Last week, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly took some time to chat with the extremely anti-gay radio host Janet Mefford about how to “represent God’s heart” when debating LGBT activists. Regardless of how he softens his message, it’s still one of condescension and disdain, because gays are in “pain” and at battle with “the creator of the universe”:
DALY: When you’re on CNN debating and the homosexual activist is shouting over you, you don’t turn around and shout him down. You take it, and then you say, “I understand this person’s pain; however, as I read Scripture, this is how I’m informed.” And the reality is, Janet, the battle that they have is not with us, it’s with the Creator of the universe, and that’s where they’ve gotta take that battle. And that’s where I like to try to point them. I’m simply trying to live out the Scripture; they’ve got to take it up with the author of the Scripture.
WATCH: Parents Eager To Reinforce Gender Norms At Halloween |
ABC’s What Would You Do? is back to examine how parents react to children that want a Halloween costume of the opposite gender, including a boy who wants to be a princess. Unfortunately, many of the parents are eager to reinforce gender stereotypes, though they struggle to explain why they’re so important. One parent admirably, but misguidedly, wants to protect the kids from bullying. They all tend to agree, however, that kids’ gender variation has to be “nipped in the bud,” reminding how easy it is for parents to reject their kids’ gender identity or perceived sexual orientation. Watch it:
Last month, a federal judge ruled that Michelle Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence for murdering her wife, is entitled to the sex reassignment surgery prescribed for her by her prison doctors. Despite having already spent more opposing Kosilek’s request than the surgery would have cost, the state of Massachusetts appealed the case. The judge also ruled that the state was responsible for Kosilek’s legal fees, totaling over $800,000, which her attorneys offered to waive if the state didn’t appeal. Now, a state lawmaker is trying to avoid paying out any of the judgment, including for her surgery.
On Friday, State Rep. John H. Rogers (D) filed an amendment to the line-item in the state’s budget that pays out judgments for the state’s losses in court, arguing that he would block any payments unless (and presumably until) the case is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court:
RODGERS: It is difficult for many to believe at a time when 225,000 of our state’s citizens are out of work and even millions more struggling to get by that they should be forced to pay for a sex change of a convicted murderer, who seemingly has more rights on the inside than law-abiding citizens on the outside.
Rodgers conceivably makes two valid points, but neither holds up in reality. It is unfair that someone in prison has access to proper medical care that state citizens do not, but that is a problem with the state healthcare plan, not Kosilek’s victory. She is entitled to a baseline of healthcare even as a prisoner, and hopefully this case will set an important precedent for providing appropriate care to all transgender people who require it. Secondly, Rodgers’ frustration with the payment may seem compelling, but of course the state has spent much more — and the judgment adds substantially to that liability — than Kosilek’s surgery would have cost in the first place. Rodgers seems to so despise Kosilek’s case that not only would he commit excessive additional funding to fight it, but he also is willing to risk contempt of federal court to avoid abiding it.
CNN Anchor A ‘Proud, Card-Carrying Member’ Of The Gay Gestapo |
Last week, CNN anchor Carol Costello spoke with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who has been objecting to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Mix It Up At Lunch” school diversity day, because he believes it “punishes Christian students” who don’t promote homosexuality. Costello abruptly ended the interview after Fischer started claiming that gays are a threat to society. Since then Fischer has railed against her for being a member of the “gay gestapo.” Today, she responded by proclaiming, “Well, Mr. Fischer, if that’s the definition of the ‘ gay gestapo,’ then I’m a proud, card-carrying member.” Watch it (via Equality Matters):
Greg Quinlan (PFOX), Austin Nimocks (ADF), Derek McCoy, and Rob Anderson
The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group of religious conservatives campaigning against Question 6 to approve marriage equality in Maryland, held a panel over the weekend that demonstrated how anti-gay their campaign truly is. Jeremy Hooper noticed two important details: the inclusion of an ex-gay advocate, and the violent Biblical language promoted by one of the religious leaders.
Greg Quinlan is the President of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays), an ex-gay advocacy organization that manufactures visibility for the supposed ex-gay community. He also serves as director of government affairs for the New Jersey Family Policy Council, which has advocated against LGBT equality there. In his testimony, Quinlan claims that the only reason he was ever gay was because he was abused and sexually molested, and that now he has left the “lifestyle” and identifies as ex-gay. By advocating that gays can and should change, the Maryland Marriage Alliance proves that its motivation is not just about the definition of “marriage,” but clear animus against people who are not heterosexual.
If that weren’t proof enough, consider the testimony of Pastor Robert Anderson, who joined the panel to share a Biblical perspective for why same-sex marriage should be opposed. After comparing homosexuality to prostitution, bestiality, polygamy, and incest, Anderson endorsed the Biblical interpretation that both gays and their allies are “deserving of death”:
ANDERSON: The Scriptures in Leviticus 18:22 — you know what that says, that a man is not to lay down with another man; if they do that, it’s an abomination. But there is one verse I really wanted to drive home and then I’ll stop, but that’s in Romans Chapter 1. And it’s the very last verse — as you know, Paul addresses this. Listen to the last verse: “Knowing the righteous judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death. Not only do the same” — but watch this — “for those who also approve of those who practice these things.”
If we don’t vote against it, then we are approving these things that are worthy of death!
Of course, Quinlan and Anderson flank Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. And the juxtaposition of these two ideas illuminates the official campaign’s philosophy: gay people have to deny their own existence, and if they don’t, then they and their allies are worthy of death. That is not a paraphrase or an interpretation, but the verbatim language of those advocating against Question 6. To vote No to marriage equality is to endorse that position.
The original video of the panel is now private, but Jeremy Hooper has provided this clip:
STUDY: Gay Foster Parents No Less Effective |
A new study from UCLA finds that same-sex couples are just as effective at raising foster children as heterosexual couples. Over two years, the children in the study all progressed at the same rate in terms of cognitive development and behavioral problems. In fact, the children placed with gay and lesbian parents happened to have more risk factors before they were adopted, but they made the same progress as those raised in other families. Researcher Letitia Anne Peplau concludes, “There is no scientific basis to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents.”
Audience at East Aurora School Board's 'Emergency' Meeting
As projected, the East Aurora, Illinois, School Board held an “emergency” meeting Friday night to reconsider the transgender-inclusive policy it had unanimously passed just earlier in the week. After realizing that affirming transgender students’ preferred names and restrooms was not mandated by the state, the Board was eager to cater to negative feedback, led by the hate group the Illinois Family Institute. At the “Spirit Day” meeting, the four Board members in attendance voted unanimously to rescind the policy — less a reconsideration than a foregone conclusion.
Rick Einhorn, a resident of the community, attended the meeting and transcribed the remarks made by Board President Annette Johnson. She tried to explain that the policies simply were not vetted properly, and since it was not policy issued by the Illinois State Board of Education, the Board simply could not stand by it. She apologized at least six times and three times explained that she was “not making excuses.” Still, she had little to say about affirming transgender youth, and her poor understanding of their experiences was made evident when she pointed out that she could relate because she used to be a tomboy:
JOHNSON: This is very tough for me tonight. This is very tough for me tonight. I guess, maybe I was thinking of how it’d affect me personally. I was that tomboy in school and the boys picked on me. That happened. I know how it goes. I really do. I will tell you. I am sorry, from the bottom of my heart that this ever happened. This, again, there is no win in this. You’ve got one side, you’ve got the other side.
Johnson claimed that the Board will reconsider adding transgender inclusion to its anti-bullying and diversity policies, but couldn’t offer an explanation why such protections were not already in place.
Members of the The Civil Rights Agenda, a Chicago-based LGBT advocacy organization, told the board that it had been bullied into rescinding the policy and that by doing so, it was inviting bullying to continue against trans students. Rick Garcia, the group’s policy advisor, said he hopes the school has “a very large legal defense fund” because “the first transgender student who is hurt or harmed in this district will be a millionaire.”
Mitt Romney’s campaign seemed to flip-flop last week on whether he supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage, but the convoluted clarification demonstrated that his positions on the issue are purely political and as insensitive as ever.
After last week’s debate, campaign senior adviser Bay Buchanan told The Advocate that Romney opposes marriage equality, but that “it’s a state issue” and that Romney “would not get in the way of what states decide to do on marriage and adoption.” As Buzzfeed pointed out, this seemed very much to conflict with the candidate’s pledge to pass a federal marriage amendment and institute a three-tier system, allowing married same-sex couples to stay married, but not new couples to get married. Buchanan clarified on Saturday that Romney does still support such an amendment:
BUCHANAN: Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children. I referred to the Tenth Amendment only when speaking about these kinds of benefits – not marriage.
There is precedent for Romney’s support for hospital visitation, though his support for same-sex adoption is less consistent, particularly given his past comments that “children pay the price” of marriage equality. But as The New Civil Rights Movement and Talk About Equality have pointed out, there is something actually quite jarring about the fact that he considers hospital visitation a “benefit,” with no concern if states choose not to offer it. It’s quite unclear whether such a “benefit” would even be constitutional if Romney were successful in advancing a federal marriage amendment. Besides, states like New Jersey have shown that in the absence of the title of “marriage,” hospitals are quite reluctant to honor same-sex relationships regardless of what separate-but-equal substitute recognition is offered.
Entrusting a loved one to make crucial medical decisions and be by your side in emergencies should never be something up for states to decide. Romney clearly doesn’t have families in mind — he just wants to appeal to both conservatives and moderates by having no discernible position at all.
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.
- Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights want to help defend California’s new law banning ex-gay therapy for minors.
- Alabama state Rep. Daniel Boman (D) is challenging Congressman Rob Aderhold (R) for his seat by deplorably calling him a self-hating closet case. Aderholt’s campaign responded, “When someone is making a fool of himself, we hate to interrupt.”