Jeremy Hooper points out that almost all of the top donors supporting North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment One, which limits what relationships the state can recognize, are from radically conservative religiously-affiliated groups. It’s true that opponents of the measure have raised twice as much money, but it’s telling that they have raised four times as much money from individual donors. Over 70 percent of Vote FOR Marriage NC’s campaign fundraising has comes from Religious Right institutional support. By contrast, about 62 percent of Protect All NC Families’ fundraising has come from individual donors.
Joe Jervis notes that Phil Drake, the third’s most generous donor, owns a conservative Christian radio station and bookstore. AMDG Medical is not a religious organization, but it is known to have Catholic ties in its other giving. And the National Organization for Marriage is religious in everything but name, run almost entirely by Catholic Right figures with dailyblogpostsdefending against“attacks” on Christianity. The American Family Association makes no effort to downplay its radically conservative, anti-LGBT religious mission.
Add to this context the fact that all of Vote FOR Marriage NC’s ads have included references to “Biblical” marriage, and it’s clear that the entire Amendment One campaign is about writing far-right religious dogma into North Carolina’s constitution. Watch two of the campaign’s recent ads:
Kevin Fallon interviewed Warren Littlefield, who ran NBC’s Entertainment division during the fertile years of 1993 to 1998 to talk about his new book, an oral history of Must See TV. He doesn’t have anything illuminating to say about the present, dismal state of NBC—does anybody?—but Littlefield does have some interesting context to offer on the fight to get NBC to go forward with Will & Grace:
Management said, “What the hell are you doing? Why are you developing Will and Grace?” It’s network television, and we have advertisers to answer to. Advertisers are not ready to embrace, at the core of a show, a relationship between a gay man and straight woman. What are you doing?…As I looked at the world, we lived in a world where I saw that relationship all the time. It was this gap. Television had ignored it. I knew that Max and David had a great feel for that world and those characters. They just needed to be convinced that we would actually go forward with it if they wrote it. I said to them, “If you do a great job, we’ll have to.” And that’s what they did. So then in order to kind of hip-check my management, I made sure that I went to Jimmy Burrows. When Jimmy fell in love with the project, I knew that no one could stand in the way…Lo and behold, advertisers said, “Oh, this is a really funny show.” That’s all they saw. So there was no protest. There was no advertiser boycott. It just went on and continued to carry the torch of what Must See TV stood for.
It’s one of the clearest cases I’ve ever seen of executives being afraid to greenlight something they didn’t have personal experience with, and overestimating the negative reaction as a result. I’m sure there are others. It’s rather sad to me that if someone doesn’t see a potential audience or kinds of relationships with their own eyes, they’d be unable to imagine that it exists. I don’t assume that my experience is the sum total of the world, and I do believe it’s incumbent on me to broaden that pool of experiences I have to draw on. Gay men and their straight female friends aren’t unicorns. Neither are middle-class black families. It’s infinitely irksome that gatekeepers wouldn’t have learned this basic lesson, and that it keeps the world of entertainment smaller and more limited by poverty of imagination than it has to be.
Richard Grenell, the openly-gay conservative foreign policy spokesperson hired by Mitt Romney, has resigned from the campaign following right-wing pressure, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin reports. “[M]y ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign,” Grenell said in a statement, which came less than two weeks after he was hired. Conservative groups like the American Family Foundation painted Grenell as a “homosexual activist” and condemned Romney for bringing him on board. From his statement:
GRENELL: I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.
Rubin reports that Grenell was also frustrated for “being kept under wraps during a time when national security issues, including the president’s ad concerning Osama bin Laden, had emerged front and center in the campaign.”
The former spokesperson for U.N. Ambassador John Bolton had also come under fire for tweeting all sorts of flippant comments about liberals, Democrats, women and, especially, U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration. Only a day after the announcement of his new post, Grenell joked on Twitter that President Obama had committed treason by passing missile secrets to the Russians. Shortly after his appointment, he scrubbed much of his online presence, deleting over 800 tweets and taking down his personal website.
Rubin adds that “officials from the Romney campaign and respected Republicans not on the campaign contacted Ric Grenell over the weekend in an attempt to persuade him not to leave the campaign.” Grenell was upset that there was no public statement of support for him “by the campaign and no supportive social conservatives were enlisted to calm the waters.”
The Romney campaign reacts: “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”
Abstinence-only education does not work, and is actually dangerous to women’s health. It prevents honest conversation about women’s reproductive health needs and keeps young women from getting information that could save their lives. And yet, without any notification by the Obama Administration, an abstinence-only curriculum was recently added to the pregnancy prevention program list endorsed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The program, entitled “Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education,” made it onto the “evidence-based” list some time this month, according to RH Reality Check. And in fact, it’s not a new program at all:
[O]ne of the “new” programs is actually an old, dis-proven and dangerous abstinence-only-until-marriage program.[...]
Perhaps the Administration realized that the inclusion of Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education on this select list would call into question its commitment to young people and their sexual health. Once again, they have succumbed to the political pressure of social conservatives and allowed the ideology of the right to prevail over the health and well-being of the nation’s youth. The Obama Administration’s endorsement of this abstinence-only-until marriage program runs in direct contradiction to its stated commitment to the health and well-being of young people and, quite possibly, its promise to uphold science and evidence.
There have been many studies that prove abstinence-only education to be ineffective. In states that teach abstinence-only curricula, teen pregnancies are higher. One study found that teenagers who receive some type of comprehensive sex education are 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant. The Administration’s endorsement of this program is really tacit support for a completely ineffectual program that is bad for women.
Pastor Speaks Out Against Amendment 1: ‘We Should Not Be Putting Discrimination Into Our Laws’ |
This morning, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts discussed the divide in the African American community over North Carolina’s Amendment 1 with Pastor Ricky Woods of the First Baptist Church West. “There is of course the issue of faith, that the church deals with, but then there are issues of a citizen in a democratic republic,” Woods explained. “I am saddened that this issue has been shaped in such a way that religion has been used to define something that should be done by the state.” “We should not be putting discrimination into our laws against any particular group, regardless of how we feel about what their choices are,” Woods added. Watch it:
Colorado Voters May Vote To Repeal Anti-Gay Amendment |
Colorado voters could be asked to repeal the state’s constitutional amendment barring cities from “passing laws to protect gays from discrimination” in November, the Denver Post reports. The ballot measure is part of Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, sponsored by Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, and it would “repeal Amendment 2, which voters passed in 1992. The amendment prohibits the state and local governments from enacting laws that forbid discrimination against gays, including in housing and job hiring.” In 1996, the Supreme Court “upheld a lower court decision that declared the law unconstitutional.”
North Carolina Businesses Staying Neutral On Amendment 1 |
The majority of North Carolina’s businesses are staying mum on Amendment 1, a constitutional measure that would ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in the state. “North Carolina’s chamber of commerce hasn’t heard much from its members on the amendment and is staying neutral, CEO Lew Ebert tells the Associated Press, even as some leaders have raised concerns that the measure could offend perspective hires and pollute the state’s business environment. Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, for instance, has become one of the amendment’s most vocal opponents and has gone so far as to compare the amendment to the South’s segregationist Jim Crow laws. Bank of America’s Catherine P. Bessant — a “global technology and operations executive” — has also spoken out against the measure, noting, “We’re in a war with other states across the country who would love to have the jobs that we have today … Amendment One has the potential to have a disastrous effect on our ability to attract talent and keep talent in the state of North Carolina.” The company itself is headquartered in North Carolina and is staying neutral on the matter.
Jon Stewart Criticizes Obama For Failing To Issue Key Nondiscrimination Order |
Last night, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart criticized the Obama administration for failing to issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting. Stewart debunked the White House’s justification for the delay — that it is seeking a legislative solution to end discrimination in the workplace — by playing clips of Obama insisting “we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job.” “Where we won’t act, I will,” Obama said in October 2011. “I told my administration to keep looking every single day for actions we can take without Congress.” “Oh, I found out,” Stewart exclaimed. “How about you sign an executive order that would protect gay people in the workplace!” Watch it:
JoeMyGod brings us this video of a North Carolina man shooting a “Vote Against On Amendment 1 On May 8″ sign in his neighbor’s yard urging residents to oppose amending the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. The user has apparently attempted to take down the video, but YouTube users have preserved it:
Joe reports that he has “spoken to the Kannopolis, North Carolina police department and they are looking into what will be classified a crime if the shotgun was fired onto property that includes a home or business.”
This shooting is only one of many small incidents indicative of the ugly divide this Amendment is creating. Vote FOR Marriage NC, the group supporting the discriminatory measure, has claimed that an “older female supporter coming home from church was violently beaten by a man who threatened her to take down yardsign,” but the story seems to be mostly fabricated. The group has made similar dubious claims about vandalism to its billboards.
Just yesterday, a Unitarian church reported that its anti-amendment sign had been stolen. These incidents speak to the way divisive measures like Amendment One hurt communities before they even have the chance to take effect.
LGBT Activists Arrested During May Day March In Russia |
Seventeen LGBT activists were arrested for carrying rainbow flags during a May Day parade in compliance with St. Petersburg’s new anti-gay propaganda law. “LGBT activists were marching as part of a larger “democratic” column, consisting of various democratic and civil society groups of St. Petersburg,” Polina Savchenko, the general manager of the organization Coming Out informs ThinkProgress. Five minutes into the march, “police requested removal of rainbow flags. When activists refused, they were forcefully detained and are now facing charges of ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and non-compliance with the police. One activist was detained for holding a sign ‘homophobia is illegal.’” Several people have already been arrested under the measure, which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality among minors.
New York Assembly Approves Transgender Rights Bill |
The New York Assembly has approved a bill “banning discrimination based on gender identity and expression, but its prospects in the Senate are uncertain,” the Advocate reports. “This is the fifth time the Assembly has passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, according to the Empire State Pride Agenda, the statewide LGBT rights group. However, it has stalled in the Senate every time.”
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you’re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- Jeremy Hooper has been documenting the manyvile, incendiarythings that proponents of North Carolina’s Amendment One have been saying about the LGBT community.