Tag Archives: Hate Groups

The very public, very desperate crumbling of the anti-gay Right

4 Jul

One week ago, I sat in front of the Supreme Court of the United States among hundred of others anxiously awaiting their decisions on marriage equality.

Interviewing the first openly gay person of color in Congress, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)

Interviewing the first openly gay person of color in Congress, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) photo by Sarah Baker

It’s strange, because there in the sun, just a few hundred feet from where the decisions were being read, we actually found out quite a bit later than many of you at home reading SCOTUSblog. Phone service was sparse and in the bright, direct sunlight, I couldn’t see a thing on my screen. Not to mention, I was busy hosting streaming coverage and interviews for WeActRadio. While talking with Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), the decision striking down Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) came out.

I wanted to scream and hug the Congress member, but we didn’t quite have that kind of relationship yet. I continued covering the day’s events and followed up with several other interviews on radio stations around the country and finished up the day on SiriusXM Radio with my husband and another friend and her wife…and a bottle of champagne. What a day!

My husband, Sean and I standing with Brendon Ayanbadejo outside the Supreme Court in March

My husband, Sean and I standing with Brendon Ayanbadejo outside the Supreme Court in March

My husband Sean and I had helped to organize rallies that happened outside the Supreme Court back in March while the DOMA and Prop 8 arguments were being heard. So much of our time was spent considering what “the other side” would be planning while we rallied. Partly we wanted to know so that we could respond courteously and effectively to the things they said. But the other reason we wanted to be prepared for them was so we could protect the families we knew would be standing with us, from the hateful, toxic things the anti-gay right seems to spew when they’re angry. Our kids don’t need to hear that.

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Last week at the Supreme Court

Last week in front of the court was different though. Despite hate groups like the National Organization for Marriage and Family Research Council calling for “days of prayer” and for their followers to stand with them that morning on the steps of the court, no one came. I could count on one hand the number of people standing their with anti-gay signs. The rest was a sea of rainbows and love. Maybe despite their screams to the press that they would win, they knew what was coming, what was inevitable.

What followed that amazing day when my husband and I woke up without equality and went to bed with 1,100 more rights, was truly dumbfounding.

The National Organization immediately began attacking the court for making an “Illegitimate” decision. In their first email/blog post, they asked for money and linked to their fundraising page 8 TIMES. As a person who works in digital media for a living, I can tell you with some certainty that 3-4 times is excessive when asking for money in one email, but 8?!? Not even street canvassers will bother you that many times.

NOM President Brian Brown’s initial response to the court’s decision was scathing:

“There is a stench coming from this case that has now stained the Supreme Court. They’ve allowed corrupt politicians and judges to betray the voters, rewarding them for their betrayal. It’s an illegitimate decision. We and millions of other Americans will refuse to accept this rogue decision rewarding corruption. “

NOM President Brian Brown

NOM President Brian Brown

Then came the emails. The angry, angry emails. NOM’s emails accused California lawmakers of participating in “lawlessness” when they began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples (which was now legal following Prop 8 being struck down). Another email was filled with vitriol and borderline racist comments about CA Attorney General Kamala Harris. In this message, they refer to Harris’ “arrogance,” a term usually reserved for those we think don’t deserve a place in leadership. Additionally, they use the email to twist and misquote remarks made by the President about Harris a few months ago.

They followed with a tweet that said “Polygamists are actually celebrating the Supreme Court’s decisions this week as a personal victory for them” and linked to a blog post which of course, said nothing of the sort.

In other posts, they continued their usual outdated theme claiming that marriage equality is bad for children somehow. Yet they continue to ignore the fact that their argument completely discounts the millions of kids being raised by LGBT parents.

NOM wrapped up the week with a patriotic 4th of July email claiming that a person cannot be gay or a supporter of equality for gay people and an American at the same time.

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Graphic from NOM’s most recent email

The anti-gay Right is disintegrating before our eyes and the desperation with which they are clinging onto life has never been more apparent. They will never be gone forever, though. Just as we’ve seen with groups that fought integration and some in the South who are still fighting the Civil War, they’re never gone for good.

Happily though, with support for marriage equality in this country hitting all time highs and a Gallup poll following last week’s rulings finding support at 55% for and 40% against legalizing same-sex marriages, these hate groups will continue to lose funding and support.

The fight is far from over, and as NOM is only too quick to recognize, there are still 37 states which do not recognize marriage equality. I think this number will drop quickly, but not without our work.

Why Did Chick-fil-A Cross the Road? Because Being Anti-Gay is Bad for Business

19 Sep

I have a rule. If everyone else is writing about something, I’m more than likely not going to write about it – unless three straight friends personally email me about it. So here it is-

Chicago Alerman Proco “Joe” Moreno made headlines a few months ago when he vowed to block the anti-gay fast food chain, Chick-fil-A from building its second Chicago store. People screamed about the corporation’s right to free speech, etc and attacked Moreno and other lawmakers who were vowing similar challenges. And while legally, no lawmaker can just decide someone can’t do business because of their beliefs – there are other ways of legislatively challenging new businesses from opening. These include discriminatory employment practices among other things. Point being, nothing ever happened and no one stopped any Chick-fil-A’s from selling their horrifically unhealthy chicken sandwiches.

One thing that needs to be made clear here – the reason gay people were up in arms about Chick-fil-A had very little to do with CEO Dan Cathy’s remarks regarding his anti-equality view on marriage. The tremors were caused by Chick-fil-A contributing more than $5 million to virulently anti-gay groups over the past several years. Some of those groups have even been linked to Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill which would mean life in prison and in some cases, execution for being gay. It even went so far as to punish those who didn’t report friends and family for being gay.

Flash forward, dozens of anti-gay groups have now hosted anti-gay “Chick-fil-A Days” and other homophobic actions supporting the chain. One anti-gay group has even gone so far as to declare every Wednesday “Chick-fil-A Day.”

Now it appears through several talks, Alderman Moreno has made some headway with the higher-ups and is declaring victory. It seems Chick-fil-A has agreed to stop funding these anti-gay groups and has sent around an internal memo to all franchisees and stakeholders that says the company must “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.”

This is quite clearly a win for us and proves that being anti-gay is bad for business. While we will have to wait to see their tax returns which disclose the groups they contribute to, and while Dan Cathy made a similar claim in January of 2011 that Chick-fil-A and their charitable arm, Winshape will “not champion any political agendas on marriage and family,” I think this is most definitely a win.

Upon revisitation, there are still quite a few things left up in the air that I want to caution about before we run back for our waffle fries:

  • This agreement was made between a Chicago politician and Chick-fil-A’s Director of Real Estate. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of clout a Director of Real Estate might have with regards to Chick-fil-A’s employment or giving practices.
  • The policy that’s being touted as a success is their philosophy that they don’t give to groups with political agendas is one that has been in place since the company was founded – what’s making them stick to that philosophy now and who at Chick-fil-A does the deciding on what is or is not a group with a political agenda.
  • Finally, No one at Chick-fil-A has corroborated or denied the reports in this press release. Until that happens, stick to KFC.

The full statement from The Civil Rights Agenda:

Chick-fil-A Ceases Anti-gay Donations, Clarifies Stance on

Gay Customers & Employees

September 18, 2012 – Chicago, Illinois – The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has learned that Alderman Moreno has finalized his negotiations with Chick-Fil-A.  Alderman Moreno has confirmed that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and that they have clarified in an internal document that the company will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation. The Civil Rights Agenda worked closely with the Alderman in an advisory role as he negotiated these concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A.  Additionally, members of TCRA spoke directly with executives at Chick-fil-A during negotiations to aid in educating their decision makers about anti-discrimination policies and issues affecting the LGBT community.

In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.”  Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.  In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.

“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “I think the most substantive part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights.  It has taken months of discussion, both with our organization and with the Alderman, for Chick-fil-A to come forward with these concessions and we feel this is a strong step forward for Chick-fil-A and the LGBT community, although it is only a step.”

Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that states that as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.”  This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”

“Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we would still like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level,” said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. “It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior.  As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”

Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Find Some Skeletons in Their Closet

17 Sep

In light of the anticipated wave of emotion and anger over the upcoming release of more than twenty years of child molestation records from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), we need to make one thing clear: the vast majority of child molesters are not gay men.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the BSA failed to report allegations of sex abuse of scouts in hundreds of cases between 1970 and 1991. Additionally, there were some cases where the organization helped the accused “cover their tracks.”

This all comes on top of heightened scrutiny in past months when the BSA has come out in strong defense of it’s own policies discriminating against openly gay scouts and leaders. It’s hard not to notice the similarities between the BSA and the Catholic Church when it comes to their discriminatory policies against gay people and their long history of child sex abuse.

For generations, people have made an inappropriate and ignorant connection between homosexuality and pedophilia and the record must be set straight (so to speak). I’ve heard it as recently as a few months ago when an acquaintance actually said to me: “I think gay men should really only be allowed to raise girls.” He was implying that if there was a young boy in the house, gay parents might be tempted. He thought he was liberal in his thinking because hey, at least he’s okay with gay men raising a girl. He was ignoring the fact that what he’d said was far more insulting than discriminating against LGBT parenting altogether.

With last year’s Penn State tragedies and seemingly daily stories about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, pedophilia is in the news and in the thoughts of many Americans. Anti-gay hate groups such as the Family Research Council (FRC) are constantly on the attack by lying about the false links between homosexuality and pedophilia.

FRC’s Peter Sprigg said in their brochure, “Debating Homosexuality: Understanding Two Views,”

“We believe the evidence shows … that relative to the size of their population, homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexual men.”

And FRC President Tony Perkins claimed – again with no evidence whatsoever on their website:

“While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”

Dr. Carole Jenny of Denver Children’s Hospital put together an exhaustive studyon this very topic. She took 352 children who were referred to a clinic for potential sexual abuse. 35 of these children were ruled out of the study as abuse seemed unlikely in these cases.

Of the remaining 317 cases…

74 children were abused by other children or teens under the age of 18.

9 children could not identify their abuser.

2 children were abused by someone identified as gay or lesbian.

232 children were sexually abused by the heterosexual partner of a close relative.

And if you’d like to discuss gay men in particular, the same doctor did a study of 50 boys who had been molested.

Of those 50 boys…

37 were abused by a man in a straight relationship with a relative.

3 were molested by their mother or grandmother.

5 were molested by both parents.

3 were molested by a male family friend who had no history of sex with men.

1 was molested by an uncle, also with no history of sex with men.

1 was molested by a man who was possibly, but not definitely a gay man.

The vast majority of men who abuse boys are either not attracted to adults of either gender or are straight men who are emotionally disturbed, frequently only involved because of the power they may have over a young boy. Additionally, the reason so many boys are molested by men is that men have greater access to boys than they do to girls.

Several studies have concluded that only a fraction of pedophiles have ever shown an attraction to other adult men – a fraction that is far below the ratio of openly gay men in society. Rob Tisinai has put together an excellent video outlining much of this data and raises perhaps the most important point about those people who choose to blame the gays for these horrific cases.

“When our opponents demonize openly gay men and falsely shine the spotlight on us, they’re letting the real abusers hide in the darkness…and continue their abuse.”

With every one of these statements from hate groups like the FRC, they are extending the myth that openly gay men are the ones to watch when it comes to the sexual abuse of children. And for every minute they spend penning the articles they do, a real predator is getting away with these horrific acts.

When they do this, they make the decision to prioritize their own anti-gay agendas over the lives and well-being of children. It is up to us to spread the truth and combat the lies and fear with scientifically-proven facts. This is not about defending our honor, this is about really protecting our children.

Hate Group NOM Attacks Newborn Son of Rep Jared Polis

4 Oct

Welcome to the world, Caspian Julius!

We are frequently unsurprised when hate groups such as Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) or others go after gays and lesbians who want to be married. In fact, it’s expected. But today, NOM outdid itself in its rhetoric around Congress’ first openly gay father.

In a post on their blog, NOM wrote:

“We have no clue whether it was a planned motherless family or whether he and his partner stepped in to give a motherless child a family–since he will not say.”

Last week, Rep. Jared Polis and his partner Marlon Reis, welcomed into the world Caspian Julius, weighing 8 lbs, 12 oz. The birth was greeted with statements of support and love from around the country and today, an attack from hate group NOM.

NOM followed-up it’s blog post with a tweet:

“Openly gay #CO Rep. @JaredPolis announces with pride that his child has no mother.”

According to their website, NOM “is a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” They claim that they exist to protect marriage, yet their tweets and comments and blog posts focus solely on attacking lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

Clearly in their current attack on Congressman Polis, they are ignoring the fact that an extraordinarily large majority (some say as high as 75%) of children do not live with their biological parents. NOM’s own former president Maggie Gallagher, was herself a single parent for many years. And current president Brian Brown spends much of his time traveling the country to attack LGBT people, while his wife raises their children essentially on her own.

So please don’t be fooled. The National Organization for Marriage, exists only to attack LGBT people, they’re protecting nothing. If they were actually interested in protecting marriage, maybe they’d spend a little more time on their own.

Welcome to the world, Caspian Julius and Congratulations Congressman Polis!

New Hate Group Needs a Lesson in Symbolism

24 Mar scotland

So there’s a new hate group out there (apparently the ones we have weren’t doing enough). It’s called The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property (ASDTFP). Although their website says they’ve been around since 1971, they haven’t done much to gain any notoriety until 2006,when they launched some protests of the Dan Brown novel, The DaVinci Code.

The ASDTFP has been slowly gaining some notoriety and they are making sure you know exactly who they are. While the Westboro Baptist Church is now synonymous with their “God Hates Fags” signs, The ASDTFP has taken to wearing all black with a large red sash and – putting the good ole KKK to shame when it comes to fashion and vibrancy.

But what is most interesting to this 2nd-generation Scottish-American gay man, is their use of the Scottish lion as their emblem. The Scottish lion, also known as the Lion Rampant- is the royal symbol of Scotland, can be found on the Royal Standard of Scotland or Scottish Royal Flag and has been a symbol of strength for the Scottish people for nearly 1000 years. While the flag was in use beginning as early as 1222, the most famous Scottish King the flag represented, and the first Scottish King to take the British thrown was James the IV and I.

King James IV and I

While King James was known for a lot of things, most notably for printing the most commonly-used edition of the Bible, he is also commonly thought of as being the first gay king of England. From a young age, James was enamored with his second cousin, Esme Stuart d’Aubigny and reportedly a long romance ensued. This was followed by the King’s romantic relationship with young Robert Carr shortly after James was crowned King of England. During a festival, Carr fell off his horse and broke his leg. Famously, James came running to his side, carried him to safety and personally saw to it that Carr had the best medical attention. Their affair continued off and on for years and both Carr and James had other romances with men as well.

As for present-day Scotland, well – it has a much better record of LGBT protections than say, America. They decriminalized homosexuality in 1981. The U.S. did it in 2003. In 2009, the national law stated that gay couples could adopt children. We still have no federal protection for that in the US. Gays and lesbians have been legally allowed to serve openly in the military since 2000, and while Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed, it has still not been implemented. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are protected classes in Scotland, we are still awaiting that in the U.S. Additionally, though ASDTFP espouses to spread Catholicism through their actions (called “Crusades” on their website), I find it interesting that less than 16% of Scotland’s people self-identify as Roman Catholic.

So in conclusion, though ASDTFP may think they are using a strong symbol of what they believe to be anti-gay, pro-heterosexual “values,” the truth of the matter is they are carrying around a symbol which represents a socially-advanced country that represents all its citizens.

Scotland and it’s children would be ashamed to see the Lion Rampant being carried as a banner to discriminate and hate others. Might we recommend another flag to co-opt for your cause? Both the animal symbol and the country itself have a bit more in common with the bigotry you’re pushing.

The Flag of Uganda