WATCH: Rick Perry tells 14-year-old girl she’s a sinner, says “openly gays” shouldn’t be serving

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was confronted at a town hall in Iowa on Sunday about his opposition to gays serving openly in the military, a stance which he highlighted in a recent TV ad.

ABC News reports that 14-year-old Rebecka Green, an openly bisexual high school student, confronted Perry during a town hall in Decorah.

“I just want to know why you’re so opposed to gays serving openly in the military, why you want to deny them that freedom when they’re fighting and dying for your right to run for president,” Rebecka said.

Perry, who was apparently unaware of Rebecka’s sexual orientation at the time, responded as follows (note that “openly gays” is NOT a typo):

“Here’s my issue: This is about my faith, and I happen to think that, you know, there are a whole hosts of sins, homosexuality being one of them, and I’m a sinner and so I’m not going to be the first one to throw a stone. But to openly — it’s just like the Boy Scouts, do you recall when the Boy Scouts were sued to let openly gay individuals serve as Scout master? And that again is one of those issues that I don’t agree with. And I don’t agree that openly gays should be serving in the military. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was working and my position is just like I told a guy yesterday. He said, ‘How would you feel if one of your children was gay?’ I said I’d feel the same way. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner, but having them openly serve in the military, I happen to think as a commander in chief of some 20,000 plus people in the military is not good public policy, and this president was forced by his base to change that policy and I don’t think it was good policy, and I don’t think people in the military thought it was good policy.”

With adults telling 14-year-olds that they’re sinners, is it any surprise that LGBT youth are taking their lives at such alarming rates? Thankfully, it sounds like Rebecka has a very supportive father in Todd Green, a Democrat and professor of religion at Luther College, who offered this takedown of Perry’s position, according to ABC:

“My daughter Rebecka particularly was very incensed by the ad Governor Perry ran a week or two ago here in Iowa where he complained about the problem of gays serving openly in the military but Christians not being able to celebrate Christmas openly. He seemed to get that backwards,” Todd Green said.

“It takes no courage to come out of the closet to be a Christian and run for president of the United States,” he said. “I’d be more impressed if you were Muslim or an atheist and coming out like that, but to come out as though this was an act of courage for him to proclaim his Christian faith, but he also wants to take the stand against gays in the military. This is someone who’s in the position of power and privilege and he’s abusing it.”

Titled “Strong,” Perry’s ad created a firestorm upon its release two weeks ago, even causing tension within his own campaign after reports emerged that a top aide strongly objected to the ad.

Asked what he thought of the governor’s explanation that he “hates the sin” but “loves the sinner,” Todd Green said, “I have always hated that phrase. I think it’s impossible and you show it by action. If you love the sinner, whatever that means, your policy should reflect that I think, but in the end, I don’t understand the logic behind that at all.”

—  John Wright

Perry, Romney and gays in the Boy Scouts

The Boston Globe reports today on what is said to be the “bitter personal feud” between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination. The Globe claims the spate between Perry and Romney dates back to 2002, when Romney refused to allow members of Perry’s beloved Boy Scouts to serve as official volunteers at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

In his 2008 book On My Honor, Perry suggested that Romney’s decision to bar the Scouts from serving as official volunteers was based on the fact that the organization doesn’t allow gay troop masters. But Romney has insisted that he barred the Scouts from serving as volunteers simply because they didn’t meet the minimum age requirement of 18. From The Globe:

Perry used the incident to cast Romney as a New England moderate, someone willing to cave under pressure, and as a political opportunist.

“Whether pressure from gay rights groups caused Olympic organizers to resist volunteer assistance from the scouts, we know that Romney, as a political candidate in the politically liberals [sic] state of Massachusetts, has parted ways with the scouts on its policies over the involvement of gay individuals in scout activities,’’ Perry wrote in his book. “He once said during a debate with Senator Ted Kennedy in 1994, ‘I feel that all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.’ ’’

Romney, though, cast the decision as a pragmatic one. He told reporters in 2000 that the Boy Scouts were not being excluded for any reason other than that they didn’t meet the age restrictions. He also said the scouts were given a list of possible volunteer opportunities, most of which involved activities before the Olympics began or were behind the scenes.

“We’re very pleased to have Scouts help out,’’ Romney told the Deseret News of Salt Lake City in 2000.

—  John Wright

‘The same-sex marriage fight is just as much a transgender fight as it is (an LGB) fight’

Phyllis Randolph Frye

Phyllis Randolph Frye, the well-known transgender attorney from Houston whose clients include trans widow Nikki Araguz, sent out an e-mail Sunday slamming national gay-rights groups for ignoring the issue of “‘tranny’ same-sex marriage” in Texas.

Referencing an op-ed that appeared in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle about the Araguz case, Frye notes that in the six weeks since the story broke, few people have gotten behind her client’s legal fight. Nikki Araguz is seeking to receive death benefits for her husband, Thomas Araguz III, a Wharton firefighter who was killed in the line of duty early last month. But Thomas Araguz’s family has sued to deny Nikki Araguz those benefits, arguing that their marriage was void because she was born a man, since Texas’ prohibits same-sex marriage.

“Why is it that the Prop 8, same-sex marriage fight in CA and the DOMA same-sex marriage fight in the Northeast are BOTH so well funded by lesbian and gay groups and lesbian and gay individuals, but the same-sex marriage fight in Texas has been thus far supported ONLY by a small number of mostly transgenders plus three LGBT-allied churches, mostly in Houston, all in Texas?” Frye wrote.

“Where is the same national support given for the L and G same-sex marriage struggles?” she added. “Has it remained nonexistent for over six weeks now because this Texas fight is insignificantly and merely a ‘tranny’ same-sex marriage fight, so who nationally gives a shit? Then are we a National LGBT-inclusive community, but NOT when it comes to financing the ‘tranny’ same-sex marriage fights? From here, it seems to me — still —  that the national L and G groups and the big bucks L and G attitudes haven’t really changed very much. FOLKS, IT IS TIME YOU FIGURED IT OUT THAT THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE FIGHT IS JUST AS MUCH A TRANSGENDER FIGHT AS IT IS A LESBIAN, GAY AND BISEXUAL FIGHT.”

—  John Wright