Human Rights Campaign Field Staffer named “Organizer of the Year”

Nancy Pelosi Congratulates HRC Organizer Karl Bach for his work in Nebraska moments before sending DADT repeal bill to the president

HRC Regional Field Organizer Karl Bach was voted Organizer of the Year this week by Grassroots Solutions, a national grassroots training organization.

Karl was recognized by this prestigious group for his organizing leadership in many states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware and Texas.  But it was Karl’s field work in Nebraska that made history.  Karl built and led a team of Nebraska organizers that created a grassroots campaign in support of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell directed at Senator Ben Nelson.

Many in Nebraska noted that Nebraska had never seen such a large, strategic, and effective grassroots program until HRC hit the ground.

Karl’s  leadership team included Nebraskans Nic Swiercek and Cassie Fleming.  Together they identified and mobilized hundreds of Nebraskan veterans (gay and straight), and thousands of Nebraskans across the state.

When Senator Ben Nelson issued a statement the day before the May vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee, Karl and his team were deservedly proud of their accomplishment.  In fact, Senator Nelson’s staff commented that it was HRC’s field effort that helped make it possible for the Senator to vote yes.

Karl was in Delaware this election season, engaging HRC members in the high-profile Senate race there. He was also in New Hampshire, working with New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, to help win marriage equality in the state.

Karl has worked in New Jersey alongside Garden State Equality as they sought to win marriage equality; he worked in Florida helping to protect equal rights at the ballot box in Gainesville; he was in Texas in 2008, working on state legislative elections.

Karl is not only a great organizer, but he’s also a wonderful colleague. The HRC field team and the entire HRC family are so proud of this well-deserved recognition of Karl Bach.  Karl Bach, you rock.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Family Research Council’s anti-SPLC campaign places bullseye on the backs of Republican leaders

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Those organizations either named as anti-gay hate groups or profiled for their tendency to defame the lgbt community via lies are running scared. On Tuesday morning, they brought out the “big guns”

From  People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch:

 . . . FRC announced that it was running this open letter [PDF] in both Politico and The Washington Examiner and that the effort had the support of dozens of Republican members of Congress and conservative leaders:

Family Research Council (FRC) announced the placement of a full-page open letter in today's print editions of Politico and the Washington Examiner responding to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) recent attacks on FRC and other groups.

SPLC has targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The open letter, signed by more than 150 organizational leaders, Members of Congress and other elected officials, calls for a “vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

The open letter was signed by many current and former elected and government officials including Speaker-designate John Boehner, Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, U.S. Reps Mike Pence (R-IN), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Carter (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA,) Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX,) Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA,) Don Manzullo (R-IL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Peter Roskam (R-LA), Lamar Smith (R-TX,) Steve Scalise (R-LA,) Fred Upton (R-MI), U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK,) David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sam Brownback (Gov.-elect, Kansas), Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Senator Rick Santorum, Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Those look like some pretty heavy hitters, don't they? Personally I am not impressed. The vast majority if not all of these individuals have been very vocal with their tendency to stigmatize the lgbt community whether it be Mike Huckabee with his insults to lgbt households, Tim Pawlenty via his unnecessary and coldhearted vetoing of a bill that would allow same sex partners to make end-of-life decisions for their partners, or Jim DeMint who doesn't believe in the hiring of any gay teachers.


But it would seem to me that FRC, through its need to deny the obvious (that its hate group status does not come from upholding “Judeo-Christian” moral beliefs but its desire to smear the lgbt community via lies and junk science), have now expanded the bullseye placed on its back by the Southern Poverty Law Center to include Congressional leaders who have signed this madness.

If the lgbt community and our allies take advantage of this situation, we would communicate with any and all of these Congressional leaders via email, phone, or whatever and ask:

Congressman or Congresswoman so-and-so,

Do you really stand with groups who proclaim that:

•Gays should be exported from the country;

•The federal government must be overthrown if it allows gay marriage;

•”Moral perverts” need to be kept out of the military;

•There is nothing “conservative” about “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'”;

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•”Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.”

Or how about organizations who will intentionally cite discredited research in order to smear lgbts the same way the Klan cites FBI statistics to smear African-Americans?

We need those questions continuously until we either receive an answer or, at the very least, send a message to these leaders that maybe they should know all of the facts behind a situation before interjecting themselves into it.

UPDATE – the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a what can only be described as devastating response to FRC's campaign. This is my favorite part:

Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.

Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

For another good list to ask Congressional leaders about, go to:

FRC's 'Start Debating, Stop Hating' effort: Let's look at some of those aligned debaters, shall we?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Exclusive: FRC to launch responsibility-shirking ‘Start Debating, Stop Hating’ campaign

We’ve uncovered an unreleased document that the Family Research Council will soon launch as part of a currently-unannounced campaign to spin their placement on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate groups list:

FRC’s ridiculous attempt to spin the SPLC list

At this point, the companion site simply redirects back to FRC’s main site. Which is fitting, since this responsibility-shirking maneuver will surely play out in an echo chamber even after it’s actually launched.


*Just a brief reminder of how FRC debates: Calls to export and criminalize gays, claims that political opponents are “held captive by the enemy,” and documents that liken same-sex marriage to man-horse sex:

*SOURCE: Gays seek immigration reform [Medill Reports]




*SOURCE: The Quest For Change — Tony Perkins [Grace Chapel]


Page 1 of the Family Research Council’s “Slippery Slope To Same-Sex Marriage” document,

which compares same-sex marriage to bestiality in both graphic and text:

Screen Shot 2010-12-09 At 12.32.39 Pm


*ALSO: As we’ve stated before: It’s so, so dumb for NOM, the Liberty Counsel, CWA and others to align themselves so closely on this. Because SPLC did not put those three groups on the list. So if they were playing it intelligently, they would look at the carefully documented reasoning and differentiation between what the SPLC sees as simple opposition and what they see as beyond-the-pale advocacy. In a perfect world, these non-listed groups would speak out against the kinds of things that led AFA, FRC, and others to the list, not shoot the messenger.


**UPDATE: Found another microsite that refers to the campaign as a “print ad.” So heads up. They may be planning to launch this in weekend papers.

Of course the microsite also says the SDSH site will be active by 12/7 — so who knows?

Good As You

—  admin

Celebrities ‘Die’ Temporary Twitter, Facebook Deaths in World AIDS Day Campaign


Dying for attention (to AIDS).

Mashable writes:

Millions of people will be deprived of their favorite celebrity musings later this week as the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Seacrest go dark on Twitter and Facebook. The silence will only be temporary, however, as it’s part of a million fundraiser for World AIDS Day, which takes place December 1.

The project was organized by Alicia Keys on behalf of her charity Keep a Child Alive. According to the Associated Press, the celebs — which also include Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Hudson and Serena Williams — will remain silent in the social media universe until the charity raises million.

The effort will be further supported by dramatic videos featuring the celebs in what the AP describes as “lying in coffins to represent what the campaign calls their digital deaths.” Presumably, those videos will be tweeted out before the celebs sign off to raise awareness.

Dlisted thinks the campaign got it all wrong: "This is NOT how you do it. If Alicia really wants all of us to turn our PayPal pocketbooks upside down and shake the cash into her hands, she should've promised us that Kim will stay off of Twitter forever once million is raised. Where was Don Draper when Alicia really needed him?!"

Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

HRC Field Team Deploys for DADT Repeal Grassroots Campaign

With Congress soon back in Washington for the post-election “lame duck” session, HRC’s this week launched an aggressive grassroots campaign to urge Senate action on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal before the end of the year.  Field organizers on the ground are focusing on eight key states to amplify the voices of veterans and other fair-minded Americans who know the time is right to repeal this law and strengthen our national security.

“In the waning days of the 111th Congress, Senators have one last chance to follow the advice of the President and top military leaders by sending ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ to the dustbin of history,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It would be a travesty for a small group of senators to continue to hold hostage a bill with critical military equipment and pay raises just because some senators don’t want to even debate repeal.”

HRC organizers are already deploying to eight states critical to repeal – Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.  They are recruiting and mobilizing veterans to speak out, holding public events and blanketing local media with pro-repeal messages to raise the issue’s profile.  The latest grassroots push follows on the successful field campaign to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee in May as well as the organization’s grassroots efforts over the August recess.

With the full House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committee having passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with the DADT repeal provision, the next step is for the full Senate to pass the defense bill.  DADT repeal is just one small element of the legislation that authorizes thousands of defense programs critical to our national security. Without Senate action in the lame duck session, it would be the first time in 48 years that Congress failed to act on the NDAA.

Aside from enacting repeal following the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group study on DADT repeal implementation, the bill authorizes 5.9 billion for defense programs in FY 2011.  This includes: funds for a pay raise for the troops, and benefits for severely wounded combat veterans; funds for troop protection in Iraq & Afghanistan including for measures to counter IEDs and to up-armor Humvees; funds for missile defense programs, new aircraft and new vessels; billions for military construction, land acquisition, and military family housing functions; as well as billions for new equipment for National Guard and reserve units. Check out a full analysis of the NDAA.

Even if you don’t live in one of those states, take action now!  A list of things you can do is at our Repeal DADT Action Center.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Fox News Channel’s anti-Obama smear campaign resembles Shakespeare’s Othello

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

(Not necessarily an lgbt issue but our community would do well to pay attention to how Fox News's war on Obama has transpired. The same tactic has been used on us by the religious right.)

Fans of William Shakespeare are familiar with the play Othello in which a black leader (Othello) is done in by a treacherous lieutenant (Iago) constantly whispering in his ear, implying that his new wife (Desdemona) has been unfaithful to him.

In the past two years, this country has been witnessing a sort of recreation of this play in the smearing of President Obama by Fox News.

Ever since the 2008 Presidential election, Fox News hasn't simply registered disapproval with Obama's policies. The network has carried it three steps further by engaging in a personal vendetta and an undeclared campaign of misinformation designed to poison the public against Obama, exploit many Americans' silent uneasiness with electing the first black president, and thereby undermining not only his policies but his legacy as well.

 From Fox News, it has been implied that:

  • Obama hates America because he is a socialist.
  • Obama is a racist seeking “payback” for African-Americans
  • Obama is secretly a Muslim
  • Obama hates the Constitution
  • Obama is running a Justice Department who won't prosecute discrimination cases where whites are the victims and African-Americans are the perpetrators
  • Obama doesn't believe in the free market.
  • Obama is in charge of a huge unethical empire of voter fraud whose base is ACORN
  • Michelle Obama is sort of the reincarnation of the “extravagant” Marie Antoinette
  • Obama is trying to destroy America in pursuit of his father's Keynesian beliefs
  • Obama is always apologizing to foreign countries instead of pushing the idea of “American Exceptionalism (whatever the heck that is) because he is secretly ashamed of this country.

And the latest lie:

  • Obama is spending an unnecessary amount of money (0 million a day) on a trip to India.


None of these charges are well-thought-out reasonable opposition to Obama's policies. Rather they are the equivalent of feces thrown by enraged baboons so consumed with hitting their targets that they don't care how deep they have to sink their arms into the gunk.

Now in Othello, Iago's constant hinting, whispering, and nudging drove Othello to a fever pitch, leading him to murder his wife and then commit suicide after realizing that he had been duped.

Some progressives can probably make the case that this is figuratively similar to the 2010 mid-terms where the American people gave control of the House of Representatives back to the Republicans – a party whose policies are responsible for our presently poor financial state, a party who, despite its clarion cry of “jobs, jobs, jobs,” has no concrete plan for job creation or deficit reduction, and a party who seems to want to waste time and attention in a futile war over Obama's health care bill and useless Congressional investigations instead of fulfilling their promises to the American people.

It's not that simple. One can't completely blame Fox News for the 2010 mid-term elections. There is enough blame for the Democrats and Obama himself to absorb a little.

But still, this version of Othello hasn't ended just yet. As long as Obama is in office, Fox News will continue to act as an imp seated on the shoulder of America, whispering in her ear, manifesting fears, and sowing doubts via ugly innuendo camouflaged as legitimate news with every intention of painting our President as a sepia “Manchurian Candidate.”

My hope is that enough Americans will eventually recognize Fox News as the propaganda machine that it is and develop a tin ear to its vitriol.

We have every right not to like our President. At times we should disagree with our President. But no American should ever be made to fear our President. And we should always respect our President.

But the way Fox News is going,  I wouldn't be surprised if some folks ended up using Obama as a boogeyman to get their children to behave.

That's what Fox News's goal seems to be. And there is something dreadfully wrong with that.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Obama administration blocking Courage Campaign site, while Teabagger site is okay

Can’t wait to hear the excuse for this one.

From the Hill:

A progressive activist group in California is complaining that the Pentagon has prevented soldiers from accessing its web site in Iraq.

The group argues that Californians serving in Iraq who will vote on a series of ballot measures on Tuesday do not have access to the Courage Campaign “voters guide,” which might help them make decisions.

The Hill independently confirmed that the Tea Party Express site can be accessed on Defense Department computers while the Courage Campaign site cannot be accessed. Courage campaign said it has received information that web sites affiliated with the Traditional Values Coalition, California Election Forum and Christian Voter Guide through the Defense Department computers in Iraq.

And this had better not be the reason:

However, there could be other possible explanations for the blocked site, such as an automatic filter that sifts through specific words. The Courage Campaign site uses multiple references to “sex” (as in same-sex marriages) and “gay” (as in anti-gay, or gay rights). The site also contains information and action items on the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

And I don’t want to hear “it’s the Pentagon, not the President.” Is he in charge of his own administration or not?  We’d never have given George Bush a pass for something nasty “an agency” did to us.


—  admin

Christine O’Donnell Confesses To Using Campaign Money For Personal Expenses

Teabagger loon, “ex-gay” advocate, and not-a-witch Christine O’Donnell has admitted that she’s been illegally using campaign donations to pay her rent.

[O'Donnell] acknowledges using campaign money to pay part of the rent on her current town house. Her attorney maintains someone with the Federal Election Commission approved the arrangement, although the commission’s rules say candidates can’t use campaign money for their mortgage or rent “even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign.”

The watchdog group Citizens For Ethics in Washington responds: “Ms. O’Donnell has spent years embezzling money from her campaign to cover her personal expenses. Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but both sides should agree on one point: thieves belong in jail not the United States Senate.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Iowa For Freedom campaign is wrong-headed, says 1961

The current war against judges who sided with equal protection and due process in removing gender discrimination from marriage may not be exclusively partisan. But if this, one of the very first editorials written about the Iowa judicial retention system, doesn’t sound like a rebuke of the Iowa For Freedom coalition‘s attempt to remove judges based on personal faith objections rather than merit, we don’t know what “Mad Men” era assessment could’ve more ably made the case:


**Our complete Iowa For Freedom Archive

Good As You

—  admin

NYT profiles ‘It Gets Better’ campaign

We’ll start today on a positive note.

The “It Gets Better” campaign, launched by Dan Savage, has become a phenomenon. It’s the story of the LGBT community looking out for its own amid a wave of homophobia, anti-gay rantings from politicians and religious leaders and the teen suicides. Today, the NY Times profiles the effort:

The “It Gets Better” idea came to Mr. Savage, 46, while he was riding the AirTrain shuttle to Kennedy International Airport last month and thinking about Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old from Indiana who committed suicide Sept. 9. The local news media reported that Mr. Lucas was bullied regularly.

Days earlier, Mr. Savage had blogged about the suicide, and a reader had written: “My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas. I wish I could have told you that things get better.”

Mr. Savage said he felt the same way. But how to tell them? He gives talks at colleges regularly, but not at middle schools or high schools. “I would never get permission,” he said, blaming a system of “parents, preachers and teachers” who “believe they can terrorize gay children out of being gay as they grow up.”

His realization was this: “I was waiting for permission that — in the era of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook — I didn’t need anymore.”


—  John Wright