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Add 'professional advocate for anti-gay scouting' to list of bygone career choices

by Jeremy Hooper

It's not perfect, what with its allowing church-led groups to sidestep the change. But still:

Boy Scouts End Nationwide Ban on Gay Leaders [NYT]

One small step for outdoorsy gay dads; one giant leap for an entire minority population sick of the insinuation that pedophilia is likely to be lurking under just under the surface of their sexual orientations.

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NOM to lasso the White House with a rosary. Or something.

by Jeremy Hooper

No longer needing to pretend they are something other than the thoroughly Catholic organization they've always been, the National Organization For Marriage has announced this little stunt:

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 At 12.10.36 Pm

I love how it's all about supposedly men and women coming to gather, but then they say "Our goal is to have at least 500 men (and women) gathered..." As if women are just some separate, lesser, parenthetical element to the men.

At this attempt to turn the White House into the Vatican, NOM will be joined by Alan Keyes, a man whose name is synonymous with anti-gay extremism. So yeah, things are going well for them.

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NOM's new plan? To beat up its org-crushing loss until it becomes a win.

by Jeremy Hooper

Legislatively? Nope. The bad laws they passed were unconstitutional, and recent years have turned in our favor anyway.

Electorally? Nope. The last four states to vote for marriage went in favor equality, and all credible polling for a few years now shows majority support for marriage equality.

Judicially? Puh-leeze! In addition to two crushing Supreme Court blows in two years' time, scores of federal courts have sided with fairness over discrimination.

We all know NOM knows how to beg for money, which is basically the only thing the org. does these days. Constantly. And humorously. Several times in the same day, sometimes.

But begging for cash isn't enough to stay in the game. So NOM's new plan: To punch equality in the face, apparently:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 At 9.17.37 Pm

In the subsequent text, NOM proceeds to lay out its ridiculous "plan" for changing things toward their favor. Something about rubbing a lamp and hoping for a genie. Or something similarly plausible.

Those gloves though. Are you as scared as I am? I certainly hope you are. We could all use a nice peaceful sleep after the years of dehumanizing bullshit NOM has called a cause.

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By the time you read this headline, we'll be ten more seconds beyond stagnant anti-gay 'culture wars'

by Jeremy Hooper

Since it's summer vacation time, perhaps you've found yourself at a theme park. And at said theme park, perhaps you've found yourself sitting on some sort of tram watching the tableaus of an attraction play outside your moving window. When your car stops and the tour guide is engaging you and your fellow passengers in the show, you might have observations or opinions or debates with your fellow riders or whatever else about the subject matter in front of you. You paid for your ticket; you're immersed in this world. Perhaps it's even one of those 4-D type deals that manages to temporarily lessen your comfort with something that's wet or foul smelling. If it's a good ride, you'll feel enough of an involved party to form and share your reactions. If it's a bad ride, you might just snark at it.

But good or bad, your car soon moves on. When it does, you take the experience and lessons and memories and possibly even nausea with you, but you too move on to the next adventure. Others will follow behind and have their own run-ins with the past, but they too will move on soon enough. And so on and so forth, day after day and season after season. After all, the cars only run in one direction.

And this is what the militant, dogged, increasingly desperate anti-LGBT activists don't realize. They are now a frozen-in-time scene from a much larger human experience, and the vast majority of us—including many of the "us" who flirted with their positions at one time or even currently—are all zooming right past to what comes next.

Yes, right now, pro-discrimination organizations like The Family Leader can get mainstream Republican candidates to join their little summit. Yes, right now people like Ryan Anderson can find an audience for a book insisting that the marriage debate isn't really over. Yes, right now a number of anti-gay conservatives can find a niche media outlet willing to entertain their views. Yes, right now far-right politicians like Kansas governor Sam Brownback can even sign executive (dis)orders that enshrine discrimination. They can even still use marriage and related fear mongering to drive up some electoral support. The conservative movement has been building up its infrastructure for years; that doesn't just disappear overnight.

But all of this is happening in a stagnant swamp. These ideas—their ideas—are old, musty, failed ones. Their conversations are part of a previous generation's "culture war." It's not only that their policy ideas are notions that will either go nowhere or will ultimately be overturned. It's more than that. The ideas themselves, with stopping marriage equality chief among them, are now historical remnants. The notions are themselves dated, with archivists already boxing them up for planned museums and future university study. Their ways, once politically viable and menacing, are now regressive scripts for ever-repeating animatronic characters to act out within an unchanging diorama.

And there is simply no way to upgrade them for a new generation. It's not just that their policy ideas are broken; it's much deeper than that. The very notions that they are pushing (e.g. the "right" to overturn minority rights via majority tyranny, the "right" to exalt discriminatory faith views against LGBT people against civil policies and inclusive faith views, the "right" to limit people's lives in unfair ways simply because of who they are) are false values and flawed notions that the changing tide is sweeping off the table of consideration. It's not like the consensus—the majority of the public, young people, corporate America, the media, universities, intellectuals, power brokers from all walks of life—is saying "Rework this whole lesser-than status thing and we'll see if we can hash out a deal." We are saying to those who made discrimination their bag: "You're drunk with intolerance; go home."

If that sounds dismissive of me, then good. Because it is. Unapologetically so. Proudly so.

With every passing minute, the right (as in correct) side of the debate is distancing itself from a non-moving, non-compromising, non-evolving attempt to justify patently unjust discrimination. A movement that was once a great nuisance in the lives of millions of Americans is now becoming a fading curiosity, at best. By autumn, more so. By next year, even more so. By the time the 2016 election is over (and particularly if it goes one certain direction), I think we'll all be shocked by how much the 21st century gay rights battles seem more like documentary footage than the brutal thing that we all lived.

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Video: America cannot wait—to purchase American Family Association radio equipment? Huh?!

by Jeremy Hooper

I see Bryan Fischer's wife among this collection of southern-accented actors:

America Cannot Wait from American Family Studios on Vimeo.

Join our campaign today! Visit

Um, AFA, I'm pretty sure that your ability to make yourselves heard is a big reason why we—and even the Republican "we" among us, increasingly—are turning the page on the ugly "culture war" chapter that the family Wildmon imposed on this country. Hell, Bryan Fischer alone is better than the best pro-gay lobbyist the HRC could've ever hired!

But you keep doing you, AFA. Get yourself a nice mixer board. Maybe if you play the "silencing" card enough, you'll be able to take your staff out for ice cream, too.

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Huckabee 2016: 'cause church and state aint gonna marry themselves

by Jeremy Hooper

Skin and sin are rhyming words, y'all:

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EEOC does wonky, under-radar thing that could lay groundwork for definitive nondiscrimination protections

by Jeremy Hooper

This is big step toward comprehensive civil rights protections beyond marriage:

WASHINGTON — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers.
FULL: Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules [Buzzfeed]

In a related story, wrong-side-of-history activists have unanimously ruled that the summer of 2015 officially sucks.

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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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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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