Equality For All

Infographic: Six Months After The Senate Passed ENDA, House GOP Leadership Must Stop Obstructing

Six months ago today, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote someone because of who they are or who they love. Despite the fact that the majority of states’ laws leave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers unprotected – and the fact that most Americans believe that this workplace discrimination is wrong – House GOP leadership continues to stand in the way of progress.

Why are they ignoring the will of the people and blocking LGBT Americans from fundamental rights? You can help put the pressure on Congress to pass ENDA by sharing our brand new infographic:

You can also check out our other ENDA-focused resources.

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It's Time for Congress to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)

Six months ago, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Six months later, House GOP leadership continues to block this critical piece of legislation.

BarbWire Warns LGBTQ Abbreviation Will Soon Include A 'Z' For 'Zoophilia'

John Biver, the political editor of Matt Barber’s BarbWire website , warns in a column today that marriage equality will lead to legal protections for bestiality and the letter Z (for “zoophilia”) being “added to the LGBTQIA (etc.) abbreviation.”

Biver bases his argument on law review article by a Cornell student which he admits he only read four pages of and has “no idea what his argument is.” The article in question is in fact devoted to strengthening laws against bestiality by arguing that the reasoning behind current laws doesn't withstand scrutiny and offering “a potentially new rationale for justifying bestiality prohibitions.”

But according to Biver, the article is proof that there will be “a future well-funded marriage ‘equality’ effort for zoophiliacs.”

One reader brought a 2012 article to our attention written by Antonio M. Haynes, a Cornell University law student: “’ Dog on Man’: Are Bestiality Laws Justifiable?” Just to be clear, I only read the first four pages so I have no idea what his argument is. It wasn’t easy getting that far — and those four pages are mostly filled with footnotes at the bottom of each page (which I skipped completely). Download it if you dare and see how much of it you can stomach.

To our basic and important questions:

  • How will society respond when zoophiliacs start clamoring for their “rights”?
  • How will society respond to After the Ball -type efforts to normalize zoophilia and demonize those who disapprove of it?
  • How will society respond to a future well-funded marriage “equality” effort for zoophiliacs.
  • If someone were to donate to an organization that prohibits hiring of zoophiliacs, will this donor be fired?
  • Will the expression of disapproval of zoophilia be deemed bullying or hate speech?
  • How will schools respond to requests to start pro-zoophilia clubs to support students who experience unwanted zoophilia feelings and who seek to come out of the zoophiliac closet? Will the Day of Silence expand to include zoophiliacs?
  • Will therapies to help minors change their unwanted zoophilia desires be banned?
  • Will “zoophiliac orientation” be added to enumerated anti-discrimination policies and laws?
  • Will the letter Z be added to the LGBTQIA (etc.) abbreviation?
  • Will we see prime time television programs and movies with lovable zoophilia-oriented characters?
  • Will wannabe zoophiliac journalists form professional journalism associations (such as this one) to monitor and exploit the Fourth Estate in the service of breaking down barriers and normalizing zoophilia?
  • Will zoophiliacs join “pride parades”?
  • Will loud and proud zoophiliacs “out” those who prefer to remain in the zoophiliac closet?

Up next we’ll take a look at another example of the ways people experience “intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, or individuals.” If America is to be truly free, shouldn’t all sexcentric-identified individuals be treated equally under the law?

Florida Man Requests To Marry 'Porn Filled Apple Computer' In Super-Clever Marriage Equality Protest

Many anti-gay activists are strangely obsessed with the idea that marriage equality might someday lead to legalized human-object marriage, whether that object is a car, a turtle, or the Eiffel Tower.

A Florida man has taken this obsession to a new level, filing a motion to intervene in the case challenging the state’s marriage equality ban, purporting to seek the right to marry his “porn filled Apple computer.”

The Broward/Palm Beach New Times provides this quote from the motion of Chris Sevier, which it notes is “Short on sound legal grounding (and even shorter on wit)”:

Recently, I purchased an Apple computer. The computer was sold to me without filters to block out pornography. I was not provided with any warning by Apple that pornography was highly addictive and could alter my reward cycle by the manufacturer. Over time, I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women. Naturally, I 'fell in love' with my computer and preferred having sex with it over all other persons or things, as a result of classic conditioning upon orgasm.

Unsurprisingly, Sevier’s motion was rejected last week by the clearly unamused Judge Robert L. Hinkle:

Chris Sevier has moved to intervene, apparently asserting he wishes to marry his computer. Perhaps the motion is satirical. Or perhaps it is only removed from reality. Either way, the motion has no place in this lawsuit. Mr. Sevier has alleged nothing that would support intervention.

The New Times notes that Sevier has tried this sort of thing before:

A Chris Sevier sued Apple because it sold him a computer without telling him about the evils of porn. A Chris Sevier sued A&E after it fired Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson after he was caught spewing antigay talk. And just recently, a Chris Sevier tried to butt his way into Utah's gay marriage legal case . In a 50-page motion, he claimed he was there to make the court "put up or shut up" on the gay marriage issue.

In his motion in the Utah case, Sevier laid out his totally air-tight argument, warning that marriage equality and the “slippery slope” he warns will ensue will result in Americans “becoming salves of our glands, not slaves of virtue”:

Either (1) we will be reduced to a Nation that hypocritically enforces the equal protection and due process clause to suit the interest of the largest minority, which yields discrimination against the true minority classes of sexual orientation, causing hypocrisy to undermine foundation laws, yielding instability; (2) we will remain a Christian Nation that protects traditional marriage, as a relationship set apart because it has the potential of bearing life between two people, who are in a legally binding relationship, who have naturally corresponding sexual organs with the exclusive potential to produce children with DNA that matches theirs; which, of course, makes that relationship both scientifically and factually distinct from all others-religious aside; or (3) we will progress into a Nation that gives equal protection to all classes of sexual orientation allowing everyone to marrying anyone and anything to suit their appetite in the name of tolerance, equality, and love -becoming slaves of ourglands, not slaves of virtue. There is no other possible alternative.

FRC Warns 'Modern Caesar,' 'King George III' Obama Using Gay Rights To 'Punish' Christians

In a fundraising sent out last week, the Family Research Council plays up fears of impending Christian persecution in America to warn that President Obama’s positions on gay rights and reproductive choice are meant to “silence” and “punish” conservative Christians.

“You, as a person of faith, are especially at risk because your values and beliefs are standing in the way of the goals of this growing lawlessness,” warns FRC president Tony Perkins.

“Is President Barack Obama becoming a modern Caesar? Or a 21st century version of King George III -- the out-of-control monarch who triggered the American Revolution with his reckless disregard of English laws and biblically-based rights?” Perkins wonders.

Emphases are his:

Is President Barack Obama becoming a modern Caesar? Or a 21st century version of King George III -- the out-of-control monarch who triggered the American Revolution with his reckless disregard of English laws and biblically-based rights?

These may be shocking questions to ask, but I can tell you that thoughtful people inside Washington, D.C., and outside of it are VERY worried. They are worried that President Obama and his administration are so bent on "transforming" America that they are willing, perhaps even planning, to dismiss the laws and Constitution that keep us a free nation.

And the targets include you: your faith, your values, your freedom.

In my 20-plus years of active involvement in the government process, I've never seen anything like the encroaching tyranny I'm seeing today by the Obama administration.

And if we don't join together and stop the abuse of power by the President and his allies, I fear we could lose our freedoms.

You, as a person of faith, are especially at risk because your values and beliefs are standing in the way of the goals of this growing lawlessness :

· You believe in sexual morality. They believe government should protect and fund sexual immorality and punish dissenters like you.

· You believe in the legal exclusivity of natural marriage. They believe you are dangerous. They think coercion is justified to silence you. They have openly declared that the right to homosexual behavior overrules your constitutional right to disagree with their "new morality."

· You believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. They believe you should be forced to pay for drugs that can destroy human embryos, ObamaCare rationing and other immoral mandates.

The Founders rejected King George III and wanted a government of laws, not men. Yet President Obama and his administration are acting like an imperial monarch. Like Caesar or King George -- not the president envisioned by the Founding Fathers! We must take firm action.

Iowa GOP Senate Candidates Vow To Block Judges Who Won't Follow 'Biblical' Law

The Iowa-based Religious Right group The Family Leader held a forum for Republican US Senate candidates on Friday, at which the group’s view that “God instituted government” figured heavily. In fact, nearly every candidate at the debate vowed that if they were to be elected to the Senate they would block federal judicial nominees who do not follow what they perceive as “natural law” or a “biblical view of justice.”

Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader, opened the forum by declaring, “At The Family Leader, we believe God has three institutions: It would be the church, the family, and government.”

He warned that policies such as legal abortion and marriage equality would cause God to cease blessing the country. “As we have a culture that runs further and further from God’s principles, His precepts, from God’s heart, it’s only natural consequences that we’re going to suffer,” he said.

“You cannot run away from the heart of God and expect God to bless the country," he concluded.

Several of the candidates echoed this theme during the forum. When moderator Erick Erickson, the right-wing pundit, asked the candidates what criteria they would look for in confirming federal judges, three out of four said they would demand faith in God or adherence to “natural law.”

Sam Clovis, a college professor and retired Air Force colonel, answered that he has  “a very firm litmus test” on judges: “Can that judge…explain to me natural law and natural rights?”

Joni Ernst, who is currently a state senator, agreed, adding that federal judges should understand that the Constitution and all of our laws “did come from God” and that senators should “make sure that any decisions that they have made in the past are decisions that fit within that criteria.”

Former federal prosecutor Matt Whitaker argued that neither Clovis’ nor Ernst’s answer had gone “far enough.” He said that he would demand that federal judicial nominees be “people of faith” and “have a biblical view of justice.”

“As long as they have that worldview, then they’ll be a good judge,” he said. “And if they have a secular worldview, where this is all we have here on earth, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”

This all must have been very pleasing to Vander Plaats, who in 2010 orchestrated the ousting of Iowa Supreme Court justices who had ruled in favor of marriage equality, and who has repeatedly insisted that marriage equality is unconstitutional because it "goes against" the Bible and the "law of nature."

Heritage Scholar Claims Marriage Equality Bans 'Take Nothing Away From Anyone'

Heritage Foundation fellow Ryan T. Anderson, the anti-marriage-equality movement’s new young voice, claimed in an interview with the LDS Church-owned KSL TV in Salt Lake City, that banning marriage equality “take[s] nothing away from anyone” and “in no way infringes upon the liberty of any American to live and to love how they choose to.”

Anderson claims that in a “live and let live society,” LGBT people would not have marriage rights, but would receive marriage benefits from their employers if their employers chose.

In the interview, transcribed by the Deseret News, Anderson also explains that it’s easy for him to take emotion out of the marriage debate.

KSL: As you lay out your arguments, many people may be unmoved because it seems like you aren’t giving homosexuals the opportunity for true fulfillment, that society is justifying sacrificing some people’s fulfillment at the sake of others. What is your response to that?

RA: Marriage laws take nothing away from anyone. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex can live with each other and love each other. If their house of worship recognizes same-sex marriage, they can have a wedding there. If their business wants to give them marriage benefits, the business can. That’s very much a live and let live society. What’s at stake with the redefinition of marriage is: will the law redefine what marriage is and then force every community, every religious community, except for the four walls of a church, every business community, into treating the same-sex relationship as if it’s a marriage, even when it violates their beliefs about marriage? But defining marriage as between a man and a woman so that as many children as possible have a mother and a father in no way infringes upon the liberty of any American to live and to love how they choose to.

AFA Warns 'Homosexual Aggression' Has Banned Christians From '7 Common Careers'

In a fundraising email today, American Family Association president Tim Wildmon warns that the list of careers that Christians can hold in America “is quickly shrinking as homosexuals pro-actively seek opportunities to wreck the personal business and career of any Christian who declines to support the gay lifestyle.”

The email lists “7 common careers Christians may no longer hold in America,” which it says includes photography, broadcasting and teaching. Wildmon cites a few cases in which business owners have been sued for refusing to provide services to gay people and have sought broad exemptions from anti-discrimination laws that apply to businesses operating in the public square. He also cites the case of Craig James, who was hired by a regional Fox Sports network before being fired by the national network, which he claimed was because of his “personal religious beliefs.” Wildmon claims that James, who has since been hired by the Family Research Council , is a martyr who has been banned from broadcasting thanks to “homosexual aggression.”

7 common careers Christians may no longer hold in America

April 23, 2014

Many Christians choose self-employed careers because they want to be able to run their business according to the dictates of their faith and conscience.

That list is quickly shrinking as homosexuals pro-actively seek opportunities to wreck the personal business and career of any Christian who declines to support the gay lifestyle.

Don't be fooled. This is a focused effort to ostracize and humiliate faith-based businesses and their owners. Here are a few recent examples:

  • Photography - A Christian photographer in New Mexico was fined $6700 for politely declining to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony. The Supreme Court allowed this fine to stand.
  • Baker - A Christian baker in Oregon is facing both civil and criminal penalties, including jail time, for politely declining to bake a cake for a gay wedding ceremony. Her business has closed.
  • Florist - Baronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist in Washington, is being sued by the state attorney general for politely declining to prepare an arrangement for a gay wedding ceremony.
  • Broadcasting - Craig James was fired by Fox Sports Southwest after only one day on the job for expressing his support for natural marriage while he was a candidate for the United States Senate.
  • Counseling - Jennifer Keeton was dismissed from the counseling program at Augusta State University for her religious reservations about the homosexual lifestyle.
  • Innkeeping - The Wildflower Inn in Vermont was fined $30,000 and forced to shut down its wedding reception business after politely declining to host a lesbian ceremony.
  • Teaching - Ms. Gillian John-Charles was kicked out of a doctoral program in education at Roosevelt University for expressing in class her belief that homosexuals aren't born gay.

What you can do about it…

AFA is improving the way we communicate, so you can get the latest information quickly and effectively engage the culture when our Christian brothers and sister come under attack from homosexual aggression.

Illinois Family Institute: Exposing 'Evil' Dan Savage Is Like Uncovering The Holocaust

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute – the state affiliate of the American Family Association – is very unhappy about Dan Savage’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher last summer.

Two weeks ago, Higgins urged her group’s members to watch a video of Savage’s “repugnant” appearance on the show. Today, in response to criticism from a reader who was offended by the Savage/Maher video, Higgins offered a long essay titled “ Random Thoughts on the Rapacious Rainbow Revolution.”

Higgins explains in detail why she felt obligated to share the “loathsome” video because “many conservatives do not fully realize the evil nature of the enemy we fight” and “merely describing it does not adequately convey how profoundly wicked it is.” She compares her sharing of the Dan Savage video to the showing photos of Nazi concentration camps and lynchings.

“I am not equating the enormity of the evil of the Holocaust and the American genocide of pre-born babies to that of the homosexuality-affirming movement,” she clarifies. “I am, rather, illuminating the necessity of occasionally viewing the evil in our midst about which humans have a remarkable capacity to delude themselves.”

She adds that she feels she must expose the horrors that LGBT people await in the afterlife: “As Christians, however, we should remain conscious of the fact that a life of unrepentant homoerotic activity will result in eternal separation from God,” she writes. “How do we measure the magnitude of temporal suffering relative to that of eternal suffering?”

“Christians should consider whether appearing to affirm that which God abhors is pleasing to God,” she adds.

I received an email last week from a Christian who was upset that I published the loathsome video of Dan Savage even though I provided ample warning that the content was offensive. It seems appropriate, therefore, to revisit the reasons we occasionally publish either obscene hateful emails we receive, excerpts from offensive novels taught in our public schools, or video reminders of infamous homosexual "anti-bullying" bully, Dan Savage.

We do not expose the dark realities of this pernicious movement in order to be sensationalistic or titillating. We do it because Americans are inundated daily with images and words about homoeroticism intended to desensitize, sooth, and confuse. These words and images are built on a foundation of unarticulated and/or unexamined false assumptions and lies that are persuading even Christians that wrong is right.

Unfortunately, many conservatives do not fully realize the evil nature of the enemy we fight. And merely describing it does not adequately convey how profoundly wicked it is. Without a fuller apprehension of the nature and extent of the evil, many Christians are complacent and silent. Often it is only an encounter with such evil that generates a proper response from Christians.

Why view photos from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen? Why view photos of lynchings? Why view photos of aborted babies? Why view the photo of the young napalmed Vietnamese girl? Why view photos of animals caught in steel leg traps or baby seals bludgeoned to death? Aren't these images shocking and obscene?

I am not equating the enormity of the evil of the Holocaust and the American genocide of pre-born babies to that of the homosexuality-affirming movement. I am, rather, illuminating the necessity of occasionally viewing the evil in our midst about which humans have a remarkable capacity to delude themselves.

As Christians, however, we should remain conscious of the fact that a life of unrepentant homoerotic activity will result in eternal separation from God. How do we measure the magnitude of temporal suffering relative to that of eternal suffering?

Well, here are some other ideas on which Christians should spend some time ruminating:

· Christians should consider whether appearing to affirm that which God abhors is pleasing to God.

· Christians should consider whether affirming or appearing to affirm homoerotic activity, which the Bible teaches will prevent entrance into Heaven, is a loving act.

What dupes and cowards Christians are. What poor servants of the one who was willing to die for us. While Christ died a humiliating and horrifying death for us, we're unwilling to endure any degree of discomfort for him. As we welcome each sophistical lie with a secret sigh of relief for being offered a rationalization to justify either our silence or capitulation, we facilitate evil. Those who experience unchosen same-sex attraction are not evil. They are sinners just like every other human-save one-who has ever existed. We all experience myriad powerful, persistent, unchosen feelings. Our task as moral beings is to figure out upon which of these feelings it is morally legitimate to act. Christians do no service to God, women, children, men, or their country when they refuse to speak the truth about homosexuality. Instead, we help push America into the historical abyss.

Deace Implies Same-Sex Marriage Is As Impossible As Human Flight

Speaking with Phyllis Schlafly on Eagle Forum Live this weekend, Iowa talk show host Steve Deace implied that same-sex couples who want to get married are like people who want to be able to fly.

Responding to a caller who asked what he should say to a friend who says “it’s not government’s job to legislate morality,” Deace responded that the friend has “bought into some postmodern thinking” where he doesn’t want to impose his idea of what’s “wrong and icky” on other people.

Deace compared this to fighting the law of gravity, implying that a gay person who wants to get married is like someone who jumps off a skyscraper because they think they can fly.

“I mean, someone might think, I have the right to fly and I’d love to fly and I have a desire to fly and I even found a judge that gave me a piece of paper that told me I have the right to fly,” he said. “But when I fling myself off the top of a skyscraper, I run smack-dab into the law of gravity.”

“It didn’t change because some judge said so,” he added.
 

Caller: I’ve got a buddy who’s semi-liberal and he says, his main premise is that it’s not government’s job to legislate morality. And I was wondering what you’ve got to say about that.

Schlafly: Well, practically ever law is legislating morality.

Deace: Phyllis is correct. Everything is morality. That’s a false objection. Question him further to find exactly out what that means. And I’m telling you, what I’m 99 percent positive that it will mean is that he’s bought into some postmodern thinking that says, ‘Well, yeah, I think this stuff is wrong and icky for me but I can’t impose my value system on somebody else.’

But of course, that’s a very slippery slope as well. I mean, someone might think, I have the right to fly and I’d love to fly and I have a desire to fly and I even found a judge that gave me a piece of paper that told me I have the right to fly. But when I fling myself off the top of a skyscraper, I run smack-dab into the law of gravity. It didn’t change because some judge said so. It still exists. So, chances are that’s a false objection from your friend because he’s bought into some postmodern thinking about over-judgementalism.

Linda Harvey Warns 'Child-Targeting' Day Of Silence Is A Test From God

Although the anti-bullying “Day of Silence” was more than a week ago, it’s still being attacked in the right-wing media. Writing in BarbWire today, anti-gay activist Linda Harvey warns that the Day of Silence, sponsored by the gay-rights group GLSEN, is “a test from our Creator” asking parents to “draw a line in the sand about child corruption.”

Harvey writes that the “radical child-targeting group GLSEN” is pushing “perversion” and “brainwashing” kids by teaching them “false ideas, like ‘gay’ is always good.”

We guess this means that Harvey isn’t actually that tired of talking about gay rights issues.

“This is a test. This is only a test. Had this been a real child-endangering emergency, where children are taught to hate Christians, embrace sodomy and praise sexual anarchy, you would be alerted through the Emergency Broadcast System for Responsible Parents. Then you could act to save your kids!”

And of course, America’s conservative parents would do that…wouldn’t they?

Well, these atrocities are already happening, perhaps indeed as a test from our Creator, and it looks like a grade of “F” looms as a strong possibility. What’s it going to take for the grown-ups in our nation to draw a line in the sand about child corruption?

Recent developments should have every Mom and Dad on high alert. Not only are openly homosexual boys are now welcomed into the Boy Scouts of America and “gay” adult men will probably soon be embraced as troop leaders, but we just observed another year of one staged homosexual school event after another. And the school term is not over yet.

Only the most obtuse will miss what homosexual advocates are doing: aggressively defying all the usual child protection boundaries and daring parents to stop them.

The takeover of youth culture in schools is led by advocate teachers, principals and outside allies who claim “LGBTQ” identities are churning within the hearts of closeted adolescents. “Please understand my reason for not speaking today,“ reads the placard of student participants in the “ Day of Silence,“ a supposedly student-led annual event in April (held on April 11 this year) which protests the silencing and bullying of “LGBT” people. Thousands of students nationwide now participate, claims the event sponsor, the radical child-targeting group GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).

But these claims strain credulity. It’s not “student-led,” but driven by adults manipulating kids to become cheerleaders for the homosexual cause. Kids are impressionable and can be misled through persistent indoctrination. And the “Day of Silence” is not about bullying, which school officials can punish without endorsing these lifestyles. No, it’s about victim-posturing, propaganda and the willingness of schools to go along with the end result, which is the endorsement of perversion.

The anti-bullying fervor is deployed to launch pro-homosexual programs in schools that convey false ideas, like “gay” is always good; it’s an inborn identity; it’s a civil right like race; there’s no elevated health risk compared to heterosexuality; the “religious right” hates all homosexuals; their beliefs cause bullying; and those who object to any of this want “gay” kids to commit suicide.

They only have one childhood, and brainwashing lasts a long time.

Need for Safe Schools Advocacy Clear in Nebraska

The flier, whose advice includes "do not tell on bullies," is indeed problematic, but it's district policy in Lincoln and state policy in Nebraska that offer real cause for concern. Neither employs the bullying and harassment prevention strategies that have proven most effective. In fact, only sixteen states and the District of Columbia have in place laws that enumerate specific categories of targeted students, "underscore[ing] those students who research shows are most likely to be bullied and harassed and least likely to be protected."
PFAW

BarbWire Defends Brutal Anti-Gay Laws In Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia

Jeff Allen, senior editor of Matt Barber’s BarbWire website, today defends harsh anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria and Ethiopia, which he calls “maliciously mischaracterized” and “a matter of national survival.”

In Nigeria, where gay sex is illegal – and punishable by death by stoning in some Islamic states in the north of the country – a new law criminalizing gay clubs and organizations, even banning gay people from meeting in groups of two or more, has led to an official crackdown on LGBT people and encouraged vigilante violence.

Earlier this year, Uganda passed an infamous bill punishing gay activity with sentences of up to life in prison. In Ethiopia, where gay sex is also criminalized, a bill preventing the president from pardoning anyone convicted of homosexuality was recently dropped.

Yet to Allen, these laws are merely resisting “the West’s imposition of ‘sexual rights’ on these countries.” In a review of a 2012 documentary by Family Watch International that blames the AIDS crisis in Africa on Western aid that emphasizes family planning and gay rights, Allen writes:

The maliciously mischaracterized anti-‘gay’ laws in countries like Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia are actually a matter of national survival. The documentary makes the case that the West’s imposition of “sexual rights” on these countries erodes their religious and cultural values, leading to social chaos through the demise of the natural family unit and the deaths of millions by AIDS-related illnesses.

Russian Anti-LGBT Crackdown Exporting Homophobic Violence Throughout Region, Experts Warn

Russia's ban on gay "propaganda" and copycat laws throughout the region have created a "license to commit violence against" LGBT people, "give the permission" for "street violence" and "create legitimacy for violence," according to human rights advocates working in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Kyrgyszstan who spoke last night at a panel at Columbia University.

Russia's spate of anti-gay laws has quickly influenced neighboring countries, part of what Columbia professor Tanya Domi called "the Putin project" of solidifying Russia's influence in the region.

American activists including National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown, anti-gay agitator Scott Lively, and the World Congress of Families – which receives support from a who's who of American anti-gay groups – have lent support to Russia's anti-gay laws.

Matthew Schaaf, a Russia expert at Freedom House, said that while there were plenty of logistical questions about the enforcement of the ban on gay "propaganda" to minors that was passed last year, one effect of the law is clear.

"What we've actually seen is that this law in Russia and other restrictions on LGBT people and people who advocate for LGBT rights is essentially a license to commit violence against them, to discriminate against them," he said. "It creates an environment where these people are positioned as being others, as not being us, as an influence that we need to control and to destroy."

Schaaf said that the anti-gay bills are "part of an overall crackdown on civil society in Russia."

He mentioned the newly released Russian state cultural policy, which explicitly rejects "the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance" and denies state support to "cultural projects which impose alien to society values."

"What is common to all of these different issues is a rhetoric of some kind of external, existential threat to Russia, to Russian culture, to Russia as a country, to the borders of Russia, to the Russian people, to the Russian economy, and so on," Schaaf said. "So, if you're hearing this message, you're hearing a message that's frightening: that the country is under assault by these horrible, horrible forces."

"This is what Russia is exporting to other parts of the world, and they're aggressively pushing this agenda on many, many, many levels," he added.

Olena Shevchenko, who chairs the Ukrainian LGBTI advocacy group Insight, said that pushing anti-gay laws is part of a "Russian foreign strategy" as Russia is "pushing this border between [its] traditional values concept and human rights in Western Europe."

Anna Kirey of Human Rights Watch put it in terms of LGBT rights being a unit of geopolitical "currency."

"It feels like it's this big political game where Russia is creating this certain currency that they sort of use politically…to mobilize supporters," she said. "LGBT rights now in this region are definitely one of these currencies to create opposition to the West and more support for the Eurasian Customs Union in different countries."

Shevchenko noted that Russia's move toward anti-gay legislation "influenced Ukraine immediately."

In late 2012, Ukraine – which was the first former Soviet republic to decriminalize homosexuality – took the first step toward passing its own "propaganda" ban imposing fines or up to five years in prison for "any positive depiction" of LGBT people.

The BBC interviewed the pastor of an evangelical church in Kiev who had pushed for the bill, which he described as a "national security" measure. "Here's the issue," he told the BBC. "In a real democracy, my freedom and rights are limited by the freedom of someone else."

Shevchenko said that a similar sentiment was behind wide support for anti-gay laws in Ukraine. "Many people think that equality for LGBT people will be a threat to the rights of majority," she said. "Basically it will be a threat to the right to discriminate."

She added that anti-LGBT hate speech from politicians and the media essentially "give permission [for] street violence towards LGBT people" and lead to the "legitimization of violence."

"Basically, they think it allows them to go on the streets and discriminate and to beat them and to rape, when it comes to LB and transgender women," she said.

Kirey, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who has done extensive work in Kyrgyzstan, spoke of a similar situation in that country, where a Human Rights Watch report in January found a pattern of police violence and extortion against gay men.

Kyrgyz authorities met the HRW report with denial and even laughter, she said…and then two months later introduced their own Russian-style gay "propaganda" ban.

"Right now in the region, any conversations about LGBT rights are immediately put in the box of 'propaganda,'" said Kirey. She added that such legislation not only "create[s] legitimacy for violence" but also "shrinks the space where LGBT activists are able to raise their concerns, which is very upsetting."

"Literally, people are now thinking that they have the permission of the government to continue these homophobic crimes, which is a very scary development," she said.​

Minnesota Safe Schools Bill Becomes Law

In the wee hours of April 9, the Minnesota House of Representatives took the final vote on the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. That afternoon Governor Mark Dayton signed it into law.
PFAW

Safe Schools Letter Campaign Concludes with Nearly 30 Organizations Standing Together to Say Students Deserve Better

The letter-a-day campaign for safe schools that PFAW led concluded today, when we also marked the Day of Silence – an annual event organized by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that is meant to draw attention to the "silencing effects" of anti-gay harassment and name-calling in schools and to be a way for students to show their solidarity with students who have been bullied. Over the last month twenty-eight groups went on record with Congress in support of safe schools legislation. Together, we sent loud and clear the message that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools.
PFAW

On the Day of Silence, Check Out PFAW’s New Safe Schools Policy Toolkit

Today is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence, an event meant to bring attention to the “silencing effect” of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. In classrooms across the country, thousands of young people will stay silent throughout the day as part of an annual student-led effort that has been occurring since 1996.

In anticipation of the Day of Silence, People For the American Way recently released a new policy toolkit, Education Without Discrimination: Creating Safe Schools for All Students, which provides activists with the tools they need to advocate for critical safe schools reforms. The toolkit includes lobbying and media tips, talking points, sample materials, and background info on the lead federal legislation, the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).

Unfortunately the Religious Right continues to rail against commonsense legislation like SSIA and SNDA that would help make our schools safe for all students. Right-wing activist Gordon Klingenschmitt has warned that the Student Non-Discrimination Act would “give homosexuals and perverts protected status” and “mandate pro-homosexual recruiting of kids in public schools.” Just this week, Mission America’s Linda Harvey – who once claimed that anti-bullying programs would turn schools into “indoctrination camps” – publicly encouraged young LGBT people to stay in the closet.

To learn more about how to stand up to these hateful attacks and push for positive change, check out the safe schools toolkit.

PFAW

The Five Worst Religious Right Claims About Safe Schools Initiatives

In honor of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence today – an annual event meant to draw attention to the “silencing effects” of anti-gay harassment and name-calling in schools – Right Wing Watch is re-releasing a collection of some of the most troubling recent claims from the Religious Right about safe schools initiatives.

Relying on harmful myths depicting LGBT people as abusive and “perverse,” it is clear from these examples that the Religious Right is far more interested in pushing homophobic lies than in protecting and supporting all students through commonsense legislation. Our elected leaders face a stark choice between protecting students and siding with the dangerous and hateful lies of the far right.

5. Gordon Klingenschmitt: Al Franken is 'Causing More Suicides' by Backing Anti-Bullying Bill (January 2012)

Previously, Gordon Klingenschmitt accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of “homosexualizing kids” and acting like late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il over his efforts to pass legislation geared at preventing bullying because Franken and other progressives have “deified sin as their god.” Now, Klingenschmitt is accusing Franken of “causing more suicides” for sponsoring the anti-bullying bill. “Teen suicide is tragic enough without Senator Franken recruiting more kids into homosexuality, which causes depression, self-hatred, self-rejection and self-murder,” Klingenschmitt writes, “Franken's plan will result in more teen suicides, not less.”

4. Linda Harvey Warns That Anti-Bullying Programs Will Turn Schools Into ‘Indoctrination Camps’ (November 2011)

Linda Harvey of Mission America urged voters to oppose the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, warning that such anti-bullying legislation was “using bullying prevention as a tool to force approval of homosexuality and gender bending on children, teachers and families.” On her radio show, Harvey urged members of her Ohio-based group to contact Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to oppose what she called the “promotion of these lifestyles to kids brought into schools in the Trojan Horse of anti-bullying programs.” She went on to say that schools will be turned “into indoctrination camps” in order “to fulfill the fondest wishes of those who want traditional morality to disappear” if the safe school legislation passes.

3. Public Advocate: Congress Using Schools ‘To Force The Homosexual Agenda’ On Children (April 2011)

Religious Right groups consistently try to tarnish anti-bullying initiatives by labeling them as “homosexual indoctrination” and “special rights,” among other absurd claims. A Religious Right group called Public Advocate and led by Virginia politician Eugene Delgaudio launched the “Protect Our Children’s Innocence” petition to protest the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which it labeled the “Homosexual Classrooms Act.”

2. Gordon Klingenschmitt Says ‘Sick and Perverse’ Student Non-Discrimination Act Will Legalize ‘Sexual Assault’ (April 2012)

After President Obama announced his support for the Student Non-Discrimination Act, Gordon Klingenschmitt went back on the attack against the anti-bullying bill, warning in an email message that the “sick and perverse” legislation will “give homosexuals and perverts protected status,” “mandate pro-homosexual recruiting of kids in public schools,” promote “child abuse” as “homosexuals will have full control of classrooms” and even allow for harassment and “sexual assault.”

1. Sandy Rios: Schools No Longer Teach Reading and Writing, Now Just Promote Homosexuality (April 2013)

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios hosted Linda Harvey of Mission America to criticize the Day of Silence, the anti-bullying event which Harvey has previously described as dangerous and blasphemous.

Rios, who once said that test scores are dropping as a result of schools “teaching” homosexuality, kicked off the program by arguing that public schools no longer instruct students in subjects like “reading, writing, cursive, spelling, grammar [and] punctuation,” but are instead completely dedicated to “cramming, twisting, perverting all academic subjects to the way of supporting homosexuality.”

 

Scott Lively: 'Science Says' Gays 'Using Parts Of The Body In Ways They're Not Supposed To Be Used'

Anti-gay crusader and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively was a guest on the The Alan Colmes Show yesterday, where he attempted to explain why “homosexuality is a behavioral disorder on par with alcoholism or eating disorders.”

Lively told Colmes that “homosexual conduct is inherently wrong and dangerous and harmful” because “it’s using parts of the body in ways they’re not supposed to be used.”

When Colmes asked him “who says” that LGBT people use their bodies “in ways they’re not supposed to,” Lively replied, “Well, science says, for one thing.”

When Colmes asked him for scientific evidence of this, Lively of course couldn’t name any, but said that scientific studies aren’t even necessary because his point is “self-evident” and “the best arguments are arguments from simple logic, and when you get off into scientific studies then you’re off in the weeds.”


Lively: I believe that homosexuality is a behavioral disorder on par with alcoholism or eating disorders, things that people suffer with. It isn’t just a moral weakness. It’s something that people suffer with.

Colmes: How do you account for the fact that there are many gays who are happily gay, they’re not suffering because of it, they’re happily living their lives, some of them with partners. Alcoholism causes definite problems, physical problems.

Lively: Hey, there’s a lot of happy alcoholics.

Colmes: Well, but I don’t know how you compare a decision that somebody makes – I’m not calling being gay a decision, but a decision to be married to someone of the same gender, a decision to have sex with someone of the same gender – how do you call that analogous to alcoholism, when someone could be very not negatively affected by the results of those actions?

Lively: Well, I disagree that they can be ‘not negatively affected.’ I think homosexual conduct is inherently wrong and dangerous and harmful.

Colmes: Why? Why?

Lively: Why? Because it’s engaging in, it’s using parts of the body in ways they’re not supposed to be used.

Colmes: Says who?

Lively: Frankly, my model that I follow and that I advocate is that all sex belongs inside of authentic marriage, between a man and a woman.

Colmes: Who says that the human body should not be done in a way, or used in a way that gays use the human body, who says that?

Lively: Well, science says, for one thing.

Colmes: What scientists are coming out and saying that gays shouldn’t do that?

Lively: Well, not very many these days, because if anyone dares to go against the gays, they get bashed.

Colmes: But where in science has there ever been some scientific theory analogous to global warming, for example, that gays should not do things with their body.

Lively: Alan, it’s self-evident. It’s self-evident that anal…

Colmes: Wait a minute, you’re saying science, you didn’t say it was self-evident. Where’s the science in this?

Lively: Well, if you want to go down that path, I suppose we can go dig up studies and all that, but we don’t need to do that because it’s self-evident

Colmes: Because you can’t back up what you said if you don’t do that.

Lively: I believe that the best arguments are the arguments from simple logic, and when you get off into scientific studies, then you’re off in the weeds.

Colmes: But you’re the one who brought up science, Dr. Lively, you’re the one who brought that up.

Linda Harvey To Gay Teens: Stay In The Closet!

Mission America’s Linda Harvey went on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to promote her new book, “Maybe He’s Not Gay,” which encourages gay teenagers to renounce homosexuality.

Mefferd asked Harvey what advice she would give to the friends and family of a teen who wants to come out as gay. “The first thing,” Havey advised, is “they do not need to come out to everyone.”

"That’s the beginning of many troubling roads for young people," Harvey said of coming out. That’s when they announce it and they feel like they have to live up to that, or down to that, standard they set for themselves. And it begins to label them, they put these labels on themselves.”

She added that parents and friends should tell gay teens that “lots and lots of people have changed out of this lifestyle.”

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