Marriage Equality

Mat Staver: Roy Moore's Suspension Signals A Breakdown In Law That Will Eventually Destroy The Republic

Mat Staver, who represented Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in an ethics trial that recently ended in his suspension from the court, said yesterday that the verdict in the case shows that “we’re seeing the breakdown of the rule of law” in America that will eventually lead to the “dissolution of the entire republic.”

Moore had attempted to stop federal marriage equality rulings from taking effect in his state, later making the flimsy excuse that he was merely providing judges in the state with a “status update” on the law, a claim that the state’s Court of the Judiciary pointed out had been contradicted by Staver’s own words.

Staver was the guest on VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program when a listener called in to ask, “If Judge Roy Moore can be suspended because of a frivolous complaint against him that has no merit, why doesn’t Liberty Counsel file frivolous complaints against all the judges on the Supreme Court and have the Supreme Court wiped out, and the legislature will obviously have to do something about it.”

Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, responded that that strategy would never work “because the deck is stacked” against groups like his and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which filed an ethics complaint against Moore, would “throw the rules out” to go after him.

“So what happens here is when the rule of law is thrown out and when people don’t abide by the rule of law and they make it up as they go, then the outcome is predetermined,” he said. “That is the problem that ultimately breaks down the entire freedom and democracy that we have, in terms of our representative form of government, I should say. It breaks down the whole system.”

“In fact,” he continued, “Thomas Jefferson said this: ‘The seeds of dissolution lies in the judiciary.’ What does he mean by that? He means that if the judges, if the courts, don’t restrain themselves and we the people don’t restrain them within their confined duties, then that’s where the seeds of dissolution of the entire republic are. And it will grow and grow and grow and grow, and eventually it will dissolve the entire republic of the United States of America. And that’s what we’re seeing, we’re seeing the breakdown of the rule of law, and when they make it up as they go, it doesn’t really matter. So that’s the problem that we have in this case.”

Rick Scarborough: Gay Marriage Has Made It Illegal For Christians To Serve As Federal Judges

Vision America's Rick Scarborough appeared on the American Pastors Network's "Stand In The Gap" radio program earlier this week to discuss his effort to encourage pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote and declared that, thanks to the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling last year, Christians are now being banned from serving in various public offices.

Scarborough said that in his years of working to mobilize pastors to get involved in politics, he has discovered that he has had the most success at times when pastors sensed that there was a direct threat against something that they cared about.

"Whenever there's a threat, pastors seem to be quicker to respond," Scarborough said. "Well, we have that now with the threat on religious liberty driven by the radical LGBTQ effort, this whole transgender assault on biblical marriage and just sane morality."

"We already have, in effect, because of the godless ruling of the Supreme Court," he continued, "when they implemented by judicial fiat the travesty of same-sex marriage upon the country, suddenly they literally made it unlawful and illegal for Christians to hold positions on the federal courts, those with biblical values to serve in various places in the military; they're literally being drummed out on the basis that their biblical values are counter to the Constitution as written by these five unelected lawyers."

Pastors understand that "now that there's a real threat," Scarborough said. "More and more pastors now can get it and are beginning to recognize that if they don't stand today, there will be no freedom to stand tomorrow."

Roy Moore Suspended For Defying Federal Courts On Marriage Equality

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, famous for having lost his seat on the court in 2003 when he defied a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building, has been sanctioned yet again by the state’s Court of the Judiciary, which ordered today that Moore be suspended without pay for the remainder of his term in office, this time for defying federal court decisions on marriage equality.

Moore was already under temporary suspension until the court heard his case. The court ruled unanimously that the suspension be continued until Moore’s term in office runs out in 2018.

The Court of the Judiciary’s ruling is a brutal smackdown of the attempts by Moore and his attorney, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, to justify the chief justice’s efforts to stop marriage equality from taking effect in his state.

The court’s judges make clear in the ruling that their decision on Moore’s case has nothing to do with their opinions about the Obergefell ruling, which they note “some members of this court did not personally agree with or think was well reasoned.”

However, they reject Moore’s recent attempt to claim that his January order requiring state probate judges to defy Obergefell and refrain from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was nothing more than a “status update” on the law. In fact, they note that a press release from Staver himself the day the order was issued completely contradicts that claim:

Chief Justice Moore’s arguments that his actions and words mean something other than what they clearly express is not a new strategy. In 2003, this court’s order removing Chief Justice Moore quoted the following testimony from him before the [Judicial Inquiry Commission]:

“I did what I did because I upheld my oath. And that’s what I did, so I have no apologies for it. I would do it again. I didn’t say I would defy the court order. I said I wouldn’t move the monument. And I didn’t move the monument, which you can take as you will.”

Just as Chief Justice Moore’s decision that he “wouldn’t move the monument” was, in fact, defiance of the federal court order binding him, a disinterested reasonable observer, fully informed of all the relevant facts, would conclude that the undeniable consequence of the January 6, 2016, order was to order and direct the probate judges to deny marriage licenses in direct defiance of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell and the Strawser injunction.

Indeed, to see that the January 6, 2016, order can be reasonably read as requiring defiance of the United States Supreme Court and the district court in Strawser, we need to look no further than a press release issued by Mat Staver—Chief Justice Moore’s own counsel in these proceedings and one of the counsel of record in API—that was issued the same day as the January 6, 2016, order. In that press release, which solely addressed the January 6, 2016 order, Staver asserted:

“In Alabama…state judiciaries…are standing up against the federal judiciary or any one [sic] else who wants to come up with some cockeyed view that somehow the Constitution now births some newfound notion of same-sex marriage.”

Chief Justice Moore’s contention that the only purpose and plausible reading of the January 6, 2016, order is that of a “status update” is entirely unconvincing.

In fact, in a public press release this morning after the ruling came down, Staver claimed again that Moore’s order was “merely a status report"and, ironically, accused the court of throwing “the rule of law out the window.” However, in an email to Liberty Counsel supporters, he declared, “Liberty Counsel upholds 'just' laws—and the moral law of God. In Alabama and across America, in state judiciaries and legislatures, Liberty Counsel's legal team is standing against the federal judiciary, resisting tyrannical rule, and upholding the moral law of God.”

UPDATE: Moore released a statement saying “This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda.”

Mat Staver: Roy Moore Faces The 'Death Penalty'! (Of His Career)

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is currently facing trial before the state’s Court of the Judiciary after a judicial ethics panel called for his removal from the bench due to his efforts to defy the federal courts on marriage equality.

Moore is being represented by Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver, who also represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her efforts to defy the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.

In an interview with an Alabama Christian radio station yesterday, Staver insisted that the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission is seeking the “death penalty” for Moore in the sense that removing him from the bench would “kill his career.”

Bob Crittenden, the host of “Meeting House” on the Alabama-based Faith Radio, asked Staver if the court could choose to take a less severe action against Moore than removing him from his post, which Staver said would be like a prosecutor asking for a first-degree murder charge and then changing her request when that doesn’t work out.

What the commission is asking for, he said, “is total removal, not anything less, not suspension, not punishment, not reprimand—total removal. They’re asking for the highest penalty. They’re asking, if you will, for the death penalty, in that sense, to kill his career, end his career. And I don’t think they can punt and go back to some lesser issue.”

He added that the process of being charged and suspended from his job has been punishment enough for Moore.

If past experience is any indication, being removed from the bench would far from “kill” Moore’s career. Back in 2003, he was removed from the state supreme court for flouting an order to remove a 10 Commandments statue from the state judicial building, which he followed up with an activist career, a number of political campaigns, and ultimately his reelection to the court.

Brian Camenker Takes His Anti-Equality 'War' To Mexico

We have previously reported that Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage and the World Congress of Families is lending his support to the growing backlash against marriage equality by religious conservatives in Mexico. Turns out the intensely anti-gay Brian Camenker of MassResistance is also helping out.

In a September 16 post on its website, MassResistance wrote that over the summer Camenker responded to a plea for help from organizers of Mexico’s National Front for the Family. Camenker sent the group digital files of the Spanish-language version of his group’s booklet, “What same-sex ‘marriage’ has done to Massachusetts: It’s far worse than most people realize” and a Spanish version of his group’s video, “What ‘gay marriage’ has done to Massachusetts.” (Among the “shocking” things the video mentions are requirements that insurance companies must recognize legal marriages by same-sex couples and lawyers must learn about legal equality.)

The National Front has invited Camenker to Mexico City for what the group hopes will be a massive anti-marriage-equality rally this Saturday, September 24, building on other rallies that have taken place across the country this month.

The post says that the California chapter of MassResistance is planning to hold a rally in solidarity at the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles and hopes that other chapters will get on board. The National Organization for Marriage has announced plans for an anti-marriage-equality rally at the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C. this Friday, September 23. CitizenGo, a conservative platform for online organizing that has mobilized on behalf of anti-gay efforts around the globe, is also promoting the D.C. event.

Camenker was a speaker at an anti-gay summit that was held in Salt Lake City last October on the eve of a World Congress of Families summit. Camenker disagreed with people who urged anti-LGBT activists to always speak the truth in love. “I think there is a place for being insulting and degrading, and I think I can back that up by scripture,” he said. As we reported at the time:

Camenker said that in the Old Testament, “God has two sets of laws regarding how you treat your fellow man.” One is how you treat your neighbor, who you might work with and forgive. “There’s a whole different set of rules for people who want to tear down society, who want to push immorality, who want to tear down the moral structure of society.” That set of rules is “very brutal,” he said. “God says those people who want to do that must be destroyed.”

He said the LGBT movement is a “house of cards” that is “held together by force, intimidation, and propaganda” and can be destroyed by standing up to it, the way communism was. “We are in a war,” he repeated, saying of gay-rights advocates, “They would send us to concentration camps if they could.”

Brian Brown Mobilizing Support For Anti-Equality Campaign in Mexico

Marriage equality has been spreading across Mexico as activists have engaged in a long-term strategy challenging discrimination in the federal courts and state legislatures. But after President Enrique Peña Nieto announced this summer that he would like to put marriage equality into the country’s constitution, conservative religious leaders have been mobilizing a backlash. Now, U.S. anti-gay activist Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who became president of the anti-LGBT World Congress of Families earlier this year, is headed to Mexico to show his support.

Anti-equality activists at the National Front for the Family organized marches in multiple cities last weekend that were supported by Catholic Church officials. They’re following up with a national anti-equality march scheduled for September 24. Religious conservatives would like to amend the constitution to ban abortion and sex ed as well as marriage by same-sex couples.

In a Wednesday email from the World Congress of Families, Brown writes:

WCF is launching a petition drive to give you and citizens across the globe the opportunity to add your own voice to the National March for the Family in Mexico City. Even though most people can't be there in person, you can lend your name and voice to the effort to uphold marriage, protect children from "gender ideology" and support the right of parents to direct their children's education according to their own values and principles.

I will personally deliver this petition to the leaders of National Front for the Family, including my friend, Rodrigo Ivan Cortes, when I meet with them in Mexico City.

The National March for the Family has the potential of being the largest single demonstration of support for marriage, children and parental rights in history. Beyond its significance in the domestic affairs of Mexico, this march also can help advance the worldwide movement to support marriage, religious liberty and the truth of gender that we were made male and female.

Both Brown and the World Congress of Families have a long track record of promoting anti-gay policies around the world.

How Phyllis Schlafly Paved The Way For Donald Trump

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who died yesterday at the age of 92, was an early and ardent supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, one of the few Religious Right leaders who embraced the thrice-married, brash business mogul before they were left with no other option.

Schlafly’s love of Trump was hardly surprising: For decades, she has fought to build a Republican Party that rejects immigrants, stirs up fears of communists (and now Muslims), condemns “globalism,” eschews “political correctness,” and does it all with the veneer of protecting the “traditional family.” Trump was the candidate she had been waiting for.

Schlafly got her start as an anti-communist activist in the 1950s and 1960s, defending Sen. Joe McCarthy’s notorious communist hunt until the end and canceling her subscription to The National Review when it denounced the conspiratorial anti-communist John Birch Society. In 1964, she self-published a book called “A Choice Not An Echo,” urging the GOP to reject moderation and back Sen. Barry Goldwater’s presidential run; that year, Goldwater lost the presidential election in a landslide but made an indelible impact on the Republican Party.

But Schlafly really made a name for herself as the nation’s most famous anti-feminist, leading the successful fight to stop the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Throughout her career, Schlafly denounced “the feminists” and their goals, even as she became a successful career woman in her own right. (Schlafly’s niece later admitted that even as the activist exulted stay-at-home mothering as the natural role of women, she hired domestic help to help her manage balancing her career and childrearing.)

Through her group Eagle Forum, Schlafly remained active in a long list of conservative causes after the ERA was defeated.

Later in her career, Schlafly denounced equal pay legislation, saying that the “so-called pay gap” should actually be increased to help women find husbands who earn more than them. In 2007, she said that it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife because “by getting married, the woman has consented to sex.” A staunch opponent of abortion rights, Schlafly founded the Republican National Coalition for Life to ensure that the GOP remained an anti-choice party.

Hand-in-hand with Schlafly’s anti-feminism was her staunch opposition to LGBT rights. One of her primary arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment was that it would eventually lead to marriage equality and other rights for LGBT people. Her views on the issue didn’t waver even after her son John, who remains active in Eagle Forum, was outed as gay.

In recent years, Schlafly turned much of her attention to fighting immigration, and particularly to fighting efforts within the GOP to be more welcoming to immigrants. After the Republican National Committee responded to Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election by issuing an “autopsy” report that urged the party to stop alienating Latinos, partially by considering immigration reform, Schlafly lashed out, saying that there was no hope for the GOP to win Latinos. Latinos, she said, don’t “have any Republican inclinations at all” because “they’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.” She added that Latinos “come from a country where they have no experience with limited government. And the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights, they don’t understand that at all, you can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.”

Schlafly attacked President Obama for bringing in “foreign ideas and diseases and people who don’t believe in self-government” and repeatedly declared that current levels of immigration are destroying America. In response to people skeptical of Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, Schlafly scoffed. “In my mind’s eye,” she said, “I see those railroad cars full of illegals going south. That’s what they ought to do.” Schlafly made clear that her objection was not to immigration in general, but to the fact that many immigrants were coming from Latin America, saying last year that while it is “quite true that America was built by hard-working people from all over the world,” today’s immigrants are “not the same sort” as the mostly European immigrants who flocked to the country in the early 20th century.

She tried to square this anti-immigrant sentiment with her Christian beliefs by claiming that the Bible’s demands of “kindness and compassion” to strangers do not apply to the government’s treatment of immigrants.

It’s no wonder that Schlafly loved Trump, who offered to deliver the Religious Right’s policy priorities while putting his heart into fighting immigration and stirring up fears of the supposed radical Muslim infiltration of America. Schlafly stuck with Trump, whom she introduced at a St. Louis campaign rally, even as her support for his candidacy helped to tear apart both her organization and her family. In the month's before Schlafly's death, her daughter joined other Eagle Forum officials in a lawsuit that seeking the ouster of Schalfly’s handpicked, pro-Trump successor. Fittingly, Schlafly’s final book was released today. It’s called “The Conservative Case for Trump.”

Trump may seem like something new in the political system, but he’s exactly the kind of candidate Schlafly spent her life priming the GOP to accept.

Ralph Reed: Evangelicals Will Turn Out For Trump & Keep Clinton From Running Away With Election

Last weekend political operative Ralph Reed appeared on the "Journal Editorial Report" on Fox News to talk about evangelical voters (by which he seemd to mean white evangelicals) and Donald Trump.

Asked by The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot how Trump is doing among evangelicals relative to previous Republican nominees, Reed said Trump is “hitting at the industry standard” and possibly “heading, really, to the highest we have ever seen.” Reed said that George H.W. Bush had gotten 82 percent of the evangelical vote in 1988 and George W. Bush got 78 percent in 2004, which was matched by Mitt Romney.

Reed cited four recent polls that he said have reliable data on evangelical voters, saying that they show an average of 73 percent support for Trump and 18 percent for Hillary Clinton. He called evangelical voters “the largest single constituency in the electorate,” saying they constitute between 24 and 27 percent of the electorate, with Catholics who frequently attend mass adding another nine percent. “So this is bigger than the Hispanic vote, bigger than the African American vote, and bigger than the feminist and gay vote combined,” Reed said.

Reed said Trump is winning support by showing up at evangelical events, asking for their vote, and telling them that he shares their values and wants to see their “role in society enhanced.” Beyond that, said Reed, he is winning their support based on:

“…his fealty to their positions on the sanctity of life, on traditional marriage, on support for the state of Israel, on religious freedom, particularly that progeny of cases before the Supreme Court like Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor, and finally, his full-throated opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, which I think resonates powerfully in this community because they consider Iran to be an existential threat to the survival of the state of Israel.

Gigot asked why Clinton was doing so well in traditionally Republican states like Georgia. Reed noted that Georgia has a large number of African American voters, which makes it competitive. Reed said Trump’s trouble in battleground states reflects that he’s had a rough few weeks, but he said he believes Trump has “turned the corner” and he still believes if Trump gets and stays on message, it’s going to be getting “a lot better for him, not only in those red states, but nationally and in the battleground states.”

I’m not in the prediction business, but based on what we’re seeing anecdotally, these voters of faith are gonna turn out, and they’re gonna turn out in huge numbers, and I think he’s gonna to get north of 75 percent of the vote, and if that is baked into the cake, there is no way that she runs away with this election. I think it’ll be competitive.

In an email touting his Fox appearance, Reed wrote that his Faith and Freedom Coalition “is undertaking the most ambitious voter education effort in its history to educate, inform, mobilize and turn out voters of faith in 2016.”

FFC is training hundreds of volunteers in North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and other key states who will staff its 31 field offices in 11 states andknock on over 1 million doors between now and November 8.  Be a part of history!   Sign up for our Volunteer Strike Force…

FFC will distribute 30 million voter guides in an estimated 117,000 churches nationwide, make over 15 million get-out-the-vote phone calls, and reach 2.4 million voters at their homes with personal visits.  If you can’t volunteer door-to-door or do not live or can’t travel to a battleground state, you can still be a part of FFC’s Strike Force by calling voters across the country from your own home…


A New Regnerus? Anti-Equality Groups Promote New Study on Sexual Orientation and Gender

Anti-equality organizations are enthusiastically promoting a new study on sexual orientation and gender, hoping it will be new culture war ammunition.

The study by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh appears in “The New Atlantis,” a journal co-published by the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Center for the Study of Technology and Science, which shares an address with EPPC. The New Atlantis is not a peer-reviewed journal, and has critiqued peer review, widely considered the gold standard in scientific publishing.

Among the authors’ contentions are that the belief that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate or fixed properties is “not supported by scientific evidence.” The study also says that the stress of social stigma is not a sufficient explanation for higher rates of mental health and substance abuse problems in LGBT communities.

In his preface, co-author Mayer dedicates his work to the LGBT community, “which bears a disproportionate rate of mental health problems compared the population as a whole,” and to “scholars doing impartial research on topics of public controversy.” He declares himself a supporter of equality and opponent of anti-LGBT discrimination.

Mayer says that McHugh initially approached him to review a monograph he had written and the project expanded from there. The prominent but controversial McHugh is a Catholic in his mid-80s who has described himself as “religiously orthodox, politically liberal, and culturally conservative – a believer in marriage and the Marines, a supporter of institutions and family values.” The new study builds on a body of work that dismisses the notion of transgender identity. TransAdvocate and others challenged McHugh’s “selective reading of transgender medical literature” two years ago, and ThinkProgress critiqued his work in 2015.

Brian Brown at the National Organization for Marriage can hardly contain his excitement about the new study, writing in a letter to supporters, “The importance of this new study cannot be overstated.” He urges people to “help spread the word” to “make sure that this groundbreaking research gains the wide hearing it deserves despite what will surely be a concerted effort by the media to bury its findings.”

Also participating in the roll-out is the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, one of the most prominent opponents of marriage equality. Anderson says the study’s findings undermine the Obama administration’s requirement that schools accommodate transgender children as well as the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Anderson has written a book and spoken widely about how the anti-equality movement should reject and resist the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.  Anderson has urged the anti-equality movement to conduct new research (citing  the widely discredited Mark Regnerus study on “family structures”) to create “new insights” that future Supreme Court justices could use as justification for overturning Obergefell.


Happy Birthday, Phyllis Schlafly!

Today is the 92nd birthday of Phyllis Schlafly, the godmother of the right-wing movement in America. Schlafly broke onto the national scene with “A Choice Not an Echo,” her 1964 book making the case for Barry Goldwater, and she solidified her leadership with her successful campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment. Decades later, she helped rally right-wing opposition to President Obama, hosting a “How To Take Back America” conference during his first year in office. She’s still hard at work, leading Eagle Forum and publishing her Phyllis Schlafly Report newsletter, whose June issue argued for putting Trump’s wall—“and yes, Mexico will pay”—in this year’s Republican platform. Mission accomplished.

It hasn’t been the happiest year for Schlafly, who has been embroiled in a power struggle with a group of Eagle Forum board members, including her own daughter. She also lost a trademark lawsuit against her nephew, who makes Schlafly beer.

On the other hand, Schlafly was an early and ardent backer of Donald Trump, standing up for him in the primaries against many of her Religious Right allies and Eagle Forum colleagues. At this year’s Republican National Convention, Schlafly hosted a “Life of the Party” event celebrating that the GOP has been officially anti-abortion since 1976; she told attendees that she endorsed Trump after he pledged loyalty to a pro-life platform. Party attendees were given copies of the most recent of her more than two dozen books, “How the Republican Party Became Pro-Life.” It’s a short paperback that feels as if it was thrown together after having Schlafly tell war stories about her GOP platform battles over the years.

Schlafly spends most of the book recounting stories of pro-life activists’ efforts to strengthen and protect anti-abortion language at every Republican convention since 1976. It includes the successful resistance led by Schlafly, Ralph Reed, Bay Buchanan and Gary Bauer to Bob Dole’s efforts to soften the anti-abortion language in 1996. (I was in San Diego with a People For the American Way team covering that convention; Reed was gleeful about demonstrating his power to humiliate Dole, which may well have contributed to his November defeat.)

After the quick march through convention history, Schlafly moves into a denunciation of “judicial supremacy,” calling on Republicans to repudiate the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. She also calls for nullification of 2015’s marriage equality ruling:

When supremacist judges presume to rewrite portions of our law, most especially if it is a law that we have had for millennia such as our law defining marriage, it’s time for the American people to speak up and say “No” just as Abe Lincoln did when supremacist judges ruled that blacks could be considered another man’s “property.” … All Americans must use every tool in the political process to reject judicial supremacy and return to government by “we the people.”

The book includes a short afterword by Kristan Hawkins, presidents of Students for Life, who calls Schlafly “a great American hero” and celebrates that, thanks to Schlafly and “her army,” there is today “no national Republican candidate who dares be anything other than pro-life!” The final 70 pages of the book, more than half its total length, is devoted to an appendix of anti-abortion and anti-marriage-equality references in Republican platforms and resolutions and excerpts from the 2012 platform.

Earlier this year, Schlafly urged Republican senators to hold firm in refusing to consider a Supreme Court nominee “until we have a Republican who will appoint somebody of the nature of Scalia,” telling her interviewer that the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency made her “scared to death.” Republican senators have done as she asked, and Schlafly got her wish in Cleveland with a solidly right-wing platform and the nomination of Donald Trump. But given what current polls suggest that November will bring, she may want to do her celebrating now.


NOM To Its Supporters: You're Pathetic

The latest fundraising email from the National Organization for Marriage is not a happy one; it starts with a graphic of the U.S. Capitol and the text, “This is pathetic.”

 The chastising letter from NOM President Brian Brown complains:

NOM began our critical Summer Membership Drive on July 22nd. We're now three weeks into our drive — the halfway point — and we have only received 256 contributions from our members. We're only 17% toward our goal of receiving 1,500 membership contributions of at least $35.

That is pathetic.

Brown goes on to complain that with only a 17 percent participation rate, NOM can’t convince courts to uphold anti-gay “religious liberty” laws, fight President Obama’s “dangerous gender ‘identity’ agenda,” or “lobby the next President and the US Senate to only appoint and confirm Supreme Court justices who will reverse the illegitimate and anti-constitutional ruling redefining marriage.”

Brown, who recently gloated about NOM’s role in defeating a Missouri Republican state legislator who had voted against a constitutional amendment protecting anti-LGBT discrimination, fumed that unless his supporters start forking over cash, “It means that gutless, turncoat legislators who have betrayed marriage with their votes may get away with their treachery.”

Brown just doesn’t understand—he can’t imagine!why people would be unenthusiastic about continuing to support NOM's anti-gay activism:

I really don't believe — I just can't imagine the thought — that NOM's members have quit fighting for the institution of marriage as a union between man and woman. And yet, only 256 of you have responded with an urgently needed membership contribution during this critical period.

I'm going to be blunt: we need 1,500 people to step up with a membership contribution of at least $35 in order to raise the $52,500 we're short so far this year. Without that type of response, we'll have no choice but to lay people off, cut programs and stop pursuing some of our most important work.

Regardless of what kind of response NOM’s shaming email brings in, Brown will have plenty of anti-equality work to keep him busy, as he recently became president of the World Congress of Families, a network of organizations dedicated to resisting LGBT equality and preserving anti-gay discrimination around the world. 

Ralph Reed Makes The Case For Donald Trump

One theme of this year’s Republican National Convention is the Religious Right getting fully on board the Trump Train. Even before he vanquished Ted Cruz, his final primary opponent, Trump has been aggressively courting the Religious Right, and he has recently sought to shore up support from the movement leaders who backed Cruz and other candidates.

Yes, Trump is a habitual liar whose Bible-waving and political use of religious is transparently cynical, but that isn’t stopping Religious Right leaders from rallying around him. And why not? He allowed the Religious Right to write anti-gay discrimination into the GOP's platform. His promise to fill the Supreme Court with right-wing justices gives them hope that marriage equality in the U.S. will be short-lived. And he is even promising to overturn the federal law that forbids churches, like other tax-exempt nonprofits, from engaging in direct electoral politics, and to sign legislation defunding Planned Parenthood.

In Cleveland this week for the RNC, Religious Right political operative Ralph Reed spoke with Doug Wright, “Utah’s most listened to talk show host.” Polls show that many of Utah’s Mormon voters are resisting the call to unite behind Trump.

When asked why so many evangelicals are supporting Trump in spite of his “interesting” background, his use of “vulgarities,” and other things that might concern a conservative Christian, Reed said, “You’re not electing a pastor-in-chief, you’re electing a commander-in-chief.”

Reed reminded Wright that evangelicals backed Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election even though they had a different approach to faith, and even though Romney had previously held pro-choice and pro-gay views, something for which some conservatives have criticized Trump. “I thought we were members of a faith where we were supposed to welcome converts,” said Reed.

In fact, said Reed, he thinks Trump “has the potential to be the greatest advocate for our values, and do the most to advance that agenda, precisely because he doesn’t necessarily come from where we come from.” In other words, because people don’t view Trump as a Religious Right activist, they might be more receptive to his call for ending the ban on church politicking.

Here’s Reed’s basic case for Trump, starting with the fact that “he is a professing Christian.”

More importantly…he shares our values. He’s pro-life. He’s pro-traditional marriage, which is very important to us…He’s pro-religious freedom. He supported the Hobby Lobby Decision, supports Little Sisters of the Poor, has placed in the platform, at his insistence, at this convention, for the first time in the history of the Republican Party, a call for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment to the internal revenue code, which threatens churches that speak out politically with the loss of their tax-exempt status. That has been used to harass and persecute the Christian community for over half a century. Donald Trump will end it.

Plenty Of Anti-LGBT Speakers At Trump's Convention

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.

As Peter noted earlier today, speculation that Donald Trump may move the Republican Party into greater acceptance of LGBT people is hard to take seriously given the GOP platform committee’s approval this week of an exceptionally anti-LGBT platform, not to mention the anti-LGBT activists whom Trump himself has enthusiastically embraced in his quest for the presidency.

A preliminary list of this year’s Republican National Convention speakers should also put that idea to rest.

Along with the many businessmen and celebrity buddies of Trump who appear on the speakers list are a number of activists and politicians who have long records of anti-LGBT activism.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and one of Trump’s earliest endorsers from the Religious Right, has a speaking slot. Falwell is the head of Liberty University, the school founded by his father, which is well known for itsanti-gay politics and student policies discouraging homosexuality. Liberty University is closely affiliated with Liberty Counsel, the anti-gay legal group that represented Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her quest to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Also speaking will be three former GOP presidential rivals to Trump who are known for their anti-LGBT politics.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hooked his presidential campaign on an appeal to Religious Right voters, will have a speaking slot. As we previously wrote , Huckabee managed to cover plenty of extremist ground just in his 2016 campaign:

After all, Huckabee had vowed to outlaw abortion with a sweeping presidential decree,promised to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling before it criminalized Christianity and destroyed America, and literally turned Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ release from detention into a campaign rally, volunteering to go to jail on her behalf. The former Arkansas governor even pledged to boycott Doritos because the company released rainbow-colored chips benefiting an LGBT suicide prevention group and starred in a bizarre anti-gay film.

Then there’s Ben Carson, who attracted plenty of attention during his presidential run forclaiming that prison rape proves that being gay is a choice. Carson insisted that “abnormal” LGBT people shouldn’t get “extra rights” and called for the impeachment of justices who back gay marriage. He also argued, as Brian has summarized, that the gay rights movement is “part of a wideranti-American, anti-God, anti-Constitution plot conjured up by communist subversives and the New World Order.”

Then there’s Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, along with repeatedly lying about LGBT people, accused the gay community of waging a “jihad” against people of faith:

Cruz and Huckabee were both so eager to win the votes of anti-gay extremists that they attended a conference last year at which the organizer, radical pastor Kevin Swanson, repeatedly declared that the Bible demands that gay people be put to death.

And there are many more. Newt Gingrich, when he was running for president in 2011, signed the National Organization for Marriage’s candidate pledge to support a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and said that he would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In 2008, Gingrich warned that "there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, is prepared to use harassment.” Mike Pence, who’s now being reported to be Trump’s vice presidential pick, has a long record of opposing LGBT rights, including signing a bill in Indiana last year that would authorize broad discrimination against LGBT people, before backing down under public pressure to amend the law.

While few sitting members of Congress are showing up to the convention, among those invited to speak are several with strongly anti-LGBT records. Just this year, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy personally twisted arms to ensure the last-minute defeat of a provision that would have protected LGBT people from employment discrimination from federal contractors, creating a chaotic scene on the House floor. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was instrumental in making the 2012 Republican platform reach new levels of anti-LGBT sentiment (although this year’s platform is even worse). Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, when she was a state legislator, tried to get a referendum on the ballot in an effort to overturn the state supreme court’s landmark marriage equality ruling. She has claimed she wants to leave the marriage issue to the states, but at the same time has said that she would support a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

Religious Right Out-Muscles Pro-Equality Republicans

We have lost count of how many times the Religious Right has been declared spent as a political force. Those declarations have always been wrong, and this year’s Republican Party platform is the latest sign of the movement’s continued power.

Four years ago, we called the GOP platform “a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.” Yet this year’s platform is even further to the right.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In 2012, Religious Right leaders spent the entire week in Tampa bragging about how they had essentially written the platform. But pro-LGBT Republicans were remarkably confident that it would never happen again. At the time, the Log Cabin Republicans vowed that never again would the party platform be hostile to LGBT equality. Former member of Congress Jim Kolbe said the anti-gay sentiment in that year’s platform was “the last gasp of the conservatives.” The upbeat attitude had us wondering about “the fine, fuzzy line dividing optimism from delusion.”

Well, there’s nothing left to wonder about. In spite of an organized and well-funded campaign by LGBT-friendly conservatives, Religious Right activists made sure that they dominated the platform committee. During the committee’s deliberations on proposed amendments on Monday and Tuesday, every effort to moderate the language on LGBT rights was rejected, including tame language that would have acknowledged growing support within the party for marriage equality. The Log Cabin Republicans are calling this year’s document “the most anti-LGBT Platform in the Party’s 162-year history.”

Even an amendment that would have recognized the LGBT victims of ISIS terror was deemed too much. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is bragging that he and fellow Louisiana delegate Sandy McDade, Eagle Forum’s political chairman, watered that language down so that it refers generically to all people terrorized by ISIS.

The platform includes Religious Right-approved language opposing marriage equality and endorsing legislation to give legal protection to anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of religious liberty. And it calls for eliminating the IRS provision that prevents churches, like other nonprofits, from engaging in direct electoral advocacy — one of the promises Donald Trump has made to win Religious Right support.

A seemingly last-ditch effort by LGBT-friendly delegates to require a vote on a “minority report” to replace the long platform with a short statement of principles is now being denounced by Perkins and Religious Right activist David Barton as an attempt by gays to hijack the platform process. Its odds of success seem vanishingly small.

Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo says he’s “mad as hell” about the new platform, but in the same email he tries to distance the document from Donald Trump, who Angelo praised last December as “one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency.”

Not long after that, as journalist Michelangelo Signorile noted, Trump accepted the endorsement of Jerry Falwell Jr. and promised to put right-wing justices on the Supreme Court. In January he promised to make Christianity (read right-wing Christianity) more powerful. More recently, Trump reiterated his promises in a closed-door meeting with hundreds of conservative Christian leaders, where he told them, “I’m on your side.”

Trump may be willing to let Caitlin Jenner use the bathroom of her choice at his office building, but he was unwilling to lift a finger to keep the party from supporting states that pass laws preventing transgender people from using bathrooms that match their identity — or from declaring in many ways that the party remains officially opposed to legal equality for LGBT people.

The presumptive Republican nominee is all bluster and toughness when he is denouncing political correctness, but he turns meekly obliging when dealing with the Religious Right leaders he is counting on to turn out the vote.



Right-Wing Republican Platform Committee Affirms Opposition to LGBT Equality

We noted yesterday that Religious Right leaders had spent months making sure that the Republican platform committee would be stacked with “strong conservative voices” in order to resist an organized effort by pro-equality Republicans to replace anti-gay language in 2012’s far-right platform with something more inclusive. Yesterday’s platform committee session made it clear that the Right Wing was successful, as efforts to amend the draft platform language were repeatedly batted down.

Instead the committee affirmed the party’s support for marriage only for one man and one woman. The platform specifically rejects the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling and calls for its reversal “whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”

A delegate from D.C., Rachel Hoff, identified herself as the first openly gay member of the platform committee and joked that as she hadn’t been raised in a Republican family, she wasn’t “born this way” and chose to be a Republican. But her colleagues were unmoved by her heartfelt plea for a more inclusive platform and rejected language that would have encouraged a “thoughtful conversation” and  recognized the growing support among Republicans for marriage equality (a 2014 Pew poll found more than 60-percent support for marriage equality among Republicans under 30).

There were a few libertarian-leaning voices on the committee, and they tended to appear younger than the average member, but they were out-gunned on LGBT issues as well as challenges to drug war orthodoxy and support for medicinal marijuana. Perhaps in deference to the twice-divorced and thrice-married Donald Trump, platform committee members did vote down an amendment condemning no-fault divorce. The committee voted to keep in language calling on government officials to encourage schools to teach the Bible as literature.

Some of the debate was spirited even if the results were ultimately one-sided. When a conservative delegate proposed inserting “traditional” before “two-parent families” in a section about what is best for children, a couple of delegates called it an extra slap in the face to LGBT people and an insult to single parents, but the amendment passed. When a New York delegate challenged language supporting the First Amendment Defense Act — a federal bill to give legal protection to anti-LGBT discrimination — a Virginia delegate accused her of calling the bill’s supporters bigots, language she had not used.

Among the members of the committee who have worked to make sure the platform keeps the party’s social conservatives happy: the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins; discredited Christian-nation “historian” David Barton; former Texas Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar; Eagle Forum political chair Sandy McDade; right-wing attorney James Bopp; and Center for Arizona Policy founder Len Munsil.

Munsil, who now heads Arizona Christian University, gave the prayer to open today’s platform committee session, which began a little after 8 a.m. with a discussion of the platform’s economic policy section. Munsil’s prayer had echoes of the Christian-nation rhetoric of activists like Barton and David Lane; he referenced the Mayflower Compact, said God has blessed America because “we have honored You and Your word,” and prayed, “in the mighty name of Jesus,” for “an awakening among our leaders.”

Mat Staver Criticizes Orlando Memorials For Turning Into 'Homosexual Love Fests'

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver called on churches and Christian organizations to pass resolutions supporting "traditional marriage" and vowing never to accept the legitimacy of gay marriage, saying that doing so will put them on "the right side of history."

Staver cited a resolution that he helped to write that was recently passed by the Southern Baptist Convention as the sort of thing that other denominations should emulate.

"I encourage other denominations and churches to pass resolutions," he said, "and we're certainly willing and able to draft them ... I encourage your people in your churches to step on the right side of history and step on the side of marriage and the natural created order of man and woman."

Staver went on to lament that some churches turned memorial gatherings following the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando into a "homosexual love fest."

"Even in the situation following what happened in Orlando," he said, "churches got involved and they led in some cases and in other cases they followed and they ultimately allowed that situation, instead of an opportunity to pray, some of them allowed it to be a homosexual love fest. That's not something that we need to celebrate, this is a tragedy that is against all Americans."

Co-host Matt Barber then joined in to fault gay-friendly Christians because they are "disobeying Christ, are actually running afoul of God and Jesus in the context of the marriage debate and are siding with the Prince of the World who is trying to redefine marriage."

"Believe me, this idea of gay marriage didn't come from God, it didn't come from Christ," Barber said, "so who did it come from?"

Bryan Fischer 'Honors' Anniversary Of Obergefell Ruling By Likening It To 9/11

Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's historic marriage equality decision and American Family Radio's Bryan Fischer "honored" it on his radio show today by repeating his assertion that the ruling was the moral equivalent of 9/11.

"That day, June 26, 2015, is a date that will live in infamy," Fischer declared. "Just as the Pearl Harbor date is a date that will live in infamy, so this day in which same-sex marriage was imposed on the United States against the will of the citizens is a date that will live in moral infamy."

"What moral jihadists did on June 26, 2015," he continued, "what they did to the twin pillars of truth and righteousness [is] the same thing that the Muslim jihadists did to the World Trade Center on 9/11. So moral jihadists took down the twin pillars of truth and righteousness just like Muslim jihadists took down the twin towers on 9/11."

Wildmon: Trump 'Coachable' On LGBT Issues, Will Appoint Right-Wing Justices

On Wednesday, American Family Association president Tim Wildmon joined Sandy Rios to discuss his recent meeting with Donald Trump in New York.

Wildmon said that in Trump’s private meeting with Religious Right leaders on Monday, the GOP candidate said if he were president, all of his Supreme Court and federal judicial nominees would oppose abortion rights and be vetted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. 

Wildmon said that while Trump didn’t seem to “understand” the dangers to religious freedom posed by “the LGBT movement,” he was confident that he would be “coachable” on the issue.

“He is now surrounded by men that our audience would trust, okay, as godly people,” Wildmon said. “And he is being counseled and advised on a lot of these issues which he’s had a steep learning curve on because he has basically lived in a New York secular world his whole life and he’s having to come to know who we are, but he wants to be — I genuinely say this — he wants to be our friend. He wants to understand us.”

Sam Rohrer Ties Orlando Massacre To Gay Rights Victories: God Has 'Removed His Hand Of Protection'

American Pastors Network president and former Pennsylvania lawmaker Sam Rohrer linked Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando to Supreme Court decisions securing rights for LGBT people, telling conservative talk radio host Steve Deace this week that Supreme Court decisions involving marriage equality and “God’s order for human sexuality” have helped to cause God to remove “His hand of protection” from the country.

Rohrer told Deace that he has a “great deal of compassion for those who are involved” in the shooting and also believes that “these kind of events are only going to be increasing” for a number of reasons, including that “the Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood folks, they have made it clear that they’re going to do that”; that “our president and those in office are soft, refuse to even identify the enemy ideology of Islam as the enemy”; and, finally, “it’s a large part because I believe God has removed his hand of blessing on this country because we’ve turned our back upon him, and when he removes his hand of protection, these kinds of things come forth.”

“God has made very clear,” Rohrer explained, “that every nation that He has established — and He establishes all nations, we’re told that all nations are established by God, even the very geographical boundaries of the nations are determined — that when a nation, any nation, does what God says, meaning that they fear Him, that they uphold and enforce God’s moral law and God’s design for the family and for the family and for civil government, all of those are His, when those things are done, then God will bless a nation.”

“One of those blessings are the increase of wealth, one of those things is a security and protection from the neighbors around them,” he continued, “even the enemies will be at peace with them, we’re told in a number of places in Scripture. But when a nation backs off of that, particularly a nation such as ours that has a very biblical basis in an understanding of biblical principles — that’s where our Constitution came from, Declaration of Independence before that came out of that. When those things were there and put in place, when a nation turns their back on those things as we have and [are] increasingly, arrogantly doing, then at that point the justice of God says ‘I cannot any longer bless’ and these things which you’re doing will lead to not His lack of blessing, but insecurity and so forth.”

Deace returned to the theme later in the interview, saying that America’s current standing with God is “essentially like when a parent has an unruly child that persists in a behavior or an addiction that is destructive and has tried repeatedly to reach them, has tried repeatedly to intervene, they will not listen, and so they reach a point where you essentially have to allow them to hit rock bottom on their own in order to get the message and just kind of pray that they don’t kill themselves in that process.”

Rohrer agreed that this was a “fairly accurate representation” of what is going on and outlined a number of ways that he believes that Americans have “turned their back on” God, including marriage equality and a redefinition of “God’s order for human sexuality.”

“You know,” he said, “God has established, and made it very, very clear, that He’s established the family, He’s established the church, He’s established the institution of civil government … But when a nation, when a family, when the church fails to employ, fails to do and, even worse, turns their back on God’s moral law and His design, there is nothing but difficulty and trouble that comes and follows from that.”

“And, unfortunately, as a nation, we’ve once known God,” he said, “‘In God we trust’ is our motto. But … Congress wouldn’t even pass that motto now, they wouldn’t even bring it up and the president wouldn’t sign it. And our courts declare to be immoral what is moral, we redefine God’s institution of marriage, we redefine God’s order for human sexuality and we expect God to sit back and continue to bless? He can’t.”

Marriage Equality Is Not A Civil Right Because Gays Are 'Bringing Their Dirty Laundry And Bedroom Stuff To The People'

On his most recent "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Religious Right activist and Colorado Republican state lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt brought an interracial couple on to make the argument that opposition to gay marriage is nothing like opposition to interracial marriage.

Ruth Bryant White, a fringe presidential candidate in 2008, and her husband Steve told Klingenschmitt that gay relationships are not legitimate because they are based on lust and violate the laws of God.

Same-sex relationships, Ruth White said, are nothing like interracial relationships because "when you're dealing with someone of the same sex ... they're bringing their dirty laundry and bedroom stuff to the people and it is not a civil right."

After she asserted that "God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the homosexuality" and that the Bible says that gays are consumed by "the lusts of the flesh," Klingenschmitt declared that the difference between gay marriage and interracial marriages like the Whites' is that "homosexuality is based on lust, which God forbids as a sin, but your marriage is based on love, which God commands between one man and one woman."

"They're using it, saying that homosexuality is a civil right," Ruth White declared. "There is nothing civil about it in any way shape, form or fashion. And even if it was a civil right, God's word take precedence over anything that man's law can do ... Now we've got Christians who were living a straight life now that are going back into the homosexual lifestyle. That's a lust, that's a demon ... They put that over God and His word? And they're will to burn for eternity for that?"

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