Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett hasn’t been helping his own approval ratings lately.
A Corbett administration legal brief filed on August 28th regarding the state’s same-sex marriage ban seemed to argue that same-sex marriage is analogous to the marriage of two 12-year-olds. Corbett rejected that argument after the fact in a written statement, but then in a TV interview made an even worse analogy.
On WHY-TV’s ‘Ask The Governor” segment Friday morning, a smirking Corbett called his legal advisors’ analogy ‘inappropriate,’ but then asked the news anchor interviewing him ‘I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don’t you?”
The shocked news anchor didn’t quite know what to say other than “I don’t know,” and attempted to move on to the next question after saying she was going to leave the comments to Corbett.
Things didn’t get much better from there, with Corbett saying Federal courts shouldn’t get involved in Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage cases because the U.S. Supreme Court left that decision up to the states, failing to specify what court case to which he was referring. Later Friday morning Corbett then was forced to apologize for his offensive comparison of same-sex marriage and sibling incest. Corbett’s approval ratings continue to drop after a stream of self-inflicted gaffes he has made, even when given questions in advance; leading Philadelphia Independent and Watchdog.org reporter Eric Boehm to label the Governor ‘Gaffe-tastic.’
This is the first post in a four-part series exploring how American right-wing groups have supported Russia’s recent spate of anti-gay laws and its crackdown on LGBT citizens.
This summer, as part of a larger effort to channel political dissatisfaction by scapegoating minorities, the Russian government escalated its crackdown on the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual citizens. President Vladimir Putin and his allies found support and guidance in their anti-gay efforts from a group eager for an opportunity to notch some victories in the battle against LGBT freedom and equality: the American right.
On June 11, the Russian Duma passed a law banning “propaganda” about homosexuality to minors, essentially a gag rule criminalizing any advocacy for LGBT equality. (Moscow had already instituted a 100-year ban on gay pride parades.) Weeks later, on July 3, Putin signed a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples abroad and by single people in countries that allow marriage equality. Shortly afterward, a member of the Duma proposed a law that would revoke gay people’s custody of their biological children. The bill’s sponsor said in an interview that children would be better off in orphanages than with a gay mother or father.
Russia’s crackdown on LGBT people comes amidst a broad crackdown on the rights of minorities and political dissenters or, in the words of one lawmaker, a campaign “to defend the rights of the majority.” On the same day the Duma passed its ban on gay “propaganda,” it also approved a harsh anti-blasphemy law promising jail time for “offending religious feelings.” The blasphemy measure was meant to strenghthen the laws that led to the political prosecution of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, whose members were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for a performance that was deemed to offend “religious sensibilities.”
Russia’s repression of LGBT people and the Pussy Riot case have provoked an international outcry, intensified by the the country’s role as the host of next year’s winter Olympics.
But throughout all this, one group has cheered on Putin’s actions: the American Religious Right and its international allies.
Even as tensions have grown between Russia and the United States, several Religious Right leaders have spoken loudly in favor of Putin’s crackdowns on gay people and political dissenters:
American conservative groups haven’t just praised Russia’s crackdown on gays. Working through several channels, American anti-gay activists quietly provided intellectual backing and international support that directly and indirectly fueled the resurgent anti-gay movement in Russia and in other former Soviet states like Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.
In a series of posts today and tomorrow, we’ll look at how American activists influenced Russia’s anti-gay laws by funding anti-gay activism in Russia, testifying before the Duma, providing false research to fan the flames of anti-gay laws abroad, and building an international movement to back the harshest anti-gay laws around the world.
Today, Colorado State Senator Kent Lambert appeared in person on the "Pray In Jesus Name" program along with its demon-obsessed, ex-gay exorcist host "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt where Lambert declared that Colorado's civil unions law is an effort to implement "mind-control" and that allowing transgender children to use the proper bathroom is just like "the kind of agendas that the greatest dictators in world history have tried to press in the past."
While discussing the civil unions legislation, Lambert asserted that the law had no exemptions for religious objections, which means that it "completely suppresses basically any ideas; it's a mind-control experiment by the majority party, the Democrats, here in Colorado to force everybody, including children in schools, everything else, under penalty of law, to believe in homosexual marriage."
Later, Lambert declared that allowing transgender children to use the bathroom violates everyone's right to privacy, meaning that "privacy will no longer be in effect in the United States if this agenda continues in the direction that it is right now. This is certainly Brave New World, the Aldous Huxley novel that Big Brother is here, he's alive and well and we're going to force you into the kind of agendas that some of the greatest dictators in world history have tried to press in the past."
We should point out that "Big Brother" appears in George Orwell's 1984, not Huxley's Brave New World:
Earlier this month, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex marriage ceremony and the professional anti-gay bigots over at Liberty Counsel are predictably disgusted.
Matt Barber and Daniel Schmid were deeply disturbed by Ginsburg's participation in a gay wedding, with Barber saying that she had brought "shame to America" by doing so while Schmid said that it proved that the nation was "galloping full speed ahead toward" Gomorrah.
Insisting that no level of government had the right to define the institution of marriage as anything other than what God intended, Schmid said it was a shame that a member of the Supreme Court "would lend credence to such a ceremony and such an abomination," as Barber urged viewers to pray because recognition of gay marriage "essentially results in the criminalization of Christianity":
Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett is proving once again that his priorities are out of line with the rest of the state: He just hired lawyer William H. Lamb for $400 an hour to defend a 1996 law banning same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
Even though the state’s attorney general declined to fight the case— and even though a majority of Pennsylvanians support marriage equality—Governor Corbett still thinks it’s worth spending $400 per hour of taxpayer money, plus $325 per hour for others in Lamb’s firm working on the case, to stop LGBT Pennsylvanians from being able to marry the person they love. It’s also worth noting that this law firm donated $39,500 to Corbett’s political campaigns between 2004 and 2012. Given the recent revelation that Governor Corbett’s former chief of staff is still being paid despite supposedly resigning, perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising that Corbett is putting someone else on the government payroll unnecessarily.
Still, why fire your friends or let your discriminatory laws go undefended when you can just cut education funding? Why put your personal and ideological priorities aside, when the state’s children are there to take the hit? I’m sure school kids in Philadelphia won’t mind their ballooning class sizes or their after-school programs being cancelled when they know that money is being put to such good use, fighting a law to prevent people who love each other from being able to marry. Welcome to Tom Corbett’s Pennsylvania.
Not allowing a wedding photographer to discriminate against same-sex couples is the equivalent to requiring her to photograph a KKK rally, according to Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver.
In an interview with WorldNetDaily this weekend, Staver took on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s recent decision that a wedding photographer’s refusal to provide her services to a same-sex couple violated a state nondiscrimination law.
Staver argued that the photographer saying that she would photograph gay people, but not in a wedding ceremony, was like her saying that she would photograph white people, but not at a KKK rally.
Staver warned that the decision meant that lawsuits against pastors “right around the corner.”
WND: There’s already fears out there, some churches already putting together certain policy statements, some probably putting together legal funds already in the expectation that there will be a lawsuit over either certain preaching from scripture that adheres to traditional sexual relations or refusing to perform a same-sex ceremony. How soon do you think that’ll hit the fan?
Staver: I think it’s pretty quick. I think it’s right around the corner. I think we saw the decision last week of the Supreme Court of New Mexico saying to a wedding photographer, you’ve gotta give up your religious freedom if you want to be a wedding photographer, you’ve gotta be forced to photograph same-sex ceremonies. I mean, that’s just as absurd as saying you gotta be forced to photograph KKK rallies. You know, someone who says, I’ll photograph white people, I just won’t photograph it when you’re gathering in an event with hoods on your face and you have a KKK rally.
But here, this lady says, well I’ll photograph anybody but I’m not going to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, and this court says well, you have to, you must, notwithstanding your religious convictions. Either give up your religious convictions or change them or get out of that profession. That’s the zero-sum game, that’s the zero-sum collision that we’re now facing.
Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photography studio's refusal to photograph a same-sex wedding was a violation of the state's anti-discrimination laws and "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt is not happy about the ruling.
But he does have a novel solution: any Christian photographer who photographs a gay wedding should just print anti-gay verses of Scripture on the back of every photo.
Klingenschmitt said Christian business owners should print Romans 1:32, which he claims declares that gays are "worthy of death," on the back of all their business cards and announce that if any gay couples hires them to photograph their wedding, they are going to print the same verse on the back of each and every photo:
Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett has been floundering recently, facing personnel problems and dire poll numbers. But his abysmal public approval ratings aren’t stopping the governor from charging full steam ahead on his extreme agenda. A brief filed by the Corbett administration today in its lawsuit to stop Montgomery County, PA from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples argues that gay marriage licenses have no “value or legitimacy,” and that issuing those licenses is just like issuing marriage licenses to 12-year-olds:
“Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old . . . is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his ‘license’?”
Unfortunately, we’re all too used to this form of argument, where homosexuality’s legitimacy is dismissed or ridiculed by comparing it to any number of things, from bestiality to alcoholism or even murder. Now, we know that the governor of Pennsylvania is also struggling to understand the concept of consent, which is what makes gay marriage actually nothing at all like children getting married: children can’t consent, adults can. These actions show Corbett’s deep misunderstanding of marriage equality, and an inability (or refusal) to see it for what it is. They also show that, despite the great Supreme Court victories for gay rights this year, there’s still a lot of work to do.
Matt Barber appeared on the "Today's Issues" broadcast this morning to discuss his most recent column about a bakery in Oregon which has had a complaint filed against it for refusing to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex couple.
In light of this and similar instances around the country, Barber declared that it has become obvious that gay marriage and religious liberty cannot coexist and so "in much the same fashion as did the civil rights activists of old - Martin Luther King and others - Christians are going to have a decision to make; it may be a time for civil disobedience."
"Christians have been persecuted for 2000 years by radical leftists," he said, adding that just as King spent time in jail, anti-gay Christians today might have to suffer the same fate, knowing that they will be rewarded by God for upholding his law and refusing to "pretend that somehow a man can marry a man, a woman can marry a woman."
"You guys can put on two tuxedos or two wedding dresses and play house and get pretend married 'til your heart's content," Barber said, "but marriage is what God says it is. We can no more change the laws of gravity than can we change the laws of marriage":
Last year, when some internal planning documents from the National Organization for Marriage were released as part of court filings, public attention focused on the group’s explicit racial wedge strategies designed to foment tensions between LGBT and African American communities. But the documents also revealed NOM’s desire to play globally: they talk of “Internationalizing the Marriage Issue” and working “to halt the movement toward gay marriage worldwide.”
In an email sent yesterday, NOM President Brian Brown brags explicitly about supporting the international work of the World Congress of Families, a project of The Howard Center for Religion Family and Society, and making a pitch for donations to the group. Here’s Brown’s quote:
The World Congress of Families is THE group standing up for the family around the world. They have done amazing work in uniting all of those who stand for the truth about marriage and family. It has been an honor to partner with WCF and to be a part of their most recent Congress in Australia and regional conference in Trinidad and Tobago. I wholeheartedly endorse their work and urge you to financially support their efforts.
Just who is Brown so proud to be raising money for? In just the past several months, World Congress of Families spokesmen have:
The World Congress of Families, of course, defines “natural family” in a way that excludes same-sex couples: “the term 'natural' precludes incompatible constructs of the family as well as incompatible behaviors among its members.” The Howard Center hosted a symposium in Washington, D.C. earlier this year in which a parade of right-wing speakers claimed that the real “war on women” comes from “those who present themselves as champions of women’s rights.”
WCF summits and regional gatherings held around the world - -this year’s was held in Sydney, Australia -- are a magnet for speakers from American Religious Right leaders like Peter LaBarbera who share anti-choice and anti-LGBT equality strategies with their international allies. As Brown mentions in his fundraising pitch, WCF held a Caribbean conference in Trinidad in June. Among the long list of American religious right figures speaking, in addition to Brown, were Janet Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America and WCF’s own Don Feder.
Next year’s World Congress of Families conference will be held in Moscow. Perfect.
American Family Radio host Sandy Rios dedicated a long chunk of her program yesterday to responding to the widespread attention to her recent comparison of gay couple’s love to the “love” Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro claimed he had for his prisoners.
Rios claimed she had been deliberately misunderstood, but then proceeded to repeat her claims in detail. She finally spoke directly to those who monitor her program, thanking us for finding her a wider audience and declaring, “I stand by what we say…As unfortunate and uncomfortable, heartbreaking, irrational that seems to some of you that are so steeped in the homosexual lifestyle, you’re steeped in popular culture, it’s still the truth.”
Rios then went on to deliver a direct message to the LGBT people who were offended by her comments, saying that the fact that people were upset proves that she was telling the truth. “If what we’re saying is not true, it should have no power over you,” she said.
But Rios has hope for gay people. She assured her listeners that gay people are “capable of great love” because she sees the “tremendous heartbreak in the homosexual community,” where “there aren’t many lasting relationships – maybe among lesbians, but certainly not among gay men.”
All this heartbreak, Rios concludes, shows that gay people could achieve “the right kind of love” – that is, opposite-sex marriage – if they just tried.
If what we’re saying is not true, it should have no power over you, it shouldn’t bother you. Because I think in time, what’s true and what’s right, what works, what comports with reality will be lasting. So, let’s just see if your view of this is lasting. Let’s just see if homosexual marriage is all that you think it is, if it’s a pure and wonderful expression of love for two people.
Now, I would never say that homosexuals cannot love. They can, of course. Capable of great love. And I know there’s been tremendous heartbreak in the homosexual community – and I’ve talked about this before – heartbreak when you lose a loved one, heartbreak when you break up. Because, you know, there aren’t many lasting relationships – maybe among lesbians, but certainly not among gay men, that’s not the norm.
So, there’s a lot of heartbreak, a lot of rejection when you get older, so I know that you’re capable and able. You’re humans, you love. The point is, the right kind of love. The right kind of love is life-giving. And the right kind of love is love for God, love for your natural family, love between a man and a woman and a woman and a man in marriage. Not cohabitating. There’s just some standards that God lays down.
Eagle Forum founder and anti-gay activist Phyllis Schlafly was “extremely offended” by the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, because of “all the nasty names” she claims the court’s majority called DOMA’s proponents.
Speaking with Steve Deace yesterday, Schlafly said that it was “inappropriate, unprecedented and really nasty” for Justice Anthony Kennedy to find that DOMA’s passage had anything to do with “animus against gays.”
“I feel personally insulted by what Justice Kennedy said,” she added.
Deace: You wrote an interesting reaction to the US Supreme Court, I guess we would call it ‘opinion,’ but it really looked to me, Phyllis, like five justices, and Anthony Kennedy in particular, chose to write what amounts to an anti-Christian polemic disguised as a legal opinion. And it seems like you sort of got the same vibe from what they wrote.Schlafly: Well, I was extremely offended at all the nasty names he called us. I just think it’s so inappropriate, unprecedented and really nasty for the justice to say that the reason DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, was passed, and those who stand up for traditional marriage is that they have animus against gays, they want to deny them equal dignity, that we want to brand them as unworthy, we want to humiliate their children, we have a hateful desire to harm a politically unpopular group. I just think, I feel personally insulted by what Justice Kennedy said. I don’t think that’s true, the idea that anybody who stood up for traditional marriage is guilty of all that hate in his heart is just outrageous.
Later in the interview, the two discussed Hobby Lobby’s suit against the health care law’s mandate that they provide their employees with insurance that includes birth control coverage. Deace claimed that the Obama administration is making “a clear attempt to eradicate the worldview that stands in opposition to statism.”
Schlafly agreed: “Well, I think you’re right, and that’s why I think Obama is definitely trying to make this a totally secular country where you’re not permitted to reference God in anything that anybody else can hear.”
It goes without saying that if the president is trying to eliminate public references to God, he’s doing a very poor job of it.
Deace: Well, and I think you look at something like religious freedom, you’ve got the Obama regime trying to tell companies like Hobby Lobby that your freedom of religion, when you walk into corporate headquarters there at Hobby Lobby, you no longer have the freedom of religion. So you have to do what we tell you to do, even if it violates the moral conscience of your religion, the Bill of Rights ends when you walk into your corporate headquarters. What we see going on in the US Military, for example. We’re seeing unprecedented threats to religious liberty. I know this is something you’ve written about as well. And I think this is a clear attempt to eradicate the worldview that stands in opposition to statism.
Schlafly: Well, I think you’re right, and that’s why I think Obama is definitely trying to make this a totally secular country where you’re not permitted to reference God in anything that anybody else can hear.
Pat Buchanan dedicates his latest syndicated column to New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s most recent sexting scandal, which he attempts to put into context by pointing to the moral failings of every other major New York politician. After all, Buchanan writes, one of Weiner’s main opponents in the mayoral race is Christine Quinn, “a lesbian about to marry another lesbian” (Quinn is in fact already married) and “the sitting mayor and governor are divorced and living with women not their wives.” Not only that, Buchanan says, but former mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former senator Hillary Clinton both marched in New York City gay pride parades.
Buchanan concludes that these New York political leaders, along with the decriminalization of homosexuality, indicate that Weiner is “a mainstream liberal” and that we have become “a mentally and morally sick society.”
And Weiner's conduct does seem weird, creepy, crazy.
But it was not illegal. And as it was between consenting adults, was it immoral -- by the standards of modern liberalism?
In 1973, the "Humanist Manifesto II," a moral foundation for much of American law, declared: "The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered 'evil.' ... Individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire."
Is this not what Anthony was up to? Why then the indignation?
Consider how far we are along the path that liberalism equates with social and moral progress. Ronald Reagan was the first and is the only divorced and remarried man elected president.
But the front-runner in the New York mayor's race today quit Congress as a serial texter of lewd photos to anonymous women. The front-runner in the city comptroller's race was "Client No. 9" in the prostitution ring of the convicted madam who is running against him.
Weiner's strongest challenger for mayor is a lesbian about to marry another lesbian. The sitting mayor and governor are divorced and living with women not their wives. The former mayor's second wife had to go to court to stop his girlfriend from showing up at Gracie Mansion.
Weiner looks like a mainstream liberal.
Are we, possibly, a mentally and morally sick society?
Thirty year ago, homosexual acts were crimes. The Supreme Court has since discovered sodomy to be a constitutional right. State courts are discovering another new right -- of homosexuals to marry.
To call homosexuality unnatural, immoral or a mental disorder will soon constitute a hate crime in America.
Once we cast aside morality rooted in religion -- as the "Humanist Manifesto II" insists we do -- who draws the line on what is tolerable in the new dispensation.
Upon what moral ground do we stand to deny a man many wives, should he wish to leave behind many children, and the wives all consent to the arrangement? Biblically and historically, polygamy was more acceptable than homosexuality.
The second is now a constitutional right. Why not the first?
Are we not indeed headed "inevitably to utter irrationality and eventually political, as well as moral, chaos"?
Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Clinton marched in gay pride parades with the North American Man/Boy Love Association. Anyone doubt that NAMBLA will one day succeed in having the age of consent for sex between men and boys dropped into the middle or low teens?
On his most recent "Pray In Jesus Name" show, "Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt called for the passage of a Federal Marriage Amendment to overturn the recent Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8.
Saying that he had recently met with Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who has introduced just such an amendment, Klingenschmitt warned that "the demonic spirits inside the homosexual agenda" are attempting to "homosexualize and recruit your children" before declaring that even if they had all of eternity, gay activists will never be able to define marriage in any way other than how it was established by God.
"You know what, Satan? You have not won this battle," Klingenschmitt proclaimed. "Your time is limited and, in the long run, Jesus Christ will rule and reign on this earth and define marriage between one man and one woman. It's inevitable":
On several occasions, Glenn Beck has made it clear that he does not share the Religious Right's panicked belief that marriage equality will destroy the nation and even stated that the push for equality is winning "because the principle of it is is right."
So it was a little odd that he handed over his television program last night to David Barton and Rabbi Daniel Lapin who spent the entire hour making the case that, in fact, marriage equality will destroy the nation and that government has no right to change God's definition of marriage.
While Barton claimed that the Founding Fathers all agreed that the government had no power or right to change anything that God had established, Lapin declared that "it is marriage that makes government possible."
"Singleness," Lapin added, "in other words, an obliteration of marriage, tends to give us tyranny in a society and, what's more, tyranny seems to stimulate a destruction and a pulverizing of marriage."
On today's "Faith and Freedom Radio" broadcast, Mat Staver continued to directly compare the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act to the Dred Scott ruling and other egregious court decisions from the past, adding that the DOMA decision is like the court ruling that it was going to suspend the laws of gravity.
"There are certain natural laws," Staver declared, "the laws of gravity are certainly natural laws. The natural created order of men and women, husbands and wives, is part of the natural created order. You may want some other union but you cannot create marriage into something that it is incapable of being":
WTVA in Tupelo, Mississippi, reported today on a marriage equality march near the headquarters of the American Family Association. They of course asked the AFA for its view on the march, and got this response:
"The Bible calls believers to hold out God's grace to sinners. All kinds of sinners whether you are a liar or a stealer or an adulterer or a homosexual," said Patrick J. Vaughn, General Counsel for the American Family Association.
Vaughn went on to describe what he calls a very strong drive among homosexual activist to have the name marriage attached to their relationships.
"I believe that is because they think that will give them a feeling of acceptance in that what they are doing is right if they have this label [of marriage]. Unfortunately, I don't think that is going to last very long because the alienation that they sense is really an alienation because they are alienated from God. They are refusing to obey what he's commanded and they are doing something that is against the nature of the way he created them," said Vaughn.
Earlier this week, the AFA released a statement about the Mississippi marriage equality effort, claiming that gays and lesbians "already have" marriage equality in the state...because they are free marry someone of the opposite sex:
[H]homosexuals already have the same marriage rights that everyone has. Every person in America has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Mississippians should not be fooled by the deceitful tactics that these groups are using to induce pity for homosexuals who cannot be married in Mississippi, because they have chosen a homosexual lifestyle.