RECENT  POSTS:  » And now NOM is literally pleading with its (theoretical) supporters » Add 'professional advocate for anti-gay scouting' to list of bygone career choices » NOM to lasso the White House with a rosary. Or something. » NOM's new plan? To beat up its org-crushing loss until it becomes a win. » By the time you read this headline, we'll be ten more seconds beyond stagnant anti-gay 'culture wars' » Video: America cannot wait—to purchase American Family Association radio equipment? Huh?! » Huckabee 2016: 'cause church and state aint gonna marry themselves » EEOC does wonky, under-radar thing that could lay groundwork for definitive nondiscrimination protections » Maggie Gallagher, now that you've lost on marriage, might you lose these deceptive ways as well? » Crowdfunding discriminatory business owners: Perfect statement on anti-gay movement's current affairs  

07/16/2015

Maggie Gallagher, now that you've lost on marriage, might you lose these deceptive ways as well?

by Jeremy Hooper

In a new post on the 2016 campaign site that she and her conservative pals at the American Principles Project are trying to make happen, Maggie Gallagher writes under this headline and premise:

New Poll: Huge Drop in Support for Gay Marriage [Pulse 2016]

To make her claim, Maggie starts with a May 2015 Gallup poll that indicated 60% of Americans support the right of same-sex couples to marry. Then she took a just-released Reuters-Ipsos poll that shows 51% support the legal right (with 14% not sure). To Maggie, this means a 9% point drop.

Only thing? If Maggie had looked instead to an April 2015 poll from the very same polling company, she would have seen that there was virtually no change. At all. In April 2015, Reuters-Ipsos tracked Marriage equality at 52%, with a 16% unsure rate. That is near-identical to its current poll. With the margin of error, any change is statistically inconsequential.

It's disingenuous to compare two different polling companies' stats to indicate a "huge drop." They each have their own methodology and sampling and specific whatnots. We can debate all day which company is more accurate, and why or why not. However, when looking to any sort of historical trend, one has either look at the same company consistently, or he or she has to look at a collection of various polls through a longer period of time. To take one company's poll from one month and compare it to another company's poll from another month is just plain deceptive.

Plus either way, this "huge drop" that Maggie sees still shows her position to be a losing one. Even if every single "not sure" respondent in the current Reuters-Ipsos poll ultimately went to the wrong-side-of-history (which they wouldn't), she and her team would still come up short. Because marriage inequality is a loser here in America.

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07/15/2015

Crowdfunding discriminatory business owners: Perfect statement on anti-gay movement's current affairs

by Jeremy Hooper

It came out today that Aaron and Melissa Klein, the (former) Oregon bakery owners who infamously turned away a lesbian couple and who rely admit they have turned away other gay customers in the past, have raised over $350,000 via a Christian crowdfunding site. Presumably the bulk of these funds are from supporters who think they were wronged and deserve recompense for the pesky policies of their state getting in the way of their "right" to discriminate, just as we've seen with similar situations in the past.

While the ability of these anti-LGBT business owners to recruit funds annoys some right-side-of-history-and-the-law activists, I'm not one of them. To me, the whole thing is such a perfect example of the goofy and inept state of the anti-LGBT movement in this country.

First and foremost is the fact that it changes nothing. These pro-discrimination business owners can each raise a billion dollars, and it won't make one dent in any law or policy or ordinance that protects LGBT customers from unfair business practices. Not one deciding body or judge who put accuracy above activism would allow himself or herself to be swayed by the fact that the guilty parties can find enough like-minds to pay off their legal bills (and car loans and mortgage and...). Just like so much of what the anti-LGBT movement is doing these days, these crowdfunding efforts do little more than make themselves feel better about their cause. Which is fine, if that is the purpose. But if their aim is to change policies with which they disagree, then this is about as effective as setting the cash on fire and making s'mores. Far less delicious, too.

Which brings me to the most important point: the waste of money itself. Now, I do trust that many of these benefactors are giving money because they genuinely do want to help a family in need. And I'm sensitive to that, since I really don't want to see any family struggle with major financial burdens. However, it is clear that many folks are giving because they want to shape the political landscape. The most glaring evidence of this lies in the fact that conservative political activists are always the ones to push these campaigns into the sort of spotlight that allows for the outsized funding in the first place. And if this is the case, and tapping into a conservative network of cash in order to change things is the (or at least a) goal, then the constant requests for folks to throw cash at these campaigns is highly counterproductive. This is especially true with such a major election year coming up, where everyone who's ever thought about politics is going to be cold-called and mail-targeted and e-blasted on a daily basis by candidates and issues groups in need of dollars. While some folks have plenty to feed every bird who comes a'pecking, some do not. And if the conservative movement is bleeding its team dry with these constant requests for more cash to pay more bakers' and florists' legal bills, then there is going to be less dinero to go to the candidates who dislike that I just called it dinero.

Lately I've been talking a lot about conservative movement game moves that no longer matter in the wake of the Obergefell decision. This one, however, goes beyond simply "not mattering." This one would seem to actively help those of us with more prioritized interests. This one is actually taking resources away from the lingering infrastructure and candidates who'd love to keep fighting us. I have to think that some of the groups that rely on this same funding pool have to hate that this is happening.

Not to mention, if these things keep happening and they keep losing and they keep launching new crowdfunding begs, you also have to think that some people will start to catch on that these folks are simply flouting the law. Maybe not the hardcore activists who don't want any gay thing anywhere, but certainly the more middle-road folks who have been led to believe that this is a "religious freedom" matter. After five, ten, twenty of these very days o' the groundhog, a few lightbulbs will surely come on. Which is also right on par, since the anti-LGBT movement always overplays its hands. Always.

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The religious anti-gay crowd: They never understood the marriage fight; now they don't understand their loss

by Jeremy Hooper

Over on the Family Research Council's blog, one of the viciously anti-LGBT group's more recent hires, Travis Weber, posts yet another bit of defiance in the wake of the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision. In this one, Travis makes the case that many churches will never accept the ruling:

[T]here is the unspoken assumption that after the Supreme Court speaks those who object to its decision will roll over and submit.

In the vast majority of cases that would be true. In this instance, however, the Supreme Court has badly misjudged the situation because its edict explicitly contradicts the teaching of the Church on matters of the definition of marriage and the dual nature of human sexuality (male/female complementarity). These are not negotiable positions. The press trumpets announcements from every wayward church but ignores the real story.

The real story is that orthodox churches have almost instantly discerned the severity of the situation but have not retreated an inch in refusing to accept the redefinition of marriage.

FULL: Obergefell Prompts Instant, Unflinching Resistance in the True Church ¿ Reaction of Tenth Presbyterian (Philadelphia) [FRC]

And then he goes on to give an example of one such church.

To which I ask: So what? The Supreme Court decision was about civil marriage equality, with religious ceremonial discussions left, as they have always been, with the churches. Some churches have and will move toward offering religious ceremonies to same-sex couples, and some will not (just as they deny ceremonies to other kinds of couples). That is not our fight. That was never the marriage equality movement's fight.

Even if every church in America vowed to deny religious ceremonies to gay couples, it wouldn't change one thing—not one word, letter, or period—about the Obergefell decision and its fifty-state granting of rights and protections. These are civil protections, independent of ancillary church ceremonies. The militant groups like FRC have never been able to accept that distinction. I'm not sure they ever will. The only difference? Our continued need to care (or lack thereof) about their grumblings and gripes.

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07/14/2015

Professionally discriminatory Americans to waste more precious mortality fighting battle we've already won

by Jeremy Hooper

Some of the funniest failed characters in all of anti-LGBTdom (Peter LaBarbera, Janet Porter, Willie Owens) are vowing to keep fighting forever to stop same-sex marriage. In :

New Coalition Pledges To Fight Gay Marriage [Texas Observer]

In an overcompensating fashion reliable of this movement, they are calling the coalition "REAL MARRIAGE." You know, just in case their seeming need to pull themselves away from their own spouses in order to focus on strangers' marriages didn't make their confidence and satisfaction with their own relational affairs seem tenuous enough.

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Audio: NOM cofounder, Princeton professor Robert George compares secret Nazi teacher to out gay teacher

by Jeremy Hooper

When teacher Margie Winters was hired at Waldron Mercy Academy in 2007, she says she told the Philadelphia area Catholic school that she is married to a woman. According to Winters, the school requested she just not discus it with parents or kids, a rule by which she says she abided. However, after some parents found out earlier this year, Winters was asked to resign from her position. When Winters refused to resign her position of nearly eight years, the school fired her.

According to Robert George, the National Organization For Marriage cofounder and Princeton University professor who conservatives consider a great scholar (he coauthored the Bush era Federal Marriage Amendment), this situation is comparable to a secret Nazi who has a personal life that's at odds with the school's teachings:

[Drew Mariani Show]

Let's first talk about Mr. George's two caveats about Naziism being different from homosexuality. What point do they serve other than to make Mr. George feel better? Because he is, indeed, comparing the two types of "personal life" behavior. Out of all the billions of things he could choose to compare to a same-sex marriage, he chose Nazism. That is a choice that few, other than hardcore anti-gay activists with deeply entrenched agendas, would even dream of making.

And since he did make it, let's talk about the obvious difference. Nazism, as an ideology and/or practice, is one that should be of great concern to an employer because it would mean an employee who has a professed refusal to acknowledge the worth and dignity of certain "undesirables." In a role of teacher, this concern would be obviously exacerbated. A person who subscribes to this set of beliefs is likely not in full accordance with the curriculum of the school. If this came to light, it likely would be of great concern to parents and faculty alike.

But being a human being who was born gay and who is lucky enough to have found a life partner to marry? That's not like being a closet Nazi. At all. In any ballpark. Again, except that ballpark that the rest of us are quickly realizing as unworthy of serious discussion among serious people, yet the one that conservative America still seems to embrace as both its present and its future.

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07/13/2015

And now we start checking 'em all off the list (#LoveWins #MoreThanMarriage)

by Jeremy Hooper

While neither of these long-sought-after LGBT rights developments, both of which broke this afternoon, are specifically related to marriage, you can be sure that the Supreme Court's ruling is a major reason why we see things falling into place in other areas:

Boy Scouts Panel Adopts Resolution To Allow Gay Scout Leaders [NPR]

Pentagon To Lift Ban On Transgender Service Members [HRC]

This summer's game-changing ruling and unbelievable outpouring of support solidified our momentum, and it also freed up space for other focuses. It's part of that psychological shift I talked about prior to the ruling. The citizens of the United States now know, without a doubt, that LGBT rights are moving forward, are winners in the eyes of the law, and earn widespread embrace upon implementation.

In this summer of blockbusters, we've all seen the #LoveWins movie play out before us. Our sails have the wind; our banks have the capital. Overdue and unjust discrimination is on notice.

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Unable to grumpily take ball and go home, Missouri county uses flags for childish marriage equality protest

by Jeremy Hooper

When it comes to making us look even better in the wake of victory, Dent County, Missouri just did the victorious equality movement a solid:

The Dent County Commission voted unanimously Monday to observe one year of "mourning” over the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision that gay couples have the constitutional right to marriage.

The observance will come in the form of lowering the flags at the Dent County Courthouse and Judicial Building to below half-staff on the 26th day of the month from July 2015 to June 2016.
COUNTY COMMISSION: Flags to fly less than half-staff over gay marriage ruling [Salem News Online]

So move over, whatever thing for which Dent County was most famous before this year. For at least the next few decades, this will be the reputation pockmark that makes every prior disaster seem like a, well—dent.

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Then you're being bad allies, Walker boys

by Jeremy Hooper

The media has found a story in the fact that Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, who staunchly opposes marriage equality and supports measures to overturn the Supreme Court's decision, has two young and photogenic sons (ages nineteen and twenty-one) who both support marriage equality. Some have reported it positively, as a sign of the stark and inevitable rate of change even among Republicans. Others have questioned if perhaps it's an attempt for Walker to have it both ways, courting social conservative with his far-right stance while also having disagreement within his own home. Both views have merit, in my opinion.

But what doesn't hold merit and certainly doesn't deserve praise? These quips, which the Walker boys floated out to CNN over the weekend:

“We talked to him, like any family we have disagreements,” said Matt [Walker]. “He just explained his position and that was it.”

“Matt and I aren’t necessarily changing his stances on any issues,” added Alex [Walker]. “We respect his opinion on things.”

FULL:
Scott Walker’s Sons Say They Respect Their Dad’s Anti-LGBT Views, Don’t Try to Change His Mind – VIDEO [Towle]

No. No, no, no, no—a thousand times, no.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 At 1.44.30 PmFirst of all, Scott Walker's is not merely an "opinion." He has actual power, and he seeks much more of it. He's open to the idea of an amendment to the US Constitution that would ban marriages for same-sex couples. He opposes a whole host of other protections. His "opinions" are ones that would come at a great cost to the very citizens who the Walker boys claim to support. And since Dad Walker is seeking the presidency, we have to take him at his word that these "opinions" are ones that he would strive to put into policy.

Second, there is no "disagreement" on this topic. Not anymore. Marriage equality is the law of the land in all fifty states. This happened after a very lengthy national conversation with every kind of test—legislative, judicial, executive, cultural, etc.—imaginable. Civil marriage rights for same-sex couples won this debate. It is now part of the United States of America. Dad Walker might not love that truth, but it is indeed a truth. When the younger Walkers say they support it, they are simply saying they acknowledge and respect reality. There is no real disagreement anymore. That phase is done. We won.

Third, if you are not willing to try to change the stances of a father who is seeking high office, and you are in fact trying to get him elected into that very office, then your lack of effort is failing the people who you claim to support. In this case, trying to change his stance is *EXACTLY* what good allies should be trying to do. Because he's wrong. He's just plain wrong. And his wrong-headed ideas are deeply hurtful ones that seek to rollback hard-fought wins. His "stances" literally seek to take away court-tested civil rights. His "position" is not simply another side of the coin—it is the discriminatory view of a tyrannical banker who refuses to accept those coins from those people.

If this is the way the Walker sons are going to play this one, then they can certainly call themselves personal supporters of marriage equality. And that's great. It is the consensus position of their generation. It's also the only right answer.

But if they are not going to fight from within for the change they want to see in the world, then they can't really call themselves allies. My allies don't stand around with their hands in their pockets while their ringleader wages moldy "culture wars" against my family.

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