Despite all of the progress made so far on LGBT rights, on Tuesday, Louisiana voted to uphold the state’s anti-sodomy law, 67-27, despite it being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in their landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.
In its decision, the court ruled that laws prohibiting sodomy seek “to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals.”
Unless you live in Louisiana?
In fact, in addition to Louisiana and Texas, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma have all maintained their own anti-sodomy laws, despite their direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision. In three of these states — Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas — such anti-sodomy laws pertain exclusively to “homosexual conduct.”
The Louisiana bill in question, HB12, proposed to amend “crime against nature…” and was introduced in January by State House Representative Patricia Smith (D-Baton Rouge). Although it seems painfully obvious that there is no reason on Earth to maintain such a law, Smith’s proposed bill was a direct response to the targeted arrests of gay men in her district who were profiled and lured by undercover police to agree to consensual sex. At least 12 men have been arrested in this “sodomy sting” since 2011, despite the fact that prosecutors refused to bring charges in every single case.
Gay blogger joe.my.God. reported that in a post called “Breeders: How Gay Men Destroyed the Left,” Lopez envisioned a dystopian future where women are nothing more than prisoners to an elite overclass of gay men.
“Gay men are men,” he wrote, and such, they eschew the company of women.
“Gestational surrogacy is a dream come true for woman-hating chauvinists who are bound to congregate under such an umbrella,” he said.
“Men enjoy all the ‘phallic’ privilege that the bourgeois patriarchy can provide” under this system, he said, “and women are put in their place. Not even in the kitchen, no - in a barracks somewhere, patrolled by goons who will snatch away their babies whenever the men demand it.”
So, let me get this straight - it is not the right, what with their Southern Baptists denying women right to clergy, with their “women must submit to men”, with their “there is no rape in marriage” that is subverting women. It is not the catholic right leaning church, what with its denial of women’s rights to clergy, nor the Morman right leaning church with their denial of women’s right to clergy or equity, It is not the Quiverfull movement that suggests ‘women are made to breed’ and men should “breed them as many times as possible. It is the gays, who are appropriating women for breeding..
Dangerous Liaisons: How a US Christian Legal Group is Keeping Gay Sex a Criminal Offense Around the World
Once more we see the bogus cause of “religious freedom” used as a thin reed to rationalize their bigotry and hate.
Now, this international battle over the constitutionality of anti-sodomy laws has moved to Belize, a Central American country where the government and an array of far-right religious forces are defending the draconian statute known as Section 53, which punishes same-sex “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” with 10 years in prison. Though Belize is tiny, the battle has attracted numerous American groups — including the prominent Christian legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — on the pro-criminalization side, providing advice to anti-gay bigots in Belize.
Perhaps that is why neither the ADF, nor any of the other American religious groups involved in Belize, say a word about their involvement in the Belize case on their websites.The ADF is a serious organization. Founded in 1994 by 30 prominent Christian leaders in response to what they saw as “growing attacks on religious freedom,” the organization has an annual budget of more than $30 million, a staff of 44 in-house lawyers and 2,200 allied lawyers. Its board is stacked with luminaries not only from the religious right, but also with partners from powerful law firms and captains of industry.
The ADF believes that religious freedom is under attack worldwide. It has in recent years built an international legal network and placed staffers overseas because it sees “a risk of winning a domestic battle while potentially — in time — losing the world.” Its website states that it is active in 31 foreign countries and describes a number of global initiatives. But it makes no mention of its criminalization work.
There is great hypocrisy here. Surely such work, providing legal or other counsel to keep a law on the books that lands gay people in jail for consensual sex, violates the oft-stated principle of the religious right that their theology teaches to hate the sin, but love the sinner. Perhaps that is why neither the ADF, nor any of the other American religious groups involved in Belize, say a word about their involvement in the Belize case on their websites. They also refuse to speak to the press about the case.
Their work is fanning the flames of anti-gay hatred that already exists in many of the countries where they are injecting themselves. As in Uganda, American groups have been propagandizing about the “recruitment” of young schoolchildren, the allegedly depraved and diseased lives of LGBT people, the pedophilia that is supposedly common among gay men, and the destruction of Christianity and the institution of marriage that they seem certain ending anti-LGBT laws will lead to. This vicious propaganda, born and bred by American ideologues, has found fertile soil across the globe.
The Belize case is important. Overturning Section 53 could lead to the demise of similar statutes in a dozen other Caribbean countries that belong to the Commonwealth of former British colonies. This would mark a major step forward in securing full human rights for the LGBT community. It also could affect the even larger battle of the United Nations to influence scores of countries that signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which took effect in 1976, to outlaw statutes criminalizing gay sex and to prevent anti-LGBT discrimination.
More: Dangerous Liaisons
The irony of asking a hate group leader if he’s bothered by the alleged “intolerance” of his critics seems to be lost on Kelly.
Perkins isn’t just an opponent of same-sex marriage - he’s made a career of peddling false and degrading smears about LGBT people, including:
Falsely claiming that gay men are more likely to molest children
Comparing gay activists to terrorists and labeling them pawns of the devil
Applauding Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, calling it an effort “to uphold moral conduct”
Perkinshas repeatedly used discussions about LGBT suicide to score cheap political points, claiming that LGBT teens kill themselves because they know being gay is “abnormal” and that they are “in rebellion to God’s design.” In a letter to supporters, Perkins called the anti-suicide “It Gets Better” project an attempt to “recruit” kids into a “lifestyle” of “perversion.” He’s even blamed high suicide rates in the military on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Kelly’s softball segment is the second time five days that she’s attempted to whitewash Perkins’ well-documented history of extreme anti-gay commentary.
Four years ago, the two us of joined forces and launched a federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, a ballot initiative which eliminated the right of same-sex couples in California to marry. Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear argument in that case. The central question is whether a state may exclude gay and lesbian Americans from what the Supreme Court has called “the most important relation in life”—the institution of marriage. The answer is no.
We represent two loving and committed couples. In many ways, our clients’ relationships are indistinguishable from our own: They have lives and homes together, they are raising children, they have jobs, they pay bills, they run errands. They experience together many of the joys and sorrows and laughter of life as a family in America.
But California has locked them out of the institution of marriage because they are gay. As the official voter guide expressly stated in 2008, Proposition 8 was enacted to communicate, with the force of law, that gay and lesbian relationships are not “okay.” This sent the unmistakable message that such relationships are unworthy of the respect, dignity and status that society accords to marriages—a status even our opponents describe as “indispensable to the integrity of the individual.”
When we filed this case in 2009, some suggested that the American people were not ready to embrace gay men and lesbians as equals with respect to the right of marriage. People spoke of the potential of a Roe v. Wade backlash, or even a culture war, if the courts ruled in favor of ending this harsh, unnecessary and demeaning form of discrimination.
This never made sense because, while Roe was perceived as creating a new constitutional right out of whole cloth, the Supreme Court has recognized at least 14 times that marriage is a fundamental right of all individuals.
In any event, public opinion has since shifted dramatically in favor of marriage equality. This month, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 58% of Americans favor marriage equality, compared with just 36% against. The same poll found an astonishing 81% of adults under 30 in favor of marriage equality. That poll came on the heels of a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of marriage equality filed by more than 100 prominent Republicans.
As a result, our opponents have shifted gears. They argue that the growing support for marriage equality means that the courts should leave to the states whether to permit marriage equality sometime in the indefinite future.
But as we proved during a 12-day trial that we won in a California federal district court in 2010, laws like Proposition 8 cause devastating harm to gay and lesbian couples and their children. Exclusion from the institution of marriage marks those couples and their children with a badge of inferiority. The damage this does to their hearts and minds is immeasurable—and the damage it does to all of us and our belief in the nation’s ideal of equality is incalculable.
For one to say that the Supreme Court should leave the question of marriage equality to the political processes of the states is to say that states should remain free to discriminate—to impose this pain and humiliation on gay men and lesbians and their children—for as long as they wish, without justification. The Constitution forbids such an indecent result. It did not tolerate it in separate schools and drinking fountains, it did not tolerate it with respect to bans on interracial marriage, and it does not tolerate it here.
Because of their sexual orientation—a characteristic with which they were born and which they cannot change—our clients and hundreds of thousands of gay men and lesbians in California and across the country are being excluded from one of life’s most precious relationships.
Opening to them participation in the unique and immensely valuable institution of marriage will not diminish the value or status of marriage for heterosexuals, but withholding marriage causes infinite and permanent stigma, pain and isolation. It denies gay men and lesbians their identity and their dignity; it labels their families as second-rate.
That outcome cannot be squared with the principle of equality and the unalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness that is the bedrock promise of America from the Declaration of Independence to the 14th Amendment, and the dream of all Americans. This badge of inequality must be extinguished.
The Incredible Story of What Happened When Two Gay Men Were Harassed While Waiting for Pizza (video at link)
This past weekend I was a part of something incredible that happened in my community of Columbus, Ohio. After a fun night out in the Short North, my friend Ethan and I ventured down the street to a popular pizza truck called Mikey’s Late Night Slice. As a frequent late night visitor to the truck I knew the requisite wait in line is part of the process for securing an insanely good slice of pizza. It was really cold so Ethan and I were holding hands and standing close together to keep warm, we were laughing and joking about all the fun we’d had that night, when all of the sudden the guy in front of us turns around and tells us to cut our “gay shit” out.
I was a bit startled by his words but I didn’t expect what happened next. Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that. By happenstance my friend John, who is also gay, was standing in front of him and as he continued his rant about being disgusted by us we both let him know that this was our city too and that we were not about to stand down to his bigoted ideas, especially not in one of the gayest neighborhoods in town. As he continued it was actually the straight people in line who spoke up that were so awesome.
JONAH, a Jewish center in New Jersey that offers therapy to reverse homosexuality, is being sued for allegedly making fraudulent claims.
Four gay men and two of their mothers filed the suit Tuesday in New Jersey Superior Court against Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, which offers treatments that the group says can turn its clients straight. Some of the treatments include using rabbinic writings on the subject of homosexuality.
The lawsuit, which was filed through the Southern Poverty Law Center, maintains that the center uses misleading pretenses to entice clients to enroll in its program. The plaintiffs are previous clients of JONAH.
“JONAH profits off of shameful and dangerous attempts to fix something that isn’t broken,” said Christine Sun of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Despite the consensus of mainstream professional organizations that conversion therapy doesn’t work, this racket continues to scam vulnerable gay men and lesbians out of thousands of dollars and inflicts significant harm on them.”
For the social conservatives who gathered in Washington, D.C., today for this year’s Values Voter Summit, the first day’s speeches must have been a bit disappointing. There was hardly a peep about the LGBT people who are so often the target of vicious rhetoric and false propaganda used by the summit’s host, the Family Research Council, and some of its co-sponsoring groups.
In fact, the star attraction, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, stuck mostly to foreign policy and the economy - as did House Majority leader Eric Cantor.
That clearly frustrated American Family Association’s (AFA) Bryan Fischer, an unrelenting gay-basher who has blamed gay men for orchestrating the Holocaust and claimed that the HIV virus doesn’t cause AIDS.
“The biggest mistake is they put a bag over Paul Ryan’s head,” he told Talking Points Memo. Fischer added that he was “deeply disturbed” that the congressman from Wisconsin did not even mention his campaign’s opposition to gay marriage. “I got to believe that there was some kind of directive from the top of the campaign: We don’t want you to deal with this issue.”
There may be some truth to what Fischer says - though that would be a rarity.
In his speech, Tim Wildmon, Fischer’s boss at the AFA, told the crowd he “had to stick to his script” and “stay on message.” As a result he read from prepared remarks that mostly involved discussions of historical figures.
It seems everyone wanted to be on their best behavior.
Even Muslim-bashing appeared to be off-limits, perhaps because of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and the spreading anti-American violence triggered by an anti-Islam propaganda film made in the U.S. that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad in particularly offensive ways.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann couldn’t help herself, though. She warned of looming speech codes enforced by Muslims and of a 10-year plan led by an international Islamic institute to install Shariah law in America
The first hint of trouble came in an e-mail message. It reached me on Friday, March 17, 2000, at 4:09 p.m. The message was from a guy named Jeff in Erie, Pa., who was otherwise unknown to me.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why Jeff was writing me. He kept referring to some college course, and he seemed to be very exercised over it. He wanted to know what it was really about. He went on sarcastically to suggest that I tell the executive committee of the English department to include in the curriculum, for balance, another course, entitled “How to Be a Heartless Conservative.”
It turned out that Jeff was not alone in his indignation. A dozen e-mail messages, most of them abusive and some of them obscene, followed in quick succession. The subsequent days and weeks brought many more.
Eventually, I realized that earlier on that Friday, the registrar’s office at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where I teach English, had activated its course-information Web site, listing the classes to be offered during the fall term. At virtually the same moment, the Web site of the National Review had run a story called “How to Be Gay 101.” Except for the heading, the story consisted entirely of one page from Michigan’s newly published course listings.
So what was this story that was too good for theNational Review, which had evidently been tipped off,to keep under wraps for a single day? It had to do with an undergraduate English course I had just invented called “How to Be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation.”
The course examined how gay men acquire a conscious identity, a common culture, a particular outlook on the world, a distinctive sensibility. It was designed to explore a basic paradox: How do you become who you are? Or, as the course description put it: “Just because you happen to be a gay man doesn’t mean that you don’t have to learn how to become one.”
After years of watching The Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City and preferring the products of Habitat and Ikea to Adidas and Puma, you finally acknowledge that there may be trouble ahead. What to do, though? Even if you tell your parents gently that you are having issues with your sexual identity, you know that they will either pretend they didn’t hear you or that you should seek counsel from the parish priest. You might as well tell him that all this time he thought you were human you were really a horse. If he’s not actually gay himself he’ll simply say: “Take two paracetamol and lie down until the feeling goes away.”
This is why we really ought not to be surprised by the number of gay men who continue to join the Catholic priesthood. Suddenly, a lifetime of celibate service in the church becomes rather appealing. What better way to submerge your sinful sexual desires and assuage your Catholic guilt than to become a priest? After all, they never have sex so your exotic and unusual sexuality will never become an issue.
But life can rarely be compartmentalised quite as simply as that. And so from being a troubled adolescent you become an unhappy, lonely and resentful man. You continue to serve the church and care for those whom God has sent you as best you can. Inside, though, you die a little more each time the Vicar of Christ and St Peter’s successor tells the world that you are a grotesque, an abnormality, a freak show.
This is a chilling time to be Catholic and gay in Scotland. For some of the rest of us it is simply depressing. My beloved church is not enjoying its finest hour as it steps up its opposition to the SNP government’s plans to permit same-sex marriages. The church, led by Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, as wise and gentle as senior clergy come, believes that the unique importance of marriage in the world will be damaged and undermined if the gift is extended to two people of the same sex.