TCU LGBT alumni group forms

Organizer says school has been helpful, supportive in forming group for gay graduates

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

There are some schools that are — or have been — affiliated with religious institutions that  not only wouldn’t welcome an LGBT alumni group, they would block such a group outright.

But when Doug Thompson, a graduate of Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University, associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), approached his alma mater’s alumni association about forming an LGBT affiliate, he said, the response was, “Absolutely. No problem.”

TCU’s new LGBT alumni group will hold its first large meeting on Saturday, Oct. 22, after the TCU homecoming game. Thompson acknowledged that sports isn’t the main concern of many LGBT alumni, but homecoming is still a time when many alumni return to visit the campus.

Thompson said when he asked the alumni association whether the LGBT group would need approval by the school’s administration, he was told the administration would back it. The group was approved in April.

Unlike Baylor University, which sued to keep its LGBT alumni from using the school name to organize a group, Thompson said there has been no objection from the TCU campus.

“We just want to get people involved however they want to be involved,” Kristi Hoban, associate vice chancellor alumni of relations, said. “We just reach out, whether it’s a class or the business school or a special interest group.”

She said that black alumni were not participating until the Black Alumni Alliance formed about 11 years ago. Now, she said, they’re active leaders in class reunions, homecoming and department alumni events, adding that she hopes to see the same thing happen with the LGBT network.

Finding LGBT alumni hasn’t been easy, Thompson said, as students aren’t asked about their sexual orientation before they graduate.

But Thompson said about 120 alumni have already responded, mostly to calls on social media sites. And now that the school has a Gay Straight Alliance, he said, finding future alumni will be easier.

“Our goal will be to support gay and lesbian students and start a scholarship,” Thompson said. “And we’ll form activities around things gay alumni have an interest in.”

He mentioned support for the Trinity Shakespeare Festival on campus as a direction for the group.

Thompson said that having an LGBT alumni group will help the school provide a better environment for its LGBT students.

Two years ago, TCU proposed setting aside dorm space for LGBT students. A week after the announcement, when only eight students had signed up for the housing, the school scrapped those plans.

“That got totally blown out of proportion,” Hoban said.

She said the intention was never segregated housing but really just an LGBT campus group.
Thompson said the school would have avoided the bad publicity if it had the alumni group to guide them.

The LGBT alumni group will get together after the homecoming game against New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 22. They will meet at Tommy’s Hamburgers’ Camp Bowie Boulevard location from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

…………………

OUT, PROUD ATHLETE

Pryor.Victor

Victor Pryor

Perhaps one of the best known Texas Christian University grads that will be attending the new LGBT alumni group’s meeting this weekend is Vincent Pryor, a TCU Horned Frogs football star from 1994.

That year, before the final game of the season against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Pryor came out to his teammates. Rather than shunning him, Pryor’s coach told him he was proud of his honesty

“My teammates and my coaches overwhelmingly supported and accepted me,” Pryor writes on his website, VincentPryor.com. “All of the fears and concerns I had about being kicked off the team, or losing my scholarship, or embarrassing my school — none of that happened.  And the best part of it was that I became a better athlete after I came out.”

That day, Pryor had the biggest game of his college career, tallying a record 4.5 sacks — a record that still stands today. His performance helped TCU win the conference title and a berth in a post-season bowl game.

Today, Pryor works in sales and lives in Chicago with his partner of 12 years, who was a classmate at TCU. To watch his just-
released an “It Gets Better” video, below.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

The Problems With Focus On The Family’s And The Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy

Thumbnail Link To TrueTolerance.org's/The Alliance Defense Fund's 'Model Anti-Bullying Policy for All Schools'Focus On The Family, via their activism arm CitizenLink, has been using their website to promote the Alliance Defense Fund’s (ADF’s) Model Anti-Bullying Policy. When I read the model policy, I saw the problem with the lack of enumeration, and contacted the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to get their statement on the Model Anti-Bullying Policy. Also, I vaguely remembered their was documentation on why enumeration is important in bullying policies, and wanted to know they had information on the relevant court rulings and statistical documentation.

During my phone communication with their media relations department, I learned there are actually four significant issues with the ADF’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy that Focus On The Family’s/CitizenLink‘s Education Annalist Candi Cushman is pushing in the media. (You remember Candi Cushman: she’s the point person that CitizenLink has declared on their website is “a  leading national expert on education issues” without providing corroboration as to how or why she is a leading national expert in this field.) So here are the four major issues with the Model Anti-Bullying Policy:

  1. Enumeration.
  2. Lack of a training component.
  3. Over-limitation on locations where school bullying falls under the policy; over-limitation on when school bullying falls under the policy.
  4. Overemphasis on free speech.

Point by point:

1. Enumeration.

GLSEN has a document available on the importance of enumeration — simply entitled “Enumeration,” and it references theirs and Harris Interactive’s From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America; A Survey of Students and Teachers and The 2007 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools.

In a legal sense, enumeration refers to the identification of categories — of people or things — to which a law applies. In anti-bullying laws, in hate crime laws, in laws that protect against discrimination — these categories are referred to as protected classes.

One of the main reasons to spell out protected classes regards how students are better protected from bullying where enumerated polices exist.

[More below the fold.]
To quote from GLSEN’s Enumeration:

Students who attend schools with policies that enumerate categories report less bullying and harassment then students who do not.

• Research has shown that students in states with non-enumerated laws are no more protected from bullying than students who live in states without any anti-bullying and harassment laws (74.3% with generic policies vs. 75.0% with no policies report ‘often or frequently’ hearing homophobic remarks based on sexual orientation).

Thumbnail Link to Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network's (GLSEN's) 'Enumeration'• Students report less overall harassment when they know their school has a comprehensive policy that includes enumeration. Students from schools with an enumerated policy report that others are harassed far less often in their school for reasons like their physical appearance (36% vs. 52%), their sexual orientation (32% vs. 43%) or their gender expression (26% vs. 37%).

• Students whose schools have a policy that specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression are less likely than other students to report a serious harassment problem at their school (33% vs. 44%).

Enumeration is essential if laws are to be implemented.

• History and the Supreme Court tell us that enumerating policies is necessary. Girls would not have sports and our schools would not be integrated if policymakers had not specifically addressed these inequities by enumerating categories like sex and race in our laws. The Supreme Court of the United States noted in Romer v. Evans that “enumeration is the essential device used to make the duty not to discriminate concrete and to provide guidance for those who must comply (Romer v. Evans 517 U.S. 620 (1996).”

• Enumeration gives teachers and other educators the tools they need to implement anti-bullying and harassment policies, which makes it easier for them to intervene to prevent bullying. School personnel often fear that they will themselves be targeted for intervening on behalf of LGBT students. When they can point to language that provides clear protection for LGBT students, they feel more comfortable enforcing the policy. Students reported that teachers were significantly more likely to intervene always or most of the time in states with enumerated policies, as compared to states with either non-enumerated policies or no policies at all (25.3% vs. 15.9% and 12.3%).

Comprehensive policies with enumeration help ensure safety and reduce absenteeism.

• Students from schools with an enumerated policy are 50% more likely to feel very safe at school (54% vs. 36%). Students without such a policy are three times more likely to skip a class because they feel uncomfortable or unsafe (16% vs. 5%).

Unlike GLSEN, the Alliance Defense Fund and Focus On The Family — on their TrueTolerance.org — don’t list studies that support their conclusion that anti-bulling polices that don’t enumerate protect students better than enumerated policies. Unlike GLSEN, Focus On The Family has not funded its own studies to determine if their model policy actually does what thay state it will do. In fact, one of their bullet points on the subject actually states:

Statistics also indicate that race, ethnicity issues, and even opposite-sex harassment actually account for more bullying problems, than do homosexual-related issues.

If, as Focus On The Family states

• Focus on the Family believes that bullying should be recognized as a serious problem and should be strongly addressed.

• We believe schools can address this issue with a strong prohibition against any form of bullying-for any reason, against any child.

…Why point out which group is bullied more, or bullied less? This isn’t the Oppression Olympics, but the Alliance Defense Fund, Focus On The Family, and specifically Focus on the Family Action (CitizenLink) Education Analyst Candi Cushman, are trying to make this the Oppression Olympics. Specifically, Candi Cushman stated (emphasis added):

…In fact, when you look at the more objective data sources, and not just the information coming from gay activist groups, physical appearance-or the general concept of appearing different than one’s peers — is actually the most common reason reported for why victims are targeted. This can involve a whole slew of issues, such as one’s weight, a girl who is developing faster than others, a child who wears glasses, or a boy who acts more effeminate than his peers, etc, etc. In fact, statistics indicate that race, ethnicity issues, and even opposite-sex harassment actually account for more bullying problems, than do homosexual-related issues.

It’s sure appears to me that Candi Cushman is defining how serious bullying is against individual students by puting it in the terms of how many in each catagory are bullied. It seems to me that Candi Cushman is framing anti-LGBTQ bullying as a lesser form of bullying then of bullying for race or gender — she’s more than implying that because the quantity of students who are bullied for being perceived as being LGBTQ are less in numbers than other forms of bullying, it’s not a serious problem.

2. Lack of a training component.

There is no training component to Focus On The Family’s and the Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy.

Think about that for a moment. How is a teacher or administrator going to know how to identify what constitutes bullying — identifying bullying that falls under the parameters of a school district’s policies? How does a teacher or administrator recognize the students who are being bullied if one doesn’t know what typical bullying of specific types of students looks like? How is a teacher or administrator going to know, by district policy, when he, she, or ze is supposed to intervene in accordance with the policy? What are intervening actions are the teacher or administrator is supposed to take if he, she, or ze determines bullying has occurred? How is a teacher or administrator going to know what intervening actions are effective, and what intervening actions are ineffective? — and could make the bullying escalate?

With no training component spelled out in Model Anti-Bullying Policy, Focus On The Family’s and the Alliance Defense Fund’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy, the bad outcomes that GLSEN’s studies indicate in Enumeration document seem assured.

3. Over-limitation on locations where school bullying falls under the policy; over-limitation on when school bullying falls under the policy.

This is what the Model Anti-Bullying Policy states about where the policy applies:

The District prohibits all bullying on school premises, at school-sponsored functions or activities, or on school-sponsored transportation.

Thumbnail Link to GLSEN's 'Victimization Relates To Lowered School Connectedness For LGBT Youth, Institutional Support Relates To Greater Connectedness, GLSEN Article Finds'This is the definition of these locations:

B. “School Premises” means any building, structure, athletic field, sports stadium or other real property owned, operated, leased or rented by the District or one of its schools, including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary, or vocational-technical school.

C. “School-Sponsored Functions or Activities” means a field trip, sporting event, or any other function or activity that is officially sponsored by the District or one of its schools.

D. “School-Sponsored Transportation” means a motor vehicle owned, operated, leased, rented or subcontracted by the District or one of its schools.

This means that students who don’t take the school bus to and from school are subject to bullying that doesn’t fall under the district anti-bullying policy if they walk, ride a bike, or take a privately owned vehicle to school. This means that all bullying that takes place on a public sidewalk or street in front of the school doesn’t fall under the district anti-bullying policy. This means that all cyberbullying that is initiated via electronic devices that are not physically on school property when the cyberbullying is initiated is cyberbullying that doesn’t fall under the district anti-bullying policy.

A student bully essentially just has to move his bullying off-campus, off school buses, and away from within the confines of school-sponsored events to engage in bullying that impacts his, her, or hir chosen bullying victims.

And remember, bullying can include physical violence.

4. Overemphasis on free speech.

The last line in the Model Anti-Bullying Policy states this:

This policy shall not be interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students, and is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that such expression does not cause an actual, material disruption of the work of the school.

Thumbnail Link To Citizen Magazine's (Focus On The Family's) Parents Beware; 'Anti-Bullying' Initiatives Are Gay Activists' Latest Tools Of Choice For Sneaking Homosexuality Lessons Into Classrooms Note that the first listed protected viewpoint listed  is religious. That means an Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian student is free to tell lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students as frequently as he or she desires:

You homosexuals are an abomination to God, and are going to hell.

As long as an Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian student does not cause an actual, material disruption of the work of the school — which I’m assuming means doesn’t disrupt work in the classroom — this would not be administratively considered creating a hostile school environment for LGBTQ students. So a bullying Christian student could repeat this over and over again as long as he or she said this to LGBTQ students between classes and during lunch period.

This means that a transgender elementary school student could be harassed with faith-based free speech as frequently as frequently as a peer Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian student desires — except when that faith-based free speech causes an actual, material disruption of the work of the school. Recess and lunch then are fair game in the school day to harass transgender elementary school children.

The Alliance Defense Fund’s and Focus On The Family’s Model Anti-Bullying Policy is designed specifically to let Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian students (and their Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian parents) to create hostile school environments for LGBTQ-identified students.

And let’s again remember the woman who is currently pushing the meme “Anti-Bullying” Initiatives Are Gay Activists’ Latest Tools Of Choice For Sneaking Homosexuality Lessons Into Classrooms. She’s the education expert…right?

~~~~~~

Further reading:

* Twin Cities Daily Planet: Mother: Anoka-Hennepin School policy contributed to gay son’s suicide

* GLSEN: An Open Letter from GLSEN Board Member Sirdeaner Walker to Candi Cushman at Focus on the Family

Related:

* AFA Highlights/Recycles FOTF Campaign Against Perceived Gay Public School Agenda

* Focus On The Family/CitizenLink Sees “Sneaky” Gay Agenda In The Public Schools

.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Alliance Defense Fund: Loves A.G. refusals in Central time, not so much in Pacific

We’ve already posted a lengthy take on why it’s disingenuous for the Alliance Defense Fund and supporters to treat domestic partnerships one way in California and another way in Wisconsin. Now let’s look at another issue related to that matter: The fact that that state’s Republican attorney general, J.B Van Hoolen, is refusing to represent his state law in court because he finds it unconstitutional.

What are we hearing all the time out of CA? That both state Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) are out-of-line because they have chosen to take a stand against what they (and a federal district judge) perceive to be an unconstitutional slighting of gay and lesbian citizens’ civil rights. Both men have refused to defend Prop 8 in court. And this little fact has made the anti-equality side nothing short of apoplectic. 6A00D8341C503453Ef01156F9Fc93B970CHere’s ADF attorney Austin Nimocks speaking recently to “Point of View” radio:

(click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: 8/18/10 [Point of View Radio]

But yet now here we have the ADF and Wisconsin Family Action filing suit against the Badger State’s domestic partnership law, and we have an A.G. who has pointedly refused to defend the legislatively-enacted D.P. registry (Gov. Doyle, the Secretary of the WI Dept. of health Services, and the State Registrar of Vital Statistic are the listed defendants). And yet there’s not *one peep* about the A.G. supposedly shirking his duties. Not one mention of Van Hollen’s political stripes or aspirations (which decidedly bend towards socially conservative), the way there have been with gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. It’s as if Van Hollen’s controversial decision either never happened, or is totally okay since it’s the anti-LGBT side he’s benefitting.

In fact, both the ADF and Julaine Appling (the lead plaintiff in the case in the ADF’s suit) have applauded Van Hollen’s decision:

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen — who ordinarily would defend a duly-enacted law — announced Friday he will not defend the state’s domestic-partner law from a legal challenge brought by a pro-family group.



Julaine Appling, chief executive officer of Wisconsin Family Action, said Van Hollen took a strong position when he said he would not disregard the constitution or the will of the people by defending the registry.

“What J.B. Van Hollen was saying was that his oath of office is to defend the constitution,” she said, “not the Legislature and not the governor.”



Jim Campbell, legal counsel for ADF, said he hopes the Wisconsin Supreme Court takes note of Van Hollen’s position.

“We believe that it’s very clear here. The people of Wisconsin said that they do not want the government creating anything that is substantially similar to marriage, and that is exactly what they’ve done here,” he said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Will Not Defend Domestic Partnerships [Focus on the Family]

And we, Mr. Campell, hope the United States Supreme Court takes note of Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzengger’s positions! After all, their stands are actually rooted in principle, not discriminatory politics.

***

*Note: The WI Supreme Court ultimately did not “take note,” like Campell wanted, as that judicial body refused the case. The current suit was filed in the Dane County Circuit Court

***

**EARLIER: Alliance Defense Fund: Loves domestic partnerships in Pacific time, not so much in Central [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Alliance Defense Fund: Loves A.G. refusals in Central time, not so much in Pacific

We’ve already posted a lengthy take on why it’s disingenuous for the Alliance Defense Fund and supporters to treat domestic partnerships one way in California and another way in Wisconsin. Now let’s look at another issue related to that matter: The fact that that state’s Republican attorney general, J.B Van Hoolen, is refusing to represent his state law in court because he finds it unconstitutional.

What are we hearing all the time out of CA? That both state Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) are out-of-line because they have chosen to take a stand against what they (and a federal district judge) perceive to be an unconstitutional slighting of gay and lesbian citizens’ civil rights. Both men have refused to defend Prop 8 in court. And this little fact has made the anti-equality side nothing short of apoplectic. 6A00D8341C503453Ef01156F9Fc93B970CHere’s ADF attorney Austin Nimocks speaking recently to “Point of View” radio:

(click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: 8/18/10 [Point of View Radio]

But yet now here we have the ADF and Wisconsin Family Action filing suit against the Badger State’s domestic partnership law, and we have an A.G. who has pointedly refused to defend the legislatively-enacted D.P. registry (Gov. Doyle, the Secretary of the WI Dept. of health Services, and the State Registrar of Vital Statistic are the listed defendants). And yet there’s not *one peep* about the A.G. supposedly shirking his duties. Not one mention of Van Hollen’s political stripes or aspirations (which decidedly bend towards socially conservative), the way there have been with gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown. It’s as if Van Hollen’s controversial decision either never happened, or is totally okay since it’s the anti-LGBT side he’s benefitting.

In fact, both the ADF and Julaine Appling (the lead plaintiff in the case in the ADF’s suit) have applauded Van Hollen’s decision:

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen — who ordinarily would defend a duly-enacted law — announced Friday he will not defend the state’s domestic-partner law from a legal challenge brought by a pro-family group.



Julaine Appling, chief executive officer of Wisconsin Family Action, said Van Hollen took a strong position when he said he would not disregard the constitution or the will of the people by defending the registry.

“What J.B. Van Hollen was saying was that his oath of office is to defend the constitution,” she said, “not the Legislature and not the governor.”



Jim Campbell, legal counsel for ADF, said he hopes the Wisconsin Supreme Court takes note of Van Hollen’s position.

“We believe that it’s very clear here. The people of Wisconsin said that they do not want the government creating anything that is substantially similar to marriage, and that is exactly what they’ve done here,” he said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Will Not Defend Domestic Partnerships [Focus on the Family]

And we, Mr. Campell, hope the United States Supreme Court takes note of Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzengger’s positions! After all, their stands are actually rooted in principle, not discriminatory politics.

***

*Note: The WI Supreme Court ultimately did not “take note,” like Campell wanted, as that judicial body refused the case. The current suit was filed in the Dane County Circuit Court

***

**EARLIER: Alliance Defense Fund: Loves domestic partnerships in Pacific time, not so much in Central [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Alliance Defense Fund: Loves D.P.’s in Pacific time, not so much in Central

As everyone is focused on the Alliance Defense Fund and the case they’ve been making against marriage equality in the California courts, we want to take a pause and look at another fight that this very same outfit has put on its legal slate. Namely: The ADF’s fight to overturn the state domestic partnership registry in Wisconsin:

MADISON, Wis. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys together with allied attorneys representing Wisconsin Family Action officers and board members filed suit in

ADF

state court Wednesday to stop the governor and state legislature from skirting a voter-approved constitutional amendment protecting marriage. The lawsuit asks the court to halt the state’s “domestic partnership” scheme because it creates a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage, which directly violates Article 13, Section 13, of the Wisconsin Constitution.

“Politicians shouldn’t defy the will of voters who legitimately amended the Wisconsin Constitution in a fair election,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “This domestic partnership scheme is precisely the type of marriage imitation that the constitutional amendment approved by Wisconsin voters was intended to prevent. Those who are determined to tamper with marriage in Wisconsin are attempting an end-run attack hoping they can evade the clear language of the state constitution.”

ADF files suit to stop violation of Wis. marriage amendment [ADF]

Alright, so let’s consider this. The ADF is taking on this case because they claim that domestic partnerships place an unfair burden on the institution of marriage. They claim that in “protecting marriage,” the state’s voters also intended to stop D.P.’s. Despite the easily discernible differences and limitations that disconnect D.P.’s from marriage, the ADF is building its whole case around the idea that a limited domestic partnership registry is meant to directly emulate its bigger cousin, and thus harms the “traditional marriage” side.

But now let’s move west to California. That state has one of the most expansive domestic partnership programs in all of the country. Far more expansive than the one in place in Wisconsin. But even so, it is still not marriage. Those pro-equality peeps engaged in the current fight for marriage in California have ably demonstrated that even their strong D.P.’s are a few steps away from full matrimony. Because they are.

Yet it’s not only the pro-equality side that’s demonstrated this difference: The ADF and fellow Prop 8 proponents have made a point to say that they are not opposed to domestic partnerships. That’s a major part of the pro-Prop 8 strategy: To say that gay couples don’t need marriage because they already have “most of the rights and benefits,” and that the state’s voters don’t hold animus towards gay people because they have allowed domestic partnerships to stand. And in fact, the proponents’ star witness, David Blankenhorn, very fully expanded on this idea:

BY MR. COOPER: Q. Thank you.

Mr. Blankenhorn, I would now like to turn to the last subject, and that is the issue of domestic partnerships.

And I would like to ask you what your position is on domestic partnerships?

A. I support them. I think that they could be part of a kind of a humane compromise in which, on the one hand, we protect marriage and allow it to continue to carry out its distinctive contribution to society, while at the same time extending protections and recognition to gay and lesbian couples.

I don’t think it’s a perfect solution, but I do think it’s a possibly humane compromise on this issue. And I so stated in an article that I wrote in the New York Times, I co-authored Jonathan Rauch last year.



Q.
Who is Jonathan Rauch?

A. He is a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is a prominent proponent of same-sex marriage and his most recent book is called Gay Marriage: Why It’s Good For Gays,Good For Straights and Good For America.

Q. And when did you publish this article you just referenced in the New York Times?

A. I think it was February of 2009.

Q. Have you always held the view that you have just articulated?



A.
No. I have actually come pretty much full circle on the issue. I really — I really hadn’t thought about it very much. I was really focused on the topic of marriage and I had not given the certainly two years topic of domestic partnerships much thought. I hadn’t given it any careful consideration until about ago. There was an event in Washington D.C., a debate — we conversations now, but we called it then a debate — call them with Jonathan Rauch and he kind of publicly challenged me and called me out on this topic and said, Your thinking about domestic partnerships is immature and wrong and you have to rethink it and, you know, it’s — I have also, speaking — Jonathan said he also was evolving his position on the topic and he really challenged me in that forum to consider more carefully this idea, and I told him that I would, and I did.

And that began a kind of a journey with him personally and, also, with other leaders in the push, who were pro-same-sex marriage, where I tried to devote some real — some real time to the topic and that led then to Rauch and Iwriting the article endorsing civil unions or domestic partnerships in the
New York Times.

Q. Why hadn’t you thought carefully about the issue of domestic partnerships prior to that time?

A. I didn’t really think I had — I didn’t feel that I had to think about them carefully at that time.

I — I went into my first conversations about this with a kind of — an instinctive or just a general feeling that if you set up a comparable institution to marriage, that that could have a weakening effect on marriage because — particularly if that comparable institution was open to opposite-sex couples as well, I was worried that you would have kind of a, you know, smorgasbord effect of choosing — and I thought that that diversification would possibly weaken the marital institution.

So I was — I was very concerned that that not happen, so I was personally suspicious of endorsing domestic partnerships for that reason.

And the other reason was that Rauch and the others, you know, the people that I was talking to were just very vociferous in their denunciation of civil unions and domestic partnerships. They just said it was a horrible idea; that it was discriminatory; that it was — that this was invidious; this was demeaning, two gay and lesbian people; and this was a form of unequal treatment.

And I — I accepted that view. I was strongly influenced by that view. In fact, I repeated that view. Back of the bus, you know, discriminatory and wrong and unfair.

And so for those reasons, my concerns about diluting marriage by setting up this dual institutional structure and, also, the concerns about just the — I guess you might say the un- — the unfairness, the idea that this would be discriminatory, I embraced that — I embraced both points of view, just as an initial way of thinking topic without having written or thought much about and it was really then in the meeting with Rauch in 2007 and then the next two years I tried to rethink it afresh. I tried to think about it deeply and carefully with Rauch and others and that led to the written article about the subject that I published with him last year.

Q. I take it you no longer agree with the views that you had on the subject before?

A. I still worry that domestic partnerships could — could possibly have a weakening effect on the marital institution, but I think that it’s something we should do anyway because of other issues involved, and I have satisfied myself on this question of fairness. That’s been the big issue for me, you know, personally. The issue of, is it unjust to have a domestic partnership program? That’s been really the core journey and exploration that I have undergone on that issue.

of those about the it, but –

So I — my thinking on it now is that the core principle that we can hold out for our understanding is that marriage as a social institution is larger than the sum of its legal incidents.

When we say the word “marriage,” it’s a big institution that performs a very large contribution to society and it’s much bigger, much more powerful and potent as a role in society than merely or only the enumeration of its legal incidents. Marriage predates law. Marriage is not a creature of law in the same way that other things are.

The law did not create marriage. We look to law to recognize and support marriage and to give it support, but we do not simply understand the institution only with reference to its legal incidents.

So if you look at the legal — the legal incidents of domestic partnerships and then look at the legal incidents of marriage, the fact that those legal incidents are comparable does not mean that we are looking at the same institution, the content of it.

The marital institution is differently purposed, is specifically purposed. As I have tried to say today, probably more times than you want to hear, the purpose of it is to bring together the biological male and the biological female, to bring together the two genitors of the child, to make it as likely as possible that they are also the social and legal parents of the child. That’s the loadstar. That’s the distinctive contribution. There are others, but that’s the distinctive and core contribution of the institution of marriage.

The domestic partnership institution is a differently purposed institution with respect to this bringing together — with respect to parenthood, particularly with respect to parenthood.

The parenting process in the — this loadstar notion that animates the marital institution is not the same that is operative in the domestic partnership institution.

It is discriminatory and un- — and morally wrong in my view, morally wrong to refuse to call two things that are the same by the same name. That was my — that was my — that was my — that was what the big thing I had to grapple with in my own mind to be able to look myself in the mirror.

And what I worked out with Rauch and others — I’m not saying he is responsible for my views. I’m saying that the process I’m describing of developing this proposal with Rauch, I had to be sure issue of is this in this way as a the thing that I my satisfaction.

And it myself, personally, ethnically, that this discrimination to have an institution purposed domestic partnership institution. That was had to work out, and I have worked that out to — it means a lot to me personally, but I feel that I have been able to understand this in a way that then allows me as an advocate for customary marriage to say we can have a compromise here. We don’t all get everything we want, but we all have a humane compromise on this issue.



MR. COOPER:
Thank you, Mr. Blankenhorn.

BLANKENHORN — DIRECT EXAMINATION/ COOPER [Equal Rights Foundation]

This exchange was clearly built around strategy. Chuck Cooper obviously wanted to David Blankenhorn to “explain” why domestic partnerships are a fundamentally different notion. The overall idea: That those who support Prop 8 are not mean to gays or causing undue harm since they support the right of domestic partnerships. And they want to demonstrate that they also understand the difference between domestic partnerships and marriage, but that the difference is not the bad thing that LGBT activists claim it is.

So now let’s use some frequent truth-flag-flyer miles and go back to Wisconsin, where the ADF is making this case:

The scheme, proposed and signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle after passage by the Legislature as part of the 2010-11 state budget, is available only to couples involved in a same-sex relationship. “Domestic partners” receive “declarations”

ADF

instead of “marriage licenses,” but otherwise, the procedures for becoming domestic partners and becoming husband and wife are virtually the same.

In November 2006, 59 percent of Wisconsin voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that reads, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.” In June, the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously upheld the validity of the entire amendment’s enactment.

“Our system of government serves no purpose if our elected officials can completely and capriciously ignore the will of the people with impunity,” said Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Appling v. Doyle, filed in the Dane County Circuit Court. “A reasonable person observing this registry would easily conclude that it is intended to mirror marriage. It borrows the requirements and eligibility standards for marriage, even to the point of requiring that the price of the registry certificate be the same as for a marriage license.”

ADF files suit to stop violation of Wis. marriage amendment [ADF]

So wait — why are Wisconsin D.P.s, which are so much more quasi- than California’s variety, all of a sudden presented as something that’s “intended to mirror marriage”? Both were approved by state legislatures and signed into law by state governors. So why are the ADF and fellow Prop 8 proponents all about putting David Blankenhorn on the stand to call California’s sweeping domestic partnerships “a differently purposed institution” that doesn’t undermine the voters, yet just as eager to put Julaine Appling in the spotlight to claim that elected officials are “capriciously ignor[ing] the will of the people with impunity”?

We obviously know the answers to those questions. It’s up to all of us to start connecting the dots of this politically-motivated, shifty, hypocrisy-laden, disingenuous legal game!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Alliance Defense Fund Calls For Prayers: Please Jeebus, Let Us Keep Prop 8


(Tipped by JMG reader Mark)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright