Obama administration defends DOMA in court, again

The administration doesn’t have to defend these bigoted laws in court – we established that a few months ago, once and for all (here, here, and especially here) – but they continue to do so.

Considering President Obama was for gay marriage in 1996, this ongoing defense of bigotry and discrimination is unacceptable. It comes across as playing politics with people’s civil rights. And it’s wrong.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Gay Sailor Defends Capt. Honors

Owen P. Honors X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMAt least one gay sailor has come forward to defend Capt. Owen Honors,
who was second in command on the USS Enterprise when he produced
several videos screened aboard the ship that some have found offensive
and homophobic.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Family Research Council defends itself with distorted studies . . . again

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

It's a regular comedy of errors with the Family Research Council.

In the organization's zeal to defend itself from the charges of being an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, it continues to make huge missteps.

And the latest just happened yesterday.

Now SPLC contends that FRC – and other so-called morality groups – either deliberately rely on junk science, distort legitimate science, or push propaganda to make the lgbt community seem like the dreaded “other” out to destroy American values.

FRC contends that SPLC is unfairly attacking them because they stand against gay marriage even though SPLC has made it clear that this isn't the case.

FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg, who has gone on record wanting gays and lesbians exported out of the United States and  “homosexual acts” to be made illegal, said the following about SPLC's charges in a blog post yesterday:

For the record, FRC believes that every human being, including those who experience same-sex attractions and those who engage in homosexual conduct, is created in the image of God and is loved by Him. How this qualifies as “hate” is a mystery.

We will be preparing a more detailed response to Cohen’s charge that FRC spreads “falsehoods” in our well-documented research, which does show that certain harms are associated with homosexual conduct. Those wishing to examine that research in the meantime can refer to the FRC book Getting It Straight: What the Research Shows About Homosexuality or to our recent pamphlet, The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality.

For Sprigg's information, I have done just that several times in the past and have found a bunch of errors in both works he cited.

I've talked about these errors in several blog posts, but they bear repeating.

Let's look at the brochure The Top Ten Myths of Homosexuality.

At first glance, Ten Myths looks legitimate. However, a more intensive look reveals it to be a mishmash of inaccurate theories, cherry-picked work, and studies taken out of context created to justify homophobia

The following are just a few of the problems with Ten Myths:

1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.

2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of  the organization National Association for  Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.

According to Truth Wins Out, several NARTH members have been embroiled in controversies including:

Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, a member of NARTH’ “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a piece on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery

NARTH psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, another member of its “Scientific Advisory Committee,” who wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children.

Also, according to Truth Wins Out:

NARTH’ co-founder, Joesph Nicolosi encourages male clients to become more masculine by drinking Gatorade and referring to friends as “dude”. NARTH therapists have been known to practice rubber band therapy, where a gay client is made to wear a rubber band and snap it on his wrist when sexually stimulated. It is a mild form of aversion therapy meant to “snap” the client out of the moment of attraction. NARTH members have also been known to practice “touch therapy”, where a client sits in the therapist’ lap for up to an hour, while the therapist caresses him.

Earlier this year, another member of NARTH, George Rekers, resigned from the organization after caught coming from a vacation overseas with a “rentboy.”

3. Ten Myths pushes the inaccuracy that a man who molests a boy is automatically gay even though the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, all say that the homosexuality and pedophilia are not linked.

Now let's look at FRC's other book, Getting It Straight.

In chapter 4 – Is Homosexuality a Health Risk, there is this passage (pg. 88):

A study of 3,365 high school students published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found: “Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure male students were 6.50 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than heterosexual male students. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or not sure female students were 2.02 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than their heterosexual female peers.”

Robert Garofalo, et al, “Sexual Orientation and Risk of Suicide Attempts among a Representative Sample of Youth,” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 153 (May 1999): 490.


In 1998, Garofalo complained that FRC and several other religious right groups was distorting his research. According to him, the groups omitted a crucial part of his findings (i.e. gay teens engage in negative behavior – suicide attempts – when faced with abuse from a homophobic society). Interestingly enough, when Garofalo complained, then FRC staff member Robert Knight questioned his credibility. (Boston doctor says ads distorted his work on gays, The Boston Globe, August 4, 1998 )

Then there is this passage in the same chapter on pg. 89:

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the mortality rates of homosexuals concluded that they have a significantly reduced life expectancy:

• “In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age twenty for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged twenty years will not reach their sixty-fifth birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.”

In 2001, the researchers of this study complained that their work was being distorted by organizations like FRC.

Chapter 5 of Getting it Straight, Do Homosexual Parents Pose a Risk to Children, is interesting in that except for a few alterations (i.e. rearranging of text) it is identical to Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk – one of the studies FRC removed from its webpage claiming that it contained “outdated sources.”

By that same token, chapter 6 of Getting It Straight, Is There a Link Between Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse? is a total rehash of Homosexuality and Child Abuse, yet another study that FRC removed from its page for having “outdated sources.”

What's interesting about Homosexuality and Child Abuse is that a researcher cited in it, Nicholas Groth, sent a letter to FRC in 2002 complaining about how his work was being distorted to prove that gays molest children at a higher number that heterosexuals – something that his work found not to be true.

However, despite his complaint , Groth's work is still cited in Getting It Straight (pg. 123):

Another study found that “some authors now believe that boys may be sexually abused as commonly as girls (Groth, 1978; O’Brien, 1980).”

The irony of all of this is that the title of Sprigg's blog post is called SPLC Equates FRC to Neo-Nazis—So Who’s “Demonizing” Whom?

Based upon Sprigg's shoddy work, created to demonize lgbts and pushed by FRC,  that is a very good question to ask, but not to SPLC.

The question should be asked of Sprigg and FRC.

Hat tip to Goodasyou.org

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Michigan: openly gay student defends teacher at school board meeting (video)

Ann Arbor student Graeme Taylor stood up at a school board meeting in support of his teacher, Jay McDowell, who had disciplined two students for making anti-gay remarks in class. McDowell, in turn was disciplined on October 20 for that action, which spurred 14-year-old Taylor to speak out publicly. Via Towleroad:

During his speech in support of his teacher, Taylor revealed his problems with bullying and a suicide attempt at the age of 9.


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Watch: Young Gay Student Defends Teacher At School Board Meeting

Taylor
We all have teachers that make a lasting impression on us. It appears as if young Ann Arbor student Graeme Taylor has already found his.

The 14-year-old, who is openly gay, bravely stood up for his teacher, Jay McDowell at a recent school board meeting. McDowell was disciplined on October 20 for removing two students who had made anti-gay remarks in class. During his speech in support of his teacher, Taylor revealed his problems with bullying and a suicide attempt at the age of 9.

Watch young Taylor's very mature and highly inspiring speech, AFTER THE JUMP.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Ron Howard defends the fag joke

By now you may have heard that Ron Howard has a new movie coming out that includes a line where a character says about an electric car, “it’s gay.” Universal pulled the joke from the movie’s trailer since, you know, scores of gay kids just happened to be killing themselves after being bullied.

But Ron Howard says the joke is staying in the film. And his reasons are as warm and all-American as embracing a n-word joke.

Let me share a little bit of what Howard had to say about gay jokes.

So why was the joke in the movie? Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what’s okay to say. He tries to do what’s right but sometimes falls short. Who can’t relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way.

Good try.

You see, you can really only get away with using fag jokes to show how bad a character is when you actually show how bad a character is for demeaning gay people. For example, when Finn in Glee used the word “faggy,” he was ripped to shreds by an adult in the popular TV series, thus sending the message that it’s not okay. Is the lead character in Howard’s film going to be ripped to shreds for calling something “gay”? Somehow I doubt it.

Now, note how Howard referred to the recent spate of gay suicides:

It’s true that the moment took on extra significance in light of some events that surrounded the release of the trailer…

Did you catch that? The recent tragic suicides of young gay kids are “some events.” Nice.

More from Howard:

I believe in sensitivity but not censorship.

Do you tell n-word jokes, Mr. Howard? I’m going to guess that you don’t. And if you don’t, is that “censorship” or simply being a decent human being?

It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality

I cry BS on that one. Does Howard really want us to believe that the audience is going to recoil in horror at what a bigot the lead character is for saying “it’s gay”? Seriously? The audience is going to laugh. It’s not going to be a teaching moment, it’s not going to show anything about the character’s personality other than he’s funny and cool because he mocks fags.

Did you think it wasn’t offensive? I don’t strip my films of everything that I might personally find inappropriate. Comedy or drama, I’m always trying to make choices that stir the audience in all kinds of ways.

Right. We’re to believe that Ron Howard put the “gay” joke in to help stir the audience. Or was the joke put in because Hollywood is notoriously more than a tad homophobic and Howard thought it might be funny to put a fag joke in, since that’s what regular funny guys do, they tell fag jokes?

But if storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought.

Again, you only get strong-armed when you think it’s okay to throw bigoted jokes in your movies. If you got it, if you didn’t find bigotry funny, you wouldn’t put it in in the first place. And when notified of it, you’d take it out because it would offend YOU. Again, would Ron Howard have a character tell a black joke simply because he knew the audience would find it funny? I somehow doubt it. He’s using a free speech smokescreen to keep a fag joke in his movie because he thinks it’s funny and not a big deal.

You can read the rest of the interview for yourself.

Look, I can handle the fact that Howard doesn’t want to be censored. But if Howard understood the problem, he wouldn’t have put the joke in the script to start with – or he’d have another well-liked character tell the bigot that it’s really not right to use that kind of language. But I’m gonna bet that no such teaching moment happens in Ron Howard’s film. It’s Howard’s own intolerance that’s forcing others to be intolerant with him. And at some point, artists, and everyone else in society, have to stop using free speech to justify bigotry. Yes, you have the right to be a bigot, and we have the right to call you on it.

Oh, and next time you get interviewed about the topic, Mr. Howard, show a little respect for all the kids who have killed themselves by referring to their deaths as something other than “some events.”




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Republican Sean Bielat Defends DADT: ‘Men Under The Height Of 5 Feet, 2 Inches Can’t Serve — I Don’t See Anybody Protesting’

Republican Sean Bielat, who is battling Barney Frank for his seat in Congress, seems a little confused by either "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," homosexuality or both. Likely both.

Sb Here's what he recently had to say about DADT to the Boston Herald:

“There’s no absolute right to serve. Men under the height of 5 feet, 2 inches can’t serve — I don’t see anybody protesting. Where are the people standing in front of the White House, the short guys standing in front of the White House? You don’t see it,” Bielat said. “We understand that there’s no absolute right to serve in all these other areas.”

The Herald puts it best in their response: "Hmm. … On the other hand, vertically challenged people are not forced to pretend they’re tall, then drummed out once it’s discovered they’re short in spite of their service record."

Sounds like he's been taking lessons on homosexuality from Colorado GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck.


Towleroad News #gay

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Vince Vaughn Defends Anti-Gay Joke in ‘The Dilemma’

Dilemma

In late September, I posted the trailer to the Vince Vaughn/Kevin James film The Dilemma, which opened with an off-putting "electric cars are gay" joke, and after a reference from CNN's Anderson Cooper (and an up-till-then ignored request from GLAAD) the trailer was edited. GLAAD requested the joke be edited out of the film as well.

Now, Vince Vaughn is defending the joke:

"Let me add my voice of support to the people outraged by the bullying and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those differences may be. Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together. Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop?"

The problem is that Vaughn can't join the outrage over anti-gay bullying while contributing to (and collecting a paycheck for) the derogatory dialogue which to some makes that bullying permissible.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Rutgers President Defends School’s Handling Of Clementi Case

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f4e8cffa970b-800wi-1 Rutgers University President Richard McCormick last night spoke out for the first time about Tyler Clementi's suicide.

McCormick maintained that he has looked into what happened and that officials did everything they could to help the freshman. "I have studied the record carefully and I can’t say very much about it," he said. "But I believe Rutgers responded appropriately to the information that we had."

He repeated, "Based on everything I know, I believe that we did all we could and we did the right thing."

Despite his assurances McCormick says the school will not release records of Clementic complaints against roommate Dharun Ravi and peer Molly Wei, who are accused of streaming his sexual encounter on the internet. Soon after, Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge.

Lawyers for both students proclaimed their innocence this week.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Carly Fiorina defends her bigoted position on marriage equality by quoting Obama

Got news for Jim Messina over at the White House, you have a problem. Your boss decided to conveniently flip-flop on marriage equality (he was for it in 1996, then gradually moved against it when running for federal office). And now every single Republican, and religious right leader, is quoting Barack Obama when they want to justify their bigotry on marriage. While the White House has dilly-dallied with how to repeal DADT without really repealing it, and while they’ve run from lifting a finger on either ENDA or DOMA, marriage has catapulted to the forefront of gay America’s demands for full participation in the American dream.

The White House – that would be you, Messina – needs to put a stop to the the right-wing’s use of President Obama as the new mascot for bigotry. It’s time the President came clean on where he really stands on marriage. If he’s truly against it, then gay voters and our allies deserve to know that he actually does stand with Carly Fiorina and the same bigots who wouldn’t let his own parents marry fifty years ago.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright