So many social conservatives simply love, love, love the fact that a crude and cruel disease hit the gay population in this country (as opposed to other countries) earliest and hardest. None more so than the American Family Association’s in-house liability, Bryan Fischer:
Let’s not forget that American tobacco manufacturers were forced to cough up over 0 billion because they peddle a product that kills people.
Well, homosexual activist groups likewise are pushing a lifestyle that kills. If anybody should be obligated to pony up funds to mitigate a health crisis, it ought to be the organizations that are responsible for advocating the very behavior that created and perpetuates the epidemic.
Surely we will be accused of lacking compassion. But this is hardly the case. If you care about an individual, and you see that he is involved in a self-destructive pattern of behavior, the most loving thing you can to is appeal to him to start making better lifestyle choices. It is hardly compassionate to urge him to continue to engage in conduct that everybody in the world knows has a good chance of killing him in the end. That, in fact, is a form of cruelty.
You want to know who the true hate groups in America are, the ones who are sending the most hateful message to gays, there they are. Pro-family groups are trying to save the same people that the gay lobby is consigning to an early death.
The organizations that are showing the most obnoxious form of cold-heartedness are the homosexual activist groups that celebrate lethal behavior. That’s the worst possible message someone can send to his friends: I don’t love you enough to tell you the truth in order to save your life. Where is an ounce of compassion in that?
Uh huh. Right. It’s the groups that push for more recognition of two-partner commitments, distribute safe sex education, direct heightened focus to the most vulnerable populations, and work to remove the sort of shaming that leads young people to see their lives as disposable (and their choices therefore irrelevant) who are fostering danger here in America. You know, the same groups that demanded research and treatment back when stone-casters turned blind eyes: *THEY* are the bad guys in this epidemic. Because everyone knows that when it comes to the Pandora’s Box of diseases that plague the known biological world for reasons unknown, the best prevention doesn’t come from encouragement of the kind of awareness and smart choices that increase prevention with lock-solid efficacy. No, no — the solution is to shun millions of people who exist within that biological reality, cruelly shaming their loving desires based on personal biblical interpretation instead of sharing the wealth of knowledge that’s steeped in credible scientific awareness.
In summation: GLAAD hates acronyms with extra vowels. HRC hates bumper stickers. Lambda Legal find courtrooms cold, drafty, and unfairly activist. And all of these gay factions are killing each other, just like these same gay colaitions once gave rise to “six million dead Jews.”
You’re a sage among Christians, Mr. Fischer.
::writer rolls eyes, shakes head, and thanks his brain for having the composure to get through the American shame system that makes his in-born reality a hurdle rather than a characteristic. Many are not as lucky::
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging the state of Missouri’s Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System on behalf of a surviving same-sex partner of a highway trooper killed on the job.
Kelly Glossip and Dennis Engelhard had been committed domestic partners for 15 years when Dennis, a Missouri State Trooper, was killed while responding to an accident on Christmas Day, 2009. Missouri offers survivor benefits to spouses of state troopers who are killed in the line of duty, but excludes committed same-sex partners from receiving those benefits.
If Kelly and Dennis had been a heterosexual married couple, Kelly would be entitled to an annuity of 50 percent of Dennis’ average salary-support that would help Kelly pay the mortgage on the home that he and Dennis jointly owned.
The Officer Down Memorial Page has information on Edward Englehard here. It makes mention of his life partner and step-son. Press release after the fold.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Eastern Missouri and the ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri filed a lawsuit today on behalf of Kelly Glossip, whose partner, Dennis Engelhard, was a state trooper killed in the line of duty while responding to an accident on Christmas Day of last year. Missouri offers survivor benefits to spouses of state troopers who are killed in the line of duty, but excludes committed same-sex partners from receiving those benefits. Glossip is seeking the same survivor benefits provided to opposite-sex partners.
“Dennis and I loved each other and lived in a committed relationship for 15 years. We depended on each other emotionally and financially in our life together like any other committed couple. We exchanged rings and would have married in Missouri if the state didn’t exclude us from marriage,” said Glossip. “I’m just seeking the same financial protections the state provides to heterosexual couples. It is hard enough coping with the grief of losing Dennis. It is even more painful to have the state treat Dennis and me as though we were total strangers.”
Spouses of Missouri State Highway Patrol employees are entitled to an annuity of 50 percent of the employee’s average salary if the employee is killed on duty. Since Engelhard’s death, Glossip has struggled with paying the mortgage on the home they both owned. While Glossip is not challenging the definition of marriage under Missouri law, he is challenging the benefits policy as a violation of his rights under the Missouri Constitution.
“Dennis and Kelly were a family in every sense of the word,” said John Knight, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “They owned a home together, shared cars and bank accounts, and Dennis even helped Kelly care for his child from a former marriage. They vowed to take care of each other in good times and in bad. As a matter of basic fairness, Kelly should be entitled to the same security as other bereaved partners of troopers killed in the line of duty.”
Engelhard was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident on Christmas Day, 2009. Following his death, the governor ordered all U.S. and Missouri flags to be flown at half-staff. Kelly attended a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in May 2010 commemorating the loss of police officers nationwide, and was recognized with a medallion as Engelhard’s surviving partner.
“Kelly is merely seeking the same treatment he would have received if his partner had been a woman, rather than a man,” said Anthony Rothert, Legal Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. “Kelly may not have been able to marry the person of his choice under Missouri state law, but he is still entitled to equal protection and the fundamental right to the family relationship he formed with Dennis Engelhard. He is seeking the same dignity and security for his family that is granted to other state troopers’ families.”
Attorneys on the case include Rothert and Grant R. Doty of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, Stephen Douglas Bonney of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, Knight and Joshua Block of the ACLU LGBT Project and Roger K. Heidenreich of SNR Denton.
Glossip said his relationship with Engelhard was no secret at the Highway Patrol. Glossip was listed as Engelhard’s emergency contact. They showed up together at a Fourth of July party attended by several other troopers. A room full of troopers mourned with Glossip at the hospital where Engelhard was pronounced dead.
“I’d take 100 Dennis Engelhards. He was an outstanding trooper,” said Capt. Ronald Johnson, head of the Highway Patrol troop that covers St. Louis and surrounding counties. “His lifestyle had no bearing on his career.”
People who deliver first-class service to the country, do not deserve second-class rewards in return. Our families deserve better from our country.
Thanks to ACLU for stepping up yet again and making the case. Our future may indeed lie in the courts. Particularly when you contrast this action with the reaction of our elected leaders, as quote din the article linked above:
“The partner, plain and simple, is out of luck,” said state Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, one of a few openly gay Missouri state legislators. “I’m outraged that that’s the situation, but it’s the status of the law.”
Kerry Eleveld at the Advocate has posted a new piece, DADT: Signs of Hope, Doom, where in she describe backroom negotiations are already underway to ditch the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the lame duck legislative session:
Over the weekend, observers of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” debate began cautiously acknowledging that an effort is in the works to potentially move a stripped down version of the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act that would exclude repeal.
A person close to the process said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is looking into a deal with Sec. Gates that would cut ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ out of the Defense bill in order to smooth its way to passage.
“Levin is making calls under the premise – we can’t afford to waste time on a controversial provision, so we’ll strip out the controversial provision and be able to get the bill on and off the floor in the available amount of time,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network responds:
“We welcome Secretary Gates call for the senate to act on repeal in the lame duck session. Indeed, the senate should call up the defense bill reported out of committee and pass it before it goes home for the year,” Sarvis said. “Any talk about a watered down defense bill, whereby the ‘Don’t Ask’ revisions would be stripped out, is unacceptable and offensive to the gay and lesbian service members who risk their lives everyday.”
This is pretty much the fat lady singing folks. Democrats are preparing to abandon the fight. We will see them, once again, as they did on LGBT initiatives in healthcare reform, as they did when they passed DADT and DOMA, and Bill Clinton signed them, they take a big crap on us, then come to us and say, “Well, what else could we do? We had to.”
Midland School District is located about 85 miles northeast of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Midland School Board Member Clint McCance's Facebook page really speaks for itself.
Says McCance in a status update responding to last week's Spirit Day in memory of gay and lesbian youth who killed themselves over bullying:
“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.”
Writes McCance in response to commenters on his page:
“No because being a fag doesnt give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.” He further writes, “I would disown my kids if they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid christian beliefs. See it infects everyone.”
The Advocatemade attempts to contact school officials: "The superintendent of the Midland school district was unavailable and a phone call to the principal of the Midland High School was not returned. There was no response to e-mails to the superintendent and to the secretary of the Midland school board."
“People argue that some folks have a genetic, hereditary predisposition to alcoholism. We would never say to such individuals, “Hey, in most cases, we tell people not to drink themselves into a stupor – it will destroy your life, your marriage, your family, your career – but hey, go ahead, you’re born that way, you can’t help it, knock yourself out, wreck your life, don’t worry about it.”
Of course not. We’d, say, hey the road may be a little tougher for you than others, but you have got to get control of these dark impulses before they wreak utter and total havoc in your life. I’m here to help, what can I do?
That’s the same message we have for homosexuals: sexual behavior is a choice, homosexual behavior will leave you diseased, lonely, and dead, you’ve got to learn to resist homosexual impulses, I’m here to help.
If homosexuals resist the offer of such help, well, I guess that’s a choice too, isn’t it?”
In other parts of his spiel, Fischer asserts that a gay gene would lead to mass abortions of gay babies and compares gays’ “sexual impulses” to Tiger Woods’ extramarital actions. So essentially, in Fischer’s world, LGBT people are condemned from birth to afterlife, with little more transient, STD-laden affairs to fill the days in between.
It Gets Better? Not if Fischer and the bitter, battering far-right can help it.
"Florida's 33-year-old policy barring gay people from adopting ended today as the state Attorney General Bill McCollum opted not to appeal last month's ruling striking down the ban. The governor and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) had already announced that they would not appeal the decision. Today was the final day that the attorney general could have independently acted to appeal the ruling. The appellate court ruling arose in an American Civil Liberties Union legal challenge to the ban on behalf of Martin Gill, who wanted to adopt two foster children he and his partner have been raising for almost six years."
"The constitutionality of the Florida law banning adoption by homosexuals is a divisive matter of great public interest. As such, the final determination should rest with the Florida Supreme Court, not a lower appellate court. But after reviewing the merits of independently seeking Supreme Court review, following the decision of our client the Department of Children and Families not to appeal the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal, it is clear that this is not the right case to take to the Supreme Court for its determination. No doubt someday a more suitable case will give the Supreme Court the opportunity to uphold the constitutionality of this law."
“Since Sept 22nd, Florida’s ban on gay people adopting has been over. We are pleased to learn that Attorney General Bill McCollum has decided not to squander more taxpayer dollars and muddy the waters on a matter the courts have decided unanimously. We continue to celebrate the end of a ban that has literally torn families apart and denied children permanent loving homes for over 33 years. The courts have been clear that this ban is irrational and puts anti-gay prejudice ahead of the needs of children.”
By Leslie Cooper, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project
Our latest challenge to the law ended in victory this afternoon when Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced that he would not appeal the decision of the 3rd District Court of Appeal striking down the statute. After the court’s powerful decision on September 22, the Florida Department of Children and Families announced that it wouldn’t appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, and Gov. Charlie Crist supported the decision, hailing the court’s ruling as a victory for children. But the attorney general had the option to independently appeal and had indicated that he was exploring that option. With his announcement today, the law is officially dead.
Because it was not appealed, the District Court of Appeal’s decision striking down the law has statewide effect. Gay people across the state are now free to apply to adopt and will be considered based on the same criteria applied to everyone else— their ability to provide a loving, safe home for a child.
On my first day as a staff attorney at the ACLU 12 years ago, my first assignment was the Lofton case, a federal court challenge to the Florida law, and the fourth of the ACLU’s five legal challenges. After five years of litigation, that case ended in heartbreak with a devastating loss at the federal circuit court. That court held that the statute was constitutional based on the “unprovable assumption” that children are best off being raised by a heterosexual couple. We began working on the latest case, a state constitutional challenge brought on behalf of Martin Gill, shortly thereafter and it took several years to get through the trial and appellate courts.
Having spent the better part of my legal career fighting this hateful law, this day means so much to me personally. First, it’s a tremendous vindication to have the court recognize what we’ve been trying to show all these years — that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents and that there is no basis for Florida to brand our entire community with the degrading label of “unfit parent.” We finally had the chance to put on trial the negative stereotypes about gay people that were offered in defense of the law and the court found them to be baseless. It also found that the expert witnesses the state put up to spout this shameful testimony were biased or otherwise not credible. In the absence of a single study finding any harm associated with being raised by gay parents, it is not surprising that the State couldn’t find anyone better to support the law. That’s because the law is unsupportable. And the appellate court’s decision has declared that to be so.
This victory also means that for the parents I’ve represented over the years, who put their families and their lives under the spotlight so that we could show the courts and the public what gay parents really look like, it was worth it. They include Steven Lofton and Roger Croteau, pediatric nurses who welcomed HIV+ infants into their family in the early 1990’s and did not accept it when they were told that the children had a 2-3 year life expectancy. They fiercely advocated to get these children the best new treatments available and are now the parents of young adults. Doug Houghton, also a nurse, became the legal guardian of his son at the request of the child’s biological father after Doug was caring for the child in the hospital where he worked. Wayne Smith and Daniel Skahen have been foster parents to many children, including two boys who were permanently placed with the couple. The children came to them having suffered extreme abuse and neglect. One was so traumatized he didn’t speak. But after some time in the loving, patient care of Wayne and Daniel, these children became happy and healthy (and talkative) little boys.
And now all of Florida has had the opportunity to get to know Martin Gill, the plaintiff whose case brought us today’s victory. Martin and his partner have been foster parents to two brothers, now 6 and 10, for nearly 6 years. The boys came to Martin’s family in bad shape. They had ringworm, one had an untreated ear infection, and they were filthy. The 4 year old was used to feeding and changing his infant brother. Now, they are thriving, sweet kids. Of course their parents, like all of our clients, do their best to make their kids feel secure in their place in the family despite the inability to adopt them. But as children grow up, they understand what it means to be adopted as opposed to being in foster care. For Martin’s 10-year-old, being adopted means that he and his brother will get to have the same last name as their Papi and that, he says, will make them a family.
The victory in Martin’s case means his two children will finally get to have the name Gill and fully feel like a family. Unfortunately this victory came too late for many of our other client’s families. A number of those children have already reached adulthood, getting through their entire childhoods without ever getting to be adopted. But their families’ stories have paved the way for so many other children. These parents represent the best of what we hope for for children in foster care—or any children. And the fact that these children had to go so long without the emotional security of being adopted is heartbreaking. Without these parents telling their stories, which embody what was so terribly wrong about the Florida law, we never could have reached this day. They did more than anyone to help change hearts and minds and convince people that this law is irrational and damaging to children.
This is a day for the gay community in Florida and across the country to celebrate the toppling of one of the most notorious and longstanding anti-gay laws on the books in the United States.
Today is also a new beginning for the thousands of children waiting to be adopted in Florida who, for far too long, bore the brunt of the homophobia that is responsible for this law, and now have a whole new universe of families who could be there for them.