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02/24/2015

Video: Onetime LGBT community foe delivers crushing blow to 'religious freedom' (a.k.a. license to discriminate) bills

by Jeremy Hooper

When he was the state attorney general of Georgia (first as a Democrat and then as a Republican), Mike Bowers acted like a very anti-gay, very conservative politician. You know the Bowers v. Hardwick case of 1986 in which the US Supreme Court upheld sodomy laws across the nation (before overturning them in 2003)? Mike Bowers is the Bowers in that famous case. He also once fired a lesbian attorney simply because she was planning a commitment ceremony with her partner. Not our friend, this guy.

But times? They change. And so do people. Which is one reason why this very same Michael Bowers—the sodomy-banning, lesbian firing Mike Bowers—is working with Georgia Equality to speak out strongly against the so-called "religious freedom" bills (which are really license-to-discriminate bills) that are making their way through the Georgia legislature and throughout this nation. Here's the video and story from Project Q Atlanta:


STORY: State’s ex top lawyer rips ‘religious freedom’ bills [Project Q]

**MORE: Mike Bowers Calls For A “Swift Death” To Georgia Religious Freedom Bills [Buzzfeed]

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Q. How does Mark Regnerus 'prove' he's not an anti-gay activist?

by Jeremy Hooper

A. He speaks at one of the most anti-gay activist groups on the planet, the Family Research Council (an SPLC-designated hate group)

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 At 8.13.18 Pm
[FRC]

When a federal judge described Regnerus' junky work on same-sex parenting as "entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration," this is the kind of crap he was talking about. Regnerus has always been an activist with a preconceived notion who then worked backwards to undermine families he and his politics always wanted to undermine.

***

*Fore more on Regnerus, his sham study, and its politically-motivated shepherds, go here.

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It's not a 'marriage debate' simply because pro-discrimination lawmakers say it is

by Jeremy Hooper

I keep seeing local media outlets use some variation on the following headline in their coverage of a go-nowhere, wantonly discriminatory marriage amendment that a couple of conservative Republican lawmakers in Iowa have dreamt up:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 At 6.08.20 Pm
[DM Register]

This kind of framing is the embodiment of what is so frequently wrong about conversations like the one we are having on marriage. All too often, media outlets and others with platforms frame something as a debate—one with two sides, similar merits, and similar chances—just because a lone person or a small cadre of people chooses to air their discriminatory whims before the public. So when lawmakers propose an amendment that Iowans don't want, that can't pass, and that could never hold up under court scrutiny, people who should know better turn what is, in truth, a pie-in-the-sky bout of hostility toward a minority population and our benign, peaceful, nearly six-year-old civil rights (in the state of Iowa) into some sort of fake "debate."

But there is no debate. Iowa has marriage equality and Iowa will keep marriage equality. Iowa is done debating this; the rest of the country will be done debating it soon enough. If bands of conservatives want to scream and holler and have debates with themselves and whoever is willing to dignify them, then that is one thing. But in terms of the policy and its practical effects, the conversation about marriage equality is already over in many places, and it is near-over nationwide. Those who want to keep forcing a debate already lost. There's no reason why media outlets need to feed these prejudicial fever dreams.

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The AFA's 'Anti-Christian Bigotry Map' is the most unintentionally hilarious thing you'll see today

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 At 11.32.35 AmIn an obvious attempt to flip the script on the Southern Poverty Law Center for tracking actually hostile groups that genuinely promote dissemination or worse, the American Family Association, one of the most proudly pro-discrimination organizations on the planet, has released a map purporting to show "anti-Christian bigotry." The basic criteria for being "anti-Christian" is to either be an atheist group, a group that supports clear church/state lines like Americans United, or to be any group to advocate for what the AFA calls a "homosexual agenda." For instance, here is what they say about GLSEN, an organization that encourages tolerance toward LGBT students:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 At 11.31.34 Am [AFA Bigotry Map]

Oh, and here's HRC:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 At 11.40.55 Am

Um, if you are trying to prove bigotry, it's probably not a good idea to portray a massive minority population as being dangerous, unhealthy, perverted, and a social negative. Unless, of course, the bigotry you are trying to prove is your own. In which case, keep up the good work, ridiculous organization that calls itself the AFA!

No word as to why the AFA didn't go ahead and call this project, "Yet Another Chance for The 'Pro-Family" Movement To Prove Its Animus To The Supreme Court." I'm guessing the Family Research Council already took that name for another of its hostile projects.

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02/23/2015

Exec. Editor of conservative bible 'National Review' signs statement to 'make marriage achievable for all who seek it'

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 At 8.37.20 PmReihan Salam, executive editor of the conservative movement's stalwart publication, National Review, has joined over one hundred other scholars and leaders (including quite a few conservatives) in signing on to a new statement that marriage equality opponent-cum-proponent David Blankenhorn has spearheaded through his Institute for American Values. The statement, titled "Marriage Opportunity: The Moment for National Action," works off of the following ten propositions:

Executive Summary: Our Argument in Ten Propositions

*For the first time since the controversial Moynihan Report of 1965, marriage as culture war in America can now be replaced by marriage as common cause and a common conversation.

*An organizing principle of this conversation is to identify, reduce, and where possible eliminate social, economic, and legal barriers to marriage.

*We, like other Americans, continue to hold diverse views on gay marriage, but we come together to acknowledge that it is here to stay and to emphasize and enhance the good that it can do.

*America's growing separation into two countries—upscale America in which marriage typically succeeds and mainstream America in which marriage typically fails—threatens all of us and threatens the American idea, which is based on broadly shared thriving.

*The splitting of American marriage along class lines both results from and significantly contributes to American inequality. The issues of inequality and family are inextricably linked.

*Liberals fighting for social justice and economic opportunity are now called by the logic of their values to help extend the advantages of marriage to low- and middle-income couples who seek it for themselves, much as they fought to help gay Americans attain marriage.

*Conservatives fighting for social stability and stronger families can now, based on the logic of their deepest values, recognize gays and lesbians who seek the same family values.

*Gays and lesbians who are winning marriage for themselves can also help to lead the nation as a whole to a new embrace of marriage's promise.

*Americans can come together as a nation to make marriage achievable for all who seek it.

*We come together as a Marriage Opportunity Council to make this argument, to appeal to our fellow citizens to join us, and to carry out this work.
FULL:
Marriage Opportunity: The Moment for National Action [IAV]

Moreover, the statement insists that gay equality and family values are becoming "one and the same," and it calls on conservatives to build on the good of marriage equality:

Today, however, "family values" is an inclusive rubric. As same-sex marriage and parenting reach the cultural mainstream, gay equality and family values increasingly become one and the same. Same-sex spouses and parents have all the same interests as opposite-sex spouses and parents in strong marriages, safe streets, good schools, healthy communities, and the other ingredients of a child-friendly society. Once viewed warily even by some within the LGBT community itself, marriage now frames the aspirations of many young gay and lesbian Americans. Indeed, the gay population is emerging as an important new constituency for family values.
...
Third and finally, conservatives are coming to recognize that their interests and values are best served today by an agenda that builds on rather than merely opposes same-sex marriage. Some conservatives may perceive the rise of same-sex marriage as a defeat and a dead end. We believe that it is better seen as an open doorway. Same-sex marriage is a durable fixture of the American landscape. The trend in public opinion is obvious. According to most polls, same-sex marriage now boasts the approval of a national majority, and among young Americans it is close to uncontroversial. A conservative family agenda premised on the exclusion of gay people and families is a nonstarter with young Americans and would, if carried forward, do more to marginalize conservatism than strengthen families.

This change is an opportunity for the pro-family movement. Conservatives today are able to talk to a much broader portion of the public. They can ask, "What does a pro-family agenda look like if it does not feature the exclusion of gay and lesbian people? What do ‘family values' look like when freed of any tincture of anti-gay animus?" When the discussion is framed in those terms, conservatives can take a leading role in building a broader pro-family consensus than the country has seen in three generations.

Unlike the older family values agenda, this new agenda need not and should not write off anyone who seeks to be a good parent or spouse. On the contrary, it is difficult to think of measures to strengthen opposite-sex marriage and parenthood that do not also strengthen same-sex marriage and parenthood—and vice versa.

For conservatives, the paradigm that once seemed to pit equality and inclusion against family and children has stopped making sense. The right, like the left, cannot very well advance either equality or family without advancing both.
FULL:
Marriage Opportunity: The Moment for National Action [IAV]

A person who very much helps shape the style and tone of National Review—of NATIONAL friggin' REVIEW!—just signed on to this. That's a statement apart from the actual statement text! A pretty big one, in fact.

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Ginsburg repeats what her 'recuse!'-ers fail to acknowledge: SCOTUS has *already* moved the marriage ball into a new court

by Jeremy Hooper

In an interview with The New York Times' Gail Collins, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the following about marriage equality and its future at the court:

So Ginsburg is planning to be on the bench when the Supreme Court decides mammoth issues like the future of the Affordable Care Act and a national right for gay couples to marry. She says she doesn’t know how the health care case will turn out. But like practically every court observer in the country, she has a strong hunch about which way gay marriage will go: “I would be very surprised if the Supreme Court retreats from what it has said about same-sex unions.”
FULL:
The Unsinkable R.B.G. [NYT]

The operative word there, in terms of the judge's recent comments favoring equality and the silly little groups that are trying to force her to recuse because Screen Shot 2015-02-13 At 8.49.25 Pmof them, is the word "retreats." Because the fact of the matter is that a majority of the court, including Ginsburg, has already decided in favor of many of the underlying issues.

In its opinion in the Windsor case, which was authored by Justice Kennedy and joined by a majority that included Justice Ginsburg, the court wrote pointedly about the effects of discrimination on adults, their children, their rights under the law, and their equal protection and access. While the language was tailored to federal DOMA specifically, there is little logical way to limit the language to just that one law and its enforced hardships. The opinion speaks about displaced protection, less respect, and the undermining of personhood and dignity that is inherent to exclusionary bans on marriage. The reason why most all court watchers, from just about any political stripe, admit that the court is near-guaranteed to support marriage equality in the coming case is because the language in Windsor is quite clear.

And let's not forget the subsequent two years, wherein a majority of the same Supreme Court has made decisions that have vastly expanded marriage rights to same-sex couples. As uber-conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote when the court allowed same-sex marriages to proceed in Alabama, SCOTUS has tipped its hand in a way that "may well be seen as a signal of the court's intended resolution." Whether or not that is overstatement, it is 100% true that the court has been speaking on this issue in various ways. And in speaking the way that it has, this Supreme Court has given us an American with thirty-seven marriage equality states. We could not have done that alone.

So back to Ginsburg and those who want to fault her for simply speaking favorable about the America in which we live: She is simply commenting on where we currently are. The justice has performed same-sex weddings, which are just as legal as any other. She has talked about the way gay rights has expanded, which is a plain-as-day reality not open for debate. And she has talked about the court-enacted progress that has led us to an America with thirty-seven marriage equality states and full federal recognition. Yes, there is still the crucial question of full fifty-state recognition before her, but at no time has the justice said that it is 100% guaranteed that SCOTUS will make that happen or that she will join the majority (I can even see ways the court could theoretically stop short of that). Justice Ginsburg has simply spoken to a progressive reality from which she does not see, or seem to personally want, a retreat. There is nothing in what she has said or done—not. one. word. or. deed.—that puts her at odds with the coming marriage case or her role in deciding it. Like all of us, she is very much allowed to live in the now.

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Three Notre Dame professors condemn school for backing what majority of US Catholics already support

by Jeremy Hooper

Three Notre Dame professors have taken to the increasingly hostile Public Discourse site (which is edited by increasingly hostile marriage inequality activist Ryan Anderson) to chastise their own university and its president for extending benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Because to these professors, gay couples have no shot at anything other that immorality:

So extension of marriage benefits to such employees directly incentivizes the making of and persistence in a public commitment to be sexually available to another person of the same sex—that is, to be available for intrinsically immoral sex acts. The extension is made conditional on this public commitment (whether or not such immoral sex actually occurs between the two persons, or occurs more frequently than it would in the absence of the public commitment). On the annulling or dissolution of the public commitment, the benefits will be withdrawn. And these benefits are not to be available to couples, same-sex or otherwise, unless they make and declare the public commitment, a commitment which for same-sex couples is intrinsically immoral.

Thus, the benefits extension undeniably has the direct effect of encouraging same-sex couples to make or persist in an immoral commitment. It constitutes an endorsement of this commitment, promotes it with direct benefits, and cooperates in it in a way that, on widely used theological conceptions, constitutes formal cooperation with wrongdoing. Therefore, it is intrinsically wrongful and must never be done.
FULL:
The Implications of Extending Marriage Benefits to Same-Sex Couples [Public Discourse]

Of course those of us who follow this stuff know that US Catholics have long polled as some of our biggest supporters in the faith community, with a majority of America's papal people routinely stating support for full marriage equality. It's just that the leadership, and particularly the bishops, have been so committed to discrimination, and so loud and political about it, that the hostile side of the inner-church divide gets the outsized attention.

But whatever. They can repeat the phrase "intrinsically immoral" until they are blue in the rosary. Those of us who reject the immorality that is the crude rejection of good and decent minority populations will lead by example. We will live our bests, even if others insist we are living as beasts.

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Scott Lively: Yep, married gays are going to cause Armageddon

by Jeremy Hooper

This is an actual headline, graphic, and text from an actual conservative pundit person (Scott Lively) on an actual conservative news site

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 At 11.24.51 Am Spiritually speaking, the official endorsement of “gay marriage” by the most powerful and influential nation on earth, and more importantly the only nation in the history of the world (other than ancient Israel) to be established on a Biblical foundation, is an act of rebellion against God not seen since Noah’s Flood. Indeed, the ancient Hebrew rabbis taught that “same-sex and bestial marriages” were the final insult to God that triggered the great flood (Talmud, Genesis Rabbah 26:5:4). And Jesus alluded to this when he warned that in the time leading to His return, wicked people would be “marrying and giving in marriage” “as in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:38), when “every intent of the thoughts of [their] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

The only incidents in Biblical history that come close to that level of wrath are Sodom’s rebellion in Genesis 19 (ending in a rain of fire and brimstone), and the extermination of the Canaanites for committing (on a grand scale for many generations) the sins listed in Leviticus 18 (essentially incest, child sacrifice, homosexuality and bestiality). Importantly, though homosexuality was a central factor in both of these acts of God’s wrath, widespread, socially-celebrated “gay marriage” was not seen in either case, nor even in the secular history of the final debauched days of the Greeks or Romans. Our present time is truly, and uniquely “like the days of Noah.”
...
The “gay marriage” ruling by the court is expected to come down sometime in mid-2015.

I expect some sort of severe judgment to fall on America in conjunction with this process.
...
I would expect the white horse to be unleashed very soon in coordination with the “gay marriage” battle, generating a wave of apostasy far beyond anything we have seen thus far in the culture war. It would not be an exclusively American phenomenon, but a global campaign pushing some version of “gay theology” while proclaiming the dawn of a new era of Christianity (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Remember, the end-time Antichrist is the ultimate Luciferian deceiver, an Angel of Light, and only the elect will recognize what is actually unfolding (Matthew 24:24) — the rest, even many who claim Christ, will embrace the heresy (as is already occurring on a smaller scale).

The red horse is war, and I would expect to see the outbreak of major regional if not world war soon as well, almost certainly involving Israel and various Moslem nations, backed by various allies. There are any number of plausible scenarios based on current tensions around the world.

The war would trigger a global economic meltdown and varying degrees of collapse of the financial and political infrastructure of the nations of the world, ushering in the black horse: famine and pestilence. There would be social chaos on an unprecedented scale, resulting in the breakdown of civil order, farm and factory supply chains, medical care and sanitation.

The pale horse represents the massive harvest of the grim reaper as potentially millions of human beings are killed by war, starvation, disease, unchecked sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, and a series of earthquakes and natural disasters.

FULL: ‘Gay Marriage’ and the Beginning of Sorrows [BarbWire]

Or—or, or, or , or, or—people will keep going about their lives pretty much as they were the day before the Supreme Court granted fifty-state equality, only with a few more weekend weddings on their calendar and a few more happy honeymooners to encounter while on family vacations. It could be that fiery, massive, God-enacted death thing that Scott Lively predicts, or it could be the benign and peaceful accommodation that we've been living with in many states for quite a few years now. A flip of the coin, I guess.

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