In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

Despite tenets such as [More...]



We're seeking other writers who would like to monitor news reports and file their discoveries and perspectives here. If you're interested, click here to send an e-mail.



Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yahoo Thinks Gay Marriage Is All About Mardi Gras

Here's a curious screen shot. Yahoo.com featured an article today about the state court decision barring gay people from other states going to Massachusetts to get legally married:

Court: Gays Can't Come to Mass. to Marry

found at:


The article now has an accompanying picture that is germane to the article — a proponent of marriage equality protesting in Massachusetts.

That wasn't the case during the first hour the story was posted, however. As the screen shot shows, the story ran with a photo of two semi-clothed, gay men — in leather vests — on a motorcycle — during "Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade" — in Sydney, Australia. How much more stereotypical could they get? Were all the drag queens on a 15-minute break?

I'm not making a judgment call on what anyone wants to do or wear during a public celebration. But I am questioning the editorial process at Yahoo here. Would it be appropriate for Yahoo to illustrate a story about a court case involving heterosexual marriage rights in Wisconsin with a picture of co-eds showing off their private parts for beads in New Orleans?

It would be easy for Yahoo to claim the disparate elements were the result of some automated process — the photo is from a gay and lesbian event, after all. But that doesn't cut it. Some individual must have made some decision along the line to think this picture was indicative and illustrative of the story. Someone had to automate the conjoining of the story about a court decision involving gay people with an image tagged "Mardi Gras" (that is the topic under which the Australian picture was tagged). Presumably, that same person was involved with the decision later on to change the accompany image to something from the "Same-Sex Marriage Issues" file. I hope that was motivated by enough people seeing the original photo and subsequently complaining that someone's conservative bias was seemingly creeping into a news source that, I assume, strives to be objective.

Who does Yahoo have editing these days? Jerry Falwell? Fred Phelps — that hateful preacher who has taken to protesting at soldiers' funerals with anti-gay billboards? Or is Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney — who flippantly said he doesn't want Massachusetts to become "the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage" — now on staff?

Update: Despite the new style guidelines from the Associated Press that suggest employing the term "gay" rather than "homosexual" to describe people who are…ah…gay — guess how the Australian photo is tagged on Yahoo Photos. Yup — "…australia_homosexuals"

Methinks it might be time for some diversity training…

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Log Cabins Go After "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

The Log Cabin Republicans had a minor setback this week with the lawsuit they have filed to invalidate the policy that prohibits gay people from openly serving in the military. The group says it intends to press on and refile the suit, though.

I have to admit, the idea of being gay and Republican still seems awfully self-abusive to me. But, it's not for me to decide, really. Kudos to the group for taking this on. If successful, it's not likely to win them any friends in the current administration.

Via PageOneQ:

Judge Tosses Log Cabin Republicans Don't Ask Don't Tell Lawsuit

The United States Dictrict Court in the Ninth Circuit of central California has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) against the US Military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, PageOneQ has learned. The decision by LCR to not include the names of plaintiffs in the original suit resulted in the court ruling that the organization "lacks associational standing" to pursue the case. The Log Cabin organization has told PageOneQ they will re-file the case, meeting the decision’s requirements.
by Michael Rogers

Read the entire article here on PageOneQ.

Scalia Plays Pot, Kettle

Update on that filthy gesture Justice Antonin Scalia dropped at Church the other day —

Now he's saying it was entirely harmless — a dismissive gesture, not the old F.U.

It's a plausible story, sure. Yet, Scalia's taking it even further — chastising the Boston Herald for misinterpreting him, rushing to judgment, exploiting a situation for political purposes and basically giving him a raw deal.

I know he's thick-headed and conservative to a fault. Still, someone close to him should take him aside and point out the irony here — explaining to him that old maxim about when you point the finger at someone and there's three pointing back at you.

My favorite part is that he accuses the paper of buying into stereotypes of Italians because they've watched "too many episodes of the Sopranos."

I guess we're left to assume he's the way he is because he's caught too many episodes of — what? — Fox News?

Justice Scalia Chastises Boston Newspaper

(AP) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a scathing letter to the editor of the Boston Herald, accused the newspaper's staff of watching "too many episodes of the Sopranos" for interpreting a hand gesture he made at a cathedral as obscene.

…To back his interpretation of the gesture, Scalia in his letter quoted from Luigi Barzini's book, "The Italians:" "The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means 'I couldn't care less. It's no business of mine. Count me out.'"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's A First! An AFA Petition I Actually Can Get Behind

In its latest "Action Alert" — those righteous e-mails from the American Family Association — the group has taken umbrage with — get this —Fox TV! It seems someone uttered the word, "shit," during a broadcast from last weekend's NASCAR "Food City 500" race and that offended their "sensibilities."

It's almost tempting to feel sympathetic for Fox on this one. For one, it has to take a certain amount of restraint for anyone to resist telling the AFA's Don Wildmon to just shut the fuck up for once — even the neo-cons at Fox. Secondly, it wasn't even an employee at Fox who uttered that vile word — instead, it was overheard during a conversation between driver Martin Truex, Jr. and his crew chief. According to AFA's e-mail, the chief told Truex: "We missed the set-up today. It (the car) was a piece of s**t." Considering Truex had crashed his car during the race, I'm surprised that was the only 4-letter word uttered.

Still — a campaign to penalize Fox? The network that gives a soapbox to folks such as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and other angry, white conservative men? WHERE DO I SIGN?

Fox Allows 'S' Word. Take A Stand For Our Children!

Tired of all the profanity on TV? Want to do something about it? Here is your opportunity.

File a complaint with the FCC against Fox Network for using the "s" word.

Fox had been warned about allowing the "s" word on the air. The network could have used a delay and bleeped the profanity. But they chose not to. The network chose to air the segment live. Millions of viewers, including children (Editor's note: Can we please see a show of hands?), were offended by the crude profanity.

Take Action

Here is your opportunity to make the networks more sensitive to your concern. The FCC is willing to fine the stations, but viewers must complain! Please file a complaint with the FCC against Fox stations for the broadcast of indecent language.

Click Here to File Your Formal Complaint to the FCC Now!

Update: I saw fit to do some creative editing on the AFA petition form. Here's what I sent:

Subject: Penalize Fox!

Dear Sir:

Below is the issue that the American Family Association has chosen as its crusade du jour. I don't find an utterance of the word "shit" to be offensive at all — especially considering adults and children hear worse in public.

I do, however, think you should penalize Fox Network to the fullest extent possible. The network's programming is especially and consistently banal, and the news department lacks any adherence to journalistic standards and ethics. Futher, the network gives voice to people such as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, who chronically spew an ugly and ignorant brand of conservative rhetoric.

That is what truly offends me.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Scalia Gives The Middle Finger At Church

Wow. Some fundamentalists and Christian conservatives live to call me sinful for simply being a gay man. Personally, I've never given anyone the finger at church.

So, if you're keeping score: A same-sex couple getting married in a church? Unacceptable. Flipping the bird after receiving communion? Acceptable.

It seems churches are becoming bastions for uncouth and unrestrained behavior. I don't think I would want a ceremony there, even if I could.

Justice Scalia Flips The Finger In Church

BOSTON, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.

A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."

The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.

"Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.

[Hat Tip: AMERICABlog]

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Do We Actually Want Catholic Charities Working With Children Anymore, Anyway?

Honestly, what's the point of anti-discrimination laws if some people are allowed to reject them? Isn't it an affront to measures that are designed to promote equality and fairness when the governor hand-selects some folks to whom they don't apply — and some who don't have to observe them? He actually wants to go on record believing it's OK for some people to discriminate — and for some folks to be discriminated against? Jesus, Mitt Romney seriously has his head up his ass.

What's next, Mitt? A law that allows Catholics to reject potential renters or home buyers at will? Or a bill saying no Catholics ought to be held responsible for any hate crimes they might inflict on people they can't tolerate?

If Catholic Charities can't be bothered to perform adoptions — fine! Let another agency step up to fill the void — and take advantage of the money tied to the state contract. Besides, in the Archdiocese where Catholic priests ran rampant molesting boys for decades, the less contact they have with children, the better.

Romney Bill Makes Room For Anti-Gay Bias

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney proposed legislation Wednesday that would allow Catholic Charities in his state to refuse to arrange adoptions for gay couples.

The Protecting Religious Freedom bill would exempt the agency from the state's anti-discrimination laws.

Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Boston Archdiocese, has been placing children in adoptive homes for a century, but announced recently that it will stop doing so because state law allows gay men and lesbians to adopt. The agency said that placing children with gay couples would violate the teachings of the church.

The governor has said that same-sex couples have a legitimate interest in adopting children, but that the services Catholic Charities provides are important, too.

"I believe it is important to safeguard religious liberty as well as the interests of our most vulnerable citizens," Romney said in a letter to lawmakers.
— PlanetOut.com

Games (Gay) People Play

Wayne Besen contributes a fantastic column to PlanetOut.com about gay athletes and why some folks seem especially outraged that Chicago is hosting the Gay Games this summer. It's a must-read — find it here.

Some especially pointed excerpts:

…Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute, a man best known for playing dress-up at gay leather parties under the auspices of "research," helped fan the flames of intolerance. He pressured the commissioners, calling the sporting event the "homosexuality games" and warned that it would lead to nudity and promiscuous behavior -- although I still can't figure out how one would be lewd or lascivious with both hands firmly attached to rowing paddles. Perhaps LaBarbera's time "undercover" in S&M porn palaces has fueled an imagination that could conjure up
such physical contortions.…

…Fortunately, the third commissioner came back from vacation and overturned the ridiculous and insulting vote. How spectacular a bigot does one have to be, after all, to virulently oppose a gay athletic event? What next: Will the Illinois Family Institute propose separate swimming pools?…

…What threatens the right wing most, however, is the 12,000 athletes that are expected at the opening ceremonies in Soldier Field. Their entire anti-gay industrial complex is fueled by stereotypes and lies about gay men and lesbians. Indeed, a central tenet of their "cure" for homosexuality is, you guessed it, playing sports. A sea of serious, committed and talented gay athletes not only challenges erroneous assumptions, but also makes the theories of the far right look every bit as ridiculous as they truly are.…

Besen also points out: "While the right is getting more fringe and shrill, corporate America is on board and paying the bills. The Gay Games has 179 sponsors, compared to a mere 50 during the last Gay Games in Sydney, Australia. This includes corporate heavyweights such as Kraft, Walgreen's and Harris Bank."

I guess that means the American Family Association will be announcing some new boycotts any day now. I must say, 179 corporate sponsors -- that's going to add up to a lot of things to avoid. Fundamentalists already have had to give up their Ford vehicles. I wonder what it's going to be like without cheese, cold medicine and their savings accounts. Ouch!

"Jesus Brought Me Out"

A new documentary makes the case that many of us know personally: that accepting themselves as gay wasn't a contradiction of their religious beliefs — but instead an affirmation of their belief in God and His individual plan for every person.

Via PlanetOut.com:

"God and Gays: Bridging the Gap"

"Jesus brought me out," says Luane Beck, director of the new documentary, "God and Gays: Bridging the Gap."

Beck was fortunate. She was raised by parents who were first conservative Baptist, then Mormon, and finally joined the ultraconservative Church of Christ. Nevertheless, by the time she was ready to come out as a lesbian, Beck, now a film-studies lecturer at California's San Jose State University, had forged a relationship with the divine that nurtured her queer soul.

"I have a very loving God," Beck says. "There's a scary God out there. I don't buy into the scary God."

Most of the people Beck interviewed for her film are not as blessed as she. Some were so traumatized by church homophobia that they tried to become "ex-gays," at a terrible emotional cost. Several attempted suicide, or saw loved ones kill themselves.

Beck was startled at how much suffering she uncovered.

"I couldn't believe somebody would have to go through all that just to be who they are," Beck says.

…One powerful presence speaks from off-screen, because she's dead when the film begins. She's the daughter of Mary Lou Wallner, the founder of TEACH (To Educate About the Consequences of Homophobia) Ministry.

Wallner was raised as a fundamentalist Christian. When her daughter Anna told her she was a lesbian, she responded coldly.

"I used to think that the only way to relate to gays was to confront them," Wallner writes on the TEACH Web site. "I had no use for them. I didn't understand them, and I was judgmental and arrogant. And then one day our lives were changed forever."

That was the day Anna came out to her mother. Another day would change Wallner's life even more profoundly — the day Anna hanged herself, after eight years of rejection by her parents. Wallner concedes in "God and Gays" that before her daughter's suicide, she felt her child would, indeed, be better off dead than gay.

Some time after her daughter was gone, Wallner came to regret the way she'd responded to her homosexuality. Wallner left her conservative church and vowed to help other parents avoid her mistakes. TEACH Ministry was the result.

Mary Lou Wallner and her husband, Bob, "are strong allies for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people," the TEACH Web site reads. "They have a sincere desire to see the church accept and welcome GLBT people just the way God made them."…

Audience Response

Viewers are similarly moved by "God and Gays"' revelations. After a screening at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose, at least one straight filmgoer joined PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and a self-described "evangelical Christian" wrote Beck an e-mail of strong support.

Beck is not surprised by the positive response. In her travels around the country to produce the film, Beck found that even members of apparently conservative communities are far more ready to embrace their queer neighbors than we're sometimes led to believe.

"I think if you're an ally, and you're in a church that's not affirming, that if you make that known, eventually the church will change," Beck promises. "Eventually, things will change." — by Marc Breindel, PlanetOut.com

Read the entire article here.


Oops. Who knew that when people support measures to ban same-sex marriage, they are also wiping away protections against domestic violence for men and women who are living together?

Anyone feeling misled and duped yet?

Domestic Violence Law Excludes Some
Appeals Court Rules Law Does Not Apply To People Living Together

DAYTON | County prosecutors cannot charge some unmarried people under Ohio's domestic violence law because it conflicts with the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, this area's state appeals court ruled Friday.

The 2nd District Court of Appeals is the first of the state's 12 appellate courts to rule that the domestic violence law runs afoul of the Defense of Marriage amendment, passed by voters in 2004, and does not apply to "a person living as a spouse."

The appeals court upheld dismissal of a domestic violence charge against Karen S. Ward of Fairborn, charged with assaulting her "live-in boyfriend" in Greene County.

The ruling affects domestic violence cases in Champaign, Clark, Darke, Miami and Montgomery counties as well, Greene County First Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Schmidt said.

Schmidt said her office will appeal the 2nd District Court's decision to the Ohio Supreme Court within 30 days.

Until the high court decides, unmarried defendants, who would have faced felony domestic violence charges, will be charged with misdemeanor assault charges in Greene County, Schmidt said.

"It's not protecting anyone," she said.

Ward was indicted in April, the second time Ward had been charged with domestic violence. Her attorney, Ellen Weprin, sought dismissal in May, arguing the state's domestic violence law, established in 1979, conflicted with the new constitutional amendment.

The amendment says the state cannot "create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the…effect of marriage."

But the appellate court said the state's domestic violence law, which includes protection for "a person living as a spouse," conflicts with the amendment.

"The state or any subdivision shall not recognize these unions," said Greene County Common Pleas Judge Stephen Wolaver, the trial judge who dismissed the charges against Ward.

Montgomery County assistant public defender Michael R. Pentecost predicted Saturday that the appeal's court decision also will limit the ability of unmarried people to get domestic violence protection orders. State lawmakers may have to amend the law, he said.

"The people who backed this amendment were not thinking about these types of unintended consequences," Pentecost said. "They got so overzealous."

Judge Mike Fain wrote the majority opinion, in which Judge James A. Brogan concurred. Judge Mary Donovan dissented.

"The Defense of Marriage amendment is ... a part of the fundamental, organic law of Ohio," Fain wrote.

"We make no observations concerning the wisdom of the electorate in having adopted the amendment."…
— By Amelia Robinson, Dayton Daily News

[Hat tip: AMERICABlog]

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Exodus From A Frivolous Lawsuit

If if there was any doubt this would be the outcome, Exodus International has decided its supposed copyright on inane billboards isn't worth protecting afterall.

Via Wayne Besen:

'Ex-Gays' Drop Threat Of Parody Lawsuit

Like most bullies, the "ex-gay" group Exodus International backed down when a blogger shoved back against its threat of launching a frivolous lawsuit. The tussle was over a parody by Justin Watt on his blog JustinMania. The blogger says he exercised free speech when he made fun of the dumbass Exodus billboard, which said, "Gay? Unhappy? www.Exodus.to." Watt re-created the billboard on his site so it read, "Straight? Unhappy? www.gay.com."

Watt enlisted the help of the ACLU and the minute the cowardly lawyers of Exodus knew they could not intimidate and harass Watt without a fight, they tucked tail and ran. Apparently their empty threats were as phony as the lives of the clients they represent.

An Analogy

A local museum has been struggling financially. The board of directors has noticed that, instead of paying to see the museum's exhibits, people have been lured away and are spending their money at the new cinema down the street.

Some of the curators, noting the museum had been popular and respected before the cineplex was built, suggest a broad-based solution based on what the museum has done best in the past. They propose the board increase funding within the museum so they can offer exciting and continually-changing features that cover a variety of topics appealing to a greater group of potential visitors.

Instead, the board announces it is going to pare down exhibits overall, concentrating on one main topic the chairman is especially fond of. Additionally, they decide to convert part of the building into their own theater, but only plan to show stodgy, polemic films.

To be sure, it's an illogical, unwise way to run an enterprise — doomed to fail and almost a textbook case on how to run something into the ground.

Yet, isn't it completely analogous to today's Washington Post — and its recent experiment with blogging?

On The Washington Post's Foray Into Blogging

The Washington Post's attempt to publish a conservative blog called "Red America" blew up in their faces this week when evidence surfaced that blogger Ben Domenech had plagiarized earlier work.

Is it just me, or doesn't the very idea of a blogger being contracted by a "mainstream" news source somewhat discredit him or her from being an authentic "blogger"?

Is what defines a blogger simply the technology? Or is it the approach — the spirit of independent thinking, the freedom from newsroom pressures and/or constraints, the luxury of being able to comment without your individual opinions reflecting upon an entire publication, staff, etc.?

Food for thought: If one of the Washington Post's bloggers would have the bravado to write something that ticks off a major advertiser (or, in the times we find ourselves, a certain administration) -- how long can we expect that post to remain online? Seriously, how much free reign do we expect any blogger to get at the Post?

In essence, then, without free reign, isn't anyone the Washington Post props up actually going to be just another (edited and sanctioned) columnist -- not a true blogger?

Isn't it in the backs of our minds that blogging has taken off because a preponderance of people feel the mainstream media are failing us? Taking that into account, I, for one, would be much more in favor of the Post spending their cash to hire more reputable and diverse additions to their editorial staff -- rather than trying to break into a new field that has emerged because of the (self-created) deficiencies there. Heal what's broken -- don't invest in so many band-aids.

To sum, isn't the Washington Post's foray into blogging essentially a Quixotic ruse?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Oh My…Ah…God!

Irony is lost on Donald Wildmon and his group of whackjobs, the American Family Association. Even though the organization strives to advance intolerance in the name of religion in this country, seeing the same behavior in other parts of the world presents a call for extraordinary action. In an e-mail the group circulated this week, the AFA seeks to have the president intervene to save the life of a man who faces persecution in Afghanistan for denouncing Islam, the state-sponsored religion.

Of course, the e-mail concludes with a request to send in donations to AFA.

It would be amusing if it wasn't so rife with hypocrisy.

I certainly deplore anyone being killed in the name of religious zealotry. I even pray this Christian man remains steadfast in his beliefs and eventually is saved from his situation. But, given its history, its hard to believe the AFA has the audacity to change its tune at random to argue that an individual should be allowed to believe what he wants without regard to his government's or his society's pressures. An organization that endeavors to make Christianity the predominant religion in America while rejecting any other sorts of expression or belief hardly has the ethical authority to renounce behavior akin to their own misguided modus operandi when the shoe is on the other foot.

Help Save The Life Of An Afghan Man Who Refuses To Deny Christ

Abdul Rahman, 41, faces death because he converted from Islam to Christianity and refuses to convert back to Islam.

His family accused him of being a Christian. During his trial last Thursday in Kabul, Rahman confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

…"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law. It is an attack on Islam," Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada said.

The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he offered to drop the charges if Mr. Rahman converted back to Islam, but Rahman refused. "He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one. We are Muslims, and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty," Wasi said.


Please email President Bush and ask him to intervene to save the life of Abdul Rahman. Help get others involved in saving the life of this Christian who refuses to deny Christ. Please forward this to friends and family and ask them to send the emails.

Click Here to Email President Bush Now!

…If you think our efforts are worthy, would you please support us with a small gift by clicking here. Thank you for caring enough to get involved.



Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Study Suggests It Can Be Cured!

Is it a surprise to anyone that conservatives were those kids that whined the most and went to the teacher about every little thing? It's hard to break habits that set in during childhood, no?

So, I guess it's true what they say: You can spot one. Hopefully this study will lead us to some valuable research about what we can do to "cure" this deviant, anti-social behavior. Perhaps someone can start a ministry to treat these folks through the power of Jesus Christ, and they can all one day become well-adjusted, non-conforming "ex-conservatives."


Study: Whiny Insecure Kids Grow Up To Be Republicans

More than a kernel of truth in this study. What do Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Limbaugh, George Will, Dr. Laura, the Republican bloggers all have in common? Whiny insecure brats. And that, my friends, comes from growing up a bit of a twit. Gary Bauer even admitted as much a few years back — grew up a wimp, been trying to fight back ever since (note to Gary: You're still gayer than me).

How To Spot A Baby Conservative
Whiny Children, Claims A New Study, Tend To Grow Up Rigid and Traditional. Future Liberals, On The Other Hand…

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.

The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right.

…The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial.

In a society that values self-confidence and out-goingness, it's a mostly flattering picture for liberals. It also runs contrary to the American stereotype of wimpy liberals and strong conservatives.

I think particularly with the new definition of Republican, this is absolutely true. What do Republicans stand for anyway? They're bullies who need the government to either blow up or regulate everyone and everything they're afraid of, which is pretty much everything. Sound familiar? Whereas liberals are the well-adjusted kid, the nice guy, live and let live, and not really needing to invade any countries to either scare away the boogeyman or prove their manliness. — John Aravosis

(Thanks to the blog Pattern Recognition for the Photoshop file for creating an Exodus International parody billboard.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Opposition Falls; Hope Rises

This Associated Press headline today for a poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press makes me estatic — and must make quite a few Republican strategists nervous:

Poll: Acceptance Of Gay Marriage Up

ACLU Bitch Slaps Exodus International

Exodus International, a self-described "ex-gay" "ministry," thought they'd strong-arm a blogger to get him to delete an image he created that parodied a billboard they were so proud to have erected. They hired the Liberty Council, a conservative law group that — among other noble causes — seeks to eliminate all hate crimes legislation, to send him a poorly-written (and even more poorly-researched) cease-and-desist letter.

One call to the ACLU later: bitch slap!

My favorite part of the letter in which the ACLU (in partnership with the law firm of Fenwick & West) extensively responds to the warrantless claim:
…(T)he starkly different text “Straight” and “www.gay.com” added by Mr. Watt ridicules the original Exodus photo, highlighting the absurdity of suggesting that people can — or should — change their sexual orientation.
The blogger, Californian Justin Watt, details the whole imbroglio here. He says:
"The moment I saw the billboards last September, I was deeply offended. The inspiration for the parody I created came to me instantly. How would straight people feel if their very being, their sense of self was being so overtly disparaged? Their response was to try to intimidate me into taking the image down. It's troubling that an organization as big as Exodus would go to such great lengths to silence its critics.
In a gratifying twist, it turns out Watt is straight — but extremely not narrow-minded.

Speaking for the ACLU, staff attorney Ann Brick said:
"Parodies like Justin's are protected by the First Amendment as a form of political commentary. His point was to make a comment on a very important issue he has strongly held beliefs about: that Exodus's tactics are wrong, that there's nothing wrong with being gay, and that being gay doesn't make you unhappy. Just as a group like Exodus has a Constitutionally protected right to say whatever it wants to about gay people, even when that view has been roundly condemned by every major psychological and medical organization, Justin has a right to use parody to voice his opposition."
Poor Exodus — they just can't win. If it's not bloggers making their billboards look absurd, it's people on the streets with a yen for ridiculing homophobes by defacing property.

Additional information about the case, as well as statements from mainstream mental health and medical organizations denouncing reparative therapy, which Exodus claims can "cure" gay people, is available on the ACLU web site, here.

A Suggestion For The Next American Family Association E-Mail

Why not just cut to the chase?

Dear "Pro-Family," Anti-Individuality/Tolerance/Freedom/Equality/
Compassion/Understanding/Open-Mindedness Folks:

Your time is valuable, so let me get right to the point —

Gays, gays, gay. Gay = Bad. Apocalypse imminent.

Please send me money today.


Donald Wildmon

Chairman & Founder
American Family Association

The AFA Gets (Ford) Tough

You have to hand it to the Don Wildmon and the American Family Association! They simply do not let up! The group sent out an e-mail today detailing its grand effort to boycott Ford because the company is continuing to advertise in gay publications.

The email is rife with over-statements, hyperbole and lies. It simply made me laugh out loud. I guess there are a bunch of sheep on the AFA mailing list, too.

For instance, the email states, "Ford Motor Company will continue funding homosexual groups which are pushing homosexual marriage." Interesting. I thought the AFA had their panties in a bundle about Ford's niche advertising. When did that become overt funding for "homosexual groups (that) are pushing homosexual marriage"? No offense, Donny, but if a major American corporation is putting money behind efforts to establish gay marriage, my money is on them — and not your tiddlywinks operation.

The AFA also says:

"The homosexual groups are very dedicated to their cause. They are urging their supporters to buy a Ford product to prove to Ford and America that Americans support homosexual marriage. The success of the boycott will depend on whether or not pro-family individuals are as dedicated to their cause as the homosexuals are to theirs. If pro-family individuals fail to respond with the same commitment as the homosexuals, homosexual marriage will be given a huge boost."

First off, I'm a pretty informed gay man. I can unequivocably say there has not been any effort by any major gay group to urge gay people to be Ford-tough. I'm certain many gay people — and many other Americans at large — appreciate Ford's strong commitment to diversity and disinterest in yielding to mean-spirited, fascist attempts to control society. But, that appreciation, while it plays a certain part, doesn't categorically define what vehicle we will purchase. You see, some people seem to have an advanced intelligence that enables us to realize driving a certain car is not an overt political statement.

But, hey, if the AFA wants to go on record as saying driving a Ford equals staunch support for gay marriage, I think I'll go outside and take a quick straw poll — via the number of cars I see — and assess the level of support today for gay marriage.

(Moments later…) Extra! Extra! In a scientific sample conducted via methods suggested by the American Family Association, Americans support gay marriage by a 14 to 4 margin. Alert the media!

The AFA wraps up with this: "The future of our children is at stake." Funny, I just can't seem to make the connection there. In my mind, preserving the notions of American individuality and tolerance does not present the same level of threat as do, say, cutting off funding for Head Start programs or eliminating other federal programs that support poor or middle-class families. It would be nice to see a "pro-family" group — the AFA in particular — send out an e-mail about that, no?

The most ludicrous portion from today's e-mail is a section that lists the "pro-family" groups endorsing AFA's boycott of Ford. Here's the list:

American Family Association
Center for Reclaiming America
Citizens for Community Values
Vision America
Free Market Foundation
WIN Family Services
Liberty Counsel
Point of View Radio
Coalitions for America
Mayday for Marriage
Judeo-Christian Council
Constituent Voice
Coalition for Marriage and Family
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
National Association of Marriage Enhancement

Quite a group there, huh? What — did the American Nazi Association not get back to you in time? How many of these are sub-groups of the AFA, just renamed and repackaged to solicit multiple donations from sheeple who don't realize the money goes into the same coffer? And, um — the "National Association of Marriage Enhancement"? Isn't that the group that's sending me all the spam advertising Viagra?

I Guess That's Why They Call Them Sheep

I'm sorry to have to ask this question so boldly, but when some people enter a church meeting or service, do they simply check their brains at the door?

I mean, when you are sitting there, expecting a reading from the gospel or a summary of your church's good activities and instead a video projector is rolled in and a politician pops up on a screen, doesn't something go off in your head that makes you think, "I'm being used as a rube?"

Matthew 13:13: "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

Pennsylvania Churches Must Avoid Becoming Entangled In Partisan Political Machine, Says Americans United
Under-The-Radar Organizing Drive For Incumbent Senator Rick Santorum Jeopardizes Churches’ Tax Exemption, Church-State Watchdog Group Charges

Religious leaders in Pennsylvania should be wary of a new political organizing effort that appears to be little more than a thinly veiled push to help re-elect U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Details about the new drive, spearheaded by the group Let Freedom Ring, appear in today’s New York Times. The newspaper noted that a March 6 organizing event by the group featured a video appearance by Santorum but not his Democratic opponent or any other candidates. Following the presentation, organizer Colin A. Hanna praised Santorum....

The so-called Pennsylvania Pastors Network claims to be an issue-oriented public policy organization, but critics assert that the real goal is to help Santorum, who faces a tough re-election bid this year. The group has announced it will hire 10 full-time “field directors” in the state a huge number for a mere public policy effort.

“This is an under-the-radar campaign to re-elect Santorum,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Pennsylvania pastors are being misled, and they need to be very careful. The Internal Revenue Service is watching carefully for violations of federal tax law this year.”

Lynn noted that the Internal Revenue Service recently announced it will vigorously enforce the “no-politicking” rule for churches and other tax-exempt entities during this election cycle.

Lynn, an ordained minister as well as an attorney, said Let Freedom Ring is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means it may legally intervene in political campaigns. Houses of worship, by contrast, are 501(c)(3) groups and are flatly barred from partisan political intervention.

During the March 6 event, one speaker, the Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, discussed the importance of President George W. Bush having a favorable Senate so he can continue to change the composition of the Supreme Court.

Let Freedom Ring’s activities are heavily financed by multi-millionaire John Templeton Jr., a Pennsylvania doctor who is a well known supporter of Republican candidates.

“Voter registration drives are fine,” said Lynn. “But the Pennsylvania Pastors Network appears to be undertaking this effort with the aim of helping Sen. Santorum retain his seat. Churches that get involved are putting their tax-exempt status at risk.”

The Second Coming

A brilliant post by RJ Eskow over at The Huffington Post:

The Stranger And The Fox: A Christmas Fable
"So some Palestinian walks into town — beard, sandals, looks like a terrorist, right? Says that God can be directly experienced by everyone, without rich, powerful clergymen or their politician buddies. And when folks want to exchange money at our convenient in-Temple banking centers — which is their God-given right — he calls it an abomination.

"He's part of the war on Passover! What can you do with a guy like that but string him up, right? I'm Bill O'Reilly and this is the No-Spin Zone."

Imagine that Jesus is what they said He was: the Son of God who was born in poverty, an outsider born to an outsider people. The Israel of his time was a desolate outpost in the Roman Empire. No doubt some Centurions saw the Jews as "camel jockeys" — those oppressed citizens of a sand-strewn Imperial ghetto.

Jesus was an outcast among outcasts because of the questions of his parentage and His birth to a teenaged mother. He would eventually die a criminal, a political and spiritual revolutionary, a troublemaker.

Now imagine He chooses to return again — not as the conquering White Horse Rider from Revelations, an image designed to appeal to Romans (who traditionally paraded conquering generals through Rome on a white horse), but the way He came before: as an outcast with a message about the immediacy and universality of God's love.

Ask yourself the question: How would Fox News cover His life?

Remember: He's coming back the way He came before, in secret. So He might be a Jew again, or He might pick an even more disliked minority religion — Muslim, maybe. Or Unitarian. He might be a woman this time. Would He be born to a teenaged mother again — maybe in Detroit this time, or in Watts?

He might come back as one of the "burakamin" in Japan, or as a Tibetan in China, a Pakistani in London, a Chicano in LA, a !Kung in Botswana. As a woman in Saudi Arabia, or a gay man in Idaho. Or an Arab in any American city. Maybe his family's last name would be the same as one of the villains from "24" or "Sleeper Cell."

He would say what He said before, when He turned the water into wine: Everything is sacramental if you're open to the divine, whether it's been blessed by the authorities or not. He would fight the Sanhedrin of his time — the Falwells and Robertsons, the television preachers in their shining megachurches (sorry, we'll be closed this Christmas!), those who would close off the doors to God and pretend to speak in His name.

And He would reject the politicians, too, and the wealthy. He or She…this irritating, rebellious, subversive preacher from the ghetto or the souk.

"Happy Holidays," He would say. Why? Because for him all are welcome to the Kingdom of God, not just a few. He embraced the Samaritan last time he was here — that representative of an outcast religion. This time He would surely reach out to the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Jain, the Jew — and the atheist. He would welcome the stranger at the door. "Happy holidays," He would say.

"But aren't you the One this holiday is named for?" His followers would ask. "Yes," he would answer, "but the rejecters and haters aren't acting in My name, because they're not listening to my words." Since He had returned in a new human life, he would have a new name anyway. It would be the spirit, not the name, that mattered.

"This lunatic," O'Reilly and Gibson would say, "is an enemy of Christmas. And a terrorist who destroys moneychanger's property." With Falwell and Robertson nodding approvingly, they would call for extreme measures. "Time," they would say, "for an execution."

(And, just in case there's any doubt, let me be clear: Yes, I am saying that Bill O'Reilly would crucify the living Jesus if he ever had the opportunity. And that John Gibson would pat him on the back while he did it, with Falwell and Robertson's approval. Don't like it, guys? Too bad.)

And when that execution finally took place (because, remember, we have a government that's pro-death penalty and "tough on crime" — except the white-collar kind)? It would be carried live ... on Fox.

Luke 8:58: And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.

UPDATE: To those who have written me to explain that Jesus would have acted fiercely toward our country today because of its "tolerance" of abortion and its rejection to prayer in the schools, I refer them to this source document: a searchable King James Bible. The words "abortion" and "prayer in the schools" do not appear. (And they call themselves strict interpreters of the Bible!)

To those who cite Bill O'Reilly's self-professed opposition to the death penalty I say, Tell it to the 30,000 Iraqi dead (probably more) as a result of the war he supports. Any guy who wants Al Qaeda to murder San Franciscans because he doesn't like the way they vote is not "opposed to the death penalty" — he'd impose it for the wrong politics. Oh, yeah — he'd take the Savior down if he had the chance….

Monday, March 20, 2006

When All Else Fails, Play The God Card

Listen — I don't know what Katherine Harris feels about gay people. So, perhaps bringing her up is outside the purview of GAYMAFIOSO. I link to this article, though, to make a simple point: If this is all a candidate has to do — utter the word "God" and say He is ordaining his or her campaign — to garner standing ovations and probably a supportive vote from some Christians, they more than deserve the politicians they elect (and susequently relinquish their prerogative to cry "foul" later when said candidates don't deliver measures "Christian" enough for them.)

See: Bible — Section on "Wolves in sheep's clothing."

Harris Tells Christian Group She Believes God Wants Her In Public Service

FORT LAUDERDALE — Finding inspiration from God,
The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of Rings, Katherine Harris told hundreds of conservative Christians Saturday she is "a work in progress."

Harris, who told a national television audience Wednesday she would be spending $10 million to win Florida's U.S. Senate race, said she never would have entered politics if she did not believe that God wanted her to make public service part of her life.

The Sarasota-area congresswoman's campaign for the senate has been in a free fall. She has struggled to raise money, and nearly all her top campaign advisers have left. Several tried to persuade the 48-year-old Republican to quit the race, saying she had no chance of winning.

But during an appearance on Fox News Channel's
Hannity and Colmes, Harris said she will not end her campaign and will instead spend "my legacy from my father" and "everything I have."

More than 800 conservative Christians were attending a two-day annual conference called Reclaiming America for Christ at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale. Harris received a standing ovation when she arrived at the pulpit.

She told the crowd that she studied under Francis Schaeffer in Geneva, Switzerland. Schaeffer is considered a founder of the modern evangelical movement, which encourages advocating Christian beliefs in public life. Schaeffer, in his book
A Christian Manifesto, called for Christian activists to demand "biblical morality" in government affairs.

…The two-term congresswoman is best known for her role in the 2000 presidential election when, as Florida secretary of state, she was called upon to make rulings over disputed ballots. Democrats said she helped President Bush win the election by not interpreting Florida law correctly.

…"Everything is possible with God," said Harris, who never directly mentioned her Senate campaign.
— By Brian E. Crowley, Palm Beach Post Political Editor

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ann Coulter = Cunt

Oh, Ann Coulter. So ignorant, so consistently wrong, so beneath contempt. I'd call her the cheerleader for the Angry Right, but who wants to imagine that as a cheerleader?

In her column this week, as is her habit, Ann gets a few major facts wrong. Seriously, if this is the best Faux News can do — roll out someone whose command of the facts can consistently be bested by a mere Google search — we have little to worry about.

Luckily, we have Media Matters to keep her honest:

Coulter Called NY Times Coverage Of Ex-Bush Aide's Arrest "Revenge Of The Queers," Falsely Named Private Secretary As "Most Highly Placed Black In The Clinton Administration"

In the March 15 publication of her nationally syndicated column, right wing pundit Ann Coulter described The New York Times' coverage of the arrest of President Bush's former domestic policy adviser, Claude A. Allen, as the "revenge of the queers," a reference to a comment Allen made in 1984 describing Senate Democratic hopeful James B. Hunt Jr.'s links to "queers." At that time, Allen was press spokesman for then-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), whom Hunt was challenging. Coulter also falsely claimed that "the most highly placed black in the Clinton administration was his secretary, Betty Currie"; in fact, six former Clinton cabinet officials are African-American.

Allen was recently arrested and charged with theft for allegedly bilking Hecht's and Target stores though a refund fraud scheme: He would buy an item, then return later to the store to pick up an identical item off the shelf, purporting to return it using the receipt for the originally purchased item. In her column titled "Revenge of the Queers," Coulter criticized the Times for -- she claimed -- devoting nearly the same amount of coverage to Allen's March 9 arrest as was devoted to Allen's entire tenure in the Bush administration. Coulter claimed that "[d]uring the entire time" Allen "held high positions in the Bush administration, he was mentioned in only 11 articles in The New York Times," yet, she wrote, "since Allen was accused of stealing from department stores a few weeks ago, the Times has mentioned him in seven articles." In fact, the Times has mentioned Allen in only four news articles since his arrest, according to a Nexis search. In addition to the four articles, the Nexis search revealed that Allen's name also appeared in two Times news summaries and an editorial -- presumably the basis for Coulter's false claim that "the Times has mentioned him in seven articles."

In praising Allen's "talented, intelligent, magnificently conservative" career -- though she also noted that she only "first heard of" Allen "this week" -- Coulter highlighted his October 13, 1984, comments, in which Allen characterized Hunt, a former North Carolina governor, as having links to the "queers." As The Washington Post noted, Allen later explained that "he used the word not to denigrate anyone but as a synonym for 'odd and unusual.' " Claiming that Allen's arrest presented The New York Times with the opportunity to write "breathless, triumphant" stories about "a black Republican scofflaw," Coulter wrote, "[t]his week at the New York Times, it was revenge of the queers."

Contrary to Coulter's claim that "the most highly placed black in the Clinton administration" was Currie, his private secretary, six Clinton cabinet officials -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, and Secretaries of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown and Togo West -- are African American.

From Coulter's March 15 column:

During the entire time this talented, intelligent, magnificently conservative black man held high positions in the Bush administration, he was mentioned in only 11 articles in The New York Times. (A small part of Times Executive Editor Bill Keller dies every time the paper is forced to mention any black top officials in the Bush administration. It might remind people that the most highly placed black in the Clinton administration was his secretary, Betty Currie.)

Allen also worked for the sainted Jesse Helms, former senator from North Carolina. By now, the average liberal would need yoga and a Barbra Streisand album to calm down. After Helms' 1984 Democratic opponent, James B. Hunt Jr., ran a TV commercial saying Helms was backed by "right-wing nuts," Allen reacted by saying that if the Helms campaign was run by similar guttersnipes, they could say Hunt was backed by "queers."

This week at the New York Times, it was revenge of the queers. I'm sorry it took a tough period in Allen's life for the New York Times to feature him under a banner headline on its front page, but all in all, I'm glad to finally know about Claude Allen. I'm proud to have this great fellow sinner in our party.

That's right — the Revenge of the Queers has only begun. You're next, you psychotic cunt.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay

I thought I'd do a Google search on the Illinois Family Institute's Peter LaBarbera (see previous post) to see what else occupies the time of this upstanding, "pro-family" paragon.

Quick answer: Not much.

For a dude who is presumably vehemently anti-gay, he certainly spends a lot of time focusing on gay sex, gay events, gay life, gay activities and gay men.

Pam Spaulding already compiled all the goods on her web site, Pam's House Blend. I love her headline there: "Get To Know Your American Taliban: Peter LaBabera."

My favorite citation on that page is a tip-off from Eva from the blog Lloydletta's Nooz and Comments, who says:
When he worked for the Concerned Women, his job was going to gay days at Disney, SF gay pride, all gay events in Bush White House (for gay employees) — etc. for "research."

Peter has a rather large gay porn collection — more "research" — and this year, as ED of the Illinois Family Institute, felt it necessary to attend International Mr Leather in Chicago — also for "research" purposes.

He does get on gay lists and lurk — to gather intelligence (kind of like what you do with the actual freeper quotes).

But, wait! There's more. Pam's headline and item on August 12, 2005:

It's Clear Now: Peter LaBarbera Has To Be A Friend Of Dorothy
Let me ask you: Have you ever attended a street festival or town fair that has a booth hosted by a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men? Only in Chicago, and YOU are apparently already paying to promote it!
— Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, Peter LaBarbera, doing his "undercover research" at a gay street fest

Read Peter's latest "exposé" of the "homosexual underground" — he can't stay away from the S&M and leather. We report, you decide:

…As I strode down Halsted street at Market Days, I came upon a man who was "MC" for the Cell Block stand. "Cell Block" is a Chicago "leather bar" catering to sadomasochists. The man had the words "Sex Pig" tattooed" on his back, signaling his "sexual orientation" toward the most extreme homosexual acts, which are way too gross to describe here.

…At the table for the Howard Brown Health Center, I picked up a flier titled "A Men's Guide to Safer Leather Sex." The same group distributed a card for TYRA, the Transgender Youth Resource and Advocacy Group, "a support group for transgender and questioning youth." Gee, I wonder what kind of answers the pro-transsexual folks at TYRA and Howard Brown give to the "questioning" youth that enter their doors.

Wayne Besen has more!:

It is not surprising that The Illinois Family Institute's Peter LaBarbera has once more inserted himself into a gay leather extravaganza. For more than a decade, he has enthusiastically attended such events to either complain or conduct "research" for the right. In my book, Anything But Straight, Wade Richards, once an ex-gay (he's now ex-ex) who worked with LaBarbera, said he had a bizarre backroom with piles of gay porno mags and leather costumes so he could go undercover at these events.

"Peter was very intense," said Richards in Anything But Straight (Pg. 77). "The office freaked me out. I had never seen so much gay pornography in my whole life...It was crazy...[there were] thousands [of gay magazines] — all kinds...[He said they were] for research...I had no clue what fisting was until I met Peter LaBarbera...It was a crazy experience."

I'm just saying, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'll be on the lookout for Peter the next time I'm in Chicago. I invite all my friends there to do the same. I'm posting some pictures so you know who to look for — and who to photograph in any (un)compromising position.

Pro-Family Group Not Pro-Compassion

Once again, a conservative group shows it's not so compassionate, not so Christian.

In this day and age, how educated is it to still believe that HIV only affects gay people, that HIV can be transmitted though casual contact that doesn't involve the exchange of bodily fluids, that gay sex always involves HIV and — especially — that any time gay people (or even HIV-positive people, for that matter) gather, sex will ensue?

And how caring and pro-family is it to expend energy desperately stigmatizing and castigating people who have a chronic condition but still have the stength of body, spirit and will to heroically endeavor to participate in a competitive sports event?

In its report, the Chicago Sun-Times puts the group's self-administered label "pro-family" in quotations. Later on, the newpaper highlights as a sub-headline the phrase "Tired Right-Wing Strategy." They must understand the hypocritical irony here, too.

Group Targets HIV Athletes At Gay Games

A "pro-family" group wants the Bush administration to revoke its decision to allow HIV-positive foreigners to enter the country for the Gay Games in Chicago this summer.

At the urging of Mayor Daley and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agreed to a blanket waiver of a federal law that keeps HIV-infected people from visiting the United States without special permission, federal officials said. Similar waivers were given for the 1994 Gay Games in New York.

Still, Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Glen Ellyn-based Illinois Family Institute, says the waivers for the Gay Games in Chicago will create a potential public health threat.

He says he has enlisted the help of influential conservative groups in Washington, including Concerned Women of America, to get the president's ear.

Specifically, LaBarbera says a gay bathhouse listed on the games' Web site as a sponsor promotes "reckless sexual behavior" that could "pave the way for spreading [HIV]."

"The people of Chicago should know we have a ban on HIV travelers, it's there to protect citizens, and it's not a wise move to remove the ban," he said. "People on the pro-family side are not too pleased with it, and we're putting pressure on to reinstate the ban."

A White House spokesman did not return calls seeking comment.

Gay Games spokesman Kevin Boyer called the IFI's attempt to connect the event to the spread of HIV "abhorrent and irresponsible . . . fear mongering."

"The Illinois Family Institute strategy is to paint the Gay Games as nothing more than a series of stereotypes of gay sex. It's a strategy that's not true," he said. "It's a sports and culture festival, and no amount of stereotypes and bigotry can change that."

'Tired Right-Wing Strategy'

…LaBarbera's group argues that the Gay Games bathhouse sponsor and other "extracurricular" activities show the event is about promoting a lifestyle more than athletics.

"These bathhouses can be very dangerous when you invite HIV in with an exception. The doors are closed, and you don't know what's going on inside," LaBarbera said. "That shows there's much more going on than just playing softball. . . . They're celebrating homosexuality and the more unseemly aspects of it."

Boyer said the attempt to equate HIV with the gay community is using a "tired right-wing strategy" that isn't accepted by society.

Read the entire article here.

On a side note, it's illuminating to know the members of the Illinois Family Institute (I dare say I agree that these people certainly belong in some sort of institute) have frequented a gay bathhouse. They claim to know enough about what goes on in one to testify about what goes on there. Director Peter LaBarbera, especially, seems to have a membership card — how else would he know all "the doors are closed"?

Come July, I'll post directions to Glen Ellyn and a map of how to reach the IFI's offices. I think it would be fitting for any HIV-positive athlete to spend a few minutes there. I'll search extra hard for LaBarbera's home address, too. Or, you can probably just find him at the bathhouse.

Ohio Senate Candidate Merrill Keiser Says Vice President's Daughter Should Be Killed

Hat Tip: PageOneQ

Merrill Keiser, a Democratic candidate United States Senate from Ohio, believes homosexuality should be punishable by death. (Kaiser’s opposition for the Democratic nomination is U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown.) In an interview with The Edge Show, Keiser goes on record to say he believes the vice president's daughter ought to be exterminated.

It's hard not to make a comment myself about what I think about Mary Cheney, but I don't wish to align myself with someone so vile as Keiser.

Larson: How about Mary Cheney? How about the vice president’s daughter? Should she be killed? Should she be killed, sir, if she does not repent?

You know the important thing is they are facing the second death.

Of course, but in your perfect world, should Mary Cheney be killed for her being a homosexual?

If she’s not going to repent.

Good luck in the election, bub.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Money Quote Of The Year

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

— Money quote from Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by "God's Law"

Learn more about Raskin, who is running for a seat in the Maryland State Senate (District 20), here. If I lived in Maryland he would definitely have my vote.

Cincinnati Council Votes 8 To 1 To Pass Civil Rights Measure Protecting Gays

I visited Cincinnati with friends in 1995, around the time when the City Council and fundamentalists there were falling over themselves to purge the city of any sort of "gay menace." We (I was the only gay person) all agreed — despite the city's gorgeous riverfront and attractive, tree-lined streets — it was one of the most ugly places to visit.

It was heart-warming to learn today that the city has taken a 180-degree turn. This development provides inspiration and hope for the future. Honestly, if Cincinnati can come around — it's only a matter of time for the rest of the country.

Cincinnati's Passage Of Non-Discrimination Measure A Triumph For Fairness

WASHINGTON — Following the November 2004 repeal of a one-of-a-kind anti-gay law, the Cincinnati City Council voted today to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodations. Led by Equality Cincinnati and local leaders and supported by the Human Rights Campaign, the move ensures fairness for Cincinnatians.

“Cincinnati is a symbol of where American itself is when it comes to fairness,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In large cities and small towns, on the coasts and in the heartland, Americans want us moving toward equality, not away from it.”

Solmonese continued, “Equality Cincinnati and local leaders, especially Councilman Crowley, deserve enormous respect for their work. In the face of an anti-gay political obstacle sustained by a few, they gave voice to the many. ”

In November 2004, the majority of Cincinnatians repealed the city’s discriminatory Article XII, which prohibited the city from passing any laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The city stood alone in the United States as the only place where such laws were prohibited.

The council voted 8 to 1 to pass the non-discrimination initiative. Some of Ohio’s largest private corporations already prohibit this kind of discrimination, including Nationwide, NCR Corp., Owens Corning and Cooper Tire and Rubber.

Cincinnati joins 76 other jurisdictions prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination and eight also prohibit gender identity-based discrimination.

On The (I'm Pleased To Say) Liberal Blogosphere

I've been hearing a lot about traditional media doing their best to label blog writers and readers as liberals. For instance, several major newspapers — along with their Republican puppetmasters — have taken to parroting the term "the liberal blogosphere." To wit, AMERICAblog notes:
They (traditional journalists) also tell us that blog readers are all angry, far-left, party activists who are unreasonable and will only accept the most extreme of political views.
Personally, I don't take umbrage to this one bit. Hurling the term "liberal" around as an invective might pack a punch for an older generation, but people my age don't seem to have a visceral reaction to it. Ask some of the 20-somethings you know and see what their reaction to the word is (especially after George Clooney's recent declarations after he won an Oscar). I predict that the word, in time, will lose whatever special punch it packs for some folks and that labeling a political rival as "liberal" — as Republicans are wont to do — will soon become an irrelevant, ineffective tactic.

Still, despite some folks' misgivings, I have to say the blogosphere I know predominantly is liberal. I say this after visiting a healthy series of popular blogs to research what the best sites were like. The most popular and effective ones had, indeed, a liberal tone — and I think that's something about which we should not be ashamed at all. While the conservatives have exerted every effort to monopolize radio — a stuffy, aged vehicle — left-wingers have been drawn to new media. That seems perfectly fitting — almost tautological — to me.

Many of the most popular "liberal" blogs are attractively designed, information-packed and written by people with impressive academic and professional credentials who have backgrounds in journalism, politics, law, etc. This contrasts with a preponderance of right-wing blogs, many of which are rife with typos, poor grammar, faulty and/or contrived logic and stone-age opinions. Many of the right-wing blogs are simply drawn-out rants. They are not illuminating; they are not thought-provoking. They are smug, glib and disingenuous. For a perfect example, see www.michellemalkin.com. (Fair warning: If you have one of those sickness bags from the airlines on hand, you might think about grabbing it before heading over there.)

Liberal blogosphere? I'm pleased to agree. Liberals simply seem to know how to effectively embrace new technology, employ it to craft enlightening and dialectic dialogue and — subsequently — use it to our advantage. No wonder right-wingers feel the desperate urge to try and stigmatize it.


Those of you who have visited regularly have noticed some major changes to GAYMAFIOSO this week. I hope you like the cleaner layout and the added features. Feel free to e-mail comments and suggestions here.

Look for additional updates, including — ta da! — Comments, in the upcoming weeks!

A Prescription For Hubris

Hat tip to this point made by John at AMERICAblog. He has linked to an article about another attempt by fundie pharmacists, this time in Washington state, to try to reject filling prescriptions with which they are not morally comfortable.

He says:
Hey, sounds good to me, so long as it works the other way around too. Can we turn religious right pharmacists away from our emergency rooms because they offend our sense of morality?
I'm behind efforts to squealch such measures because patients' rights trump pharmacists' rights, in my book. It's the nature of the job. What next? Will the 10-minute lube guy refuse to give you an oil change if you're driving a Ford (see previous post)?

However, I'm amazed the fundies are rallying behind this as their cause du jour because — honestly — how successful do they hope to be? In this day and age, people can get prescriptions filled over the Internet and through the mail. As a matter of fact, a good buddy of mine is the manager of a national chain that specializes in prescriptions the company fills and sends you through the mail. Aside from assuring whether the prescriptions are legitimate, there are no questions asked, no pharmacists who get their panties in a bundle (read that: are truly professional). If anyone is having any problems at all with a pharmacist he or she is currently encountering, let me know. I'd pass happy to pass on the name of the company.

The measure here should be what is in the interest of the patient. These fundies have to realize not everyone they deal with are Christian. Not everyone has a code in their own chosen faith to prevent them from things . If it's not wrong for the patient, the pharmacist should not have any prerogative to thwart his or her own domain over his or her body. That's hubristic, mean-spirited and immoral.

With that said, I'm certain at some point someone will publish the names of pharmacists who wish to behave like this, and those folks will pay the price in lost business for their actions. However, I actually wouldn't be surprised to find there are only a small number on the list and that this is just another instance of a few rotten Christians spoiling the whole basket — casting a poor light on the Christians and pharmacists who are actually decent people.

American Family Association Announces Another Doomed-To-Fail Boycott

Big Daddy Don is at it again! The misguided (and confused about what power he actually wields) leader of the American Family Association wants his sheeple to boycott a major U.S. car manufacturer because Ford — gasp! — advertises in gay publications and — oh, the horror! — "forces" its employees to undergo diversity training. You know, with the way the middle class has shrunk with Don's buddy, George Bush, as president, I'm sure the minions will have no problem scrapping the vehicles they are driving currently and going out at once and buying a brand new car — one that's not so…ah…homosexual.

It's a car, Don. Get a grip.

See, Don makes boku bucks convincing people to send him money for his unseemly causes. He probably can afford to eliminate the Ford name from his line of luxury vehicles. His wide-eyed minions? Not so much.

Besides, the types of people who would let a man such as this determine what kind of car they buy are the people Ford doesn't necessarily want in their vehicles, anyway.

The article mentions the AFA's other attempted boycotts of major U.S. companies. Both were as big of failures as this effort is doomed to be.

But, if you see a homophobic redneck driving a Taurus or a holy roller soccer mom in an Expedition, best warn them: The radios in their vehicles are programmed on Coming Out Day to blast show tunes.

US Anti-Gay Group Launches Boycott Of Ford

DETROIT (Reuters) — A conservative Christian group has launched a boycott of Ford Motor Co., saying the automaker had reneged on a pledge to drop its advertising in gay publications and support of gay rights groups.

The Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association first threatened a boycott in May, but suspended the move in June after several Ford dealers stepped in to broker a settlement.

In December, Ford decided pull advertising for its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands from gay publications, but then reversed course after coming under fire from gay-rights activists for having conceded to pressure from the AFA.

"Ford has every right to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups promoting homosexual marriage. But those who oppose homosexual marriage have every right not to buy automobiles made by Ford Motor Company," the AFA said in a statement on its Web site.

The group is headed by Don Wildmon, a United Methodist minister, and its Web site says it has 3 million "supporters." The AFA said its Ford boycott was being backed by 18 other groups.

The controversy comes at a difficult time for Ford, which is struggling to reverse a slide in market share and return its core automotive operations to profitability.

Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said in response to the boycott announcement, "Ford is proud of its tradition of treating all with respect and we remain focused on that we do best, building and selling innovative cars and trucks worldwide."

Ford is not the first company to come under fire for its stance on homosexual rights. Other large companies including Microsoft Corp. and Walt Disney Co. have also found themselves facing demands from groups on both sides of the cultural divide.

In declaring a one-year boycott of Ford, the AFA cited the car maker's sponsorship of gay-pride events in the United States and Britain and its practice of requiring employees to undergo diversity training.

"The goal of every homosexual organization supported by Ford is to get homosexual marriage legalized," the AFA said.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"No Stories About Us, Without Us"

In his commentary, "When The Best Picture Is Not The Best Pick," writer Jeremy Bishop says many things with which I agree about this year's Best Picture Oscar going to "Crash" instead of "Brokeback Mountain." Before the ceremony, I told my friends I thought "Crash" was the better movie and wouldn't be disappointed if it won over "Brokeback." But, when that happened, I actually didn't feel content. I truly was disappointed.

Bishop hits right on the reason why:
"...After years of invisibility and misrepresentation of our community on the silver screen, once we finally, after (more than) 100 years of cinema history, have a film that has an honest and poignant tale of our love, without the typical Hollywood “gay plotline” requirements of either death by AIDS, LGBT people as serial killers or the wacky best friend to the straight couple in love, we want to see our relationships recognized."
And his call to action is spot on:
"It’s time to turn our sadness into action. It’s time we wait not for Hollywood to push itself, but we give Hollywood a nice little kick in the ass.… (O)ur mantra should be a simple one, 'No stories about us, without us.' It’s time for Hollywood to recognize our relationships, with us in them."
Read his entire article on PageOneQ, here.

Matthew 7:4

Who'd-a thunk the paragons of Christian virtue are out-and-out corrupt? Is it time to start removing the planks in your eyes yet, gentlemen?

From "They're Knee-Deep In The Jack Abramoff Scandal" on www.defconamerica.org:

How The Religious Right Did Abramoff's Dirty Work

Ralph Reed: Former executive director, The Christian Coalition:
“We believe gambling is a cancer on the American body politic. It is stealing food from the mouths of children…and turning wives into widows.”
The Christian Century, 2/17/1996
  • Between 1999 and 2003 Reed played a key role in several campaigns to benefit Indian gambling interests represented by Abramoff. (Washington Post, March 13, 2005)
  • Reed received over $1 million in 1999 from Abramoff’s client the Mississippi Choctaw tribe. The fees covered radio ads, postcards, phone banks, a rally, as well as inserts in church bulletins that Reed had organized to defeat a state lottery and video poker proposal in Alabama, which the Choctaw feared would compete with their casino in Mississippi. (Atlanta Journal Constitution, June 26, 2005)
  • Between 2001 and 2002 Reed received over $4 million from Abramoff and his associates to organize campaigns against Indian casinos and other gambling ventures that competed with Abramoff’s Indian casino clients – the Louisiana Coushatta tribe and the Mississippi Choctaws. (New York Times, May 1, 2005; National Journal, Sept. 18, 2004)

James Dobson: Founder and chairman of the board, Focus on the Family
"Clearly, gambling is a destroyer that ruins lives and wrecks families.”
The Sun Herald (Biloxi, MS), 9/1/2003
  • Dobson played a key role in defeating an Alabama state lottery proposal in 1999 and was also involved in scuttling the Jena Band of Choctaws’ plan to build a Louisiana casino in 2002. Both campaigns were designed by Abramoff to benefit his gambling-related clients. (Denver Post, June 23, 2005, Washington Post, March 13, 2005)
  • In 1999 Abramoff’s client the Mississippi Choctaw paid to air ads featuring Dobson that criticized an Alabama lottery proposal. The ads were part of a strategy to limit competition to the Choctaw’s Mississippi casino. (Denver Post, June 23, 2005)
  • Dobson recorded phone banking messages, lobbied high-level officials and recorded ads as part of a 2002 campaign bankrolled by Abramoff’s client and casino owner, the Louisiana Coushatta tribe, to kill the Jena Band’s plans to build a competing casino in Louisiana. (Washington Post, March 13, 2005)

Louis P. Sheldon: Chairman and founder, Traditional Values Coalition.
"We are opposed to the spread of legalized gambling in our society because this behavior frequently leads to addictions, the destruction of families, and the abuse of children."
— Statement from the Traditional Values Coalition
  • Sheldon’s Traditional Values Coalition received a $25,000 check directly from Abramoff’s client and online gambling outfit eLottery, as part of a campaign to stop the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act in 2000. (Washington Post, October 16, 2005)
  • Sheldon lobbied members of Congress during 2000, encouraging them to oppose the bill on the grounds that it would actually encourage gambling. (Washington Post, October 16, 2005; October 18, 2005)
  • “Sheldon got a private meeting with DeLay on July 13. ‘I told him I strongly opposed the bill,’ Sheldon told Congressional Quarterly at the time.” (Washington Post, October 16, 2005)

No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome at the United Church of Christ.


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