Craig James: Supporting marriage equality = Supporting Satan

Craig James

Craig James

Former New England Patriots running back and current Family Research Council employee Craig James spoke out against marriage equality this week — again — declaring that supporting marriage equality is equal to practicing Satanism, according to The Huffington Post.

Commenting after his former team — the Super Bowl Champs, by the way — and Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays joined 376 businesses and companies in calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down bans on same-sex marriage.

During an FRC radio program on Monday, March 9, James declared, “If I were a current player in that locker room and my livelihood depended on me being quiet or losing it because of my belief system, I worry, I wonder. So, that’s Satan working on us.”

Yep. He said that. You can listen to it here at Right Wing Watch. And by the way, James is a Texan — one more reason that Texans who favor equality and fairness need to speak up and drown out the voices of hate that have been allowed to rule here in the Lone Star State for too long.

James was a football star at Stratford High School in Houston in the late 1970s, and in the early 1980s, he and fellow running back and future NFL star Eric Dickerson teamed up as “The Pony Express” to lead Southern Methodist University’s Mustangs to numerous victories. James’ star there was later somewhat tarnished when he admitted that he had received “insignificant gifts” as part of the scandal surrounding under-the-table payments to SMU players from the mid-1970s to 1986.

After a year in the USFL with the Washington Federals, James joined the Patriots as a running back. When injuries forced him to retire from football after the ’88 season, James started a career in radio and broadcasting, starting as an SMU game analyst before moving on to KDFW-TV and then ESPN.

James left ESPN in 2011 to run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in the U.S. Senate when she decided not to run again. During the race, James was fired from Fox Sports Southwest because of anti-gay views he expressed in his campaign. Among other anti-gay comments, James said that being gay is a choice and that gay people will have to “”answer to the Lord for their actions,” according to the Houston Chronicle. He also chastised his opponent Tom Leppert, who had resigned as mayor of Dallas to run for the Senate, because Leppert had appeared in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Dallas’ LGBT Pride parade.

Public Policy Polling conducted polls that indicated Craig was becoming less and less popular the more people learned about him, and he eventually placed a distant fourth in the Republican Primary that year, with just 4 percent of the vote. Ted Cruz, another well-known anti-gay Texan (well, sort-of Texan), won and continues to oppose the godless LGBT hordes in Washington, most recently with a proposed constitutional amendment that would keep federal courts from prohibiting states from banning same-sex marriage.

James joined Family Research Council in 2014.

 

—  Tammye Nash

‘Christian’ activist: Bullet to the brain for gays

Screen shot 2015-03-03 at 2.31.20 PM

Matt McLaughlin, who calls himself a “Christian activist,” has paid $200 out of his own pocket to file a ballot initiative with the California Attorney General that would require all California LGBTs to be executed by firing squad.

McLaughling says enacting his “Sodomite Suppression Act” as law would save all the non-LGBTs from having to face the wrath of God.

According to TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com, McLaughlin calls same-sex sex “buggery” and “sodomy,” and says it is “a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha [sic].”

McLaughlin also says: “Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

Any other convenient method? WTF?!

McLaughlin does not state if minors – say, high school students – would be treated as adults and included in the execution mandate.

His “Sodomite Suppression Act” would impose a $1 million fine for each act of transmitting, distributing, or performing “sodomistic propaganda” to minors and make it illegal for any LGBT person to hold public office, be employed by the state, receive any benefits such as welfare or social security or use any public assets like, for instance, roads.

You can read the complete text of the Sodomite Suppression Act here.

McLaughlin needs 365,000 legitimate signatures from California residents for his initiative to move forward.

Wonkette has also posted an article online about McLaughlin’s initiative, explaining their efforts to find out more about McLaughlin. They did find a lawyer named Matt McLaughlin with a Mail Box Express address in Huntington Beach that matches the address on the filing at the OAG’s office. But while there are a number of Matt McLaughlins that come up in a Google search none of them “seem to fit the profile of batshit lawyer with strong Jesus feelings against the gay sexytime.”

That same lawyer “submitted a citizen ballot initiative in 2003 to give bibles to all public school kids in California, grades 1-12, because ‘great literature.’” That one went nowhere because McLaughlin couldn’t get the necessary signatures.

—  Tammye Nash

Study: LGBT community faces discrimination by law enforcement

A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law reports the LGBT community faces ongoing and pervasive discrimination and harassment by law enforcement.badge

LGBT people of color and transgender individuals are adversely impacted by discrimination and harassment.

Key findings from the Williams Institute report based on several national surveys include:

  • More than one-fifth (21 percent) of LGBT people who interacted with police reported encountering hostile attitudes from officers and 14 percent reported verbal assault by the police.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of the LGBT violence survivors who interacted with police reported that they had experienced police misconduct, including unjustified arrest, use of excessive force and entrapment.
  • Two-thirds of Latina transgender women in Los Angeles County who interacted with police reported that they were verbally harassed by law enforcement, 21 percent report that they were physically assaulted by law enforcement, and 24 percent report that they were sexually assaulted by law enforcement.
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of transgender respondents in a national survey reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance, 22 percent reported that they had been harassed by law enforcement because of bias, and 6 percent reported having been physically assaulted by an officer.

Williams Institute researchers also documented widespread and frequent incidents of misconduct toward LGBT people by law enforcement in all regions of the country, including many instances of severe physical and sexual abuse.

Such discrimination, harassment and abuse undermine effective policing by weakening community trust, reducing reporting of crimes by victims in the LGBT community and challenging law enforcement’s ability to effectively meet the needs of members of their communities.

The study comes as President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued recommendations today (Tuesday, March 3), to build stronger and more collaborative relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Among the recommendations, numerous local law enforcement agencies should:

  • adopt and enforce policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression
  • implement training for officers to improve interactions with the LGBT population
  • improve data collection on misconduct by officers against LGBT people.

Among the Task Force members was former Dr. Cecil Alexander, the former federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at DFW Airport.

—  James Russell

California GOP recognizing Log Cabin

The California Republican Party voted Sunday (March 1) overwhelmingly to charter Log Cabin Republicans of California as an official affiliate of the state GOP.Screen shot 2015-03-03 at 10.13.35 AM

The vote was 861-293.

John Musella, whose term as chair of LCR-California began the same day the state GOP voted to recognize the group, said the vote “sends a strong signal that the Republicans’ ‘big tent’ has room for everyone.”

The Texas GOP, however, must have its own tent, and that tent still has a “No Gays Allowed” sign hanging on the door.

The Texas GOP just last year refused to allow Log Cabin Republicans and a second LGBT Republican group, Metroplex Republicans, to have booths at the state convention. It was at that same convention that the Texas Republican Party adopted a platform that called for “reparative therapy” for LGBTs — a discredited practice of trying to convert gays to straights.

And Republicans nation-wide seem to be more in line with Texas Republicans than with California Republicans. The GOP is still fighting desperately against the apparently inevitability of marriage equality, and the Conservative Political Action Committee — CPAC — refused to let the national Log Cabin group sign on as a sponsor of the annual CPAC conference.

Even in California, there are plenty of Republicans who disagree with recognizing Log Cabin, and the state party platform itself says homosexuality is unacceptable: “We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

The state party also has a bylaw that prohibits recognition of organizations focused on “lifestyle preferences.”

—  Tammye Nash

AFA’s map of bigots

Screen shot 2015-02-26 at 2.02.10 PM

The AFA Map of Bigots. Notice they didn’t list themselves

Well, this is interesting.

The American Family Association has created the “AFA Bigotry Map,” and no, surprisingly enough, it isn’t a map that shows all the places where AFA has perpetrated its hatefulness.

AFA President Tim Wildmon explained in a written statement, “Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it’s time to call them out for their intolerance.” And so, they created the “Bigotry Map.”

The AFA Bigotry Map website explains: “The American Family Association has identified more than 200 groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith and is educating Americans about these groups through an online map.”

The interactive map “identifies groups whose actions are deeply intolerant of the Christian religion.” These groups strive to “silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America,” usually through lawsuits and threats of lawsuits demanding that prayer be removed from schools and city council meetings, that 10 Commandment monuments “be stricken from courthouses and that memorial crosses be purged from cemeteries and parks.”

Wildmon claims, “Because of anti-Christian bigotry, private business owners have been sued and forced to close their businesses. Families and businesses that express a Christian worldview on social issues often face vicious retaliation from anti-Christian zealots, and it’s time to call them out for their intolerance.”

He also claims that some members of the groups targeted by the “Bigotry Map” have “committed violent crimes against Christians and faith-based groups,” and that they also target Christians with physical and “profane verbal” assaults in an effort to intimidate them.

The “interactive map” on the website is dotted with markers indicating where these groups are located and what kind of groups they are. Rainbow-striped markers denote groups with a “homosexual agenda” that “advocate for the legalization and promotion of same-sex marriage and viciously attack Christians who exercise their First Amendment right to voice support for God’s plan for marriage as between one man and one woman.”

There is a red marker with a white A for the atheist groups, a gray marker with a white cross marked out by a red X for “anti-Christian” groups which “actively engage in the complete eradication of the Christian faith from society, government and private commerce. These groups file lawsuits and use intimidation to silence any reference to Christianity from the public square.” And then there is the blue marker with the white outline of a human form to denote the “humanist” groups that believe “critical thinking and physical evidence are the sole basis for beliefs. Humanists believe science triumphs faith in issues of morality and decision-making.”

I checked the map and it only lists four “homosexual agenda” groups in Texas: HRC Dallas/Fort Worth, HRC Houston, HRC Austin and HRC San Antonio. Dallas Voice is not listed; I don’t know whether to be relieved or insulted.

Resource Center in Dallas isn’t listed. Neither is Fairness Fort Worth. Nor Equality Texas, Tyler Area Gays, … . The list of what isn’t listed goes on and on.

There are five atheist organizations listed for Texas, two anti-Christian groups (both of them Americans United groups), and five humanist groups. We LGBTs need to get busy! Those atheists and humanists are outnumbering us!

—  Tammye Nash

Two anti-trans bills in Texas House slammed by LGBT groups

Riddle-Debbie

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Spring.

Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Spring, filed HBs 1747 and 1748 on Friday, Feb. 20 targeting transgender Texans.

HB 1747 makes it a crime for transgender Texans to use a public accommodation such as a bathroom or locker room if the gender marker does not correlate with their gender identity or expression. HB 1748 makes it a felony for business owners to repeatedly allow a person to use public accommodations if that person’s gender identity does not match their chromosomes.

Numerous state and national LGBT groups have slammed the legislation.

“Criminalizing basic bodily functions puts Texans at risk,” Equality Texas released in an action alert. “Access to gender-segregated space should be based on gender, and only gender… not on assumptions of genetics.”

Michael Silverman, the Executive Director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, released a statement denouncing HB 1748 and a similar bill in Florida:

Bills like these target transgender people for harm by criminalizing the simple act of using a bathroom. They are an end run around non-discrimination ordinances in local areas that protect transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations. Lawmakers who sponsor this kind of mean-spirited legislation purport to be looking out for public safety.  But in reality, they are creating unsafe conditions by putting transgender people at great risk for harassment and violence

Transgender people must be able to access public facilities like bathrooms without fearing for their safety. When it comes to bathroom access, discrimination is wrong and unjust. Criminalization is outrageous and intolerable. These bills are pernicious. We hope they are soundly defeated.

Riddle has served in the House since 2003 and is a long-time opponent of LGBT equality. She currently serves as Vice Chair of Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee and a member of Calendars and Energy Resources.

—  James Russell

Arkansas bans anti-discrimination laws; is Texas next?

Huffines.Hutchinson

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, allowed legislation prohibiting cities and counties from enacting anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people to pass into law without his signature. Texas Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, left, has introduced a similar bill in the Texas Legislature.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday allowed legislation prohibiting cities and counties in his state from passing statutes and ordinances protecting LGBT people from discrimination to become law without his signature. The law, SB 202, goes into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends this summer.

Hutchinson said earlier this month that he had “reservations” about the legislation, but not enough to actually veto it. He chose instead to demonstrate those reservations by letting the bill become law without his signature. He did so despite what The Washington Post called mounting pressure from civil rights advocates nationwide.

A press release issued by a coalition of groups including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the ACLU declared, “There is nothing but discriminatory intent here. And no valid public interest can possibly be served by allowing private businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or other characteristics that might be covered by local ordinances.” Even Cher skewered Hutchinson in a Tweet, accusing him of “hanging [the] LGBT community out the dry.”

But before all you Texans start looking down your noses at those ridiculous rednecks in Arkansas, be warned: The same kind of bill has been in the Texas Legislature this session. Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas.

According to Equality Texas, “SB 343 would restrict the ability of local elected officials to pass or enforce ordinances, rules or regulations that are not identical to state protections, restricting local governments to only protecting the attributes covered under state law: race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.”

That means that ordinances in Fort Worth and Dallas and Houston and even in Plano that protect LGBT people from discrimination would be, in effect, rendered useless. Of course, it also means that ordinances in Houston, San Antonio and, again, Plano that protect U.S. military veterans from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations would also be effectively overturned. But hey, the vets have already sacrificed for their country one time; surely they’ll be willing to sacrifice their right not to be discriminated against to make sure all us evil LGBTs don’t get any protections. I mean, we are a huge threat to the American way of life, after all.

As I said, Huffines’ bill, if it becomes law, would nullify the amendment adding LGBT protections to the Dallas city charter, an amendment approved last November by 76 percent of Dallas voters. I guess overturning measures overwhelmingly approved by voters — you know, like the amendment to the Texas Constitution banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage, approved by 76 percent of Texas voters in 2005 — is ok as long as you are only overturning things that Republicans don’t like.

—  Tammye Nash

HUD reiterates protections for LGBTS in lending, shelters

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued two sets of guidances intended to clarify the Equal Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 2.29.48 PMAccess to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule. The clarifications are intended to make it easier for LGBT people applying for home loans and for transgender men and women seeking access to homeless shelters.

The Equal Access Rule, published in 2012, ensures that housing across HUD programs is open to everyone, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

The guidance on eligibility for HUD assisted and insured housing programs, makes is “clear that housing that is financed or insured by HUD must be made available” regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, real or perceived.

It also prohibits those who own and/or operate HUD-funded or HUD-insured housing from asking about an applicant’s sexual orientation and from denying housing on that basis.

Sexual orientation and gender identity “should not and cannot be part of any lending decision when it comes to getting an FHA-insured mortgage,” according to a HUD press release.

The second guidance focused on how to serve transgenders in single-sex shelter facilities, which will “help to address the fact that almost 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT and the majority of them report harassment, difficulty or even sexual assault when trying to access homeless shelters,” the press release said. “This guidance states that a transgender client’s or potential client’s own views with respect to personal health and safety deserve serious consideration when placing the person in a single sex shelter.”

The guidance addresses appropriate placement of transgenders in single-sex facilities and it guides providers on the best way to address privacy and safety concerns in shelters without segregating or isolating trans women and men.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro said, “It’s an injustice that any transgender person is mistreated when seeking help. We issued this guidance so that shelter providers treat these Americans with the dignity they deserve. This measure is an important step in shaping a future where every person is accepted, respected and housed.”

 

—  Tammye Nash

TEXAS MARRIAGE UPDATE: Paxton asks Texas Supreme Court to stay, overturn Herman’s ruling

Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today (Wednesday, Feb. 18) that his office has intervened in the Travis County probate case following Judge Guy Herman’s ruling that Texas’ ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.

Paxton, representing the state, has asked the Texas Supreme Court to stay Herman’s ruling and to overturn it.

In a written statement issued by his office, Paxton said: “Texas law is clear on the definition of marriage, and I will fight to protect this sacred institution and uphold the will of Texans, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment defining the union as between one man and one woman. The probate judge’s misguided ruling does not change Texas law or allow the issuance of a marriage license to anyone other than one man and one woman.”

Paxton — referred to, by the way, as “General Paxton” in the statement released by his office — failed to note that Herman is the second judge in Texas to declare the marriage ban unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia did so a year ago, in Feburary 2014. That case is currently before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Paxton’s statement was issued about an hour and a half after Equality Texas issued a statement calling on Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples — something DeBeauvoir has said she will not do until she gets clarification from the federal courts.

But because Herman is a probate judge, his ruling will be appealed through the Texas state courts, not through the federal court system, as Garcia’s ruling.

 

—  Tammye Nash

TEXAS MARRIAGE UPDATE: Equality Texas calls on DeBeauvoir to start issuing marriage licenses

Dana DeBeauvoir

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir

A day after a Travis County probate judge issued a ruling striking down Texas’ ban on legal recognition of same-sex marriages, Equality Texas today (Wednesday, Feb. 18) is calling on Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

But according to a spokeswoman in DeBeauvoir’s office, the county clerk will not issue those marriage licenses until she gets the go-ahead from the federal courts.

DeBeauvoir had previously said she was ready to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as soon as the courts would allow. After Judge Guy Herman issued his ruling Tuesday, DeBeauvoir said she needed to meet with Herman and county lawyers to “find out if there is anything I can do [in terms of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples]. Right now, I think it’s no, but we are checking.”

Chuck-Smith

Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith

But Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said today that Herman’s ruling makes marriage equality the law in Travis County. “The law in Travis County now allows for marriage equality. Equality Texas calls upon the county clerk to stand with us — on the right side of history,” Smith said.

The written statement issued by Equality Texas also noted: “Just as the Supreme Court may issue a marriage ruling this summer that applies to all 50 states, and just as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals may issue a marriage ruling any day now that applies to the 5th Circuit, Judge Herman has issued a ruling that has the effect of law in Travis County.”

The spokeswoman in DeBeauvoir’s office, who identified herself as Angela Vallejo, said today that “nothing has changed” since the county clerk’s statement yesterday. “We have to wait for the federal courts” to settle the question, she said. “As soon as they approve it, I am sure we will begin issuing the licenses.”

Getting a license in Travis County

If — or rather, let’s say when — DeBeauvoir’s office begins issuing licenses to same-sex couples, here are a few rules you need to know:

• The Travis County Clerk’s Office is located at 5501 Airport Blvd. in Austin.

• The cost to get a marriage license is $81 if you pay cash, $84 if you pay with a credit card. Checks are not accepted.

• Both parties have to present a valid ID; both parties have to know their Social Security numbers, and both parties must be at least 18 years old. (Those under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them to give permission.)

• Marriage licenses expire 90 days after they are issued.

• Those obtaining marriage licenses have to wait 72 hours to get married, unless they have a waiver from the court.

The status of marriage equality in the courts

Herman’s ruling came as part of an estate fight in which Austin resident Sonemaly Phrasavath is seeking to have her eight-year relationship to Stella Powell designated as a common-law marriage. Powell died last summer of colon cancer, and after her death, her siblings attempted to step in to claim her estate.

According to the Equality Texas statement issued today, Herman’s ruling finds “that the restrictions on marriage in the Texas Family Code and in the Texas Constitution that restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman and prohibit marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional because the restrictions violate the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Contrary to [DeBeauvoir’s] position previously stated in the media, this ruling in fact allows her to immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Travis County,” the statement declares.

“Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir previously stated she would be happy to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples once the law allows for it.” Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said.

Herman’s ruling yesterday came a year, to the month, after U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in federal court that the Texas same-sex marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Garcia declined plaintiffs’ request late last year to lift the stay on that order and allow same-sex marriages to begin in Texas. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on that case and two others — one from Louisiana and one from Mississippi — on Jan. 9, and could rule in that case any day. Plaintiffs in the Texas case last week asked the Fifth Circuit to lift the stay allow gay and lesbian couples to begin marrying in Texas right away.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on four marriage equality cases out of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in April, and to issue a ruling in June. The court is widely expected, as this time, to strike down all same-sex marriage bans in the U.S.

 

 

—  Tammye Nash