Poll shows Perry now trailing Romney

Thanks to his disastrous performance in last week’s debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has fallen behind Mitt Romney in the latest poll of likely voters in the GOP presidential primary. The Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Perry with 19 percent, behind Romney with 23 percent. Herman Cain is third with 17 percent. The poll’s margin of error is ± 3 percent. From The Houston Chronicle:

While one poll isn’t a trend and it will take additional polls to confirm the findings, the results seem to indicate that Perry’s poor debate performance may have done more damage to the Perry campaign than originally thought.

Perry has attempted to mitigate the damage from that debate by claiming that he is truer to conservative principles, even if Romney is the more avuncular debater.

As part of that damage control effort, CNN reported that Perry has also participated in telephone-townhalls with conservative activists in Iowa and South Carolina, where he again tried to explain his positions on immigration, border security and the controversial HPV vaccinations that he mandated.

To top it all off, Perry told a conservative blog earlier today that he may have been over the top in his description of critics of the Texas DREAM Act, walking back from his earlier comments at the debate where he said that critics of the program did not “have a heart.”

Read the full poll results here.

UPDATE: Perry is also now fourth in a poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers, behind Romney, Michele Bachmann and “undecided.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Santorum compares marriage to a napkin; Bachmann likes pro-slavery books

ap_rick_santorum_110414_wg
Rick Santorum

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Anti-gay GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Monday compared marriage to a napkin to explain his opposition to same-sex marriage. And no, we’re not kidding. It’s perhaps the most ridiculous anti-marriage analogy since Texas Sen. John Cornyn hatched his box turtle. Watch video of Santorum’s remarks below.

2. Meanwhile, ThinkProgress revealed that a book saying blacks were better off under slavery once appeared on GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s “must-read” list. Is it any wonder that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be considered a frontrunner if and when he enters the race? Who wouldn’t be? Too bad my puppy is a Democrat.

3. A gay couple is suing a California amusement park for allegedly displaying a photo, taken of them riding a roller coaster, with “Were [sic] Fags!” written on it.

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Texas Gov. Rick Perry to confirm he’s running for president on Saturday in S.C.

Rick Perry
Precisely one week after hosting a prayer rally funded by an anti-gay hate group, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Politico has the scoop:

Rick Perry intends to use a speech in South Carolina Saturday to make clear that he’s running for president, POLITICO has learned.

According to two sources familiar with the plan, the Texas governor will remove any doubt about his White House intentions during his appearance at a RedState conference in Charleston.

It’s uncertain whether Saturday will mark a formal declaration, but Perry’s decision to disclose his intentions the same day as the Ames straw poll–and then hours later make his first trip to New Hampshire– will send shockwaves through the race and upend whatever results come out of the straw poll.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Uplifted by ‘The Response,’ Gov. Perry may announce presidential bid this week

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. More than 30,000 people are said to have attended “The Response,” Gov. Rick Perry’s day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Saturday. Check out our coverage of the LGBT (and non-LGBT) responses to The Response here, here, here and here. For those who actually care what went on inside the stadium, we’ve posted some video below. The first segment is Perry’s speech in its entirety, which turned out to be rather political despite his assurances that it wouldn’t be. The second is a report from the Texas Tribune which indicates that not all attendees — including Perry — actually fasted on Saturday. And the third is a compilation from Right Wing Watch featuring some of the speakers at the event.

2. Now that The Response is over, Perry is likely to announce that he’s running for president as early as this week.

3. But not all Republicans are thrilled about Perry’s all-but-certain candidacy. During NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday, GOP consultant Alex Castellanos called Perry “Sarah Palin in a skirt” and a “lighter” version of George W. Bush.

—  John Wright

The gay Facebook drama behind Rob Schlein’s endorsement of Wade Emmert for GOP chair

Log Cabin Dallas President Rob Schlein
Rob Schlein

Dallas County Republican precinct chairs will meet tonight to choose a successor to Jonathan Neerman, who’s arguably been the most LGBT-inclusive leader in the local GOP’s history. The two candidates to replace Neerman are civil attorney and former county judge candidate Wade Emmert, and the tea party-affiliated former president of the Park Cities Republican Women, Debbie Georgatos.

As chair, Neerman publicly advocated for including groups like Log Cabin Republicans in the local party, in an effort to grow the base and try to stem the Democratic tide of the last five years. Naturally, this led to criticism of Neerman by social conservatives, and now the race to replace him has become the subject of some major gay Facebook drama. LCR President Rob Schlein is accusing Georgatos’ supporters gay-baiting in the campaign against Emmert, whom Schlein is now publicly endorsing.

It all started when Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey canceled her scheduled appearance at next week’s monthly meeting of the gay GOP group. To replace Dickey, Schlein invited both Emmert and Georgatos to speak at the meeting — win or lose tonight’s election. “Both spoke about broadening the party so another ‘test’ was to see which candidate would have the courage to commit to openly speak to Log Cabin before a vote. I wanted to see whose actions would meet their words,” Schlein writes.

Schlein said he was impressed that Emmert immediately accepted the invitation. As for Georgatos, she replied to Schlein as follows: “I am sorry–that date is not possible on my caliber [sic]–and my life is crazy–let’s talk after the 17th (after i get a good night’s sleep). I am telling all the different clubs asking that i need to sort out my calendar after the 17th.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Hope for the future as young Republican testifies against gay marriage ban in Minnesota

Madeline Koch

Many of us in the LGBT community — perhaps most of us — are dead set in our belief that trying to make progress on LGBT rights within the Republican Party is a waste of time. And we show little tolerance, much less respect, for those LGBT people who are Republican and who continue to persist in their efforts to support the GOP while at the same time making it more welcoming to LGBT people and LGBT equality.

I admit that, at least when it comes to the Republican Party as it stands today under its current leadership, especially here in Texas, I see little hope for progress. But the fact is, the folks currently in power in the GOP won’t always be in power. There is a new generation moving up through the Republican ranks, and it is, I think, in that generation that our hope lies.

Poll after poll shows that younger people, even younger Republicans, believe in equal rights for LGBT people in far greater numbers than their parents and grandparents. Take, for example, Meghan McCain, daughter of current senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. Despite her father’s anti-LGBT stances, Meghan McCain has come out time after time in support of our community and our efforts toward equality.

And she’s not the only one.

—  admin

Log Cabin Republicans member assaulted, called ‘faggot’ during convention at Hilton Anatole

A Log Cabin Republicans member was assaulted and called a “faggot” early Saturday during an altercation inside a bar at Dallas’ Hilton Anatole hotel, where the gay GOP group is holding its National Convention, according to Dallas police.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for DPD, said the incident isn’t currently being treated as a hate crime because the suspect’s use of the word “faggot” was provoked by the Log Cabin member and his friends.

Janse said both the Log Cabin member and the suspect were intoxicated when the incident occurred at about 1 a.m. The Log Cabin member and his friends were whistling at the suspect, who got offended and shoved the victim, Janse said.

The Log Cabin member suffered minor injuries, described as a cut to his nose. The suspect was cited for class-C misdemeanor assault but was not taken into custody.

“Two groups of intoxicated individuals got into a verbal argument,” Janse said in an e-mail Saturday afternoon. “Supposedly the victim and his friend were whistling at the suspect, who took offense and shoved the victim. Officers interviewed both parties and made a class-C assault. Which is not a jailable offense if the two parties can be separated, which they were. Detectives are interviewing all parties as we speak but there is no indication of a hate crime based on what both parties are telling detectives. Just two drunk people.”

Asked to confirm rumors that the suspect used the word “faggot,” Janse said: “Yes. that word was used, but it was provoked.” Asked whether he meant that the word was provoked by the whistling, he said: “Yes. And comments about them ‘looking good.’”

Laura Martin, the police department’s LGBT liaison officer, said detectives were conducting follow-up interviews today with the suspect, the victim and witnesses. She added that the use of the word “faggot” doesn’t automatically make the incident a hate crime.

“The crime has to be motivated, has to start, because of the suspect’s bias,” Martin said. “‘In and of itself, calling a name during a fight doesn’t necessarily indicate that it was motivated by bias.”

Dallas Voice is withholding the names of both the suspect and the victim until more information becomes available.

UPDATE: Martin said late Saturday that the victim has opted not to press charges, meaning the case will be dropped.

Also, the victim contacted Dallas Voice via email Sunday morning and gave us his side of the story. The victim asked that his name continue to be withheld:

“I don’t want this to get more publicity but am concerned that your version, which is based on an inaccurate and misleading police report, is going to get more attention than it should,” the victim wrote. “The police treated this as a standard bar fight when instead the guy came up behind me and smashed my face into a glass tumbler while I was seated at a table with several other guys. I declined to prosecute because the suspect apologized in person and seemed to be sincere — plus it was clear any court experience would be a long and arduous process. … (As a side matter, I can’t believe how many commenters already are taking the position that I deserved it.)”

—  John Wright

LCR convention draws prominent Republicans

Attorney Dan Woods, right, speaks to the media at the United States District Court in Riverside, Calif., after making arguments on the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy last October. Woods, who represents Log Cabin Republicans who are the plaintiffs in the case, will be in Dallas this weekend to speak at the LCR National Convention. (Francis Specker/Associated Press)

DADT attorney Dan Woods, former Congressman Bob Barr slated to speak at gay Republican gathering at the Anatole Hotel

JAMES BRIGHT | Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

Several prominent GOP members will be spending some time in Dallas this weekend to participate in the Log Cabin Republicans’ annual convention, which will take place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.

The event, which began Thursday, April 28, and runs through Sunday, May 1, will include discussions and speeches from politicians, lawyers and members of the media.

Dan Woods, lead attorney in LCR’s lawsuit challenging the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy,” will be speaking at the convention about the importance of the case, its current standing and some of the war stories involved in the suit.

“People think this case is over and it’s not,” Woods said in a recent interview. “Our case is alive and kicking.”

Woods said there are two different things going on with the case: Although LCR won at trial, the government has decided to appeal the decision. After months of legal arguments and appeals from both sides oral arguments are supposed to begin next week.

Despite the legal battle and action in Congress to repeal the anti-gay law, Woods said as of this point the repeal of DADT is not in effect. He said that steps have to be taken to get the military ready and although there are some efforts in this area service men and women are still suffering from this legislation.

“There is no timetable as to when this repeal will become affective,” Woods said. “Although the numbers are smaller the government is still investigating people under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

Another problem Woods said he has run into is that many potential presidential candidates have made stopping the repeal part of their platform. Political issues are key in this legislation’s evolution, according to Woods.

“The government has said they don’t want the courts deciding how our military is run. What’s really going on is President Obama wants to take credit for all this to help his next campaign,” Woods said.

In addition to talking about the current status of DADT, Woods said he will talk about some of those suffering from this legislation.

“We are going to focus on stories about those affected by ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the heart-breaking tales of how it impacted them and the unit they worked on,” he said.

One such servicemember, according to Woods, was Alexander Nicholson, who was kicked out of the Army because he was caught writing a letter to a former boyfriend. Another story involved a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves whose name cannot be used.

“This is just another story where someone is being denied their constitutional rights while they work to protect ours,” Woods said.

LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said the repeal of DADT is a front page and front burner issue for the organization.

“We can’t take our eye off it,” he said.

The convention will also feature as keynote speaker former Congressman Bob Barr.

Barr, who ran as the Libertarian candidate in the 2008 presidential election, served in the House of Representatives as a Republican from Georgia from 1995 to 2003. During his time in office he authored and sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted as law in 1996.

At the federal level the legislation recognized marriage as being between a man and a woman and declared that individual states can choose not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Barr apologized in 2008 for his role in creating the legislation and now supports the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA.

Rob Schlein, president of the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, said Barr is one of the speakers he is most looking forward to hearing, since the former congressman switched his position on DOMA. Schlein said it’s important for members of the LGBT community to hear this information due to misconceptions about the GOP’s opinion toward LGBT people.

“The Republican Party is one of liberty and freedom,” Schlein said. “Gay people should feel at home in the party.”

Cooper said having Barr available to speak at the convention was a wonderful advantage since he was the father of DOMA,

“We started at the top,” Cooper said. “It’s anti-government for the federal government to have such power over the states like what is granted in the Defense of Marriage Act. It’s going to die, but when that happens is just speculation right now.”

Cooper said communication is an important factor in battling for LGBT rights within the GOP.

“We need to let people know in the gay community who are businessmen, or servicemembers that they have a home in the GOP,” he said.

Cooper said the general consensus surrounding the idea of a gay Republican has become a matter of levity to him.

“I joke for gay Republicans there is coming out twice,” he said. “You come out first when you’re gay and then when you’re a Republican.”

Cooper said marriage equality at large is a growing issue on a broader scale. Although it is unlikely that debate over DOMA will be seen on the floor this year, Cooper said events like these give Log Cabin Republicans a chance to educate the entire party.

“We use traditional conservative values from the 19th century,” he said. “We should not regulate or impede on our neighbors’ rights and someone born differently should not be treated differently.”

Cooper said it is important for the entire GOP to know that Log Cabin Republicans are also interested in pushing the party’s larger and broader agenda.

“We want to educate while working with our fellow Republicans,” he said.

Republicans will be responsible for giving members of the LGBT community the liberties they want, according to Schlein, who said that Democrats are the ones perpetuating limited rights.

“Democrats need these issues to keep winning elections,” he said.

Even Democratic politicians at the top of the federal hierarchy are responsible for limiting LGBT equality, according to Schlein. He said President Obama could have easily repealed DADT when he had the support of a Democratic Congress during his first two years in office.

“He chooses not to repeal it, because he wants to enslave gay people,” Schlein said.

In addition to hearing some of the speakers at the convention, Schlein said he will also go to board meetings since he does sit on the national board of the Log Cabin Republicans.

Cooper said recently the number of supporters and members of Log Cabin Republicans have been increasing somewhat dramatically. The development of LCR candidates is an important issue the organization is tackling according to Cooper.

LCR members are developing relationships in the GOP, but also getting members to run, Cooper said.

“Our numbers are starting to grow as more people come out of the closet and more members start to become more supportive,” he said. “We are at a point in the organization where we have to say, ‘It’s just not enough to be visible. We need gay Republicans to run for office.’”

Ken Mehlman, former head of the Republican National Committee and campaign manager for President George W. Bush’s successful second run for president, will also be speaking at the convention.

And former Sen. Norm Coleman was a late addition to the event. Coleman, who served as a federal senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009, now works as an adviser to the Republican Jewish Coalition. He was one of three candidates in the highly publicized 2008 senate election in which the Minnesota Supreme Court handed down a ruling declaring comedian Al Franken the winner of the seat.

Coleman will not actually be at the convention, but has recorded a video message in which he welcomes all members of the GOP into the Republican tent.

Although originally listed as a speaker, Fox News correspondent Margaret Hoover will not be attending the convention. Cooper said her cancellation had nothing to do with the group’s social agenda.

Those interested in the event can register at Logcabin.org.

FULL CONVENTION PROGRAM:

Log Cabin Republicans National Convention and Liberty Education Forum National Symposium Program

WHAT:
Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom, and equality for gay and lesbian Americans is holding its 2011 National Convention, in coordination with the Liberty Education Forum’s National Symposium.

WHO:
Alan Kittleman, State Senator (R, MD)
Alex Nicholson, Executive Director, Servicemembers United
Audra Shay, Executive Director, Project GOPink
Bob Barr, Former Congressman (R, GA)
Bob Kabel, Chairman, DC GOP
Chuck Wolfe, Executive Director, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
Dan Woods, Partner, White & Case
Dan Zwonitzer, State Representative (R, WY)
Dave Nalle, National Chairman, Republican Leadership Council
David Lampo, Political Director, LCR Virginia
Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry
Fred Karger, presidential candidate
Jeff Cook, Allegiance Strategies
Kristen Silverberg, Former Ambassador to the European Union
Len Olds, Chairman Emeritus, Liberty Education Forum
Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff
Mark Groombridge, United Against a Nuclear Iran
Meg Ten Eyck, Education Manager, The Trevor Project
Mike Gin, Mayor of Redondo Beach and candidate for Congress
Mitchell Gold, Founder, Faith in America
Ned Farr, Director, “A Marine Story”
Richard Grenell, Former Communications Director to the U.S. mission to the United Nations
Richard Tisiei, former State Senator (R, MA)
Roy Ashburn, former State Senator (R, CA)
S. E. Cupp, Conservative political commentator
Sarah Longwell, Berman & Co.
Scott Schmidt, President, LCR Los Angeles

WHERE:
Hilton Anatole
2201 Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, TX, 75207
214-748-1200

WHEN:
April 28 – May 1, 2011

Friday, April 29
9:00 am- 9:45 am
Reagan’s 80-20 Rule: Building new coalitions in our common goal of creating a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party. (Sarah Longwell, and Audra Shay, Dave Nalle)

10:15 am-11:00 am
Ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ An inside look at Log Cabin Republicans’ legal and legislative challenges to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (Dan Woods, R. Clarke Cooper, Alex Nicholson)

11:05am-11:55 am
Issues Around The Corner. Priorities being tackled by state and local leaders. (Jeff Cook, David Lampo, Evan Wolfson, State Rep. Dan Zwonitzer)

12:10pm-2:00pm
Log Cabin Republicans National Luncheon with remarks by Senator Richard Tisei & Senator Allan Kittleman, with recorded greeting by Congressman Pete Sessions. Introductions provided by Chuck Wolfe of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, and R. Clarke Cooper of Log Cabin Republicans.

2:15 pm-3:15 pm
Foreign Policy Discussion. An in-depth look at global hot spots with leading foreign policy experts (Richard Grenell and Amb. Kristin Silverberg).

3:20 pm-4:15 pm
On the inside: Leading as Republicans. (Sen. Roy Ashburn, Scott Schmidt, DC Republican Party Chairman Bob Kabel, Presidential Candidate Fred Karger)

Saturday, April 30

9:30 am- 10:25 am
No Longer In Silence, Where We Are in 2011. A discussion of past Liberty Education Forum programs and looking forward to programs for 2011.

10:50am – 11:45am
Faith in America. Mitchell Gold speaks about his organization and book, “Crisis: 40 Stories of Growing Up Gay in America.”

11:55am – 12:55pm
Liberty Education Forum Luncheon featuring Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry and Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Film Screening: A Marine Story Followed byQ&A with Film Director Ned Farr

3:15 pm- 4:00 pm
It Gets Better. Overcoming bullying and discrimination with Meg Ten Eyck of the Trevor Project.

6:00-9:30 pm
Log Cabin Republicans National Dinner with remarks by S.E. Cupp & Congressman Bob Barr and recorded greeting by Senator Norm Coleman.

—  John Wright

Sacrificial goats must keep fighting

The right wing scapegoats LGBTs, sacrificing our rights on their altar of power. The goats have to keep fighting back if we want equality

HARDY HABERMAN  |  Flagging Left

Land of the free and home of the brave? Maybe not. Just look at all the issues being flogged both in the legislature and in the press. All are to try to stifle the freedom of LGBT people.

• DOMA: The cynically named “Defense of Marriage Act” which has nothing to do with defending marriage and everything to do with denying rights to LGBT couples.

Worse, even though the president said it is unconstitutional, the GOP, lead by House Speaker John Boehner, wants to spend $500,000 of our dollars to defend a bill the Department of Justice sees as indefensible.

• Special Rights for Gays: This is a catch phrase being used again and again by the right wing to somehow try to justify discrimination in just about any way possible.

For example in many states if you are a landlord, you are not allowed to deny someone the right to rent an apartment — but only if they are listed as a protected class. That’s how the law works in this screwy society.

So, if I am a member of a racial minority, a woman or disabled, I can seek legal recourse against the landlord. Because LGBT people are not included in that list in most states, we have no recourse.

In the eyes of the right wing, granting us the same rights as any other minority is “special rights.” Worse still is the fact that we are denied rights in our relationships that other Americans get simply because they are straight.

• Hate Crimes: The right fights tooth and nail to keep LGBT people from being included in hate crimes legislation wherever it is proposed. Just as bad, some have even tried to dissect us and include gays and lesbians while leaving transgender folks out.

To add LGBT people to the list of victims of hate crimes apparently denies the far right their freedom to hate whoever they want.

• Ex-Gay Therapy: This discredited practice still gets funding and support from fundamentalist churches and right-wing organizations that are actively working to “cure” gays and lesbians. Our lives have been compared to the problem with “second-hand smoke” and devalued by rhetoric from the right.

They spread the lie that our sexual orientation is a choice, and therefore something we can change at will.

This list could go on and on, but the point is that for some reason the conservatives are spending huge piles of cash to actively deny us the rights and privileges they enjoy. Why do they spend so much of their time and energy working to take away rights from us?

Politically, it is an easy talking point. The right has found that anti-LGBT rhetoric can whip a crowd into a frenzy faster than talking about real issues. In the world of media image, nothing is as valued by the right as a cheering crowd and a sound bite on TV or radio.

Economically, LGBT issues can make a quick buck for the right wing. Whether it is raising funds to “defeat the gay agenda” or funds to “rescue the poor sinners from the gay lifestyle,” donations flow when the anti-LGBT rhetoric rings out.

And psychologically, it’s an easy hot button. The whole existence of LGBT people makes many heterosexuals nervous. I am not a psychologist, but I would lay odds that for many there are insecurities around their own sexual orientation that drives this.

The mere fact that the “gay panic” defense works in the judicial system as an excuse for assault and murder points to this as an underlying problem.

But I suspect the real reason the right has seized on LGBT rights as their favorite topic is more troubling: It’s what I call the “bogie man” factor.

Fear is a very good motivator. Just look at how we Americans cheerfully gave up our privacy rights after 9/11. We were afraid and we were told giving up our privacy would get us security.

The results are still very much open for debate.

Meanwhile politicians, pundits and clergy have found their available list of “bogie men” dwindling. Back in the 1950s, communists were the enemy and the cause of every ill under the sun. In the ’60s “hippies” were looked on as the root cause of problems.

In the last decade, “terrorists” became the main thing to fear, though it was a thinly disguised version of xenophobia and racism.

Now, one of the only things to fear is us, the LGBTS. We have become the bogie man for the current crop of fear mongers. We are being pointed to as the root of many of societies ills — and that is scapegoating, plain and simple.

Scapegoats are an easy way to explain complex problems, and in a world of 20-second sound bites, they are all too tempting for politicians, pundits and clergy to ignore.

Well, it’s time we goats stopped behaving like sheep and started butting our heads up against the people who would deny us our rights. If we do not continue to push back, we will continue to have our rights sacrificed on the alter of politics. And this goat is not ready for that.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

—  John Wright