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Flip Benham (yes, their dad) reportedly protesting outside NC weddings

by Jeremy Hooper

Considering he's a longtime foe of all things LGBT rights and no stranger to street protests, don't take this as indicative of much of anything. But it is still worth noting the people who are determined to show America just how vicious anti-gay activism can still be:

With gay marriage now legal in North Carolina, it was only a matter of time before Flip Benham of Operation Save America started crashing wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

The North Carolina-based pastor, who is the father of Religious Right activists David and Jason Benham, reportedly disrupted several weddings at the Mecklenburg County and Courts Office in Charlotte last week.

FULL (with photos): Flip Benham Crashes Gay Weddings In North Carolina [RWW]

Hopefully he at least followed stated dress code. Preferably brought a gift, too.

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TV's Duggar family continues anti-LGBT activism

by Jeremy Hooper

Over the years, the Duggars from TLC's hit reality TV show 19 Kids And Counting have become increasingly political. In addition to eldest son Josh joining the extremely anti-LGBT Family Research Council and dedicating his time to efforts to stop marriage equality, mother Michelle has recorded robocalls advocating against LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws and the whole family has shown up at rallies that are focused at least in part toward discrimination. Here's the latest, happening today:

[SOURCE: Joe.My.God]

And of course the next time they are on Good Morning America, Extra, or any of those entertainment shows that love to play host to the family, all involved will pretend they are little more than a modern day Brady Bunch. Because that is what always happens. And the TLC network continues to let it happen since the cabler's version of "reality" excludes the "culture war" politics that the family has put front and center.

My one and only request, then now and always, is that the people who choose to cover this family do so accurately. If you're going to make this family the focus of a television show, then let Americans know that they are using their high profile to deny rights to certain viewers. That is not a major request. It should be common sense, frankly. Yet I have watched this family get a truly bizarre for years now. I really don't get it.

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Caught ya: Far-right's latest marriage 'victim' edited website to make more solid legal case

by Jeremy Hooper

Back in May, I wrote about a place called The Hitching Post, a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, business that marries couples for profit. At the time, I opined about how the ordained minister who owns the business has every right to not perform same-sex marriages, if he so chooses. However, if he is going to make that choice, then he is going to lose that right to run a for-profit, "all comers welcome" business that says it marries opposite-sex couples in civil ceremonies, regardless of faith.

And in May, when that business owner, Donald Knapp, first started going to the press with this vow, that's exactly what his business claimed to do. These are the screen caps I used in my initial post:

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 At 2.36.57 Pm
Screen Shot 2014-05-15 At 2.37.41 Pm

But get this. In the wake of marriage equality coming to Idaho, the Alliance Defending Freedom is attempting to turn Mr. Knapp and his business into the latest "victims" of the marriage equality push. The ADF is championing a lawsuit against the city of Coeur d'Alene, and to make the case, all involved are claiming that the business is made up of "ordained ministers" who are being told "to act contrary to their faith." They are making it sound like this is an instance of a pastor being forced to perform a religious ceremony in a church, which is a fear they would love to play up as a reality. Several other conservative groups and outlets have run with that spin.

Now here's where it gets interesting. In order to make this case of supposed religious persecution, someone has gone into the very website that I used as basis for my spring commentary and changed the text so that all the mentions of civil weddings no longer appear. Here is how the very same screens that I showed you above look today:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 At 9.23.30 Pm
Screen Shot 2014-10-19 At 9.22.38 Pm

"Ordained ministers" who perform a "traditional, religious ceremony"? And only "for couples who desire a traditional wedding ceremony"? This is revisionist history of the highest order! Now that this business needs to make a case for "religious persecution," they are pretending like they didn't operate in the way that they totally used to operate. They are pretending like civil ceremonies and ceremonies outside of their own deeply held faith were never on the table so that they can make it seem like they have always been convicted in and committed to one specific kind of religious wedding. They have up and changed the rules that they themselves had laid out (i.e. no church, no faith, no problem) so that they can now make the case that they and their far-right spinmeisters are itching to make (i.e. only church, always church; we're the victims).

It's gross! And I caught ya.


*UPDATE: The revisionist history is recent, too. According to Google Cache, the "civil wedding" option was still very much intact on October 9:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 At 9.44.28 Pm
[Google Cache]


*FOLLOWUP: But your subjective view of 'real' marriage is factually irrelevant, Ryan [G-A-Y]

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Read: Wyoming to become our 32nd marriage equality state

by Jeremy Hooper

In a temporarily stayed ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl has ruled against Wyoming's discriminatory marriage ban. Once the stay is lifted (on Oct 23rd, if not before), this will make Wyoming the 32nd marriage equality state:

2:14-cv-00200 #44 Wyoming Injunction & Temporary Stay by Equality Case Files

Only eighteen (!) to go.


*UPDATE: WYOMING: Governor Will Not Appeal, Marriages To Commence By Friday [J.M.G.]

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GLAAD: Victory is what happens while you're busy making other plans

by Jeremy Hooper
Cap Header Final 0-5

Victory is what happens while you're busy making other plans [GLAAD]

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What fake victimization sounds like in Arizona

by Jeremy Hooper

Cathi Herrod, Arizona's longtime voice of discrimination for LGBT people, weighs in on today's decision bringing marriage equality to her state:

6A00D8341C503453Ef017C31E18B88970BPHOENIX – “I am heartbroken for a country and a state that has had the redefinition of marriage forced upon them by an out of control federal judiciary.

In what amounts to the de-facto
Roe v Wade of marriage, voters throughout the nation have watched their voices be silenced, and their votes voided. Now, Arizona’s marriage amendment and our voters are the latest victims. While the United States Supreme Court may still take up the issue of marriage redefinition, for now the courts have settled the issue in our state.

Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its ethical foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on timeless principles.

But we do not despair. We do not throw in the towel. We do not give up.

Just as we have worked to build a culture of life, we will focus on rebuilding a culture of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Whatever AZ's big anti-ay group is called

Mourn? Grieve? Because certain human taxpayers get to vow a lifetime of happiness together? Because our families get an enhanced measure of protection? Because children who grow up gay learn that they can dedicate their adult lives to art and science and literature and business rather than fighting self-appointed political activists who believe their personal religious condemnations get to trump fair freedom?

You shouldn't despair, Ms. Herrod. You should apologize for holding such crude disregard for your neighbors who happen to have been born a certain way.

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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

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 At 11.20.10 Am
Screen Shot 2014-10-17 At 11.20.22 Am

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:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 At 10.32.02 Pm

"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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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:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 At 10.04.58 Pm

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

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