RECENT  POSTS:  » Video: Voices from our pro-equality future (present?) » Anti-gay orgs continue to offend children of single parents, gay parents, more » Apple CEO gives 'substantial' sum to HRC's southern state project; may or may not have used ApplePay » Conservative proposes new way for vendors to tell gay customers they don't care for them » NOM versus David Koch » Anti-equality baseball player calls reporter 'a prick' for asking about his anti-equality advocacy » Audio: Josh Duggar defends discrimination, invalidates own point » Audio: AFA's Fischer names 'homosexual agenda' as 'greatest threat to liberty' in American history » Audio: AFA Radio caller calls for executing gays; FRC-employed host doesn't even challenge him, much less condemn » NOM president's other organization is 'in trouble' (his words) too  


Video: Voices from our pro-equality future (present?)

by Jeremy Hooper

This video, filled with students from all walks of life voting unanimous support for marriage equality, comes from an unnamed high school in New Jersey:

Sure, this comes from young people in a blue state. And yes, it's possible that some dissenters were left on the cutting room floor. But just listen to how passionately these young'uns speak on the subject, and how familiar the key issues are to them. This is a *huge* change from ten years ago; seismic change from twenty years ago.

The younger generation is not interested in their grandparents' "culture war." They have actual social problems they hope to solve. Good for them. Wise beyond their years.

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Anti-gay orgs continue to offend children of single parents, gay parents, more

by Jeremy Hooper

NOM and an anti-LGBT organization out of Texas are pushing this photo meme for the holidays:

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 At 11.11.45 Am

No, children deserve love. Compassion. Care. An environment that can meet their needs and work toward their success.

There are some truly horrible mothers and fathers who craft a backwards, detrimental, or even dangerous environment for their children. On the flip, there are some single parents who do miraculous work providing for their kids' every last need (and then some). Same goes for gay parents, who are often the most attentive and focused and doting of all. It is beyond offensive to suggest that children are only marked for success if they are born into a reality where a male and a female figure are present, as if the mere presence of penis and vagina are what makes for a good parenting dynamic. It's offensive to these parents who give their all, sure. More than that, however, it's deeply offensive to the children who groups like NOM are branding as less-cared-for simply because their family portrait doesn't look the way the NOM agenda demands it must.

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Apple CEO gives 'substantial' sum to HRC's southern state project; may or may not have used ApplePay

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 At 8.58.50 PmTim Cook, the out gay head of the company responsible for at least one of the devices likely in your house (if not pocket) right now, has made an undisclosed donation to the Human Rights Campaign's campaign to score LGBT rights victories in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. Full details:

Apple CEO Donating to Gay Rights Campaign in South [AP]

Make History with HRC and Tim Cook [HRC]

Thanks, Santa!

In a related story, a man who opposes basic human rights for LGBT people just took a long and dramatic bite of an apple as he pondered his movement's inevitable fate.

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Conservative proposes new way for vendors to tell gay customers they don't care for them

by Jeremy Hooper

RussellnieliConservative Princeton lecturer Russell Nieli is proposing a new approach for the bakers, florists, and assorted vendors who would prefer to turn away same-sex couples who seek their business, but who often find themselves running afoul of the law when they try. Nieli wants the vendors to do the job, but to be really, really objectionable about it. He writes, in part:

I think there is a third way. Although it may not be acceptable to all in this situation, it would be acceptable to many. It is simply this: to obey the law and serve gay weddings, but to make it known publicly that you believe that the law forcing you to do this is unjust, needs to be changed, and is obeyed only under protest and out of your respect for law and the democratic process.

The appeal of this strategy would obviously depend on how grave a wrong one considered one’s participation in gay wedding ceremonies to be. If it were a violation of one’s conscience and religion on the order of gravity of, say, participating in an abortion by a nurse or doctor who believes abortion to be murder, the strategy would obviously have to be rejected. By the reckoning of most religious people, however, destroying human life before it has even had a chance to come out of its mother’s womb is a moral violation of a radically different order of magnitude than participating in a ceremony that one deems a perversion of true marriage or a symbol of the degeneracy and confusion of modern times.

I could well imagine a pious religious couple, running the kind of wedding-focused catering hall that I once worked at in New York, posting on its premises an announcement something to this effect:

We are required by the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) provision of New York State's anti-discrimination statute to make our wedding facilities available to anyone who seeks to use them, including gay and lesbian couples who want to marry under New York's same-sex marriage law. We believe strongly in the democratic process and the rule of law. For this reason, we will obey the state law governing our business. However, we obey this law only under the gravest protest, as we believe it violates our deepest moral and religious convictions. It does so needlessly and with apparent intent to polarize our country and inflame an already overheated cultural war.

We are Christians, and we believe that marriage is exclusively a relationship between one man and one woman. It should not, in our view, be construed as a relationship between people of the same sex or relationships involving three or more people.

We realize, however, that there are many people today who do not agree with us on these matters, and who hold their opposing views just as strongly as we hold ours. We respect the views of such people. We only ask that such people respect our own views in the same way that we respect theirs, and that, in the interest of tolerance and religious pluralism, they join us in seeking repeal of a law which requires us to violate our conscience. Those people who do not believe that marriage need be restricted to its traditional form and who seek a venue to celebrate non-traditional marriages have access to many other catering halls in this area that would be more than happy to accommodate their wishes.

Please do not ask us to violate our religious beliefs. We all must work together to accommodate our sincerely held differences in these matters. Our continued existence as a free, vibrant, tolerant and loving people surely depends upon it.

Such a declaration would have many advantages over simply giving in silently to an unfair law to save one’s business. It would strike out in a public way against the injustice of such a law and gain sympathy from many quarters for the business owner’s point of view.

It would also cast the business owner in the sympathetic role of the admirable peacemaker. His opponents would be cast in the role of authoritarian bullies picking on pious religious folks and opposing simple live-and-let-live solutions to the problems posed by American pluralism. Finally, such a declaration would probably discourage gays and lesbians from ever wanting to hold their wedding celebrations at any establishment that posted such a statement. The catering hall owners would have a strong First Amendment right to air their views, and by doing so they would probably end most instances where they are asked to do what their religion and moral sense forbids.

FULL: Gay Weddings and the Shopkeeper’s Dilemma [Public Discourse]

This kind of behavior might indeed turn away fair-minded people and recruit like minds. But nice try with the idea that this would "cast the business owner in the sympathetic role of the admirable peacemaker" and cast opponents "in the role of authoritarian bullies picking on pious religious folks." This would actually do the opposite, making these vendors seem even more aggressive than before. America has an ugly history of businesses placing signs that detail which kinds of customers need not apply. The optics of these kinds of signs, if they caught on in any mainstream way, would be terrible.

Culture war conservatives are convinced this whole idea of fair public accommodations is some sort of fad that will eventually fade, allowing them to claim some sort of "victory." But the idea that we will become a patchwork America, where LGBT people will have to drive around to see which public business will perform a commercial exchange is downright ludicrous. America doesn't want that, no matter how fully folks like Nieli have convinced themselves they do.

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NOM versus David Koch

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 At 10.08.56 PmNOM dares to go where few conservatives are willing to go. They are taking on the Koch brothers:

Recently, the news reported that David Koch—the conservative boogeyman of the left—will be interviewed by ABC's Barbara Walters for her "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014" special scheduled to air on Sunday.

In the interview, he unequivocally states, "I'm basically a libertarian, and I'm a conservative on economic matters, and I'm a social liberal." It harkens back to a 2012 Politico article where he said, "I believe in gay marriage," pointing out that he openly supported legal abortion as a Libertarian party candidate in 1980.

Marriage Supporter, this is exactly the problem. Millionaires and billionaires are lining up in support of this radical social agenda... even on the right! And I need your help to stop it!
FULL: What We're Up Against [NOM]

The special actually aired this past Sunday, not this coming Sunday. But facts are hard for NOM.

You know what else is hard for NOM? Relevance. But if they think going after the Kochs is the way to find some, then please allow me to get out of their way while the stir up some poorly matched, go-nowhere, downright hilarious in-fighting!

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Anti-equality baseball player calls reporter 'a prick' for asking about his anti-equality advocacy

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 At 12.35.12 PmMinnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter recently recorded a political ad in which he used his baseball fame to advocate for a (failed) gubernatorial candidate and, specifically, his anti-equality stances. This recording followed 2012 comments in which Hunter said he'd be uncomfortable having a gay teammate since he believes "biblically, it's not right."

But now when a reporter dares to mention the beliefs that Hunter holds and the ad that Hunter chose to record—an ad he was only asked to record because he's a famous baseball player, we should note—the player proceeded to berate the reporter in front on his colleagues. He's "a prick," demanded Hunter:

Twins outfielder Torii Hunter calls reporter a 'prick' for bringing up his anti-marriage equality ad; 'I don't even know you, man' [AKSARBENT]

Look, I get why the player wouldn't want to talk about his choice to advocate against fellow American taxpayers who happen to love someone of the same sex. It's a gross thing to choose to do. I'd want to run away from it as well.

But I'm pretty damn tired of people like this acting as if their actions get to exist in a vacuum. This is a man who chose to enter into the political arena, and who chose specifically to back a candidate's exclusionary marriage views. He also went to the press and declared he'd refuse to accept a teammate if the player were gay. He has every right to say these things and to politick in this way, using whatever opportunities are made available to him by virtue of his sports world fame. However, he doesn't get to just run away from these, the beliefs that he chose on his own volition to make public. A reporter has every right to ask him about them, and he has every reason to answer these questions directly. If he was big enough to stand up in the way that he did, then he also has to stand with the views that he chose to highlight.

People who use their platforms in order to foster views that discriminate against others don't get to live in a bubble. Those bubbles could use "a prick" or two.

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Audio: Josh Duggar defends discrimination, invalidates own point

by Jeremy Hooper

On Monday's edition of Tony Perkins' daily radio show, anti-LGBT activist and reality TV personality Josh Duggar showed up to chat with guest host Richard Land about the recent repeal of an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas (both Josh and his mother Michelle had put themselves front and center of this debate). And while Josh and Richard have a good ol' time talking about "lifestyles" and "agendas" as they push the anti-intellectual notion that LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances are somehow different than nondiscrimination ordinances that already protect religious people, Josh makes a personal point about his own past work as a used car dealer which he doesn't seem to realize actually weakens rather than strengthens the point he's trying to make. Have a listen (car dealing part comes at :45):

SOURCE: Tony Perkins' Washington Watch [FRC]

Josh says he sold cars with people who believed differently than he does, and it wasn't an issue. And that's precisely the point. Small business owners can and should engage in commerce with the public without imposing any sort of morality test on the transaction. If you are a business owner who sets up a shingle and purports to sell your wares to "all comers," then it is not okay to arbitrarily determine that certain consumers are disqualified from those goods and services simply because of your personal religious beliefs. Frankly, this is a "debate" most of us had thought we left back in the 20th century.

But now people like Josh demand that goods and services sold yo us constitute "agreement." Well who the hell is to say what does and does not constitute "agreement"?! Some religions believe that women can't drive. If a man who holds this belief opens a car dealership, is he allowed to deny car purchases to women consumers so long as he claims it's his religious conviction? If not, then why not, Josh? What makes an anti-gay evangelical's reluctance to sell a cake or flowers more deserving than any other religious person's personally-held conviction? Who gets to say that baking a cake constitutes "agreement" more than some other transaction that is performed for some other customer? If you want to talk about "slippery slopes"—and people like Josh *love* to do so—then this could be the ultimate one. It's so damn arbitrary.

But the truth here can be summed up in Richard Land's closing comments above. Josh and Richard simply do not believe that the bible supports our "lifestyles," and they don't want a fair and free American to do so either. Period. End of story. Full stop. And the thing is, they have every right to hold such an exclusionary view. I fully support that right. I just wish they'd be honest about it.

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Audio: AFA's Fischer names 'homosexual agenda' as 'greatest threat to liberty' in American history

by Jeremy Hooper

Move over, the many and myriad actual oppressions that have wounded America in our nearly two hundred forty year history. According to the American Family Association's Director Of Issues Analysis and star radio host, the fight for gay equality is the biggest threat our liberty has every faced:

This is not normal commentary, folks. We've come to accept it as normal because the anti-LGBT movement has spent decades lowering the bar in some apparent attempt to test the temperature of the earth's core. But when you step back into the real world, the idea that our peaceful progress is a liberty abuse is itself nutty; the idea that our peaceful progress is THE WORST ABUSE OF LIBERTY is off the rails.

We are a nation that had and held onto slavery. That had Jim Crow laws. That denied women the right to vote. That had forced child labor for little or no pay, and with even less restraint. That experienced the interment of Japanese Americans. That dealt brute treatment to Native Americans. Even if you aren't down with your gay neighbors, surely you see the mutant strain of extremism in Bryan's view, right? Please? Give me that one little concession as an early Xmas gift?

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Don't stop until full equality

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