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10/15/2014

NOM goes after gender neutral bathroom because—that somehow applies to marriage?!

by Jeremy Hooper

As a dad of an infant who is often in search of a changing table, only to find that the business chose to only put this item in women's restrooms, I can see the many reasons why a gender neutral restroom is a smart and reasonable thing. It's not only about trans men and trans women. It's also not some weird and wacky thing.

It's also not at all about marriage. Yet the organization that is supposedly focused only on the marriage policy question is for some reason taking this on as its new fight:

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[NOM]

First off, we're talking about Harvard and its constituent schools. When has a conservative organization like NOM ever liked Harvard and its commitments? This is a school that is quite okay with its LGBT students and faculty; this is not news.

Secondly, who does this affect? I mean, honestly. You can be the most anti-trans human on the planet and still just ignore this development. This is an option that this school is providing. Don't like it? Use one of the countless other bathrooms that fit your preference for dress or no-dress signage. But if you do feel like a family of men and women and boys and girls can quite reasonably all use the same restroom, and that no one else who is doing his or her own business is going to threaten that, then this school has given you that choice. There is essentially no difference between this facility and the many family restrooms that one can find in "wholesome" establishments across the nation.

Third, I can't for the life of me understand why NOM thinks it's politically smart to go this direction. This organization is desperately in search of something—anything, maybe, hopefully, pretty please—that will help it save face in the wake of the crushing blows that it helped deliver to its own political movement. But to go after a gender neutral restroom? At a school that conservatives love to knock as being a bastion of liberal thought? It's just obtuse. And it proves once again that NOM's fight has never been limited to marriage.

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Photo: Why can't those pesky judges just let America's most anti-gay special interest group subjugate taxpayers' rights?

by Jeremy Hooper

The Family Research Council is being victimized, ya'll:

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[FRC]

Those dang judges and their legal training. But a few things about this:

(1) By "voted for marriage," FRC means voted for civil discrimination of the kind that turned state constitutions into weapons against certain kinds of taxpayers. I understand why they say "for marriage" rather than "for inequality" because the know the ignobility attached to their latter. But their verbal tricks do nothing to change reality. History books will not be fooled.

(2) Tens of millions of Americans have also voted against FRC's agenda. If FRC wants to do this route, then they at least have to factor in the pro-equality votes and highlight the difference rather than just the one tally.

(3) I will also remind you that the last four times a ballot measure went before citizens, voters rejected the discrimination fourfold. This speaks to the rapidly changing trend lines of this conversation and where America really is circa 2014. In fact, it's likely that a great many of FRC's "voted for marriage [sic]" crew would make a different choice if granted a do-over.

(4) There are many states where no such ballot fight was held but where marriage equality likely would've prevailed. New York, New Jersey, and assorted New England states come to mind out as areas where we likely could've won a ballot fight yet local LGBT people and allies were spared the indignity of such a popularity contest.

(5) There are also many state legislatures who moved equality forward. These legislatures (and attorneys general and governors and other elected officials who made marriage equality a reality) were all put in place by votes of the people.

(6) Many of the "unelected judges" who brought us to where we are, in clouding a majority of the United States Supreme Court, were nominated/appointed by Republican presidents. Conservative Republican presidents, even. Presidents who FRC and a bulk of its devotees proudly supported. Let's always remember to mention that.

(7 and most importantly) The judiciary is crucial to the experiment that we call America. I know it's easy for opportunistic organizations that exploit ignorance (i.e. FRC) to play the "unelected judges" card to make everyday Joe feel like he had his freedom taken away, but their lowbrow game is both negligent and ahistorical. The courts have always played roles—and crucial ones—in civil rights conversations. The courts can, should, and do temper the notion of "majority rule" when it comes to minority rights. This is where the constitutional republic part of our representative democracy comes into play—and thankfully so!

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10/14/2014

AP reports on pro-discrimination movement's next phase (spoiler alert: they still think they can discriminate)

by Jeremy Hooper

Now that any political observer with even a smidgen of objectivity knows that the anti-equality movement has lost the marriage fight, the beleaguered organizations that tried and failed to discriminate against us in civil policy are scrambling for any way they can still hold on to some measure of disregard for us and our unions. And as the Associated Press reports, the next phase is going to be more pushes for more license-to-discriminate bills in more state legislatures. particularly in red states that now have marriage equality:

"Some of the states are so red — think South Carolina — that the legislature can likely lock down all kinds of religious liberty protections, even those we have not yet seen adopted anywhere, like protection for the small mom-and-pop wedding professionals, simply because they have the votes of like-minded colleagues," said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a family law specialist at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who tracks exemptions in state laws.
FULL: Next Gay Marriage Fight: Religious Exemptions [AP]

(*Note: Even though the AP doesn't say so, Ms. Fretwell Wilson is a longtime advocate for such laws. She doesn't just "track" them.)

I suspect we will be subjected to several years of this. It speaks to the deep entitlement ingrained with the other side's fight. It's never been only about them thinking that they can win because of what they believe to be sound arguments. No, no. We are dealing with a movement that by and large believes it should win, whether it's because of what its proponents see as their God-ordained fate, a deeply grained sense of heterosexism/supremacy, or a general sense that change is too scary to become reality.

They just can't believe that we're actually going to win this one. Right now we're somewhere in the denial-anger phase. Bargaining will be next.

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North Carolina's GOP governor ready to move on from marriage fight

by Jeremy Hooper

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Like other Republican governors before him [Gov. Christie (NJ), Gov. Martinez (NM), and Gov. Corbett (PA) come to mind), North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) accepts that marriage equality is now the law of the land in the Tar Heel State:

I think it's a time for healing on all sides. Now that the disagreement has been resolved in the courts, it's our job to live together and work together and play together and respect each other together. And I'll, hopefully, be a part of that constructive dialog.
FULL: McCrory Says He'll Uphold Gay North Carolinians' Right To Marry [WUNC]

And this, my friends, is what the anti-equality activists fear more than anything. Our wins are one thing, but their own teammates' acceptance of our wins is what will crush their whole movement—and they know this.

A good move, governor. Alhtough let's also be clear about one thing: The gay citizens who had their rights stripped away through legislation need a lot more healing than those of you who orchestrated that pain.

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Vander Plaats: Churches are going to wake up and somehow roll back court-tested civil marriage rights

by Jeremy Hooper

Marriage equality keeps coming to more states, and even the staunchest conservatives seem too bored to care. The vast majority of the public is either ecstatic, okay with, or at least ready to move on from the same-sex marriage debate.

At least that's what I'm seeing. According to Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa anti-gay activist who has been trying (and FAILING) to undo marriage equality in his home state of Iowa for over five years now, insists that everything's about to change, and that the churches are going to somehow manage to usurp courts:

Although federal courts have been striking down state constitutional bans against same-sex marriage across the country, Vander Plaats said federal judges have been doing supporters of one-man, one-woman marriage a favor by awakening a sleeping giant that will revolt against the court rulings.

"I think you are seeing the churches wake up. I think you are seeing the conservatives wake up and they are going to double down," Vander Plaats said. "Some people are saying , "You people have to forget about marriage and move on. That thing is a done deal." Absolutely not."

FULL: Bus tour backs candidates who oppose 'anti-family policies' [Des Moines Register]

Actually, no one's saying you have to forget about marriage. We're just saying, nay, demanding that you accept same-sex couples as part of it.

And actually, Bob, our courts don't have some sort of little known clause that allows pastors to overturn decisions. Though the way your movement muddies the lines between church and state, I certainly understand the confusion.

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Who knew 'the mark of the beast' would be so colorful?

by Jeremy Hooper

Here's the latest attempt by the American Family Association to completely obliterate whatever mainstream conservative credibility it might've every enjoy, once again dealt by the organization's own Issues Analyst, Bryan Fischer:

In John’s vision, any Christian who does not willingly accept the mark of the beast will not be allowed to buy or to sell. He’ll be fired or won’t be hired or will be drummed out of business entirely.

So what is this mark of the beast today? That’s easy. It’s the gay rainbow.

This is the rainbow Big Gay has stolen from the Bible and from the church and turned into its own twisted symbol of perversion.

FULL: The Mark of The Beast [AFA]

Do you all remember when we stole the rainbow from the Bible? Holy cow, that was a close one! We didn't count on the Bible having alarms and guard dogs. Between those things and the very real chance of paper cuts, we're lucky we got out of their unscathed, stolen rainbow in tow.

But now that Bryan is on to us, we need to be ever more careful about where we store the rainbow that we pilfered. I've got some space in my attic, if need be. I just need to put a tarp down or something so that the beast's mark doesn't get on anything. Nothing gets that out.

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NOM has officially become a self-parody

by Jeremy Hooper

This is what desperation looks like:

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[National Organization For Marriage]

Oh, you're so right, NOM. In fact, you should get started right now with an ad campaign that raises this very question, which you should run day and night in the twenty states that don't yet have marriage equality.

In fact, don't let me waste another second of your time! Get to work getting this word out, pronto! I insist. Go. Now.

***

**SEE ALSO: 20 HILARIOUS RESPONSES TO NOM'S WARNING THAT GAY MARRIAGE WILL LEAD TO PEOPLE MARRYING THEMSELVES (including one from yours truly) [Towle]

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10/13/2014

NOM puts its money where its war-on-moderate-Republicans is

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Organization For Marriage is one of a couple of pro-discrimination special interest groups that are proudly targeting certain Republicans this election cycle simply because they are either gay or supportive of marriage equality. And as we can see from today's FEC filing, NOM is indeed starting to put some money toward the cause:

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[NOM FEC filings]

It's just under $11,000 for now. But the cost to the Republican party's big tent? Priceless.

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Audio: NC marriage activist warns of super Ebola that will destroy gay-accepting America

by Jeremy Hooper

Pastor Ron Baity, the winner of the Family Research Council's 2012 "Watchmen Award" for pastors, is a longtime marriage activist in the state of North Carolina. He's led many major rallies at which all of the activists and lawmakers who have tried to keep the Tar Heel state discriminatory have shown up to lend their voice, and his organization earns credence from mainstream conservative activists.

Now here is Mr. Baity warning his state of what's to come now that marriage equality is the order of the day:


[Berean Baptist Church, 10/12/14]

You know, because you've all hear about those major Ebola outbreaks that have plagued Massachussetts all decade.

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This week across Iowa: NOM, FRC, other anti-LGBT groups, figures work to sway election toward discrimination

by Jeremy Hooper

Just a heads up if you live in Iowa: a whole lot of people who oppose basic freedoms for certain kinds of citizens who happened to have been born a certain way will be traversing your state in hopes of moving the needle toward inequality and inequality-minded candidates. Here are the details (with link to full sched.):

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FULL: Anti-LGBT bus tour [FFF Fund]

I just hope they have good wi-fi on the bus. There will likely be more pro-equality developments this week and they'll surely want to learn about them.

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