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Posts tagged "Marriage Equality"

The fight against LGBT equality in Florida is being spearheaded by John Stemberger, a man who claims homosexuality is a “pathology” and believes marriage equality will indoctrinate “schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle.”

Stemberger, who is president of the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), made national headlines this month after he asserted that “inner city” residents “have almost a barbarian society” due to the decline of marriage. During a July 30 interview on 100.7 WFLA, Stemberger suggested that allowing gay people to marry would ultimately destroy the institution of marriage, saying:

STEMBERGER: Marriage is a unique institution that does many, many things that are productive, so you want to encourage marriage. In the inner city right now we see what happens when marriage is gone. You have almost a barbarian society. It’s a very simple society. When marriage is gone, bad things happen in society.

His remarks were condemned as racist, but they’re just the latest in a long line of inflammatory comments from Stemberger. Through his work at the FFPC, frequent media appearances, and his founding of an anti-gay alternative to the Boy Scouts, Stemberger has emerged as one of the most virulently anti-gay social conservatives in the country.

The Florida Family Policy Council

Established in 2004, the FFPC is a state chapter of Focus on the Family, with a self-proclaimed mission ”to strengthen Florida’s families through public policy education, issue research, and grassroots advocacy.” While not formally affiliated with the organization, the FFPC is also closely tied to the Family Research Council (FRC), which has been branded an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

As one of the best-funded social conservative organizations in the state - the FFPC was among the anti-gay groups to receive funding from Chick-fil-A’s charitable division - the FFPC boasts ties to prominent Florida conservatives, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who keynoted the group’s Policy Awards Dinner in 2013. The FFPC focuses its efforts on advocating the teaching of creationism in public schools, abstinence-only sex education, and school vouchers, in addition to its crusades against reproductive rights, stem cell research, and LGBT equality.

The group is also a vehicle for a distinctly theocratic brand of conservatism. Stemberger has said that “no religion can save [America] except for Christians” and declared that public policy should be guided by “scripture.”

Most recently, the FFPC featured prominently in the debate over Florida’s anti-gay marriage amendment, which a federal judge struck down on August 21. Despite having slammed Republican state attorney general Pam Bondi in 2010 for being childless and “liv[ing] with her 60-year-old doctor boyfriend,” the FFPC lauded her defense of the state’s marriage equality ban in court, hailing Bondi as “an example of courage and responsible stewardship of her authority as the highest law enforcement officer in the state.”

The FFPC’s anti-gay agenda extends far beyond opposing marriage equality. The organization opposes gay 
adoption, calling same-sex parents “objectively inferior" to married heterosexual parents, despite study after study demonstrating that children of same-sex parents fare as well or better than those raised by opposite-sex parents. Moreover, the FFPC supports discredited ”ex-gay” therapy programs, with a page on its website listing resources for “leaving [the] gay lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, the FFPC’s “gay rights" page provides links to rabidly anti-gay commentary, featuring articles like "What Homosexuals Want" (courtesy of the anti-LGBT hate group the American Family Association) and “The Gay Agenda and Manipulation.” The page also links to an FRC pamphlet which asserts that homosexuality is linked to higher rates of pedophilia - a claim with no empirical basis.

Stemberger’s Anti-Gay Bigotry

After a decade at the helm of the FFPC, Stemberger has produced a lengthy track record of anti-gay rhetoric, including referring to homosexuality a “pathology.”

Among Stemberger’s most persistent fixations is how gay men express their sexuality. He finds “in-your-face” gay men particularly irksome. Denouncing “the social construct called ‘gay,’” Stemberger once defined that “construct” as “in your face, it’s shoving down your throat, and it’s intimidation.” During the run-up to the Boy Scouts’ 2013 vote on allowing openly gay members, Stemberger, in a Washington Times column, deemed those “who have same-sex attractions” acceptable members of the Scouts, but only if they were “discreet” and not “loud and proud.”

That fear of proud gay men may stem from Stemberger’s fondness for the anti-gay trope that gay men want to “recruit” young boys - an assertion he made during a July 2013 interview with hate group leader Peter LaBarbera:

Similarly, as Florida prepared to vote on its anti-gay marriage amendment in 2008, Stemberger justified the ban by stating that allowing gay marriages in the state “could result in the indoctrination of schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle.” Stemberger also sees a plot against young innocents in Walt Disney World’s Gay Days, which he has assailed as an opportunity for gay men to “flaunt” themselves in front of children while they enjoy “unbridled debauchery.”

Trail Life USA

Perhaps the seminal moment in Stemberger’s career of anti-gay extremism came during the debate over the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) policy banning gay scouts. Stemberger became one of the most prominent supporters of the BSA’s gay ban, appearing on CNN and Fox News to defend the policy.

Stemberger’s argued that accepting gay scouts would sexualize the organization and cause churches to pull their support for the organization. Speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon, he predicted that allowing for gay scouts would “literally destroy the program.”

Speaking with LaBarbera, Stemberger also predicted that allowing openly gay Scouts would ”increase sexual abuse” between boys:

When the BSA decided to end its ban on gay scouts, Stemberger lamented that it had been “one of the sadest [sic] days of my life”:

Stemberger responded to the vote by founding Trail Life USA, an anti-gay alternative to the BSA. In a September 2013 interview with right-wing radio host Janet Mefferd, Stemberger said that Trail life would not “tolerate activists. We’re not going to tolerate somebody who’s, you know, here and queer, loud and proud, all of that nonsense”:

Trail Life launched to much fanfare, with Fox News host Mike Huckabee delivering the keynote address at the group’s inaugural convention. The group’s membership policy appears to bar not only gay participants, but also gay rights supporters, stating that “[w]e grant membership to adults and youth who do not engage in or promote sexual immorality of any kind.” Although chapters had been established in 40 states by March, an assessment by the Associated Press deemed Trail Life a “tiny movement" overall.

Local media has rightly lambasted Stemberger for his “barbarian” comment, but his record of extreme and offensive rhetoric is far more extensive than is being reported. As the legal battle over Florida’s marriage ban intensifies, outlets are likely to continue turning to Stemberger for a “conservative” voice on LGBT issues. If and when they do, they should be prepared to shine a light on the animus and extremism that motivate his work. 

Previously:

Orlando Sentinel Whitewashes Boy Scout Alternative’s Anti-Gay Bigotry

Trail Life USA’s John Stemberger: Affirming Gay Youth Is “Tantamount To Abuse … Absolutely Nonsense”

Fox’s Huckabee To Keynote Event For Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Alternative

h/t: Luke Brinker and Coleman Lowndes at Equality Matters

H/T: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

Embedded image permalink

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Earlier this week, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates voted unanimously to endorse laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination. The lawyers’ organization resolved that LGBT people “have a right to be free from discrimination, threats, and violence” and condemned “all laws, regulations and rules or practices that discriminate” against people for being LGBT.

The resolution urges the repeal of all discriminatory laws and the implementation of “equal protection under the law of all LGBT people.” It also directly calls on the United States Government “to work to end discrimination against LGBT people” and ensure their equal protections under the law. Currently, there is no federal legislation being considered that would ensure that LGBT people could not be fired, evicted, or refused service based on their identities.

The ABA has 410,000 members across the country and sets ethical codes for the legal profession and academic standards for law schools. The organization has previously passed resolutions supporting marriage equality, opposing the use of “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in criminal cases, and calling for the passage of LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policies.

Source: Zack Ford for ThinkProgress

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: StLouis.cbslocal.com

thepoliticalfreakshow:

WASHINGTON — Following on the heels of Utah officials and an Oklahoma clerk, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring on Friday asked the Supreme Court to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of his state’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages.

What distinguishes Herring’s filing is that his is the first request to the Supreme Court by a party that backs the position of same-sex couples that the ban is unconstitutional.

Of the reason for hearing the claim, Herring, represented by Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael, argues that the Supreme Court should accept certiorari in the case because “[t]he question presented is vital to a large population of same-sex couples, to their children, and to their fellow Americans who believe that discriminating against gay people is both unfair and unconstitutional. They may fairly call this ‘the defining civil rights issue of our time.’”

Michèle McQuigg, the clerk of the circuit court in Prince William County, also has said that she will be filing a certiorari petition in the Virginia case. Like the clerk in Oklahoma, McQuigg is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.

Read the petition:

Source: Chris Geidner for Buzzfeed Politics

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson continued his pattern of championing anti-LGBT discrimination, warning that gay rights and Christianity are incompatible and asserting that a society that affirms LGBT equality “is a society bent on suicide.”

In an August 7 Townhall.com column titled “Tolerate or Be Stamped Out,” Erickson lamented the growing marginalization of anti-LGBT attitudes, charging that pro-equality activists are determined to purge Christians from American society:

In fact,enormous energy is being expended by the left in America to make Christianity and Christians unacceptable. A New York Times writer wants to stamp out those views “ruthlessly.” He describes those with orthodox Christian views on marriage as unworthy of civility. Anonymous groups expose the home addresses of mostly Christians and subject them to harassment. This is not happening to orthodox Jews or Muslims, but to Christians.

It raises a serious question Americans must confront — are gay rights and Christianity compatible? The answer appears to be no. As gay rights activists use the tactics of Bull Connor to push for what they declare civil rights, they are targeting churches, religiously affiliated groups and Christian businesses for harassment and lawsuits.

Across the country, the left has decided our sexual preference is something we are born with, but our gender is something we get to decide. Anyone who thinks otherwise is threatened and harassed. Several thousand-year-old pillars of society are being shoved aside in the name of tolerance. Those who speak up for sanity, tradition and faith are treated scornfully.

This will not end well for any of us. Despite surveys designed to show the contrary, children tend to do best with mothers and fathers.A society that willfully undermines perpetuating itself is a society bent on suicide. One thing is for sure — a faith that survived its followers being used as torches to light the streets of Rome will survive a modern age hell bent on ruthlessly stamping it out. [emphasis added]

Erickson’s latest apoplectic screed is par for the course from the Fox News commentator. Last month, he endorsed a Georgia congressional candidate’s view that “the homosexual movement … is destroying America.” Previously, Erickson has written that gay people are on the “road to hell" and warned businesses that serve gay couples that they are "aiding and abetting" sin. Moreover, Erickson is a prominent supporter of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing legal group working internationally to help criminalize homosexuality.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA

h/t: CBSStLouis.com

Hey, Mr. Garlow, Prop 8 IS DEAD!!! 

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The AJC’s Political Insider spoke to Jason Carter’s spokesperson about his stance on marriage equality after noting the GA Voice’s editorial on Tuesday saying it was time for him to state his public position on the matter.

And this is what Carter’s spokesperson Bryan Thomas told the AJC:

“Jason has long supported marriage equality, and has said so to anyone who asked him. He doesn’t think we should ever be in a position of telling churches what to do, but has long been on the record in support of civil marriage equality.”

The AJC said our editorial was “puzzling” because reporters there were sure they had heard him state this position before.

During Carter’s four years in the Senate, the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage never became an issue, even at the committee level, so the video record is slim.

But we’re pretty sure we’ve heard Carter, whose Decatur-based district is very gay friendly, express himself on the issue.

We scoured the AJC archives and could not find anything. We scoured the internet seeking seeking anything about what Carter’s stance may be. Nothing except a dodge of the question in a Huffington Post interview in March. We even tried to ask him the question at the Atlanta HRC dinner this year and he declined to answer any questions.

We’ve been requesting interviews with Sen. Carter for months so we could ask him this question, and many others, to no avail. And now that a lawsuit has been filed in Georgia challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and governors across the country are taking sides on the issue, we felt it was only fair Sen. Carter have the opportunity to answer.

Carter is joining fellow Democrat Greg Hecht in supporting marriage equality. Hecht is also running for state-wide office in a campaign to defeat Attorney General Sam Olens and has said if he was elected he would not defend the lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on marriage equality.

We are grateful that Georgia Equality Jeff Graham told the AJC that “he was pleased by the above statement, but suggested that the Carter campaign might want to be more responsive to LGBT media in the future.”

Kudos must also be given to Project Q Atlanta for writing the story that prompted our editorial about an LGBT fundraiser for Carter in which nearly $100,000 was raised without Carter having to even say the word “gay” or “LGBT.”

And we are very grateful and hopeful now that state Sen. Carter’s has cleared up any confusion on the matter. Thank you, Sen. Carter, for your leadership in making Georgia even better. LGBT and progressive voters should be fired up to head to the polls to oust Nathan Deal and put a man with experience, knowledge, compassion, smarts and strong leadership skills to make Georgia a place we can all be proud to call home.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Tuesday he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Virginia’s same-sex marriage suit.

Herring says he plans to file the petition Friday to “definitively settle the constitutional issues for the Commonwealth and the rest of the country.” Utah filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier Tuesday.

A filing Tuesday in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals requested the Court stay its mandate pending the Supreme Court’s decision whether to hear the case. 

The three-judge panel split 2-1 last week to uphold a prior district court’s decision the state’s ban is unconstitutional. 

Click here to read the full ruling: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wwbt/PDF/20140728%20BosticOpinion.pdf

"Throughout this case, I have fought for the fundamental rights of Virginians and the quickest possible resolution," said Attorney General Herring. "I believe the district and appeals courts ruled correctly in striking down Virginia’s discriminatory marriage ban, but it has long been clear that the Supreme Court will likely have the final word. I want that decision to come as soon as possible and I want the voices of Virginians to be heard. This case has moved forward at an incredibly swift pace, and I look forward to a final resolution that affirms the fundamental right of all Virginians to marry."

Virginia’s General Assembly approved the same-sex marriage ban in 2005 and it was ratified into law by 57 percent of voters in 2006.

Attorney General Mark Herring has sided with same-sex marriage advocates, however both sides have conceded the final decision likely will be made in the Supreme Court.

The law is being challenged by Timothy Bostic and Tony London, a Virginia Beach couple, as well as Carol Schall and Mary Townley from Chesterfield.

Bostic and London have been in a relationship since 1989 and have lived together for more than 20 years. They applied for a marriage license in Norfolk in July 2013, but were denied by the clerk of court.

Schall and Townley have been together since 1985, have a child together and were legally wed in California in 2008. 

Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff of Staunton and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd of Winchester also joined the suit.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to the Associated Press, however those rulings remain in various stages of appeal.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the District of Columbia and 19 states. In all, the AP counts more than 70 cases filed in the remaining 31 states prohibiting same-sex marriage.