Proposition 8, perhaps the most emotional measure on the ballot, would overturn a recent California Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.
At least 39% of the $3.3 million supporting Proposition 8's proposed ban on same-sex marriage has come from outside California -- much of it from Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs group headed by conservative Christian James Dobson.
Opponents have drawn 52% of their $5.7 million from outside the state.
Bruce W. Bastian, an Orem, Utah, philanthropist who helped found WordPerfect Software, gave $1 million two weeks ago to the No on 8 campaign and hopes his contribution will encourage others to do the same.
"There are a lot of other rich gay people. They can do something," Bastian said. "They don't have to be gay. They just have to oppose discrimination."
Bastian, 60, said he decided to get involved when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to help raise money to support the measure.
"I wanted to level the playing field so our side has sufficient funds to tell our story," said Bastian, who was a Mormon in his youth. "I believe if you tell people the truth and let them decide and let them know who we are, people will come down on our side."
Mr. Bastian has also contributed to Truth Wins Out. His generosity should be applauded and more people should follow his philanthropic lead.
"Crystal Christian" is an exciting new play with music that examines the million-dollar therapy industry of the so-called ex-gay ministries. The play itself attempts to tackle the misuse of the word unnatural in regards to sexual diversity, as well as indict the questionable methods of the ex-gay ministries' 'reparative therapy'. The play finds hypocrisy swarming inside the evangelical pageant, where shame is a virus. It would be hysterical if it weren't so horrifying.
The Magic Theatre has offered to host First Sprout Theatre for a week-long workshop in mid-August that will culminate in three shows over the weekend of August 15-17, 2008 at the Magic Theatre Northside Space, Fort Mason Center, Building D.
August 15th - 8pm August 16th - 8pm August 17th - 2:30 pm
Tickets are ten dollars, cash only at the door of the Magic Theatre's Northside Space. Every show is two for the price of one. Please email: email@example.com, to reserve seats for any of the three performances.
I knew something was up when I received more than a dozen e-mails last night from irate religious fanatics who insulted me in their special "loving" way. To their credit, these zealots were slightly more polite than the despicable people who sent 50+ hate mails following my appearance on The O'Reilly Factor the night before. Most of these lovely folks wished me a painful death from AIDS or an eternity in Hell. While such letters don't bother me, as it is part of the job - I'm always impressed by conservative manners and morality.
I soon learned that the new batch of e-mails were generated from Focus on the Family, which had launched a sleazy personal attack against me and my integrity on their online tabloid Citizen Link. I've often said that a Focus on the Family ad for the website should read: "Citizen Link: For People Who Don't Think." Here is what the tabloid said:
It looks like there will be a few uninvited guests when Dr. James Dobson officially is inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in November. Gay activist Wayne Besen, who reportedly preferred Howard Stern to win the popular vote, plans to protest the Chicago event. He's called Dr. Dobson "an extremist who has built his empire on the backs of gays and lesbians" and "a bigot who distorts scientific research. Gary Schneeberger, vice president for media and public relations (PR) at Focus on the Family, called Besen "a PR pro of the first order." "He puts words into sentences very colorfully," Schneeberger said. "And that attracts the media's attention. Unfortunately, he's a little less adept at putting truth into sentences."
The most outrageous lie told in the story was that it was gay activists, not James Dobson, who distorted research. I have written two books and hundreds of press releases and articles, yet I have not once been accused by a scientist of distorting his or her work. Meanwhile, Dobson has been taken to the woodshed by seven scientists in two years for twisting their science to fit his version of Scripture. Talk about spin! Here is what Focus on the Falsehoods had to say:
As for "distorting research," Schneeberger said it's the gay activists who are doing the distorting.
In 2006, Dr. Dobson was invited to write an opinion piece for TIME magazine about the benefits of traditional marriage to children and society. In the article, Dr. Dobson pointed to a handful of scientific studies that found mothers and fathers parent differently.
"He never said the scientists agreed with his conclusion that gay marriage is bad for society," Schneeberger said. "He merely said their data could be used to reach his conclusion -- which is 100 percent true, but something the scientists didn't appreciate because of their ideological leanings."
Here are the facts: The seven scientists from three countries who said that Dobson distorted their work were not so-called gay activists. Indeed, I have no idea about their political leanings any more than Dobson does. When I cold called each scientist to let them know Dobson bastardized their work, they did not even know who I was. Yet, they were grateful at the opportunity to set the record straight and upbraid Double-Talk Dobson for manipulating their research.
Clearly, Dobson is the one lying, not me. By saying otherwise, Focus on the Family is bearing false witness. They are also trying to shoot the messenger (me) because they can't stand up to the seven scientists who accused Dobson of misrepresenting their studies for political gain.
Memo to Focus - this is not about me, this is about Dobson refusing to address the concerns of these scientists.
These esteemed doctors ALL tried to address Focus on the Family and they were met with silence. What is Focus on the Family so afraid of? Why won't they take the calls or answer the letters from the very scientists that they misquote?
Make no mistake - what Dobson did was lowbrow. He wanted to make the point that gay people are inherently worthless, so he cherry picked work from respected researchers to make it look like their secular, scientific conclusions bolstered his religious opinions. As a former child psychologist, he has the training to splice and dice this legitimate research to make it appear as if it supported his erroneous and unsubstantiated conclusions. Thus, it is fair to conclude that Dobson knew exactly what he was doing and therefore his distortions were deliberate.
Dobson should apologize for his outrageously immoral behavior. Notice that in the Citizen Link article, he did not mention that there were SEVEN researchers who took him to task in a period of two years. Notice, that he and his PR puppet Gary Schneeberger did not link to any of Truth Wins Out's videos.
By withholding such crucial information, Focus on the Family ensured that their members who read the tabloid story were unable to judge the veracity of Dobson's claims. Leave it to Focus on the Family to give their fans half the story and a quarter of the facts so they are unable to come to their own conclusions. Sometimes, it seems this organization disrespects their own members and donors, even more than the gay community.
Focus on the Family must realize that Truth Wins Out is determined to expand its Respect My Research program in the coming year. We are only going to make lying more difficult for this organization. Dobson and Schneeberger are playing a game they are not going to win - as the Truth is a powerful weapon that can overcome the money-changer amounts of money that flow through their luxurious castle in Colorado Springs.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart was booted out of office by voters in his district, finishing third in a three-way primary. Rinehart came under scrutiny this month when he mailed a 16-page cartoon book as part of his re-election campaign that makes fun of gays and criticizes his political opponents. The book featured an angel who supports Rinehart and Satan, who supports his critics. It also included a gay man in a toga chasing a Boy Scout.
Rinehart is set for trial in September on several felony campaign corruption charges. He is accused of circumventing state campaign finance laws by having donors give money to a political action committee formed by his campaign manager, promising those funds would be used in his quest to be elected county commissioner in 2004. Rinehart is Exhibit A of why the right wing is losing power. They are corrupt and then hide behind the Bible when they bamboozle the public.
Goodbye Rinehart. I guess you'll feel better about your crushing defeat knowing it was God's will.
This month, with the ten-week public Internet voting period nearly over, the Radio Hall of Fame got wind of a more troubling protest. A statement arrived from the gay advocacy group Truth Wins Out, along with several hundred e-mails, demanding that the list be purged of a nominee no one had mentioned up to that point: Focus on the Family, the radio ministry of right-wing pundit James Dobson.
This is not a controversy DuMont needs. He's been struggling for years to reopen the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which he founded in 1987 and ran from 1992 to 2003 at the Chicago Cultural Center. The museum's new home at State and Kinzie has been stalled out in mid-rehab since May 2006. DuMont, who blames the state for withholding $6 million he says it promised him, continues his fund-raising efforts, and the $500-a-plate hall of fame induction dinner, scheduled for November 8 this year, is one of them. So he watched with concern as TWO rallied opposition to Dobson in the gay community and Dobson, who can reach 2.5 million supporters with a single e-mail blast, fought back.
The contest closed July 15 with more than 70,000 votes cast. When they were tallied, Focus on the Family had won the nationally syndicated broadcasters category, beating out Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Bob Costas, and Howard Stern. DuMont announced that the public had made its choice and the hall of fame would stand by it.
But it wasn't over for the anti-Dobson forces. They've mounted a new campaign to get the museum to disqualify Focus on the Family before the induction.
Leave it to "Porno Pete" LaBarbera to jump on any opportunity to spread his anti-gay agenda. When Jim Adkisson opened fire in a Tennessee church on Sunday killing two people and injuring several more, the nation mourned.
But not Porno Pete.
The founder of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality immediately politicized the event and capitalized on it to say why he is opposed to hate crimes.
"Peter LaBarbera and his ilk are responsible for creating a climate where hate crimes can and do occur," Truth Wins Out founder and Executive Director Wayne Besen told PageOneQ. "LaBarbera is a despicable opportunist who barely waited for the police to lay down chalk and wrap tape around the crime scene before pushing his opposition to hate crimes legislation."
This week, I attended the Commercial Closet's Images In Advertising Awards in Manhattan, which honored corporations that produced gay affirming ads. The pro-gay plugs showed genuine progress and highlighted that many leading companies "get it." The work of Commercial Closet is vital because images matter and repeated exposure to messages shape our views and create positive change in society. The cleverness and creativity in these ads imparts to millions of people that homosexuality is nothing to be feared and that GLBT people are part of the human family.
The awards ceremony was a welcome respite from reality, where there is no shortage of reminders that the world is still a very dangerous place. In Knoxville, Tennessee, a homophobic loser burst into a Unitarian Church where a children's play was being performed and unleashed a fusillade of gunfire, killing two people and injuring six. According to police, Jim D. Adkisson, "had targeted the church because of its liberal leanings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country."
The New York Times reports that the killer was raised in strict a Christian home and was openly anti-gay. He may have targeted this particular church because his former wife - who he had threatened to shoot and then commit suicide - had occasionally attended. He may also have been agitated by the church's affirming stand on GLBT equality.
The far right's dirty little secret is that they depend on the threat of violence to retard the advancement of the GLBT movement. Without the fear of physical attack, the number of people who are out of the closet would quickly multiply. Gay couples would hold hands in every city in the nation. On each block, from San Francisco to San Antonio, gay and lesbian people would be visibly present.
Each day, all but the bravest GLBT people make subtle or even significant adjustments to remain safe. Some dress a little blander in order to blend in. A number of gay men talk a bit deeper so they won't arouse suspicion. Some lesbians apply make up so they won't get beaten up. And, most loving couples act like buddies so they won't get bashed.
We tell ourselves comforting lies, such as "we don't like public displays of affection," to justify pushing a partner's hand away at a romantic moment. But, the reality is, even the most confident and brave among us have something to fear.
Of course, the overwhelming majority of people are not violent and a significant minority of Americans fervently supports GLBT people. What the right wing realizes, however, is it only takes a small number of twisted fanatics to keep GLBT people in check. We rarely know who these lunatics are, as they often keep their hate closeted. But, each gay person knows these hidden ticking time bombs exist and could go off at any moment -- shattering our lives.
When Focus on the Family's James Dobson says that giving gay people the freedom to marry will "destroy the earth" he is encouraging hate crimes. When Oklahoma state legislator Sally Kern says that homosexuality is the "death knell of this country," she is promoting gay bashing. When Elaine Donnelly told a congressional committee that lifting Don't Ask/Don't Tell would let lesbians take pictures of people in the shower she was setting the stage for violence. When Ann Coulter authors, "How to Talk To a Liberal (If You Must)," people like Jim Adkisson may be influenced.
What I find hypocritical is that the Religious Right will take any image it deems gay and claim it "promotes homosexuality." This even extends to fictional characters such as Tinky Winky and Sponge Bob Square Pants. Yet, these same oversensitive preachers refuse to acknowledge that their mean-spirited sermons might lead to violence.
The extreme right fuels anti-gay ugliness, but it is pervasive all around us. As we applauded the winners of the Commercial Closet awards, two ads that subtract from the dignity of gay people were on the minds of those in attendance. The first was a Nike ad where a basketball star leapt over a defender who had the dunker's scrotum in his face. The headline was "That Ain't Right."
In a second ad for Snickers, a swishy speed walker is attacked by a machine gun wielding Mr. T in a truck who demands the walker "run like a real man." He fires on the guy until he "corrects" his running style. Thanks to The Human Rights Campaign and the willingness of these companies, both ads were pulled.
We live in a society filled with violently homophobic messages and images, yet the perpetrators -- both religious and secular -- feign innocence and say they can't imagine how anti-gay hate crimes occur.
Wayne Besen will appear on Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor tonight at 8PM (EST) to discuss an offensive Snickers ad that was pulled from the airwaves after The Human Rights Campaign complained. In the ad, a swishy speed walker is attacked by a machine gun wielding Mr. T in a truck who demands the walker "run like a real man." He fires on the guy until he “corrects” his running style.
"Such ads lead to hate violence and send the wrong message to society," says Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen.
My column on The Huffington Post about the "ex-gay" conference in Asheville is generating a lot of positive response on the popular social networking site Digg.com.
This is a key time for my post in terms of it being read by the most people possible. If the post can attract more "diggs" (reader clicks that indicate a positive response) in the next couple hours, it will greatly increase the chances of it moving to the front page of Digg.com, where it will be seen by tens of thousands of new readers. To help make this happen, please email the following link to your friends and family -- and anyone else who would like to see my post on the nefarious ex-gay myth get a wider audience -- and encourage them to click the "digg it" button.