RECENT  POSTS:  » POTUS believes in fifty-state equality, happy with way it's playing out » But your subjective view of 'real' marriage is factually irrelevant, Ryan » Flip Benham (yes, their dad) reportedly protesting outside NC weddings » TV's Duggar family continues anti-LGBT activism » Caught ya: Far-right's latest marriage 'victim' edited website to make more solid legal case » Read: Wyoming to become our 32nd marriage equality state » GLAAD: Victory is what happens while you're busy making other plans » What fake victimization sounds like in Arizona » Federal judge strikes Arizona's discriminatory marriage ban; marriages should begin today! » NOM's latest desperation: Relying on hearsay James O'Keefe video to smear Democrat for 'secretly' not opposing equality  

10/17/2014

Federal judge strikes Arizona's discriminatory marriage ban; marriages should begin today!

by Jeremy Hooper

US District Judge John W. Sedwick has just ruled that marriage equality can begin in Arizona

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If this sticks, then that brings us up to thirty-one states and counting. And just as social conservatives have long predicted, the rapid developments have prompted Americans to take to the streets in angry mobs, dragons are now terrorizing major cities, and straight parents are leaving their babies on the roadsides to instead be raised by wolves.

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NOM's latest desperation: Relying on hearsay James O'Keefe video to smear Democrat for 'secretly' not opposing equality

by Jeremy Hooper

James O'Keefe, the controversial conservative filmmaker whose big thing is to secretly film progressives in what are often lazily twisted versions of incomplete truths, released a latest video wherein a leader with the Arkansas Young Democrats' gay caucus intimated that Sen. Mark Pryor, one of the only Democratic Senators who still publicly opposes marriage equality, is actually less against it than he says he is. Here's the truly lame video:

Now, even on its face, this is a pretty ridiculous "revelation." For one, it's no secret that national Democrats are very supportive of marriage equality, so it's not like his evolution would be some majorly startlingly thing. But even so, the young strategist in the video really only suggests that Pryor would not vote against or stand against marriage equality, which I would hope would be obvious here in 2014, where a bipartisan majority of his colleagues stand in full support of the notion. She doesn't even really make it sound like he's some major champion or anything. She, a Democratic strategist, essentially just suggests he's better than the other guy.

And it's also just her own opinion, stated as someone who is strategizing for his victory. The words are not from the candidate. Unless and until Mark Pryor comes out for marriage equality, he is a candidate running against marriage equality. I hope our politics are not in a place where non-surrogates who make their own intimations about a candidate are morphed into official campaigns spokespeople or Hill staffers. Maybe we are there, but I hope not

Anyway, the reason why I'm even talking about a lame, conjecture-driven attempt at a political hit that I would otherwise ignore is because the increasingly desperate National Organization For Marriage certainly believes the "gotcha" effort to be solid and newsworthy. In fact, president Brian Brown made it a big part of his weekly email to supporters:

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"Exposing"? "Bald-faced lie"? While I certainly wish that were true, since I hate that there is still even one U.S. Senator, and particularly a Democrat, who thinks discrimination is a value, that fact is that Sen. Pryor was not "exposed" as anything. In fact, it is borderline defamation to use another person's words in order claim that the senator is engaging in a "bald-faced lie." You can't just connect one person's thoughts to another person's truth and proceed to print it as the gospel. That is where your political opinions stop being options and start instead turning into statements of supposed fact. If Sen. Mark Pryor is not, in fact, yet with us on marriage equality, then NOM is the one pushing bald-faced lies and calling them reality.

But this is where NOM now lives. It's a desperate address, NOM's.

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Shun-employment: NC state employee quits job to avoid happy gay couples

by Jeremy Hooper

Priorities, folks:

WENTWORTH — A Rockingham County magistrate submitted his resignation Thursday, saying he couldn’t marry same-sex couples because it violates his religious beliefs.
Magistrate John Kallam Jr. sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins and said he couldn’t fulfill his oath of office after same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina. His resignation is effective Oct. 31.

FULL: Rockingham magistrate resigns over same-sex marriage [Winston-Salem Journal]

It's unclear where he will go next. But I'd assume he'll look for jobs that involve casting stones.

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10/16/2014

NOM wasted a lot of money on IRS "scandal," aint getting it back

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Organization For Marriage today suffered what should be its final and most crushing blow in its years long, wholly concocted attempt to create an IRS "scandal." The same court where NOM lost its case earlier this year, receiving only $50,000 from the government for an inadvertent leaking of its unredacted Schedule B form in 2012, has now determined that NOM does not deserve even one penny of reimbursement for the ludicrous legal fees that the anti-gay organization was seeking. David Cary Hart reports:

United States Circuit Court Judge James Cacheris has denied reimbursement of legal fees to National Organization for Marriage for their lawsuit against the IRS. NOM claimed that they spent over $690,000 in legal expenses. Much of that went to NOM's chairman, John Eastman. That presupposes that the sums were actually disbursed and NOM has been known to fib from time to time and Eastman is a pathological liar.
Breaking: NOM takes a $640,000 haircut [Slowly Boiled Frog]

I especially love how the judge keeps digging in. Some snippets and the full rationale:

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1:13-cv-01225 #96 by Equality Case Files

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State employees must actually perform duties state pays them to perform; shocking, I know

by Jeremy Hooper

This is the kind of thing that the anti-gay far-right will surely turn into another "poor, pitiful us" routine:

North Carolina magistrates have been directed to perform civil marriages for same-sex couples or face suspension or dismissal from their state jobs. A memo to state magistrates Wednesday said they would be violating their oaths of office if they refuse to marry gay or lesbian couples
Gay marriage developments: North Carolina mandate [AP]
(h/t: Joe)

But those who try to portray this as some sort of unfair burden are people who see themselves as above the law. As entitled. As having a special set of freedoms based on their personal convictions about who is and is not going to hell.

The governor of North Carolina opposes marriage equality, but he knows that the courts have determined that laws limiting the freedom to marry are unconstitutional. He knows that even he, someone who was elected to the highest office in the state, must abide by the considered acts of the independent judiciary, which is why he has called for his state to move on and find "healing." I sincerely hope that those anti-intellectual anti-LGBT orgs that are already readying press releases and ad campaigns highlighting the North Carolina state employees who are supposedly being denied their "right" to take a smoke break whenever a gay couple asks them to simply do other job will take a breath, take a pause, and appeal to their better angels before firing off angry missives that serve to both dupe and fire up an angry mob mentality.

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Frank Turek pushes same anti-reality rhetoric that led his movement to loss

by Jeremy Hooper

TurekFrank Turek is a longtime voice of anti-gay hostility and an early adopter of the anti-equality movement's now-definitive "victim" meme. So it's no surprise that he, a North Carolina resident, is all kinds of angry at the recent actions that brought marriage equality to his state and others.

But while he's free to be angry and to shout said anger from the rooftops, Mr. Turek does need to at least deal with reality. Like, for example, when he writes this:

[Marriage is] the one institution best capable of creating and then raising children by encouraging their mothers and fathers to stay together. It’s the basis of a civilized society. We can’t build and maintain a civilization through homosexuality or by equating it to what moms and dads do. You may claim that’s bigotry, but it’s really just biology. (Sorry, I didn’t set up the facts of nature. I have noticed, however, that conservatives attempt to change their behavior to fit reality, while liberals attempt to change reality to fit their behavior.)
FULL: Who Does the Constitution Protect? [AFA]

Mr. Turek might have a point if we were talking about replacing heterosexuality with homosexuality. But of course we are not. We are talking about our world, as it exists and has it has always existed. Gay people are a part of that world; this is a fact of nature. Expanding marriage rights to include same-sex couples and our families simply acknowledges basic truths about our society—as it is already, right now. Expanding these freedoms is the civilized thing to do.

The idea that people with certain sexual orientations can and should "change their behavior" is the true bastardization of reality.

Further on, Mr. Turek writes:

What do you think would happen if some federal judge wrenched a passage of the Federal Constitution out of context and summarily struck down Maine’s law democratically decided law approving same-sex marriage? Do you think the people preaching “tolerance”—including their cheerleaders in the media—would tolerate such judicial abuse? The airwaves would be blasting howls of unfairness and calls for judicial impeachment. Yet when the same thing is done to strike down marriage laws based in biological reality—laws passed by millions of voters—liberals celebrate that those voters have been disenfranchised. Saying that one judge’s vote counts more than the votes of millions of Americans is an unequal way to advance “equality.”
FULL: Who Does the Constitution Protect? [AFA]

Cool thought exercise, bro. Except, of course, this is a comparison between apples and oranges. Particularly if we're talking about a faith-driven orange that had dedicated his life toward turning the apple's basic freedoms into an overwrought and cruel political sparring match ginned up primarily by one party for the sake of votes, paychecks, and access.

The truth is that there is no comparison between the expansion of freedoms and the cruel subjugation of freedoms. The anti-gay social conservatives like to pretend there is because they are hyper defensive about what they have done and their role within civil rights history. But few are buying it. Most people are quite capable of seeing the world of difference between a theoretical court ruling that literally takes away tangible rights from a minority population, and most understand why the denied population would have a credible basis for outrage. Most also understand why the discriminators who've been fighting to take away our rights not only have no basis for such outrage, but the mere claim that they do have such a basis is itself outrageous.

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10/15/2014

'Christian' is not suitable stand-in for 'discriminatory business owner'

by Jeremy Hooper

This is the a headline running at the American Family Association's "news" site:

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[AFA's One News Now]

The subject is the supposed "right" of public accommodations to flout fairly enacted nondiscrimination laws when they don't feel like serving a same-sex couple. The opinion piece posing as a news article runs down those same handful of cases that the far-right keeps trying to turn into some sort of national scourge. Well covered territory on this site, and I won't be covering it again here.

But I do want to talk about the hubristic way that organizations like the American Family Association think they can use the word "Christian" when they really mean a very specific kind of person who did a very specific kind of thing. The truth is that we are a nation with hundreds of millions of Christians. Many of them are pro-gay. Others are kind of in the middle. Some are actively anti-gay but they still now that they have to abide by fair nondiscrimination laws. And many of them own or operate businesses.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of Christian business owners would be scandalized at the suggestion that they would ever turn away a customer because of their personal theological beliefs. The idea of turning away a customer because of certain characteristics invokes ugly imagery from a non-too-distant past, and most of us have filed it far away from our realm of consideration. It's only in recent years, with this losing anti-equality movement and their carefully worded attempt to polish the turd of discrimination so that it instead looks like a religious flower, that we've even had to reopen this "debate." Most of us thought it was settled, and many of us LGBT people are quite chilled/creeped out by the fact that it's actually happening here in 2014 America.

But I don't think we LGBT people and our allies are the only ones who are creeped out. Although the AFAs and FRCs and NOMs of the world are loud and manage to beat a drum over and over and over until their spin gets mainstream credence ("tell a lie long enough..."), they do not speak for even a tiny fraction of this nation's Christians, much less the larger religious community as a whole. And it's way past time for these people of faith to step up and speak out against this effort to make "Christian" synonymous with discrimination. We LGBT politicos have done our part, but they just write us off as godless sodomites with a militant agenda. The folks who should care are the people of deep Christian faith who are tired of a religious right that continues to turn religion into an alienating experience, turn churches into lobbying arms, and turn carefully coded messages into new ways to sell the same old discrimination that past generations already repudiated.

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Tony Perkins knows a shifting Catholic church is bad for his career

by Jeremy Hooper

The Vatican is starting to admit that gays and lesbians have "gifts to offer." And that's more bad news for the exceedingly anti-gay head of an organization that has made marriage inequality its cause célèbre:

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[Tony Perkins]

Oh please. Marriage equality might have been a "powder keg" a decade ago. Nowadays, when a deep red state like Utah or Oklahoma get the rights, the only peeps of discontent you hear come from people like Tony himself. Even local conservatives who campaigned on discrimination are ready to move on.

And a Catholic church wants to become more aware of sexual orientation, its truth, and people's worth and dignity within the spectrum of humanity, then that won't be doing significant damage—it will be undoing the significant damage that this church and its leadership has been waging on this and related LGBT rights debates for decades now. We are indeed moving into the phase where we're certain going to see a lot of people who made the wrong choices offering up apologies and revisionism and other efforts to save face in the aftermath of a battle they lost. Perhaps the Vatican is just getting an early start.

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