issues. The fact of the matter is, Governor Romney has signed our pledge where he will defend the Defense of Marriage Act, where he will support an amendment to protect traditional marriage nationwide. He has signed that pledge and we fully expect that he will honor his pledge in that regard.
Indeed, Romney, a NOM donor, in August signed NOM’s presidential candidate pledge [pdf] and committed to not only push for a Federal Marriage Amendment and defend the unconstitutional DOM, but also to nominate anti-equality judges, put Washington DC’s marriage equality law up to a popular referendum, and “establish a presidential commission” to “investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters”:
One, support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.
Two, nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and to applying the original meaning of the Constitution, appoint an attorney general similarly committed, and thus reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.
Three, defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court.
Four, establish a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.
Five, advance legislation to return to the people of the District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.”