Friday, July 22, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

No Birthday Cake For You Lesbos

Now it’s not just wedding cakes that the Jesus-shouters won’t bake.  Via Wonkette:

It certainly wasn’t the text message Candice Lowe was expecting to get on her honeymoon. She says it came from the owner of a local bakery, canceling the order for her wife’s birthday cake. Lowe says, “after she saw my Facebook page, she found out that I was in a same-sex marriage and she could not do my cake.” … The couple was just married two weeks ago and are still on cloud nine after celebrating with their son, family and friends. But that all came crashing down. In some ways, they say, it’s like taking two steps back. “It wasn’t a wedding cake, it was just a birthday cake [for my wife, Amanda],” Candice said. “A birthday cake has nothing to do with your sexual preference.”

And, as Wonkette points out, since when is doing a background check on Facebook a requirement for deciding whether or not you want to expose yourself to mockery and possible legal action?

Dan Savage sums it up:

Welcome to America — where bigoted bakers do background checks to avoid selling cakes to lesbians (because Jesus) but we don’t require merchants at gun shows to do background checks to avoid selling weapons of war to crazed terrorists, abusive spouses, and the mentally ill (because freedom).

Monday, June 27, 2016

Stonewall

This is significant.

President Obama will designate a new national monument at the historic site of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City to honor the broad movement for LGBT equality. The new Stonewall National Monument will protect the area where, on June 28, 1969, a community’s uprising in response to a police raid sparked the modern LGBT civil rights movement in the United States.

The designation will create the first official National Park Service unit dedicated to telling the story of LGBT Americans, just days before the one year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 states.

Significant in the fact that in less than half my lifetime we have gone from an administration that mocked AIDS victims — when it finally got around to saying the word — to one that supports equality in all its forms and venues, including transgender rights.

Of course it’s not over.  I and millions of LGBT citizens still live in states where it’s legal to be discriminated against in employment and housing, where it’s still acceptable to bait and stigmatize gays and lesbians in political campaigns, and where a commercial showing two dads or two moms raising a family generates a call for boycotts (and, of course, fund-raising).

Designating a national monument will have no practical effect in changing the remaining conditions of hate and bigotry in places where it’s still not acceptable in the sight of many for a man and a woman of different races to get married.  It is, however, a milestone to acknowledge the history and mark the place and then keep moving on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Keep Digging

First it was Indiana.  Last year the state’s legislature passed an ironically named “religious freedom” bill targeting gay rights.  It created such a stink from the business community that Gov. Mike Pence rushed to have it amended.  This year it was North Carolina which caused — and still is causing — threats of economic sanctions ranging from multinational corporations and banks to rock stars.  The governor of Georgia saw what happened and vetoed that state’s version of the bill, thereby assuring a worried world that “Family Feud” will still be “made in Georgia.”  But Mississippi went ahead with their bill, which is even more sweeping than the one in North Carolina, because, well, they’re Mississippi.  Now it’s South Carolina’s turn.

So I wonder if those geniuses in Columbia looked around them, saw what happened in North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi and said, “Mm, we gotta get us some ‘o that!”?

Oh well, there are already too many tourists in Charleston and Hilton Head.  The hotels, restaurants, and tourist shops could use a rest.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Reading

Teach Your Children Well — Jonathan Zimmerman in The Atlantic on the poor state of civics education in public schools.

Little hands. A bad tan. And blood coming from wherever.

If you’re put off by the crude tone of politics in the Age of Trump, you’re not alone. According to a recent poll by Weber Shandwick, Powell Tate, and KRC Research, 70 percent of Americans think that political incivility has reached “crisis” levels.

The poll also found that Americans avoid discussing controversial questions, out of fear they too will be perceived as uncivil. The findings speak to a flaw with civic education, especially in the main institution charged with delivering it: public schools. Put simply, schools in the United States don’t teach the country’s future citizens how to engage respectfully across their political differences. So it shouldn’t be surprising that they can’t, or that that they don’t.

Schools have sometimes been blamed for the meteoric rise of Donald Trump, whose legions of supporters allegedly lack the civic knowledge to see through his proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States or to kill family members of terrorists in the fight against ISIS. But it’s hardly clear that Trump supporters are less knowledgeable than anyone else. In six state GOP exit polls, Trump was the most popular candidate among college-educated voters and came in second in another six polls.

Indeed, the facile dismissal of all Trump enthusiasts as bigots or ignoramuses speaks to the most urgent problem in American civic life: the inability to communicate with people who do not share the same opinion. Trump himself epitomizes that trend, routinely vilifying his opponents as “losers” or “dummies,” or worse. And yet Trump’s critics often use similar terms to tar his diverse array of devotees. This isn’t a discussion; it’s a shouting match.Public schools aren’t merely expected to teach young people the mechanics of government: how a bill is signed into law, what the Supreme Court does, and so on. They’re also responsible for teaching the skills and habits of democratic life, especially how to engage civilly with people from a different political camp.

Many districts have written policies promoting the teaching of “controversial issues” in schools. Typically, these policies affirm students’ right to discuss such issues as part of their preparation for citizenship. They also warn teachers against imposing their own point of view on students.But there’s an enormous gap between policy and practice. Many teachers say they’d like to address controversial issues but lack the time; in poorer districts, especially, every available minute is devoted to preparing students for high-stakes standardized tests. Others admitted that they were not prepared to lead such discussions, which require deep background knowledge on the issues as well as the skill to manage diverse opinions about them.

Still other teachers said that their districts discouraged or even barred them from addressing controversial issues, particularly if the teacher displayed a liberal or unorthodox bent. After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, for example, two teachers and a counselor in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were suspended without pay for hanging posters in their classrooms urging “No War Against Iraq.” School officials invoked the district’s “controversial-issues” policy, which declared that teachers “will not attempt, directly or indirectly, to limit or control the opinions of pupils.”

As later court filings confirmed, however, the district offered no evidence that the teachers were trying to do that; instead, the mere expression of their opinion was taken as proof of their propagandistic intent. Never mind that military recruiting posters festooned other parts of the school, or that one of the suspended teachers had organized a debate between herself and a pro-war colleague. Her poster was an act of indoctrination rather than education, officials said, and it had to be stopped.

[…]

To be sure, it’s easy to imagine situations where teachers might impose their views instead of assisting students in formulating their own. But many school leaders simply don’t trust teachers to know the difference. After the Ferguson riots, a superintendent in nearby Edwardsville, Illinois, prohibited teachers from mentioning the subject, lest they sway students in one direction or another. “We all have opinions on what should be done,” the superintendent explained. “We don’t need to voice those opinions or engage those opinions in the classroom.”

But how will children learn to “engage those opinions” unless they do so in the classroom? That’s become even more urgent over the past few decades, when Americans increasingly segregated themselves into communities of the like-minded. In 1976, 27 percent of Americans made their homes in so-called “landslide counties” that voted either Democrat or Republican by 20 percent or more; by 2008, 48 percent of Americans lived in such environments.

When divisive subjects do arise, Americans don’t know how to discuss them. In the same KRC survey that revealed overwhelming concern about the incivility of modern politics, over a third of respondents said they avoid talking about racial inequality, abortion rights, or same-sex marriage for fear of the discussion turning “uncivil.” And only one-third said that they do not avoid any issues because of worries about incivility.

Trump has played on that anxiety in his frequent broadsides against “political correctness,” encouraging people to follow his lead and say whatever they think. And while there’s a certain attractiveness to that kind of blunt candor, it’s a poor formula for civic discourse. Nearly three-quarters of the people replying to the KRC survey said they supported “civility training” in schools. Let’s hope they prevail on the schools to provide it.

Why It’s The Worst — Katherine Stewart in The Nation on Mississippi’s gay-bashing law.

On Tuesday morning, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law HB 1523—the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act”—one of the most sweeping of the nation’s “religious liberty” bills that are making the rounds in numerous red-state capitals this year. In the press they are often referred to as “anti-LGBT bills,” because they would give legal cover to those who want to discriminate against LGBT people out of “sincerely held religious belief.” Critics such as Ben Needham, director of Human Rights Campaign’s Project One America, has said the measure is “probably the worst religious freedom bill to date.” But there is an even more radical agenda behind these bills, and the atrocious attempt to deprive LGBT Americans of their rights is only a part of it.

According to State Senator Jennifer Branning, one of the Mississippi law’s original backers, the real victims of the story are not the LGBT couples denied services but people “who cannot in good conscience provide services for a same-sex marriage.” These are the true targets of discrimination, and we are invited to sympathize with the proverbial florist who balks at providing flowers at a gay wedding or the restaurant owner who refuses to serve a same-sex couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. But the text of the law also specifically protects the “sincerely held religious belief” that “sexual relations are properly reserved to” a marriage between a woman and a man. So if you are religiously opposed to other people having non-marital sex, this could be the law for you.

It is also inaccurate to think that this law is just about those who wish to refuse to perform a service. One of the more disconcerting sections of the law is that which discusses people who provide foster-care services. The government, we are told, will no longer be allowed to take action against any foster parent that “guides, instructs, or raises a child…in a manner consistent with a sincerely held religious belief.” If you want to know what that could mean, check out Focus on the Family’s “spare the rod” philosophy of child rearing. On its website, the religious-right advocacy group offers handy tips on “the Biblical Approach to Spanking.”

If the point were only to spare the fine moral sentiments of a few florists, why would the law’s sponsors seek such a wide-ranging exemption from the laws and norms that apply to the rest of society? A helpful clue can be found in a letter that the American Family Association sent out in support of the Mississippi bill before it was passed. (The AFA has been named a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center since 2010.) The bill, said the AFA, is crucial because it protects the AFA, and groups like it, from the “governmental threat of losing their tax exempt status.”

There is a revealing irony in that statement. Tax exemption is a kind of gift from the government, a privilege. It is an indirect way of funneling money from taxpayers to groups that engage in certain kinds of activities (like charity work or nonprofit education)—and not other kinds of activities (like political activism). The AFA is right to worry about the governmental threat to their governmental subsidy. As our society views the kinds of activities they endorse with increasing skepticism, the justification for continued subsidies and privileges from the government will diminish.

The people who drafted the bill on behalf of the Mississippi legislators get it. (Most of the red-state “religious liberty” bills were either drafted or, to some degree, inspired by the Alliance Defending Freedom—the “800-pound gorilla” of religious-right legal advocacy and itself a beneficiary of the great tax exemption game.) This is why the very first “discriminatory action” by the government the law prohibits is “to alter in any way the tax treatment” of any person or organization that abides by the newly sanctioned religious beliefs.

It’s about more than money, of course. The AFA and its allies on the religious right want to carve out a sphere in American public life where religion—their religion—trumps the law. It’s a breathtakingly radical ambition. And it upends the principles on which our constitutional democracy is based.

None other than the late Antonin Scalia put his finger on the problem. To make an individual’s obedience to the law “contingent upon the law’s coincidence with his religious beliefs” amounts to “permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, ‘to become a law unto himself,’” he said. It “contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.” Scalia made these comments in his 1990 majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith. In that case, the majority ruled that the state of Oregon could deny unemployment benefits to a pair of individuals who violated a state ban on the use of peyote, even though their use of the drug was part of a religious ritual. It was the overreaction to that verdict—on both the left and the right—that produced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993. Though intended only to ensure that laws did not needlessly burden the religious liberty of individuals, the RFRA sparked a wave of unintended consequences. It effectively planted the demon seeds of the current crop of “religious liberty” bills.

Employment Division, as it happened, involved a religion—that practiced by the Native American Church—with which Scalia likely did not identify. Which brings up a crucial point about the Mississippi law and its numerous cousins. These “religious liberty” bills are really intended only for a particular variety of religion. Indeed, HB 1523 protects you only if your religion involves a specific set of beliefs—such as the religious belief that “man” and “woman” “refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex,” and that “sexual relations are properly reserved to” marriage. To speak frankly, the law was designed to advance the claims of conservative Christians, and it would never have become law otherwise. If you think that every religion will find as much liberty in the laws of Mississippi, then I have a Satanic temple to sell you.

Donald Trump Performs Shakespeare — Aryah Cohen-Wade in The New Yorker.

“Hamlet”

Listen—to be, not to be, this is a tough question, O.K.? Very tough. A lot of people come up to me and ask, “Donald, what’s more noble? Getting hit every day with the slings, the bows, the arrows, the sea of troubles—or just giving up?” I mean, smart people, the best Ivy League schools.

But I say to them, “Have you ever thought that we don’t know—we don’t know—what dreams may come? Have you ever thought about that?” Ay yi yi—there’s the rub! There’s the rub right there. When we shuffle off this mortal whatever it is—coil? They say to me, “Donald, you’ve built this fantastic company, how’d you do it? How?” And I say one word: “leadership.” Because that’s what it’s all about, is leadership. And people are so grateful whenever I bring up this whole “perchance to dream” thing. So grateful.

And on and on with the whips and the scorns of time and the contumely and the fardels and the blah blah blah.

Then I see a bare bodkin and I’m like—a bodkin? What the hell is this thing, a bodkin? Listen, I run a very successful business, I employ thousands of people and I’m supposed to care whether this bodkin is bare or not? Sad!

And when people say I don’t have a conscience—trust me, I have a conscience, and it’s a very big conscience, O.K.? And the native hue of my resolution is not sicklied o’er, that’s a lie! If anyone tells you that the native hue of my resolution is sicklied o’er, they’re trying to sell you a load of you-know-what. And enterprises of great pith—listen, my enterprises are so pithy. So pithy. Fantastic pith. But sometimes, hey, they lose the name of action, right? I mean, it happens—it happens.

“Romeo and Juliet”

Quiet, quiet—shut up, over there! What’s coming through that window? A light, it is the east, and Melania—you know, people are always telling me, they say, “Mr. Trump, you’ve got a wonderful wife”—Melania, she’s sitting right there. Stand up, sweetheart. Isn’t she a beautiful woman, Melania? Gorgeous. I love women, they love me—and I think we all know what I mean, folks! I’m gonna do so well with the women in November. So well.

Melania’s the sun, is what a lot of people are saying. Hillary Clinton? I mean, with that face? She looks like the moon! She’s very envious, if you ask me, very envious, but can you blame her? Visit Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue—which is the best street in New York, by the way—I mean, who wouldn’t be envious? This moon, Hillary, is sick and pale with grief when she compares herself to Melania, who is a very beautiful woman, I have to admit.

Melania, she’s got a great cheek, it’s a wonderful cheek, a bright cheek, everyone knows it, the stars ought to be ashamed of themselves, ashamed. The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars. As daylight doth a lamp! Look at this, folks, how she leans her cheek upon her hand. If I were a glove upon that hand—first, let me tell you, I think we all know what I would do, because I bought the Miss Universe Pageant, very successful, so I know a thing or two about gorgeous women. And all this stuff about the gloves, and my hands—I have great hands, O.K.? Gimme a break.

“Julius Caesar”

Friends, Romans, folks—listen up. The reason I’m here is to bury Julius. It’s not to praise him. It’s just not. Brutus over there—we all know he’s a good guy, right? And he says Julius was low-energy. Is it a crime to be low-energy? Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t—who knows?

The point is, Brutus is a good guy, all these guys over there, the ones who did this, they’re all good guys—and Julius, Julius was my friend, a really terrific friend to me.

Julius—he brought a lot of captives home to Rome, filled a lot of coffers. Really fantastic coffers. Does that sound low-energy to you? And when the poor people, regular, hardworking, everyday Romans, cried—Julius did, too. He cried. I saw it with my own eyes—many, many times. But Brutus—Brutus says Julius was low-energy. And everyone knows that Brutus is a good guy, right?

You all saw that on the Lupercal, three times—three times—I tried to give Julius a kingly crown. And you should’ve seen this crown—this was a great crown, O.K.? Very, very kingly. And three times he said, “Nope.” Is this low-energy? Yet Brutus says he was low-energy—and, sure, sure, Brutus is a good guy.

I’m not here to say Brutus is lying, but I am here to speak what I do know. You all loved Julius once—so why not be a little sad, now that he’s dead? Just a little sad.

I’m sorry to say that the Roman Senate has been run by a bunch of morons for a long, long time. Morons! A lot of bad decisions—these guys, they’re like a bunch of animals. It makes me so sad. So sad. And I’m looking here at the coffin of my good friend, Mr. Caesar. Just a minute. (He pauses to wipe a tear from his eye.)

So we’re gonna build a wall! And who’s gonna pay for it? (The crowd shouts, “The Visigoths!”)

“Macbeth”

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and yadda yadda, the days are going by—what I’m saying is this is gonna last a long time, believe you me. Long. I see this candle, and I say—should I blow it out?

Should I? Because, when you think about it, and there’s been some great polling on this, in fact there’s a new poll out from the Wall Street Journal—which is a terrific paper, by the way, they’ve won a lot of prizes—listen to this, they say blow out the candle. They do, they say blow it out.

People come up to me and say, “Mr. Trump, life is like a shadow,” and I’m like, “What? A shadow? I don’t get it, and, listen, I went to Wharton, O.K.—the top business school in the country. So I’m a smart guy, I’m a smart guy, it’s no secret.”

And what’s really interesting is I like to talk, and tell a tale, and that tale is gonna have a whole lotta sound, and a whole lotta fury, because that’s what the American people want to hear! They want to hear some sound and some fury sent to Washington for once in their lives, and, I mean, is that too much to ask? They want to hear me tell it, and they can decide what it signifies, but I’m saying right now—it’s gonna sound great, I guarantee it. Absolutely, a hundred and ten per cent, just really, really great. O.K.?

Doonesbury — Future shock.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Nothing To Boycott

When North Carolina passed a bill that basically allowed discrimination against the LGBT community, the response by corporate stakeholders was swift and determined.  A lot of large corporations have holdings in the state and they let it be known that they were displeased with this bigotry and they said so.  One — PayPal — put their money where their umbrage is by announcing that they were cancelling plans to expand their facilities in the state.

Other states took notice.  When the Georgia legislature passed a similar law and the boardrooms reacted negatively, Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the bill.  He did it while noting “[o]ur people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities.”  Emphasis on “work.”  If big companies pull out of the state because of intolerance, that’s bad for business, and business beats Jesus every time.

Now that Mississippi has passed and signed into law an even more broad bill enshrining “religious liberty,” will there be a move by corporations to put the squeeze on the state?  Probably not.  It’s not that the fire has gone out to defend the rights of the LGBT community, or, for that matter, the straight folks who have a little on the side.  It’s because when it comes to Mississippi, there’s not a whole lot to boycott.

The economy in Mississippi is different from those many other states that have recently addressed legislation impacting the LGBT community. The state, which has one of the lowest GDPs in the country, is not home to any Fortune 500 companies, lacks a significant tech sector, and has no major pro sports teams.

With relatively nascent LGBT movement, Mississippi was not ripe for the kind of backlash the country has seen recently in Georgia and North Carolina, where Atlanta and Charlotte house major national corporations, more established LGBT communities, and cosmopolitan attitudes. Mississippi has no major metropolitan area.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, a LGBT advocacy group that does work in Mississippi and North Carolina, told TPM that Mississippi lacks the “nexus where the corporate world meets the political world meets the cultural world” that exists in states like Georgia and North Carolina.

“We just see a very different economic climate there and a very different network of relationships between the corporate sector, the political sector, and advocates,” she said of Mississippi. She said it’s challenging for LGBT people to work their way up the corporate ladder in Mississippi, which she said “creates one further level of impediment, one further reason why a major employer wouldn’t be able to sort of very nimbly pivot in a moment like this and speak out politically.”

So the legislature of Mississippi, with no corporate cudgel hanging over their heads, didn’t have any problem enshrining religious bigotry into law because there would be no backlash, at least from anyone that mattered.

The problem with that is that there are probably just as many LGBT people per capita in Mississippi as there are, on average, in states like North Carolina or Georgia, or anywhere else in America.  Not all queer folk live in Key West or San Francisco.  They may gravitate to gay meccas, but I know first-hand that there are LGBT communities in small towns and rural America, quietly living their lives and working side by side with straight people.  They may not be out to their co-workers and neighbors because that’s just not who they are.  Their private lives are just that: private.  They may not want to call attention to themselves not because they’re ashamed but because they just don’t feel like it’s anyone else’s business, or they just may not want to make a big deal about it.  They would rather have their ordinary lives remain just that: ordinary.

This is one reason I’m not entirely comfortable with boycotts.  I think they tend to do more for the boycotters than the boycottees. It makes them feel good that they’re sticking it to the homophobes or the racists or the ignorant, but it also removes any kind of leverage they might have in swaying the local politicians or communities to change their ways.  You can’t change someone’s mind if you’re not there to make your case for inclusiveness.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Short Takes

President Obama commuted the sentences of 61 people convicted of non-violent drug offenses.

No charges filed in the Minneapolis shooting of an unarmed man by two police officers.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina because of the recently-passed LGBT law.

Ice sheet forecast suggests disastrous sea level rise by 2100.

F.D.A. eases abortion pill access.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Short Takes

The Pentagon reports that a major ISIS figure was killed in an air strike in Syria.

Mini-Tuesday primary results.

VP Biden is visiting Israel at a tense time.

A Baltimore police officer has been ordered to testify in the case of the death of Freddie Gray.

Missouri state senate Democrats are filibustering an anti-gay bill.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Short Takes

Car bomb hits military convoy in Turkey, killing 28.

President Obama will not attend Scalia’s funeral.

Apple fights court order to unlock San Bernardino suspect’s phone.

Nike drops boxer Manny Pacquiano as spokesperson after anti-gay remarks.

Not Me: Florida winners of huge Powerball win come forward.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ted Cruz’s Friends

Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t shy about being anti-gay, and he has a strong support staff to carry that message out to the base.  Via Right Wing Watch:

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group, helped coalesce Religious Right support behind Cruz and campaigned with the senator in Iowa. Cruz apparently sees it as helpful to campaign alongside Perkins, who has defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill and claimed that gay rights advocates are pawns of the Devil.

Perkins joined Cruz on the trail in Iowa along with Glenn Beck, the conspiracy theory radio host; David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who heads one of the leading pro-Cruz super PACs and who, like Beck, has declared Cruz to be God’s answer to his prayers; reality TV star Phil Robertson, notorious for making bigoted remarks; James Dobson, the anti-gay radio personality who founded Focus on the Family; Rep. Steve King, the congressman known for his anti-gay and anti-immigrant tirades; Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa political organizer who describes homosexuality as a “public health risk” similar to smoking; and far-right radio broadcaster Steve Deace.

Other endorsers touted by the Cruz campaign have included North Carolina activists who have referred to gay people as Satan’sminions; a North Carolina pastor who has likened gay people to “maggots” and linked them to Ebola; an Oklahoma preacher who warns that homosexuality is part of a demonic communist conspiracy to bring down America; a Virginia radio host who has blamed gays for everything from terrorism to train derailments; and a Virginia lawmaker who has sponsored an assortment of bizarre anti-gay bills.

Most recently, Cruz welcomed the endorsement of Mike Bickle, the leader of a church that many have criticized for using cult-like practices, who has referred to Oprah Winfrey as a harbinger of the Antichrist, called gay rights as a Satanic plot that will usher in the End Times, and explained that Adolf Hitler was raised up by God to be a “hunter” of Jews.

So when Marco Rubio says he will do what he can to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality — even though he doesn’t explain how or what will happen to the thousands of couples who have married — he sounds like a lightweight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Just One Of Many

Via Raw Story:

A mayoral candidate in a small Charlotte suburb wants to “eradicate” homosexuality and throw LGBT people in jail, the Kings Mountain Herald reports.

Eugene Holmes, who is running for mayor of Kings Mountain, says he doesn’t want to be mayor, but he’s running because of his anti-gay views. He views Kentucky clerk Kim Davis as something of a role model.

“In my administration I would do just like Mrs. Davis did in Kentucky,” Holmes said. “If you elect me, I’ll uphold the law of the state of North Carolina. I would get the D.A. to swear out a warrant on any man who says he’s gay. Sodomy is a crime, a felony in the state of North Carolina.”

Holmes said he’s a member of the Church of God and also the Promise Keepers, a men’s religious organization.

“What’s wrong with eradicating homosexuals? We should jail them, throw them all in jail!” Holmes told the Herald.

A couple of notes for Mr. Holmes: they tried eradicating homosexuals in Europe a while back.  It didn’t work out so well.  Second, the Supreme Court tossed out sodomy laws a long time ago, and since they’re the Supreme Court, what they say goes.

I’m bothering to post this moment of sniveling bigotry not because it’s newsworthy but because I’m pretty sure that it’s what passes for normal in a lot of places other than North Carolina.

HT to NTodd.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Marry The Men Today Update

Via TPM:

The Supreme Court on Monday denied Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ request for a stay while she pursues an appeal.

In the two months since the court legalized gay marriage, Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses. Four couples sued her and the Supreme Court’s rejection marks the end of her legal options to refuse.

It’s not clear exactly what she will do when her office opens Tuesday. Her attorney has said she will pray about it overnight.

Here’s what’s going to happen:  She’s going to tearfully quit her job, start a GoFundMe campaign, and buy a rhinestone-encrusted crown of thorns with her grift.  Yeah, pray for that.

Update:  She’s still refusing to obey the law of the land.  She’s perfectly within her personal rights to do this…

Aw fuck it.  I tried to be reasonable, but she’s nothing more than a sniveling bigot hiding behind her religion.  Sue the hell out of her.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Marry The Men Today

Via TPM:

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to issuing same-sex marriage licenses for religious reasons. She stopped issuing marriage licenses the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A U.S. district judge ordered Davis to issue the marriage licenses, but later delayed his order so that Davis could have time to appeal to the 6th circuit. Wednesday, the appeals court denied Davis’ request for a stay.

An attorney for Davis said he was disappointed in the ruling and that Davis could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he did not know how Davis would react to the ruling.

Ms. Davis’s feelings about the ruling are unknown at the moment, but another clerk, Casey Davis (no relation), is choosing this to be the hill to die on.  Via Right Wing Watch:

On Monday, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis (no relation) appeared on Huntington, West Virginia’s “The Tom Roten Morning Show” to discuss how he similarly plans to defy the courts if ordered to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples … even to the point of death.

[…]

An emotional Davis went on to claim that he may lose his life in defiance of marriage equality: “Our law says ‘one man and one woman’ and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected. If it takes it, I will go to jail over — if it takes my life, I will die for because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have, I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do. They fought and died so we could have this freedom and I’m going to fight and die for my kids and your kids can keep it.”

I have another idea: quit your job and become an itinerant preacher. You’ll be able to carry on being a sniveling Jesus-freak and the taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for your bigotry.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pick A Side, Jeb!

Via ThinkProgress:

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) no longer believes that it should be legal to discriminate against LGBT people in employment and housing — but he still does not back federal legislation to remedy the problem.

Bush was asked by a gay employee at a San Francisco tech startup he visited on Thursday about his position on legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Time reported. Bush responded by denouncing discrimination in general, but also diminishing the need for legal protections and saying they should be only enacted at the state level.

“The fact that there wasn’t a law doesn’t necessarily mean you would have been discriminated against,” Bush told the worker. Studies have shown that between 15 percent and 43 percent of gay people have experienced some form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace and 90 percent of transgender workers reported experiencing some form of workplace harassment or mistreatment.

Bush then invoked the “religious liberty” argument made by anti-LGBT organizations, suggesting that while a florist should have to sell flowers to everyone, they should not be obligated to do so for a same-sex wedding.

Invoking the “states’ rights” argument is his way of weaseling out of the discussion.  Oh, sure, he’s against discrimination, but let’s let the states decide for themselves.  If we went that route on civil rights, schools would still be segregated as would lunch counters and bathrooms.  Using the fallacious “religious liberty” point is just the new version of the old “if God had meant for the races to mingle, he’d have made us all one color” line.

I’d just as soon Mr. Bush come out and join his fellow Republicans such as Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee and unalterably stand for homophobia enshrined into law such as a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and denying equal protection by statute for the LGBT community.  He was certainly in favor of it when he was the governor of Florida, so if he’s going to stand on his record back then, he can do it now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Next Battle

Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, what’s next?  Paul Waldman at the Washington Post says it’s going to be the “religious liberty” issue.

While there’s a political calculation at work and a lot of the rhetoric travels into the territory of the absurd, there are also some legitimate legal questions that have to be worked out.

First, let’s place this in context. For some time now, conservative Christians have told themselves a story of their own oppression, one that testifies to their courage in holding to their faith when hostile forces would rip it from them and send them cowering to the shadows. This is in large part a reaction to the diversification of our society, in which the proportion of Americans who are Christian is indeed declining. As a result of that change, many of the features of civil and commercial life have changed as well, so that instead of being the only religion expressed, Christianity is one among many. Some Christians would obviously prefer it if their particular faith had a monopoly on government expressions and things like signs in department stores, and are genuinely horrified when they see a sign reading “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Since those Christians are mostly Republicans, and evangelicals are particularly numerous in the state of Iowa, GOP presidential candidates almost inevitably echo those sentiments back to the voters, repeating the narrative of oppression. “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,” said Rick Perry in a famous ad from his presidential run four years ago. So brave, to admit that! “But you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

For the record, people still celebrate Christmas pretty openly last time I checked, and every kid is free to pray in school; what’s forbidden (in most but not all cases) is prayers sponsored and organized by the public school itself.

In any case, the gay marriage decision is easy to turn into a story of Christians oppressed, like the baker who doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple. Conservatives have successfully expanded the realm of the religious beyond things like rituals, worship, and sacraments into other realms like commerce, and if they’re feeling despondent over the Court decision, they should remember that this Supreme Court has agreed with them, holding in the Hobby Lobby case that a corporation can have its own religious beliefs and thus excuse itself from laws it doesn’t find congenial.

The course from there is pretty obvious: the Religious Right and their political allies running for president will use their vast lung power and internet reach to grift money from the foolish and the weak.  Every victory scored by the Radical Homosexuals (which sounds like an ’80’s heavy metal band) will generate e-mail blasts with pleas for money.

The conventional wisdom is that the ruling on marriage equality was greeted privately by the GOP and the Religious Right with, if not joy, at least relief.  For the Republicans, it removes it from the immediacy of the campaign and into the abstract (see Huckabee, Mike, and his plans to fight “judicial tyranny” with tyranny).  For the Religious Right, now they have a whole new flock of pigeons to pluck in the name of fighting non-existent persecution.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Do Your Job

Via TPM:

Rather than grant licenses to gay couples in light of the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, at least two county clerks in Kentucky are not issuing marriage licenses to any couples — gay or straight — for the time being.

The clerks offices of Casey County and Rowan County confirmed to TPM Tuesday that at the moment the clerks are not granting any marriage licenses. The Clinton County clerks office would only tell TPM “no comment” when repeatedly asked whether marriage licenses of any type were being issued there.

Here’s a comment: if you can’t do your job because you don’t like the people who are coming to you for your service, then quit.  This also goes for pharmacists who won’t fill birth control prescriptions for women you know aren’t married or dudes selling hardware to people you suspect of being gay.

When you work for a government entity, your first duty is to obey the law, and when you open a business to the public, your first duty is to serve the public; all of them.  So do it or get out.  God will understand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

He Can Dream

Mike Huckabee says that once he’s elected president he’ll block all federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

If the Congress decides that they want to pass enabling legislation, they could put it on my desk and I would veto it, and they can attempt to override it. That’s the process.

Yes, but since the chances of him becoming president of anything more than his HOA are nil, there’s not a lot to worry about unless you happen to be gay and live on the same cul-de-sac as he does.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Defying Logic

Via TPM:

Fearing a huge setback to their cause, opponents of same-sex marriage, including some of the major contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, are darkly warning that they will not “honor” an adverse Supreme Court decision. Some are calling for civil disobedience. Others are moving to strip the Supreme Court of its authority to decide whether gay couples should be allowed to marry, while others have questioned whether the court has that jurisdiction in the first place. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has said that such a decision would be “fundamentally illegitimate.”

So what are they going to do?  Other than stand around and hiss and splutter, there’s not a whole lot that these folks can do to not “honor” marriage equality.  What kind of “civil disobedience” is there for them to commit?  Peruse the society columns of the New York Times and then stand outside a wedding reception holding up a sign?  Or perhaps the numerous GOP closet cases will not marry their secret f-buddy that they’ve been going to see while they tell their wives they’re going to Home Depot?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Putrid Michigan

From the Detroit Free Press:

On Wednesday, Republican majorities in both chambers approved a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies — including those who take taxpayer dollars to place children who are in the state’s custody — to discriminate in the practice of their work. They can deny services to families that violate the agency’s religious beliefs, including unmarried couples, same-sex couples and those who hold different religious beliefs.

The legislation is a craven attempt to cloak discrimination in faith, and it leaves the best interests of the 13,000 children in the state’s care — entirely out of the equation.

Even worse, it sends Michigan in the exact wrong direction just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court could invalidate all legislative or constitutional provisions that permit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Should that happen, this statute, along with bigoted laws in states around the country, would fall like their predecessors — Jim Crow-era laws and regulations — after landmark rulings in the 1960s.

That’s lousy moral company for Michigan to keep. It’s lousy business company for Michigan to keep. And it’s especially shameful for a governor whose own preachings about tolerance and acceptance obviously mean less than appeasing his party’s religious conservatives.

The bills Gov. Rick Snyder signed Thursday spell nothing but trouble for the children in this state who are waiting, desperately, for the chance to join willing families.

Disgusting.