Robert P. Jones writes in The Atlantic on changing attitudes toward gay marriage in the nation's most culturally conservative region.
Robert P. Jones writes in The Atlantic on changing attitudes toward gay marriage in the nation's most culturally conservative region.
Right Wing Watch shares the latest in wingnuttery.
Mother Jones has published a lengthy profile of viciously anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively.
Homocon Tammy Bruce is shown here moderating a panel at CPAC 2014. I avoided watching the right-wing confab, but each to their own taste.
Marc Fisher wrote an essay for Sunday's edition of WaPo discussing the role of race in the D.C. mayoral election. I was interviewed for the article and am included in an accompanying photo gallery. When I spoke to Fisher I was not aware that the story would focus on the politics of race. (He may not have known it at the time either.) I personally am not basing my decision as a voter on racial considerations.
Here's the latest on international affairs from the former half governor who can see Russia from her house, in an interview with Sean Hannity:
People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.
Laura Clawson writes at Daily Kos:
Here's hoping the producers of Saturday Night Live have Tina Fey on the phone right now, begging her to appear this weekend. Because Sarah Palin just wrote their script for them, no revisions or edits needed.
I should really add a new category "Crackpots" for this sort of item. Right Wing Watch shares this video in which Phyllis Schlafly applauds Stan Solomon's homophobic rant against Obama.
I encourage you to take the time to watch these remarks by Lupita Nyong'o on the gatekeepers of beauty and learning to love oneself and the beauty inside that has no shade. This was prior to her winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. What a class act this young actress is, and how well she is using the limelight. Brava.
Love the scarf. Will someone please strangle him with it?
I think this is Megyn Kelly talking to Bernie Goldberg, but I confess these Fox News models all start to look alike to me. I think Margo Channing had it right when she handed Max Fabian the bicarb: "One good burp and you'll be rid of that Miss Casswell."
The Walt Disney Company has decided to end its funding of Boy Scouts of America over the group's policy against allowing adult leaders.
I do not agree with Ross Douthat's distinction between racial discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination. I was in the room (as was the fabulous Bob Summersgill) at a crucial meeting in the fall of 2009 when the call by the Archdiocese of Washington for an Arizona-style religious exemption (among other things) was discussed. I said absolutely not. Any house of worship can bar me from its sanctuary, deny me its sacraments, and denounce me from its pulpit; and I have defended the right of our opponents so to do. But in the provision of public accommodations, discrimination cannot be countenanced. This is a diverse society, and LGBT folk will be equal members of it.
At least Douthat recognizes that he is losing.
Prediction: this is not going to happen. But Winter Storm Titan is headed for the eastern U.S.
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz says, "It’s the (expletive) 21st century, man. Get over it."
Here's sending Big Papi a big wet smooch. If there is anyone in professional sports that I especially wanted not to be a homophobe, it is this big-spirited man who got a pass from the FCC for an f-bomb on television last April in Fenway Park, and who is the heart and soul of his championship team.
Adam Polaski at Freedom to Marry reports the latest advances for marriage equality:
The pace of progress is so swift these days, it's hard to keep up. And really, people: Kentucky? Texas? Big wow.
My column this week, "Twice as Good," discusses why the fight to overcome racial privilege is an LGBT issue. Here's an excerpt:
When an All-Pro cornerback from the NFL's best defensive squad [Richard Sherman] needs to have his 3.9 GPA from Stanford cited to stop white people's quivering, we have a problem. Though not fatal for Sherman as it was for [Trayvon] Martin and [Jordan] Davis, [the racially charged treatment of him] showed the same instant demonization, the same culturally assigned otherness.
Why is this an LGBT issue? For one thing, African-Americans have been among the most prominent out gay people in pro sports: Brittney Griner in the WNBA, Jason Collins in the NBA (who just signed with the Brooklyn Nets), Michael Sam before the NFL draft. All lacked the privilege taken for granted by white heterosexual men. Facing greater bias, they summoned greater strength. As the Scandal character Olivia Pope is told by her father in the TV drama, "You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have." Many black overachievers grew up hearing this.
But it is not just that black and gay overlap. We must work together to defeat those who exploit fear and hatred to gain power. This requires refuting their lies repeatedly over time. The images of Sam's athletic prowess are a powerful antidote and promise a historic moment come May.
In related news, this just in from the Williams Institute: New Report Finds Similar Patterns of Racial Disparities Among Individuals in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch shares this.
Right-wing evangelicals in America are demonstrating by their latest statements, in case you missed it before, that they would carry out the same brutal repression against LGBT people here as we are seeing in Russia, Nigeria, Uganda, and elsewhere, if they could.
The latest right-wing lunacy, courtesy Right Wing Watch.
As a user of several Apple products, I say thank you, Tim Cook, for your company's stance.
Fanatics showing their true colors. Works for me.
NFL draft prospect Michael Sam has a few words for anti-gay lobbyist Jack Burkman, who is proposing legislation in the U.S. Congress to ban openly gay players from the NFL:
Jack Burkman is going to need a Delorian, not some bogus bill, if he wants to prevent gay athletes from being in the locker room— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) February 25, 2014
U.S. Embassy Kampala shares:
Archbishop Tutu's plea to #Ugandan President #Museveni to reconsider the country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill has made news around the world. He says, “We must be entirely clear about this: The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God…. Our diversity requires of us to be tolerant and compassionate and respectful of each other. ” Read on here: http://goo.gl/Cka3VQ
Amen. Wherever you are, join me tonight in lighting a candle of hope for our brothers and sisters in Uganda, that they find safety and preserve courage and hope.
Mark Lee raises an interesting question in this week's Blade.
Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Episcopal priest from Zambia, writes at Political Research Associates:
[H]ad it not been for the presence of the U.S. and European embassies, African gays would have been massacred years ago, without any fear of consequences. For LGBTQ organizations to now demand they pull out of Uganda perilously compromises the lives of LGBTQ persons—who will not have anyone to turn to for safety, and strip our ability to monitor persecution.
I understand that we are all desperate to stop the progression of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. But threatening to leave the country will only boost the political power and credibility of leaders like Museveni, David Bahati, and Martin Ssempa—opening the door for African nations to expand further anti-LGBTQ laws, possibly even including executions and mass slaughter....
The withdrawal of the U.S. Ambassador from Uganda and Nigeria would also have some neo-colonial implications, which we should guard against. Uganda is not the first country to pass this Anti-Homosexuality Bill banning advocacy for LGBTQ issues—Russia was first. Nigeria followed, and many more nations are still to follow. How do we explain that no calls have gone out for the U.S. to sever diplomatic relations with Russia, but then call for the cutting of those ties to African nations? Frankly speaking, this move is an invitation for neo-colonial politics—which make even vicious dictators (like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe) heroes in the eyes of African people.
African nations are sensitive to neo-colonial and imperialistic attitudes of the West—hence they are likely to side with Museveni when he is condemned for his handling of homosexuality. The move will only make Museveni a hero not just among Ugandans, but also among his African allies—precisely what he is hoping for after watching his political power fade in recent years. If the West attacks him, and leaves the country, Museveni will have free reign to rule as the dictator he wants to be.
So what is the way forward?
African homophobia is promoted and propelled by religion. In Uganda, Christian leaders (paid for and encouraged by American evangelicals) have been demanding the bill for years, and pushing their followers to vote for the lawmakers who support it. Politicians will always be politicians—they are always looking for votes. In his attempt to win the Evangelical votes in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama disagreed with same-sex marriage in a debate moderated by Pastor Rick Warren—one of very same U.S. evangelicals who worked with anti-gay pastors in Uganda. But to think that such dynamics only work in American politics is naïve at best, and dangerous, careless, and deadly at worst. Museveni needs votes to remain in power. So the answer to Uganda’s anti-gay bill lies in the primarily Christian electorate of Uganda. We should be demanding that Pope Francis speak directly to President Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, and urge Ugandan Roman Catholics to proclaim his already-stated opposition to any law criminalizing LGBTQ persons. U.S. Anglican, and Evangelical/Pentecostal leaders should equally speak to their friends in Uganda about the dignity and fundamental human rights of sexual minorities. And the American people must demand an end to the constant flow of exportation of homophobia from U.S. evangelicals like Scott Lively, Lou Engle, and Rick Warren to Ugandan pastors and politicians.
Open letters, petitions, and press releases will only give Museveni and Uganda lawmakers another reason to sign and enforce the bill.
Uganda President responds defiantly to Western critics of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including the United States and Canada.
If he is so eager to reject Western influences, why does he embrace the existing anti-gay law in Uganda that comes from the old British penal code, and why does he swallow the poison of American evangelicals like Scott Lively?
The Washington Blade writes about a press conference yesterday announcing the formation of a new anti-gay organization.
Scott Lively of Defend the Family International and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality unveiled the Coalition for Family Values at the National Press Club in downtown Washington. Greg Quinlan and Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania spoke at the press conference.
Scott Lively and this group support the adoption of gay propaganda laws in the US and around the world. In Russia reporters covering gay rights issues, such as the firing of a gay teacher, face fines and possible imprisonment. In the United States we have the Constitutionally protected freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Lively and his ilk think homosexuality is such a threat it justifies tossing the Constitution aside. Generally the media doesn't take kindly to organizations like Coalition for Family Values.
The answer to hate speech is more speech. Lets hope coverage of this group is about their anti-democratic agenda and not homofascists try to silence their enemies.
My latest column surveys last week's events, from the Sochi Olympics to anti-gay persecution in Nigeria and Uganda, to America's anti-gay right. It was enough to make a person's head spin.
Mark Lee at the Blade takes on the latest silliness from the NIMBYs of Dupont.
Today another birthday passes that Trayvon Martin did not live to see. He would be in college now. But it wasn't just one prejudiced man that killed him. It was a culture of fear stoked by hate groups, exploited by politicians and gun manufacturers, and fed by the media. He or Jordan Davis could have been one of the teens I mentored or gave academic advice. They have so much to offer, their minds just beginning to mature and stretch in new directions, and out of the blue at any moment a seething hatred they did not earn can snuff them out. We have to push back against the hatred. We have to find more helpers to overcome it. Helping to nurture a young mind is the closest I will ever come to parenting. I don't want to outlive these kids. They deserve so much better from us than mourning.
The arbitrary pursuit of deadly confrontations by people emboldened by a gun and lubricated by a sense of untouchable privilege is itself a kind of drive-by shooting. For such a person to refer to others as thugs is like the leaders of the Catholic Church decrying others as child molesters. Clean up your own house first. We must confront this hypocrisy more forcefully in a creative and nonviolent way. We must touch our fellow citizens. And while we're at it, stop the arsonists like Fox News. But the media provide so much distraction, bread and circuses as the old phrase goes, that waking people from their complacency is a tall challenge.
Click here to see the set of draft policy principles developed by NAACP known as "Trayvon's Law." In summary:
Russia has done similar things recently. Andranik Migranyan says that the majority of Russians want a law outlawing "homosexual propaganda". In this country we have a Bill of Rights that protects people who say things that the government or a majority of the public doesn't like.
Russians have a long history of authoritarian rule from the tsars through the Soviet Union and on to Putin. But as unrest about his continued reign grows (he has been in office far longer than their constitution allows) he needs to appeal to outside groups to maintain his power. And one of those is the Russian Orthodox Church. Giving support to this law has strengthened the churches support of Putin. On this issue opinion outside of Russia counts little.
Michael Petrelis reports.
Joe Jervis writes:
Tens of anti-gay protesters appeared this morning outside of the Virginia federal courthouse hearing opening arguments in AFER's marriage equality lawsuits. In the sparse group was failed Virginia lieutenant governor candidate and freak show crackpot E.W. Jackson. Today's protest was organized by NOM, the Family Research Council, and the Virginia Family Foundation.
AFER reports on what is going on inside the court.
Right Wing Watch shares the latest fantasy from right-wing nut bag Phyllis Schlafly.
TPM reports on Rep. Michael Grimm's contrition after being caught on camera threatening to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off a third-floor balcony and break him "like a boy" when Scotto asked him an unwelcome question about a campaign financing scandal.
Talk dirty to me, throw me over the railing, pick up the check. Sorry, I'm not that into you....
Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality expresses the perplexity shared by many LGBT advocates as to why President Obama has refused to sign an executive order prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination against employees of federal contractors, as he promised during the 2008 campaign.
But as our friend Kurt Vorndran, legislative representative for the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), points out, such an order would not be enforceable in practical terms unless the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) gets sufficient staffing and budget to enforce compliance. OFCCP was created by President Johnson through executive order in 1965, and expanded under Nixon. It was decimated (not eliminated) by Reagan. In other words, Reagan kept the window dressing. Right now, according to the DOL website, OFCCP has 800 staff. That is for all their EEO and affirmative action programs related to federal contracts nationwide. Firms they go after love to drag proceedings out as long as possible and then demand dismissal because the action is not timely.
House Speaker John Boehner says we have enough regulations already, but that is a mere slogan to conceal the GOP's long and relentless efforts to cripple the government's ability to regulate everything from food and medicine safety to employment discrimination. Then they decry government ineffectiveness. That is a most cynical game. The Obama administration has worked tirelessly in federal agencies to repair and restore the government's regulatory apparatus. But there is a limit to what you can do without the resources being budgeted for it.
So we need more than an executive order. We need the staffing and budget to enforce it. The devil is in the details.
Update: Kurt Vorndran adds:
In the last year of the Clinton Administration, OFCCP had an FTE level of 786. The G.W. Bush Administration decimated the office to a level of 585. By FY2011, the Obama Administration was able to restore the office to the approximate level before Bush (755 FTEs). While the office is now back to the level of staffing from 13 years ago, it has a tremendous backlog. Director Shiu has tried to make the office more efficient, but given an increase in workload since 2001, she has a tough job.
Enforcing a sexual orientation E.O. is also going to take resources as most of OFCCP's effectiveness and work comes not from individual complaint examinations but by compliance reviews. They are going to have to develop some innovative ways to do lgbt compliance reviews.
What the President could say tonight:
Today we mourn the passing of the great American singer and champion of justice, Pete Seeger. One of the songs with which he is most associated is "We Shall Overcome." Those words rang through this chamber in 1965, when President Johnson called for passage of the Voting Rights Act after peaceful demonstrators were brutally attacked by police in Selma, Alabama. At the head of that peaceful march was a brave young man who nearly died that day, but who survived to become a conscience of our nation. Congressman Lewis, please stand. Thank you, sir. Let us honor that generation, and the cause for which so many gave their lives, by passing voting rights reform. No one who loves this country should seek to win an election by means of voter suppression.
Valerie Richardson at The Washington Times reports that some illustrious gay and pro-gay libertarians have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in defense of the right of anti-gay photographers, florists, and bakers to refuse their services to same-sex couples:
Those filing friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of the ADF’s position [defending the anti-gay business owners] include some high-profile supporters of gay marriage, including Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute legal counsel; Eugene Volokh, University of California at Los Angeles School of Law professor; and Dale Carpenter, professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.
No. We are talking about licensed businesses. What our libertarian friends are effectively defending, as with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), is the right of businesses to refuse their services to anyone of whom they disapprove (including based on religious beliefs). By their logic, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have applied only to discrimination by the government -- while restaurants, shops, hotels and other places of public accommodation would have been able to continue refusing service to African Americans. No way. But do not call the libertarians sellouts: they are being true to their principles. I just think they are wrong. At some point we must check our principles against reality.
A further point: Personally, I would not want to hire someone for my wedding who disapproved of us. But that should be our choice. It should not be the right of a licensed business owner to discriminate without penalty.