My view that Justice Scalia is prejudiced against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is based, not on his position on marriage, but entirely on the angry minority opinions he wrote in two Supreme Court cases in which the majority held that gay and lesbian people had certain rights against discrimination regarding private consensual sex and political activity. In those two virulent dissents, Justice Scalia denounced the court majorities not simply for finding that it was unconstitutional to discriminate based on sexual orientation in cases involving political rights and the right to private consensual sex, but he also made it clear that in his view sex discrimination is not only permitted by the Constitution but is very much in society’s interest because homosexuality deserves to be treated with not only disapproval, but legal disability.
Good for Frank. We are fortunate to have such an intelligent articulate spokesperson on our issues.
Gov. Jim Douglas said Wednesday he will veto a gay-marriage proposal if it passes the Legislature, the first time he has signaled such an intent before final legislative action on a bill.
Speaking at an afternoon news conference, the Republican governor said that he thought Vermont's first-in-the-nation civil unions law, passed in 2000, provided sufficient rights to same-sex couples and that he believed "marriage should remain between a man and woman."
"For those reasons and because I believe that by removing any uncertainty about my position we can move more quickly beyond this debate, I am announcing that I intend to veto this legislation when it reaches my desk," he proclaimed.
Yet another moral coward in politics, afraid to do what is right, ethical and just.
Truth Wins Out thanked Replacements, Ltd. today for awarding $5,000 to the organization. The funds will help TWO refute anti-gay misinformation campaigns and challenge programs that claim to "pray away the gay."
"Truth Wins Out is extremely grateful for the generous support it has received from Replacements and its founder Bob Page," said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. "This allows us to increase our capacity to educate Americans and set the record straight when anti-gay organizations distort research. It also assists us in helping people understand the danger of so-called ex-gay therapy programs that endanger the mental health of GLBT youth."
Founded by Bob Page in 1981, Replacements, Ltd. (located in Greensboro, NC) has the world's largest selection of old and new dinnerware, including china, stoneware, crystal, glassware, silver, stainless, and collectibles. Its 415,000 square foot facilities (the size of seven football fields!) house an inventory of 13 million pieces in more than 300,000 patterns, some over 100 years old.
"We proudly support Truth Wins Out; I hope others will contribute to this important organization," said Bob Page, founder of Replacements, Ltd. "So many GLBT people--and their families--have been damaged by groups distorting the truth about sexual orientation or gender identity. Our communities and our workplaces are impacted too, and that has a very real cost. I want us to be a part of the solution to the problem."
Page is known as a generous philanthropist who has helped organizations that promote GLBT equality -- particularly in North Carolina.
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people against anti-gay misinformation campaigns. TWO also counters the "ex-gay" industry and educates America about the lives of GLBT people.
With the election of the first African-American president, the nation ushered in a new era of tolerance and acceptance. The visible shift in American ideology brought forth bright expectations for people across the spectrum. But will all communities benefit from this change? With sexual orientation hate crimes consistently on the rise in the past decade, we wondered.
To test Americans' increasing open-mindedness, we staged a verbal gay-bashing scenario at a local sports bar in Linden, N.J. We hired actor Vince August to play a homophobic patron. Dusty St. Amand and Dominic Benevento, a gay couple in real life, played the targets of his slurs. Two additional actors, Traci Hovel and Brad Lee Wind, played a heterosexual couple at the opposite end of the bar.
Signaling a meaningful change from President George W. Bush's disastrous policies, the Obama administration last week endorsed a United Nations statement calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. The primary opponents of this measure were radical Islamist countries and the Vatican, representing a new unholy alliance across the globe.
The previous day on his way to Africa, the Pope spoke to reporters about the role condoms play in the prevention of HIV. Unbelievably, the Pontiff said they make the epidemic worse.
"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the Pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon, where he began a seven-day pilgrimage on the continent. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."
Internationally, people were stunned at the Pope's scientific ignorance and indifference to human suffering. Africa, after all, is a continent with more than 22 million people living with the disease. Only thin strips of latex have stopped this figure from rapidly multiplying and leaving behind an even more horrific trail of death.
How many people is this man willing to see die to defend his outdated dogma? How high must the body count be before the Pope is no longer considered pro-life?
French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier justifiably reacted with exasperation when he said, "While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life." German officials called the Pope's statement "irresponsible" urged the availability of condoms in Africa.
How ironic that a Pope fixated on stanching the decline of the Catholic Church in Western Europe would declare something so out of touch with the modern world. His unconscionable cruelty has transformed him into crusty relic on the verge of irrelevance.
Appearing on Fox's O'Reilly Factor last week, I debated the Pope's statement with writer Raymond Arroyo. I pointed out that UNAIDS, calls the condom the "single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV." Arroyo responded with a bizarre conspiracy theory saying that the United Nations group was only trying to "protect the government infusion of money to these condom programs that have demonstrably not worked at all."
Then I asked Arroyo point blank: "If all the condoms in Africa magically disappeared, would the number of HIV cases increase or decrease?"
He responded that HIV would decrease if people would model their lives on the Pope's "ideal way in which to live."
In the ideal world promoted by Arroyo, priests would not rape little boys, while getting shuffled around parishes to protect the church. In the real world, the Vatican has spent millions of dollars to pay for child abuse lawsuits. In Arroyo's fantasy world, young people pledge abstinence until marriage. In the real world, studies show that teens taking virginity pledges were just as likely to engage in sex -- and less likely to use birth control or condoms when they finally did.
It is such wanton disregard for reality and wearing of rose-colored shades to blind oneself from avoidable carnage that define fanaticism. There is something pathological and perverse in the psyche of people willing to do enormous wrong in order to prove their doctrine right.
The history books will not be kind to this Pope. From rehabilitating Holocaust deniers, to rampant homophobia, to fighting against legislation allowing victims of child sexual abuse to sue, "Bumbling Benedict" seems to lurch from one avoidable crisis to another.
As he flails in his attempts to woo Europe and ultimately fails in the West, the Pontiff will increasingly dupe the developing world. His road show will focus on poor countries where people aren't as attuned to the ethical depravity of his unscientific proclamations. Indeed, few people will hear from those suffering after the Pope goes home and they die in silent anonymity -- victims of a flawed and fatalistic vision. Far from infallibility, this Pope has failed on so many levels that he has virtually no credibility on matters of morality.
During the show, Arroyo asked me, "What do you want him to do, hand out IUD's and condoms from the Pope Mobile?"
If that's what it takes to save human lives, then the answer is yes. One would think that this is what a man of God would be commanded to do. But, sadly, compassion is out of fashion at the Vatican these days.
For a time after its founder D. James Kennedy recently passed away, there was hope that Fort Lauderdale-based Coral Ridge Ministries would go in a new direction.
For decades, the church had been a rabidly anti-gay organization that had employed attack dogs, such as the notorious Janet Folger. The church spearheaded the 1998 "Truth in Love" ex-gay campaign. (It ended badly after two of the campaign's stars were caught having gay relations) But since Kennedy's departure, Coral Ridge had been relatively quiet on divisive social issues.
Unfortunately, it seems their new pastor, Rev. Tullian Tchividjian, wants to reignite the culture wars. His General in this fight is Robert Knight, a veteran in these battles. Knight had recently been laid off from the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute. He had also worked for Concerned Women for America and the Family Research Council.
Already one can see Knight's deleterious influence on Coral Ridge. The website's homepage is packed with shameless lies about hate crime legislation and it also promotes theocracy in America. (This brings us back to Kennedy's dishonest days when the pastor even flirted with Reconstructionsism - a brand of Christian fanaticism that calls for homosexuals to be stoned to death.)
Knight is best known for his paranoid - if not delusional - rantings about the gay movement's secret desire to stamp out the free speech of radical Christians. He is one of the right's most nefarious propagandists and is severely truth challenged. Knight is also known for his sexual immaturity and penchant to make crude anti-gay wisecracks. At one event I attended, he joked about chubby lesbians in beer halls. Knight is also obsessed with gay sex and is closest in tone to Peter Labarbera. The two men worked together in the late 90's at the Family Research Council and were like bosom buddies.
It seems that preaching the Bible was not enough to sustain the congregation - so Coral Ridge has returned to anti-gay bile. On the sun-drenched shores of Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge Ministries is still in the spiritual darkness.
The president is now taking spiritual guidance from no less than five different pastors, whom he phones for advice at moments of stress or when making big decisions.
But a year after the incendiary rantings of Rev Wright threatened to derail Mr Obama's presidential campaign, revelation of the "dial-a-prayer" sessions has prompted critics to declare that he has a new "pastor problem".
That has enraged Obama supporter Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, a New York organisation which campaigns against the "ex-gay" movement in the church, which insists that homosexuality is nothing more than a sinful lifestyle choice.
He told The Sunday Telegraph: "I think Obama's got another pastor problem. There's a tendency to surround himself with these anti-gay preachers which is very offensive. These are people who believe that we are sinful and sick and that you can pray away the gay.
"The notion that Obama can't find a pastor in America who doesn't have these outrageous extreme beliefs is baffling to many of us."
Campaigners say that by talking to those with the views of Bishop Jakes, the president sends the wrong message to his gay supporters who had hoped for a new tone from the White House after eight years in which George W. Bush used wedge issues like opposition to gay marriage to drum up conservative votes.
Mr Besen said: "He's giving credibility to people who are virulently anti-gay and promoting discrimination. The president has given these homophobes his stamp of approval. He has given them a platform. By elevating these extreme elements, he's hurting our community." He suggested that Mr Obama should consult Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay head of the American episcopal church, whose ordination sparked a split in the worldwide Anglican union.
"Why not have Gene Robinson in that five?" he said. "There's a person of courage and integrity and the kind of international leader that Obama should look towards. It's very disappointing." Campaigners also have a problem with Joel Hunter, the pastor of a conservative megachurch in Florida, who was once the head of the Christian Coalition, a nationwide hardline anti-gay and anti-abortion group.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) is teaming up with various anti-gay legal groups to intimidate GLBT campus organizations in high schools, colleges and universities. They are threatening to sue if these organizations don't distribute the bizarre theories of Richard Cohen.
It is hard to believe, but Cohen is the former President of PFOX. They still promote his books and training sessions. And, if you ask for a speaker - they will likely send you Mr. Cohen - who was expelled for life from the American Counseling Association. If PFOX tries to get into your school, simply show administrators this clip of Cohen from the documentary, "Chasing the Devil." It is clear, based on this clip - and his record - that disseminating PFOX's material may put students at risk. Any responsible school that protects its students will not allow PFOX near campus.