Posts filed under ‘Right-wing’

Anti-gay groups eye higher spending through next year

By Adam Bink

Journalist Andy Birkey has a lengthy, well-done piece about the spending:

Anti-gay rights groups around the country will see a cash infusion over the next two years through a plan called “Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation.” And the groups are remaining mum about who is responsible.

The campaign, which largely targets states where Republicans won control of legislatures or governorships, has garnered the support of Republican political superstars such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.), and Rep. Trent Franks (Ariz.). The groups intend to pass anti-gay marriage amendments, curtail abortion rights and, in at least one case, ban “transgender bathrooms.”

Family policy councils — a creation of Focus on the Family in the 1980s — have launched the Ignite plan in 15 states. Each family policy council has a three-prong plan to achieve their legislative goals over the next two years: lobbying for legislation, mobilizing pastors and social conservatives and supporting candidates that have backed their initiatives. Each group has used a stock brochure containing nearly identical wording to explain their plan and to solicit funds. In many cases, an Ignite plan was launched with an anonymous matching-grant donor.

Requests for information from many of the policy councils were denied, and Focus on the Family told The American Independent that they have no involvement, declining to offer information on any organization that might back the plan.

Focus on the Family says that while the groups are “fully associated” with FoF, they “are independent entities with no corporate or financial relationship to each other or to Focus on the Family.”

While Form 990s — revenue and expense documents that nonprofits file with the IRS — don’t provide detailed information on political organizing expenditures, The American Independent has provided each group’s average yearly revenues for comparison to their two-year spending under the Ignite plan.

Already, the groups are seeing success in their respective states.

The South Dakota Family Policy Council is spending $72,600 in the next two years as part of the Ignite campaign (PDF), specifically to pass legislation that would force women seeking an abortion to speak to counselors at religious-based crisis pregnancy centers.

SDFPC lobbied heavily for the bill in the media, testified before the South Dakota legislature and organized a pastor’s day at the state Capitol in Pierre in February to advocate for the bill. It passed the legislature and was signed into law in late-March.

The SDFPC is also pushing legislation that would ban surrogate mothers, but thus far the bill has yet to get out of committee. The group lists “Defeat Equality-SD’s radical gay-rights legislation,” as a goal of the Ignite campaign.

All told, SDFPC plans to spend $72,600 under the campaign, a small chunk of the average $304,000 the group took in as normal operating revenue each year over the last 5 years.

SDFPC did not return a request for information about the campaign.

Anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballot in 2012

In several states — such as Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — Ignite plans seems to be targeted at getting anti-gay marriage amendments passed.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia (FPCWV) plans to spend $168,000 through 2012  (it’s average yearly budget is $132,000) during its two-year Ignite campaign to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, and also to defeat laws that would prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In West Virginia, both houses of the legislature are overwhelmingly held by Democrats, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is a Democrat. The planned anti-gay marriage amendment there was voted down in the House of Delegates in February, even though many of the Democrats in the state oppose gay marriage.

There’s also a good deal more information about planned 2012 constitutional amendments out in the states.

A lot of people who contribute to Courage Campaign to fund our work tell me its because the right-wingers always have more money. Independent studies have shown, on a net level, that’s actually true. And it may actually get worse.

May 7, 2011 at 9:13 am 38 comments

Irrational Prop 8 Demands Get Their Day in Court

Congrats to Matt on the new website and name for the show, but same great content -Adam

By Matt Baume

What really prompted a prominent law firm to give up its defense of DOMA, and lose a key lawyer in the process? The date’s been set for a showdown over the secret Prop 8 trial tapes, and over Judge Walker’s personal life. Rhode Island legislators give up on marriage in favor of civil unions, and New York keeps ratcheting up the pressure with a massive lobbying effort slated for next week.

There was a surprise twist to the Defense of Marriage Act this week. The law firm King & Spalding had initially signed on to defend the anti-gay law, but then abruptly ended their representation on Monday. Paul Clement, the lawyer in the case, responded by resigning from King & Spalding so that he could continue DOMA’s defense with another firm.

So, why did King & Spalding drop the case? They said that it just wasn’t vetted properly, but there’s a lot of speculation that they were heavily pressured by clients and colleagues to get out of the business of hurting gay families.

Now, a few people — including Attorney General Eric Holder — have come to Paul Clement’s defense, saying that our legal system has a duty to secure representation for even the most unpopular clients, because defending unpopular clients is necessary for protecting larger fundamental freedoms.

For example, if we want to protect the freedom of expression, that includes defending racist or violent speech, because there’s a larger freedom at stake.

But that’s not really the case here. What’s the larger freedom at stake with DOMA? There isn’t one. DOMA limits freedoms. Standing up for a cause can be noble. But not if your cause is denying health care, deporting husbands and wives, and forcing widows out of their homes.

There’s simply no justification for Paul Clement’s continued defense of this harmful law, which has even been renounced by the people who wrote it.

The good news is that more Senators have signed on to DOMA’s repeal, and we now have the 10 votes needed to pass it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The next step is to pressure Patrick Leahy, the committee chair, to hold hearings on the Respect for Marriage Act. So Vermonters, you know what to do: go to leahy.senate.gov and tell him it’s time to hold hearings on the Respect for Marriage Act.

In the mean time, we can all mark our calendars for June 13. That’s going to be a big day in the Prop 8 case, as we’ll be hearing arguments on two separate controversial issues.

The first is whether the public should be allowed to see videotapes of the Prop 8 trial from last year. The answer, obviously, is yes, because we do not live in a country that makes a habit of holding secret trials. But the anti-marriage folks don’t want anyone to see how badly they lost, so they’re making the public jump through all these hoops in order to see our own justice system at work.

The second question is even more unbelievable. They’re saying that Judge Walker’s ruling on marriage should be thrown out because he might want to get married someday. Not that he said he would get married, not that he tried once before, just might. Hypothetically. Maybe. Or not. Who knows?

If that sounds crazy to you, you’re not alone. Just about every legal analyst in the country is shocked that they’re trying to make an issue out of Judge Walker’s marital plans.

It just doesn’t make sense — not even to their own people. Here’s what Maggie Gallagher had to say a few months ago about whether it was relevant that Judge Walker was rumored to have a partner.

MAGGIE GALLAGHER: First of all, it’s relevant. It could be relevant. It’s not irrelevant. If he had upheld Prop 8, I think it would be even more relevant. I don’t believe that it’s totally irrelevant. I’m not sure it is relevant, in the sense that I do know a small number of people who supported Prop 8 who were gay. So it’s not necessarily relevant.

Maybe they’ll get their story straight by June.

There was a big disappointment in Rhode Island this week, with House Speaker Gordon Fox deciding that they didn’t have enough votes to pass a marriage law this year. As a result, they’ll be introducing a civil unions bill on Tuesday of this week.

It’s a big letdown, especially since polls in Rhode Island showed that voters supported the marriage bill and nobody’s satisfied with the civil unions compromise. Civil rights groups say that it doesn’t go far enough, while the Catholic Diocese said this week that it doesn’t want gay families to have any protections.

Things are even worse in Minnesota, where lawmakers are moving towards implementing a second marriage on top of an already existing prohibition. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the Senate Judiciary 8 to 4 on party lines, and is expected to pass the House and Senate later this year, which would put it before voters in 2012.

There’s a bit more cause for optimism in New York, where marriage currently has 26 of the 32 votes needed to pass the Senate. Several lawmakers have yet to take a stand, including Democrats Joe Addabbo and Shirley Huntley of Queens, and Republicans James Alesi of Fairport, Greg Ball of Brewster, and Joseph Griffo of Utica. Empire State Pride Agenda will hold a lobbying day for marriage in Albany on May 9, but a week later NOM and its allies will hold an anti-marriage rally on May 15.

Meanwhile, Equality Ohio founder Lynne Bowman will serve as interim Executive Director of Equality Maryland while that organization searches for a permanent leader. Morgan Meneses-Sheets was abruptly fired last week after a disappointing legislative session. Her replacement will be expected to revive attempts to pass marriage and anti-discrimination laws in 2012.

And Poland announced this week that the country would soon allow its citizens living abroad to get married, although Poland itself still wouldn’t recognize those marriages.

Those are the headlines. Visit MarriageNewsWatch.com for more on all of these stories, and head over to Facebook.com/MarriageNewsWatch and click “Like” to get news alerts and headlines right on your wall. Click over here to subscribe to weekly updates, or over to the right to watch some of our previous episodes, such as our interview with Josh Vandiver about how DOMA could separate him from his husband, and our interview with Friendfactor’s Brian Elliot about moving New York legislators closer to marriage.

We’ll see you next week.

May 2, 2011 at 6:27 am 30 comments

Marinelli: ‘Although we had photos of white people signing our petition, NOM didn’t choose any of them because the black woman was of greater political value.’

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

Many of us who cover such “culture war” things have noted the obvious way the National Organization For Marriage actively seeks out non-white support for their discriminatory initiatives, then works with all of their might to blow up and exploit these images of support in order to make it seem like a certain community is monolithically opposed to gays and their quest for civil freedoms. But few of us have actual firsthand, behind-the-scenes evidence of them implementing said strategy.

But some marriage equality supporters, like NOM defector Louis Marinelli, do have unique, personal insight into this nasty, divisive game-playing. Today he’s sharing:

NOM is in the business of promoting non-white Americans that oppose marriage equality. It’s good for their image if they can present an illusion of broad interracial opposition to same-sex marriage. Of course this isn’t something at they do openly but it is certainly a strategy well-known to those within their circle. I was one of them and I have e-mail correspondence from the summer bus tour that demonstrates their fixation on exploiting blacks who showed up at the rallies as part of NOM’s public relations strategy. Look for them to do this with the Hispanics in the Bronx on the 15th.

*Louis’ full post, with snippets from NOM emails bearing out their exploitations: NOM involvement in Bronx rally is racially-motivated [Louis J Marinelli]

May 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm 14 comments

NOM-entrenched Haas family: Reared on diet of ‘ex-gay’ therapy?

In addition to NOM’s Ruth Institute pushing ex-gay therapy -Adam

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

We’ve already established that Brian Brown, Charles Limandri, David Lejeune, and any number of other (male) National Organization for Marriage personalities are members of the Catholic organization Legatus, so just the fact that words like the following appeared in that organization’s March membership magazine would be concerning enough:

Screen Shot 2011-04-28 At 8.00.25 AmThere are many reasons why people suffer from SSA disorder. Some “discover” this tendency within them. Others grow into it through pursuits of pleasure or experimentation. Some use it to punish themselves or others. Whether the disorder has some deep, unknown roots over which one has virtually no control, or whether it’s a developed disorder resulting from bad choices, it leaves an individual disposed toward activities and a lifestyle that are dangerous — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Fortunately there is hope for those who suffer from the disorder. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports that significant numbers of homosexual persons have undergone treatment and had their sexual drives properly ordered. These findings are a beacon of hope to those suffering from SSA, as well as for their family and friends who desire their happiness and good health. Finally, for those who for whatever reason cannot be cured, there is a support group known as Courage to help them live safe, moral, chaste lives. Those who continue to suffer from this disorder can find true help through an orientation toward their Savior and Redeemer, “the Orient from on High,” and the life that He offers them in Himself.

Sexual ‘disorientation [Legatus Magazine]

Scientifically-shunned “ex-gay” propaganda is always concerning. But in this case, there is more. So much more. Because you see, the man who penned this column answers to the name of John M. Haas, Ph.D. The same John Haas who holds several different high Catholic positions (president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, founding president of the International Institute for Culture, etc). The same John Haas who resides in Philadelphia, PA. The same John Haas who teaches seminars purporting to unveil “the truth” about the gay movement. And oh yea — the same John Haas who has nine children, several of whom either have worked or do currently work for NOM as we speak:

201104280803

The Haas family is ALL UP in NOM’s ranks. In fact, Justin Haas, in particular, serves in a major capacity:

Screen Shot 2011-04-28 At 8.07.16 Am

[SOURCE: CT Family]

And the Haas patriarch whose Catholic teachings seemingly helped his children come to such beliefs? Yea, well — he refers to our love as a “disorder” and our lives nothing more than “lifestyles” from which we need to escape via propagandistic junk science. Insightful, aint it?

Now, we should say that we have no record of the father doing direct work for the organization. But the branches are certainly fanning the “protect marriage” flames, even in the trunk is staying planted in the larger Legatus pasture.

***

*NOTE: Maggie Gallagher also has Legatus connections. Last fall, she spoke at a Houston chapter meeting, for one.

April 28, 2011 at 9:57 am 42 comments

What NOM Chair Maggie Gallagher said about Judge Walker’s sexual orientation

By Adam Bink

This motion to vacate the ruling because of Judge Walker’s sexual orientation really does have my jaw on the floor. As Lambda Legal’s Jon Davidson wrote in a press release, it really is Hail Mary time.

It also has me in nostalgia mode. Last year, Maggie said:

Here we have an openly gay federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution.

Here’s Maggie Gallagher talking with Arisha during last year’s bus tour on whether Judge Walker’s sexual orientation is relevant or not:

I wrote at the time in a post titled “NOM Chair Maggie Gallagher’s 5-minute evolution on gay-baiting Judge Walker:

In the first five minutes of this video, she is just all over the place in her response. First she says “first of all, it’s relevant” to “I’m not sure it is relevant” to “it’s not necessarily relevant” to “it could be relevant” to “I don’t believe that it’s totally irrelevant” to finally admitting “I don’t know if it has a bearing or not”. Eventually, she says, “if he upheld Prop 8, I think it’d be even more relevant”- clearly drawing a line between his sexual orientation and his judgment, even if she doesn’t want to admit it.

Yesterday’s news shows people like Maggie and Andy Pugno really are willing to say anything.

April 26, 2011 at 6:00 am 35 comments

Yet again, NOM fails to claim an employee. And in a post about truth, no less

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

NOM is doing it yet again. We’ve seen them cite the work of Thomas Peters and push the supposedly independent words of John Eastman without mentioning that the former is on their payroll and the latter was one of their top 2010 candidates. Now the predominately Catholic marriage group (the Catholic predominance being something else they don’t reveal) is leading off a new blog post with this line:

201104211308

[SOURCE]

What they again don’t tell you about this supposedly independent researcher who is agreeing with them? Well (a) that IMAPP is Maggie Gallagher’s own group. But even more than that is (b) the fact that this same Josh Baker is also on NOM’s payroll! Whatever conclusions he reaches are financed by and meant to embolden this very same organization. Might that be something a responsible commentator would see a need to disclose? We’re gonna go with “yes.”

As for the rest of the post in question, which is meant to discredit Rhode Island’s equality activists? Well, NOM sidesteps the harms of their work, as ably documented by Politifact…

Gay couples lose out on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans benefits that would normally go to a spouse. They can’t transfer property between themselves without possibly incurring a tax penalty, a concern married couples don’t face.

They aren’t protected by the COBRA law or the Family Medical Leave Act the way the spouse of an unemployed person is. Death benefits don’t automatically go to the partner in a gay marriage the way they go to a widow or widower.

“Full marriage equality [would provide same-sex couples] with about 1,700 rights.” [Prop Politifact]

…and focuses instead on the more obscure or complicated denied rights that are harder to substantively nail down (but that are not untrue denials), acting as if these tougher-to-flesh-out complexities somehow discredit equality activists’ claims. Though as we’ve shown you time and time again: If NOM would spend more time focusing on their own lack of transparency and outright disingenuous behavior and stopped working so hard to “gotcha” their opposition, our political discourse would be much richer than it is today.

April 22, 2011 at 10:15 am 38 comments

Louis Marinelli: NOM wants to paint LGBT “crazy”

By Adam Bink

This explains a lot of NOM’s attempts to paint LGBT and allied counter-protesters as crazy, unstable people who will put their safety at jeopardy after Providence:

Last fall the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published an updated list of hate groups that are operating across the United States in which they included organizations such as the Family Research Council and the American Family Association. In doing so, SPLC cited multiple occasions when these organizations misrepresented the facts about gays and lesbians in the advancement of their ‘pro-family cause’.

To NOM’s delight, the SPLC did not include the National Organization for Marriage in that list. That was a mistake.

The National Organization for Marriage’s culture war/crusade against same-sex marriage is all about image and when it comes to the image of the LGBT community, it’s all about painting them in a negative way. That is why during the summer for marriage tour, a project of my doing which I organized with NOM last year, each of the rallies were presented in a good v.s. evil type theme.

In Albany, counter-protesters arrived at our rally with rainbow umbrellas and were silent. As you can see from the photo I took, the counter-protesters had their backs to us. They were giving us the silent treatment, so to say, to get their message across. Yet the National Organization for Marriage had this to say about them on their blog:

…they sure showed their true colors as intolerant, inconsiderate bullies who shout down and insult anyone who disagrees with them, including women and children.

Later in that same blog post, they referred to the silent counter-protesters as militant before moving onto the rally that took place in Providence, Rhode Island.

NOM’s summary of the rally in Providence says that the protesters were “crazy”. In all actuality, some of the pictures depicting their actions do make them appear that way and I was directly responsible for taking their pictures, as some of you know.

What you don’t know is that in an e-mail I received from Brian Brown, he essentially instructed me to specifically take ‘crazy’ photos of gays and lesbians. His short and to the point e-mail dated July 19, 2010 wrote:

I need crazy pictures of our opponents.

What is particularly necessary to point out is that his call for ‘crazy photos’ of NOM’s opponents was in response to an e-mail I sent to him six minutes earlier that simply wrote: “Here is a picture of our supporters before the protesters arrived.”

The photo I took showing the size and location of our supporters wasn’t enough. Mr. Brown was dedicated to painting the LGBT community and their supporters as crazy. They used that word themselves in public on their blog! To this day, I still don’t condone the actions that some of the counter-protesters took to stand against us. They were wrong when I opposed marriage equality and still believe so today.

From that point forward my job was, among other things, to take those ‘crazy’ photos that would be used as propaganda against the LGBT community. At least until the propaganda backfired, anyway. Many people who would have otherwise came out to support us, let us know that they were scared of what the counter-protesters might do and decided to stay home the day we were coming to town.

[…]

NOM is about deceiving the public about who gays and lesbians are because the longer the public fears them, the longer they will oppose their equality. I fell into that trap and then I came to see gays and lesbians for the people they really are – which by the way, is the exact reason I changed my mind to support marriage equality.

See how it all ties in?

The full post, including e-mail correspondence, can be found here.

April 22, 2011 at 5:26 am 36 comments

Older Posts


Support the Prop 8 Trial Tracker

Connect with us

Get to know your fellow Prop 8 Trial Trackers on Facebook.

Please send tips to prop8trial@couragecampaign.org

Follow us on Twitter @EqualityOnTrial

Sign-up for updates on the Prop 8 trial, including breaking-news alerts.

Categories

TWITTER: Follow us @EqualityOnTrial

Share this

Bookmark and Share

SITE STATS (by Wordpress)

  • 4,585,288 views of the Tracker and counting as of today...