RECENT  POSTS:  » Read: Fed. judge strikes Alabama marriage ban; no stay on ruling » Derisively remembering when full equality was in 'Jeopardy!' » When all else fails, demand your letters are capitalized » Major Iowa caucus player calls on next President to 'politely reject unjust SCOTUS opinions' » Photo: Supreme Court's Thomas poses with NOM's cofounder, major equality opponent » Wait, even NewsMax is now pushing back against anti-gay spin?! » Deflating the anti-gay right's latest 'gotcha!' » POTUS hails marriage equality in State of the Union speech » Well I expected this headline from NOM eventually... » Bret Baier: Legatus Magazine's anti-gay 'cure' doesn't 'seem to line up with the loving, accepting Church that I know'  

01/23/2015

Read: Fed. judge strikes Alabama marriage ban; no stay on ruling

by Jeremy Hooper

Breaking and huge:

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Screen Shot 2015-01-23 At 6.36.44 Pm

1:14-cv-00208 #53 Alabama Opinion and Order by Equality Case Files


1:14-cv-00208 #54 by Equality Case Files

The judge is a George W. Bush appointee. Amazing.

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*UPDATE: Conservative US Senator Jeff Sessions, long against marriage equality and anything related to it, praised this judge at her confirmation. Having known her personally, Sessions called her "levelheaded, fair minded, trustworthy, and very smart." Let's see if he rolls that back now with the cheap "activist judge" lines to which we've grown accustomed.

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01/23/2015

Derisively remembering when full equality was in 'Jeopardy!'

by Jeremy Hooper

Joe Jervis (himself working from a Slate story) tips us to this, a mocking answer from a recent edition of the high-minded game show Jeopardy!:

Jcu
Jeopardy! Mocks Civil Unions [J.M.G.]

The pointed tone is clear. And it's just an appetizer of what history will do to the idea that certain American citizens should've accepted segregated, quasi-equality as the final word on this matter. It was just a few short years ago that even our allies—even our President, remember—felt like this was an okay thing to ask of us. It now seems downright offensive.

As of now, Wheel of Fortune doesn't seem to have so pointedly mocked inequality. But that makes sense; our opponents have always come off better in venues that thrive on spin.

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When all else fails, demand your letters are capitalized

by Jeremy Hooper

You guys, their truth is capitalized. For reals. A gay man who chooses both celibacy and anti-gay political activism has insisted so:

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[NOM]

But you know what? Im actually going to concede that those of us who are writing history on this civil rights issue are not using capital letters. After all, the last word in an overlong sentence rarely is.

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01/22/2015

Major Iowa caucus player calls on next President to 'politely reject unjust SCOTUS opinions'

by Jeremy Hooper

The article itself is un-bylined, but an embedded video features The Family Leader head Bob Vander Plaats delivering a truncated version of the same message. That message: Same-sex marriage is anti-God and everyone should just ignore the Supreme Court if it sides with civil equality:

Clearly, a law or court opinion recognizing so-called “same-sex marriage” as equivalent to procreative marriage violates natural law, the moral law, and the eternal law of God.

We will likewise urge our next President to consider whether or not to enforce such an unnatural and unjust opinion, should it happen. We will be asking candidates, if elected, whether they will be in favor of asking over 30 states to violate their own Screen Shot 2015-01-22 At 9.28.23 Pm Constitutions, by requiring them to issue so-called “same-sex marriage” licenses.

While SCOTUS is the Supreme Court, it is not the Supreme
Being, or even the Supreme branch of our government. Thomas Jefferson and others said it was the weakest branch, since it has no power of the purse, or of the military. It’s past time to politely reject unjust SCOTUS opinions, and govern this country according to the Declaration of Independence’s legal foundation of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
FULL:
Marriage, MLK, and SCOTUS [The Family Leader]

It's a crazy rant filled with crazy ideas. But don't be tempted to see it as coming from some fringe group. This is coming from the organization that routinely brings governors and senators and conservative figures of all stripes to its annual events (Iowa's governor toasted the group at its 2014 soiree). This group is also a bigtimplayer in the important Iowa caucus. In the 2012 election, The Family Leader hosted most all of the GOP candidates in various events. The org. has already announced plans to do the same in 2016.

Mainstream media gives this org. the attention it seeks. Now it's time for the media to ask the questions that voters really deserve to hear. Like: "Do you agree with your host org. that God's Law should trump the Supreme Court?" Or, "Do you, candidate, plan to go through Supreme Court rulings on your first day of office and choose which ones you will unilaterally dismantle?" Or simply, "Do you think loving gay couples are violating the eternal law of God?"

We never seem to hear these kinds of questions when major political players like Mark Halperin and John Heinemann interview Bob. But why not? When a political group's leadership tells me who it is and what it wants, I choose to believe them. And then I ask why.

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Photo: Supreme Court's Thomas poses with NOM's cofounder, major equality opponent

by Jeremy Hooper

Robert George is the cofounder (along with Maggie Gallagher) of the National Organization For Marriage and one of the authors of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Ryan T. Anderson is a Heritage Foundation staffer and a top voice against marriage equality.

Today, these two men managed to hug up against a man who will soon make a key decision on marriage equality:

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[SOURCE]

Bias? Maybe; maybe not. Certainly doing a good impression of it, though.

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*RELATED: Antonin Scalia keynoted event at anti-equality diocese; doesn't want it heard, apparently [G-A-Y]

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01/21/2015

Wait, even NewsMax is now pushing back against anti-gay spin?!

by Jeremy Hooper

This video is a few days old, but I just discovered it and want to post. It's not so much that I find anything that Florida anti-gay activist John Stemberger says to be all that notable (although his claim that we "can't do civilization" without marriage being the way he sees it is pretty funny). What's most interesting to me is how the anchor for NewsMax, an incredibly conservative outlet, doesn't seem to be having any of Stemberger's lies. He pushes back on almost every one:

Virtually everything Stemberger says is a lie. There aren't "thousands of studies" that discredit same-sex parenting. Even the thing that he calls a "study that was just released today" of children of same-sex parents is actually an amicus brief—the one where Robert Oscar Lopez lied about me—that the far-right is trying to turn into a thing. He also claims that he, a decades-long activist opposed to every LGBT right, is in the same camp as pre–2012 Obama, which remains beyond ludicrous no matter how often anti-gay conservatives repeat it in order to make themselves feel better. Every thing he says is nonsense

But of course I would think that. The fact that NewsMax TV pushes back against virtually every thing that comes out of Mr. Stemberger's mouth? That's hilarious. It's just another sign of how fully these folks have lost and how even outlets that were once inclined to help them are just pretty much over it.

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Oh, and while I have you, John:

Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows [WaPo]

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Deflating the anti-gay right's latest 'gotcha!'

by Jeremy Hooper

The anti-equality activists know that the civil rights narrative makes them look bad, which is why they've always tried to flip the script. Discriminating against loving same-sex couples became "protecting marriage" as a way to deny the obvious and make the proponents of marriage seem like the opponents. They framed their objections to things like hate crimes legislation and Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal as "pro-family" policies for the same reason. And of course now they are going around using the phrase "religious freedom" whenever they really mean to say "overextending our faith so that it can be used to discriminate against LGBT people in the public sector." This is what they do; it is their game.

To sell the game, they always find these "gotcha" situations that they spin into supposed backing for their framework. The latest involves customers who request bakeries bake up cakes with viciously anti-gay messages, with the idea being that those bakers who (almost always and rightly) deny the request are just as discriminatory as the bakers who have refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples. Anti-equality activists like Heritage Foundation's Ryan T. Anderson are trying hard to push this spin:

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[SOURCE]

But of course Ryan and the American Family Association and everyone else who is trying to push this deceitful "gotcha" is wrong. Very wrong. Woefully wrong. Astoundingly wrong, in fact, for anyone who considers themselves great thinkers on these issues.

A request to make a cake with an anti-gay message is a question of product. Bakeries, like all businesses, are perfectly free to choose their product lineups. They are perfectly free to limit said product in a which that makes sense for their skill level, facilities, time management, or reasons for being in business. This is why a kosher baker cannot be compelled to make nonkosher foods, and organic bakery cannot be forced to make inorganic cakes, and so on. No customer has a right to come into a bakery that sells only cookies and demand a brownie.

The difference between an anti-gay person who requests and anti-gay cake and a same-sex couple who requests a wedding cake is glaringly obvious: the latter is simply seeking one of the offerings that the baker already purports to make, while the former is seeking a kind of cake that the baker has not made, does not make, and has no compulsion to make. When a same-sex couples comes into a bakery that is filled with sample wedding cakes, points to one on display, and says, "we want that one!" the couple is simply selecting something that the baker has made publicly known as a product that he or she has on offer. A customer who seeks an anti-gay (or anti-black or anti-woman or anti-Latino or anti-Christian...) confection is demanding a product that is not on offer.

And of course there's also the difference in viewpoint. An anti-gay (or anti-black or anti-woman or anti-Latino or anti-Christian...) cake is, indeed, pushing out a message that flies in the face of nondiscriminatory business practice. The comparable situation here would be if a gay couple went into a bakery and demanded a "God hates Christians" cake. Selling a gay couple the very same wedding cake that you would sell a straight couple is nothing of that kind (obviously). I know the anti-equality folks have convinced themselves that selling this very same cake to a same-sex couple constitutes some undue burden, constitutes "celebration" of the wedding, and is discrimination against their religious beliefs, but that is untenable logic. If that is going to be the logic that drives all future wedding cake sales, then these bakers are going to have to start holding pre-ceremony counseling sessions with all of their male/female couples to ensure that their weddings are "moral" enough to carry out the contract. I don't think that is the standard that they want, but it is the only standard that would be logically consistent.

Oh, and let's also not forget that the baker in question made it perfectly clear that she would make a blank Bible cake onto which the man could right the "God Hates Gays" message that she said he sought. That is a type of cake she makes. It's a noncontroversial cake that she apparently has the skill level to create. That is fair accommodation. Frankly, if a not-so-gay-friendly baker doesn't want to create a wedding cake that specifically speaks to the wedding being same-sex, that is something I'd likely support. Meaning that if this baker agreed to make a same-sex couple's cake but didn't want to write an inscription that wished the couple years of happiness or go out of their way to find a same-sex–specific cake topper, then that would not be that big of a deal. That goes back to product and what the baker chooses to offer. But that has not been the case that we have seen. What we have instead seen are bakers who say they will not make the very same kind of wedding cake for a same-sex couple that they would gladly make for an different-sex couple.

When my husband and I got married, we had a cake that specifically spoke to our wedding being two men:

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Our baker was thrilled at the chance to flex her creative muscle. She eagerly accepted the challenge and made an adorably delicious cake that made a statement.

But she didn't have to. Had she not had the skills, time, or even number of pans to make our cake, we would have understood. We chose her because we loved the taste of her cake and were open to a million different ideas. But we were not open to being turned away from her bakery—a bakery we chose after meeting with twenty or so others and greatly preferring the taste of hers—simply because we were a kind of couple whose sexual orientations rendered our money unusable. That would have been a different story altogether. That story is precisely the story we are seeking with all of the "fake victims" who the anti-equality movement keeps propping up as martyrs.

Bake us only the by-the-book cake that you show in your display case. Fine. But you cannot run a public accommodation that is perfectly happy to sell a wedding cake to Gene and Pat when they place an online order but refuses to complete the transaction when Gene and Pat, both male, come into the store to claim the purchase. That is called discrimination. And it will always be called discrimination no matter what novel phrases the anti-gay far-right dreams up to make their movement seem like something other than what it so clearly is.

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01/20/2015

POTUS hails marriage equality in State of the Union speech

by Jeremy Hooper

From remarks as prepared:

"I've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home."

—President Obama

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Full remarks, as delivered:

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Don't stop until full equality



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