A record number of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll support civil unions for gay couples.
Overall, 55 percent favor allowing homosexual couples to form legally recognized civil unions, giving them the same rights as married couples in areas such as health insurance, inheritance and pension coverage. That's up from 45 percent in an ABC/Post poll in 2006; the previous high was 51 percent in 2004.
On a down note, conservative Republicans and evangelical white Protestants oppose civil unions by more than 2-1, and Republicans overall oppose them by 58-39 percent. It is heartbreaking that the brainwashed among us have been peddled the poison that discrimination is "God's Plan." How these people took a message of love and disfigured it into a dogma of intolerance is quite sad. Such mean-spirited ignorance is why religion is viewed unfavorably by so many young people today.
Fortunately, most Americans have overcome such small-mindedness and finally understand we deserve equality. We are winning!!! It is time for James Dobson to pick up his marbles and go home.
Scandal-tinged NARTH Conference Also Fails To Generate Support
The so-called "ex-gay" industry suffered twin setbacks in the past month with two highly touted events failing to live up to expectations. This week, the much-anticipated "Allies Too" campaign floundered in its attempt to win support in high schools for its ex-gay message. This sub par campaign followed the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality's (NARTH) annual conference in Dallas, which attracted only 50 therapists, according to media reports. The double disappointments reveal that ex-gay programs do not have broad public support and are merely publicity stunts with little following or substance, said Truth Wins Out.
"The 'Allies Too' week was a bust because students were smart enough to understand that it was an exclusionary ex-gay message packaged and sold as a tolerance campaign," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "NARTH's support has been eroding ever since it was discovered that its website housed an essay that seemed to justify slavery. Credible researchers don't want to be associated with this fringe organization and I think this was reflected in the paltry attendance numbers at NARTH's annual conference."
The Allies Too campaign received little media attention outside of a few fundamentalist Christian websites and publications. Having checked with sources, there is little evidence that it even left a footprint in schools. Indeed, there were so few real participants, that a puff article in The Christian Post was reduced to quoting the 19-year old brother of Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America.
Richard Cohen does not get it - he is not only discredited (expelled from the American Counseling Association for life) but he is considered a circus act - by the left and right. About the only thing that I agree with Exodus International on, is that Cohen is a buffoon.
Apparently, he did not get the memo - as he has a new book, "Gay Children, Straight Parents." His previous books were "Coming Out Straight" where he taught people how to bang a tennis racket against a pillow to become heterosexual; and "Alfie's Home, a tragically perverse ex-gay animated book marketed to toddlers. Can someone get this man some serious help?
If I am ever this nutty - I beg my family and friends to tell me first - before I go on national television and make a total ass of myself.
The residence of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was cordoned off by police Friday as the opposition leader was placed under house arrest in an apparent move to quash an anti-government rally she had planned to lead. Police strung lengths of razor wire around her Islamabad home.
But, more important, with this set-up how will she get Chinese food or a pizza delivered to her house? What a total mess in Pakistan! Isn't it amazing that everyone Bush praises either falls out of favor (Tony Blair) or becomes a dictator (Putin and Musharraf). A compliment from Bush is surely the kiss of death.
The Senate vote on the water-resources veto was the first time Bush has been overridden. A new coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans are banding together to stop the insanity. I think this vote marks the true beginning of the end for Bush - as his own party will increasingly buck his authority.
In the House on Wednesday, 35 Republicans joined 200 Democrats voting for ENDA, which was approved 235 to 184. Voting against the bill were 25 Democrats and 159 Republicans. Ted Kennedy will now introduce a bill in the Senate.
Unfortunately, the House bill did not include gender identity - which is just tragic and leaves many people behind. However, we must stop the political battle and our disappointment for a moment to say - "WOW" - after 30 long, hard years, it finally passed the House. Of course, as we reflect on the moment everyone knows that Bush will veto it, even if it is approved by the Senate. This is even more incentive to put a Democrat in the White House. Now that Rudy has the endorsement of Preachy Pat - he will quickly forget his drag days in New York City.
Finally, the anti-gay bigots must be having fits. The debate over gender identity was the big dust up. That sexual orientation was hardly controversial, shows that groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council are losing badly. Their so-called culture war was a great big bust, a waste of time and money (except for their personal bank accounts) that hurt many people, but gained little.
Conservatism is just going down the tubes. It is overrun with corruption, sex scandals, general hypocrisy and even scumbaggery - which is defined as a heinous act of breathtaking and backstabbing treachery. The latest example is Regnery Publishing, a Washington imprint of Conservative books, which is now being sued by five of its authors. They are charging that the company deprives its writers of royalties by selling their books at a steep discount to book clubs and other organizations owned by the same parent company.
In a suit filed in United States District Court in Washington yesterday, the authors Jerome R. Corsi, Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray and Richard Miniter state that Eagle Publishing, which owns Regnery, "orchestrates and participates in a fraudulent, deceptively concealed and self-dealing scheme to divert book sales away from retail outlets and to wholly owned subsidiary organizations within the Eagle conglomerate."
In other words, they are being true conservatives. How many scandals do we need before people realize that those who preach the most are hiding something? Social conservatism is a mask for wrongdoing. People are drawing attention to this mask and screaming, "look at me - look how good, holy and pure I am. I am a role model." As people are diverted by the facade, they rob you blind and have sex on bathroom floors. Isn't it time for the conservative movement to slink away in shame and put up a sign that says "Out of Business"? We already know they are out of their minds.
The Montgomery County (Maryland) Council is considering a new gender identity nondiscrimination bill, which has angered some people - a few which have gone off the deep end. It has also generated a batch of unpleasant letters to the Council. The websites BoxTurtle Bulletin and Teach The Facts report that the following letter came from Gabriel Espinosa, the webmaster for Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays: (in 40-point type)
Allowing men who think they're women into women's bathrooms and locker rooms?
ARE YOU PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS?
Hopefully, it will be one of your daughters who gets raped first!
Sincerely Yours, Gabriel Espinosa President Furryllama Media Productions
As we have pointed out, PFOX's former president and cult member, Richard Cohen, was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association. PFOX has recently drawn controversy for either faking or greatly exaggerating "hate crimes" against members who staffed a booth for the organization. The webmaster prior to the unhinged Espinosa was a violent individual who went by the name "Burning Black Triangle." Clearly, PFOX is a nut magnet that attracts the bizarre and unstable. It is scary that they keep trying to foist their insanity onto the public schools. This letter is representative of PFOX - a vulgar group that is nearly devoid of content. It is clear that PFOX is not pro-family - but profanity.
Politics sure does make strange bedfellows. Today, the Rev. Pat Robertson, endorsed the Pro-Choice Rudy Giuliani. The question I have is this: If he is able to compromise on abortion - would Preachy Pat be able to support an openly gay Republican who shared his views on war and fighting terrorism?
This was originally going to be a column defending the Human Rights Campaign. I had grown tired of people taking cheap potshots at them over inclusion (or not) of transgender Americans in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The gratuitous, invective-laced attacks appeared vicious, personal, counterproductive and designed to damage the organization - and hence the overall interests of GLBT people.
Further aggravating me were churlish remarks on Internet chat rooms where supposedly professional activists would say things like, "HRC has no right to speak for me and does not represent the gay community." Well, the truth is, they do speak for you, by virtue of the fact they are the largest membership organization and have a $30 million dollar budget. This affords them a unique platform and by claiming their voice is irrelevant, it only hurts the status of the entire GLBT cause on Capitol Hill.
Whether you like it or not, HRC has built the best - or at least most financially viable - mousetrap. America is a free country, and if HRC detractors think they can do better - there is nothing stopping them from marching up to Capitol Hill and making it happen.
Now that I have taken a swipe at the irrational HRC haters, the organization has earned some legitimate criticism on their handling of the ENDA debate. They have made an absolute mess of the situation and damaged their reputation and credibility as an honest powerbroker.
For starters, Executive Director Joe Solmonese told a packed room of transgender people at the Southern Comfort Conference in September that HRC would oppose any version of ENDA that doesn't include protection for transgender people. This was followed by an Oct. 2, 2007 press release - posted on the blog Pam's House Blend:
"Since 2004, HRC has had in place a policy that supports only a fully inclusive version of ENDA and the Board of Directors voted to reaffirm that position," wrote Solmonese. "Therefore, we are not able to support, nor will we encourage Members of Congress to vote against, the newly introduced sexual orientation only bill."
Yet - today we come to find that HRC circulated a letter on Capitol Hill - along with other civil rights groups - asking members of Congress to support a non-trans inclusive bill. The letter said, "we urge you to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and to oppose any floor amendments or motions that would undermine its protections."
Reasonable people can disagree on whether HRC should take this incremental approach or wait for a more inclusive bill. I sided with a more inclusive bill for three reasons:
We owe transgender Americans much for their activism and it is the right thing to do
The transgender community is too small and does not have the money or votes to gain protections on their own.
Bush is going to veto ENDA anyway, so we should use this as an opportunity to educate America on transgender Americans.
The other side, led by Rep. Barney Frank, believes that we should seize the moment and pass a bill that has been stymied for thirty years. This, of course, is a difficult debate, and Frank's position is not without merit.
What is unacceptable, is for HRC to tell a packed house of transgender people that they will stand up for them - and then pull the rug out when the going gets tough. The promise of inclusion should never have been made unless HRC intended to keep its word.
In full spin mode, HRC is claiming that they are simply adjusting their position to new facts on the ground - meaning they polled Congress and they won't pass a trans-inclusive bill. This explanation is alarming, in that one would think HRC would have taken a "whip" count on their signature piece of legislation before they ended up getting whipped. Had they no idea of where Congress stood before making such flowery promises at the Southern Comfort conference? And, if they were aware of the vote count, why did they offer promises they did not intend on delivering?
It was sad to listen to Solmonese dissemble on Mike Signorile's Sirius satellite radio show about how he was for a trans-inclusive bill before he was against it - and unable to answer the simple question: "Why should we believe any of your future grandiose statements about equality?"
HRC needs to learn to take a position and stick to it - or they can expect chronic detractors to stick it to HRC. A little honesty will go a long way in defusing battles that damage the entire community and divide our collective energies. There are those - like myself - who appreciate HRC as our voice in Washington. However, the organization is at its best when this voice is not coming from both sides of its mouth.
NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out called on mega-church televangelist Joel Osteen to apologize to gay and lesbian Americans for saying that they need "help" and comparing their love to drug addiction. The ignorant and offensive comments took place in an interview with reporter John King on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." According to the transcript:
JOHN KING: Some would say if you look at the Bible, homosexuality is wrong. Some use the term evil. You say gays are welcome in your church, even though you might not agree with their lifestyle. How do you deal with that as a person and as a minister and someone who many in your community look to for guidance?
JOEL OSTEEN: Well, the way I would - I would deal with that is that I think the worst thing we could do is say, "Well, this group can’t come, because they don't believe exactly like me." I want them to come to be able to receive help. That would be like saying that somebody has a drug addiction. You know what? I don’t believe that's right. I believe that's harming your body. But you know what? Come to our church. I want to give you help. I want to give you encouragement.
"We call on Joel Osteen to immediately apologize for his insulting remarks about gay and lesbian people," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "We are here to offer him help in kicking his addiction to cynically raising money off the backs of gay people. While there is nothing wrong with gay and lesbian Americans, there is something insidious about masking anti-gay prejudice under the cloak of religion."
Osteen is a televangelist who runs a Christian money cult out of a former Houston basketball stadium. His Jesus wants you to be rich philosophy has made him one of the most successful preachers in America. He is not known as a rabidly anti-gay preacher - so his remarks were hurtful and disappointing, says Truth Wins Out.
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out slammed Exodus International today for its slippery Allies Too Week, which masquerades as a tolerance campaign, when its real intention is to marginalize gay students, while encouraging bullies.
The website asks students to download a brochure which says, "A secondary problem arises when GLBT-advocacy groups attempt to solve the problem of bullying by indoctrinating all students with their values. Rather than promoting true tolerance, they polarize students by marketing their own ideas as 'progressive' and labeling all differing viewpoints as 'bigoted' and 'homophobic.'"
"The Allies Too campaign is dishonest in that it fails to inform students that Exodus repeatedly refers to gay people as 'perverse' and 'sexually broken,'" said Besen. "This group also works to pass anti-gay laws and believes that homosexuality is demonic. The Allies Too campaign is twisted, in that students who object to being insulted and labeled as defective are smeared as 'intolerant.' The Allies Too campaign is a slick attempt to turn logic on its head and make bullies feel that there is a moral justification for isolating and ridiculing gay students."