BREAKING: Bell’s HB 4105 resurrected as an amendment, to be voted on as soon as tomorrow


Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

Texas state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, intends to attach an amendment similar to his previous bill barring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples to a bill protecting clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages during a House floor vote on Thursday, May 21.

Bell filed HB 4105, also known as “The Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act,”  ahead of an anticipated summer Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality. It would have withheld pay from county clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. After its defeat last week, Bell told reporters he wasn’t giving up on it.

Though an amendment must be considered germane to a bill, Equality Texas reports that Bell intends to attach HB 4105 to SB 2065, which passed the Senate last week on a 21-10 vote with all Republicans and one Democrat voting for it.

While HB 4105 died before it could get a vote, it garnered  support from the majority of the House HOP caucus.

During the debate over SB 2065, the ACLU, Equality Texas and Texas Freedom Network advocated for language that a clergy member may only refuse to officiate marriages that violate their conscience “in that official capacity.” Despite their efforts Estes refused in both the State Affairs Committee hearing and on the Senate floor to add the language.

Without the four words, opponents argued, faith leaders may be able to refuse to perform same-sex marriage if they serve in a secular capacity, such as justice of the peace or county clerk.

Proponents, including numerous conservative faith leaders, argued the bill was necessary to protect their right to deny performing a same-sex marriage.

—  James Russell

Ross Updates Trans Discrimination Policy

ROSS DRESS FOR LESS X390 (FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMFollowing an incident in which a trans woman was ejected from a Ross store, the company revises its discrimination policy. Daily News

—  David Taffet

More on those CornerStone Policy Research ‘Helpful Links’

So you know how we’ve been telling you (and New Hampshire lawmakers) about the “ex-gay” advocacy that New Hampshire’s chief public policy organization, Cornerstone Policy Research, has posted under the “helpful links” section of its website? Yea, well — there’s been an interesting development.

Today, CPR abruptly changed the site from this…


…to this:

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 3.31.20 Pm

[Current page]

The changes struck us as weird and arbitrary. Because why did they remove Courage, the Catholic “ex-gay” organization? Everyone knows that CPR’s big partner, the National Organization For Marriage, is a largely Catholic organization. Wouldn’t Courage be the one they’d most want to keep?

But what caught our attention even more was the removal of The Journal Of Human Sexuality, mainly because it was the one link we didn’t mention at all. Frankly, we didn’t mention it because, by name alone, the link didn’t ring any sort of bell. And we were so focused on the other, more obvious “ex-gay” advocacy that we didn’t really investigate this one further. We just accepted that JHS was some sort of “pro-family” organization, and let it go.

However, one only need to look at an archived copy of the JHS link to see exactly why CPR would want to scrub it from their rec list:

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 3.42.39 Pm

[Internet Archive: JHS]

Yes, that’s right: JHS was (is?) a George Rekers outlet. Yes, that George Rekers:

Christian right leader George Rekers takes vacation with “rent boy” [News Times]

Can’t believe we never made the connection before!. But beyond that: Can’t believe CPR didn’t make enough a connection between their cause and its beneficial allies to keep Reker’s publication off the “helpful links” list front he get-go!

Right, so where does this leave things now? Well, we’re at a place where New Hampshire’s most financed, well-connected socially conservative political group…

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 11.49.01 Am

CPR prez Kevin Smith with NOM’s Maggie Gallagher

and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum

CPR 2010 banquet]

…has clearly seen/heard what we’ve had to say about their “helpful” gay views, yet is still choosing to push the very same scientifically-rejected “research” out to its followers (the list is now 100% made up of exclusive “ex-gay” advocacy). They may have thrown Rekers off the bus and dropped Courage — but they, the state’s chief opponent of civil marriage equality, are still demonstrating a stubborn insistence on changing not only the state’s marriage laws, but also gay human beings’ sexual orientations. In fact, this change would actually seem to make it worse, since it shows they know what’s being said about their links and the offensive anti-science surrounding them — they just don’t care.


*UPDATE: CPR just updated again, this time removing Focus on the Family from the Love Won Out Link (FoTF passed on the program last year). An accurate change — but not one that alters the anti-science reality that CPR is still calling “helpful.”

A reminder of just how roundly rejected “ex-gay” therapy is:

American Medical Association: “opposes, the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation

AMA Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation [AMA]


American Counseling Association Ethics Committee: “Clients may ask for a specific treatment from a counseling professional because they have heard about it from either their religious community or from popular culture. A counselor, however, only provides treatment that is scientifically indicated to be effective or has a theoretical framework supported by the profession. Otherwise, counselors inform clients that the treatment is “unproven” or “developing” and provide an explanation of the “potential risks and ethical considerations of using such techniques/procedures and take steps to protect clients from possible harm” (Standard C.6.e., “Scientific Bases for Treatment Modalities”).

Considering all the above deliberation, the ACA Ethics Committee strongly suggests that ethical professional counselors do not refer clients to someone who engages in conversion therapy or, if they do, to proceed cautiously only when they are certain that the referral counselor fully informs clients of the unproven nature of the treatment and the potential risks and takes steps to minimize harm to clients (also see Standard A.2.b., “Types of Information Needed”). This information also must be included in written informed consent material by those counselors who offer conversion therapy despite ACA’s position and the Ethics Committee’s statement in opposition to the treatment. To do otherwise violates the spirit and specifics of the ACA Code of Ethics.”

Exploring ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy [ACA]


American Academy of Pediatrics: “The terms reparative therapy and sexual orientation conversion therapy refer to counseling and psychotherapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing homosexuality. The most important fact about these “therapies” is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,6 published by the American Psychiatric Association, which defines the standards of the field, does not include homosexuality. All other major health professional organizations have supported the American Psychiatric Association in its declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. Thus, the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation

among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations.

The idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations.

Despite the general consensus of major medical, health, and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public. However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.

Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises youth that counseling may be helpful for you if you feel confused about your sexual identity. Avoid any treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or treatment ideas that see homosexuality as a sickness.“

Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth [APP]


The American Psychological Association: The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

The “Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts” also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services “that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

The approval, by APA’s governing Council of Representatives, came at APA’s annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called “reparative therapy,” or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

“Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. “Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.” Glassgold added: “At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex.”

Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others’ sexual orientation.“

Insufficient Evidence that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says [American Psychological Association]


Good As You

—  admin

Boston Archdiocese adopts policy that may end discrimination against kids with gay parents (or not)

Seriously, the Archdiocese of Boston is the last institution that should want attention for how its treating children, given its prominent role in the child rape scandal. But, after a Hingham, Mass. Catholic school wouldn’t admit an 8-year old kid with gay parents, the Catholic leaders in Boston were once again thrust into the spotlight over how they were treating children. A new policy has been announced:

The Archdiocese of Boston, under fire from all sides after a parochial school withdrew an admissions offer to the child of a lesbian couple, yesterday released a new Catholic schools admissions policy that said parochial schools will not “discriminate against or exclude any categories of students.’’

However, the policy, which was distributed to pastors, parishes, and school administrators by e-mail, said school parents “must accept and understand that the teachings of the Catholic Church are an essential and required part of the curriculum.’’

Now, it’s unclear if that new policy would actually block the expulsion of kids with gay parents. And, one wonders if it means that kids would have to listen to their teachers rail against gay marriage and gay parenting.

In fact, it’s possible that the Hingham school could reach the same conclusion even under the new policy:

Because the new policy said admissions decisions should be based in part on “the best interest of the child,’’ it remains uncertain whether the Hingham episode would have occurred had the new policy been in place. The specifics of that case remain unclear because the pastor involved, the Rev. James F. Rafferty, has declined interviews.

“The situation at St. Paul’s in Hingham may have taken a different route, but it might have come to the same conclusion,’’ said the Rev. Richard M. Erikson, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston. “Father Rafferty still today has the authority to make these decisions as the pastor. But the expectations of the diocese and the guidance the diocese gives in those judgment calls is clearer today than it was then.’’

So, there you have it. The Catholic Church claims to be fixing a problem, but not exactly.


—  admin

We have to apologize to NH’s Cornerstone Policy Research

Twice now, we’ve told you that New Hampshire’s chief lobby group for repealing marriage equality in the state, Cornerstone Policy Research (a major NOM affiliate), is pushing four different groups that are seeking to “cure” or “change” or gays. But now, we have a little bit of egg on our face, and need to send a sincere “sorry” to CPR.

So we’re just gonna rip off the Band-Aid and come right out and admit it: Our information was, in fact, wrong. Because ya see, It turns out that CPR is not pushing four groups that focus on stopping parts of gays’ bodies other than their ring fingers. No, no — they are actually PUSHING FIVE OF THEM:


CPR’s “Helpful Links” page

We brain farted on Courage, not realizing this was that Catholic group based in Connecticut that tells gays they should develop “an interior life of chastity” so that “one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ.” In short: This group tells gays they should forgo love and affection, since they were born too broken to ever really experience it in a way the Catholic Church will accept. Here’s Courage Director Fr. Paul Check with more on his work:

(click to play audio clip)

[SOURCE: Catholic Answers Live, 12/3/10]

*Listen to full interview here.

“Who you are” is either active and wrong, or de-sexualized and okay with the church. In a nutshell, that’s Courage (big c).

So yeah, please accept our apologizes, Cornerstone folks. It turns out you, the group that’s leading the charge to rollback *CIVIL* marriage equality in the “Live Free Or Die State,” are actually using a whopping five different faith-based groups to support not only your marriage cause, but also the much deeper, much more science-flouting drive to tell gay people they are junk in need of repair. We promise not to again misrepresent your stance.

Good As You

—  admin

Letter to President Obama on the Stalled VA Policy for Trans Veterans

Transgender American Veteran Association White Paper: Transgender People In The U.S. Military(I felt the need to appeal to the President via E-mail on getting the stalled policy for the proper treatment of trans veterans out of the VA black hole.  The letters I keep getting from trans veterans of their mistreatment have been getting to me for a long time.  I hear they have people reading all E-mails at the WH, but I doubt it will go anywhere.  My phiosphy is that there is no shame in failure, but there is in failure to try.  I had to try.)

Dear Mr. President,

I am the President of the Transgender American Veterans Association, an 8-year organization to help trans veterans with their VA problems.  Trans veterans have been mistreated in the VA for decades, even those with 20 or more years of service.  We did a survey in 2007 and the results are horrible.  You can view it at

In 2008, TAVA and NCTE worked with the VA to draft a new policy that would resolve the problems we saw in the survey.  However, the VA has been sitting on it since July of 2008 and no one can tell us why.  We even appealed to Sec. Shinseki and he hasn’t been able to help.  This is a final appeal to someone who may listen and I am hoping you care about veterans still having problems with the VA.

Thumbnail Link: Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)I know that you have more on your plate than a sumo wrestler in an all-you can eat restaurant, but I received two new stories from trans veterans in the last 24 hrs that made me want to write this.  We have read dozens of similar problems since July of 2008 and the new policy would have helped, but the VA is still allowing the mistreatment to continue unchecked.

I had “hope” that you would treat all veterans with the respect they deserved and you have gone a long way in that manner.  I thank you for that.  But, the job is not anywhere over.  There are still veterans who are treated with disdain and discrimination simply because of the direction their lives took AFTER they served this country.  They fought for this country.  They protected this country and the people in it.  They even bled for this country and gave their limbs for this country.  And yet, the US still treats them like 3rd class citizens.  Is that the right treatment they deserve?

Mr. President, I am begging you to help.  It can’t be any more simpler than that.  Please ask the VA to release that policy, called, “Providing Healthcare for Transgender and Intersex Veterans.”  I did eight years in the Navy, my father was a veteran of three wars, my grandfather was a veteran, my brother and his son are veterans.  My son served 4 years in the Marines and did two tours in Iraq, so you are getting this appeal from a long line of people who have served proudly.  Since TAVA has met with closed doors for 17 months, I felt a need to turn to you for help.  On behalf of the thousands of trans veterans in the US, I ask for your help.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Monica Helms

President, TAVA

* DADT and the TAVA Survey Revisited
* TAVA And The Palm Center: A Look At Transgender Military And Veteran Experiences

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Why Won’t Sen. Jeff Sessions Support a DADT Policy For High School Locker Rooms?

Sen. Jeff Sessions doesn't want to "add additional burden" to already over-stressed troops by forcing them to live with KNOWN HOMOSEXUALS, because continuing to send them into war zones is, like, rough y'all! But when asked by professional rabble-rouser Mike Stark — who gets off on asking politicians frank questions — whether that same policy should be adopted by schools nationwide, to keep straight athletes from "serving" with the peering eyes of gay teammates, Sessions responds that it's a "free country" and "everybody has a right to go to school regardless of their sexual orientation," while "the military's different." He's right: In high school athletics, you fight to win; in the armed forces, you, uh, fight to lose? So confusing!

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—  admin

Watch would a President Huckabee’s family policy look like? Look to Iowa

– Iowa Family Policy President Chuck Hurley has called for the “healing of openly gay students,” as well as said that gays’ civil marriages are “a degradation of God’s best design for the family.”

– Director of Public Relations & Outreach Bryan English warned state residents that marriage equality must be rolled back, as it’s “only a matter of time now before those of us who are still willing to speak the truth and say that homosexuality is wrong are the ones that they are calling criminals.”

– The group has created a truly disgusting video featuring parents of a son who died of AIDS, with the suggestion being that Iowa marriage equality — a concept that, one would logically assume, will actually encourage monogamy — will actually lead to more “evils of the homosexual lifestyle.”

And now on November 21, onetime (and likely future) Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will join this very same group to “celebrate” their successes in “defending the family”:

“Celebrate the Family 2010”

(H/t: Maddow blog)

Right — Huckabee’s coming as a pastor not as a politician. A distinction that might mean something, were this event not 100% designed to inject faith into politics (particularly in regards to same-sex marriage).

Good As You

—  admin

DADT is officially gone. Obama will actually have to choose to resurrect the now-dead policy.

“Right now, as of this moment, there is, effectively, no DADT policy in effect.” – Richard Socarides, New York attorney and former Clinton White House adviser on gay rights

This is a rather fine, but important distinction, I think.

A federal judge killed DADT today. Her ruling says the government has to immediately stop the investigations, the discharges, everything. Immediately. That means no one in the government is permitted to do anything related to enforcing DADT. It’s gone.

The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban’s enforcement.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell, as of today at least, is done, and the government is going to have to do something now to resurrect it,” Woods said. “This is an extremely significant, historic decision. Once and for all, this failed policy is stopped. Fortunately now we hope all Americans who wish to serve their country can.”

The only way for DADT to come back is for President Obama to resurrect the policy by asking the court for a “stay pending appeal” – i.e., to stay the enforcment of the district court judge’s order pending appeal, and then appealing the case. Unless and until Obama resurrects DADT, it’s dead. So the stakes are actually higher for the President on this one. DADT is gone. He now has to decide whether he wants to personally bring it back.


—  John Wright

Family Policy Councils to the Court: Just Ignore the U.S. Constitution, Mkay?

Cross-posted at Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

As if we needed more confirmation that the anti-equality crowd is bereft of logical arguments and grasping at straws, a group of about 30 of Family Research Council’s state affiliates, called Family Policy Councils, have filed an amicus brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 case.  They’re asking the Court to overturn Judge Vaughn Walker’s well-reasoned ruling that Prop 8, which stripped gay and lesbian couples of their right to marry in California, is unconstitutional.  You know that the amicus brief is a terrifically embarrassing document when a non-lawyer like me can look into it and see whole schools of red herring.  Here are just a few of the keepers.  From the very first sentence of the Summary of the Argument section on page 2:

The United States’ government consists of checks and balances designed to limit the power of the various parts of the government, ensuring it follows the will of the people.

Our federal government, as set out in the U.S. Constitution, uses the separation of powers principle to enforce power sharing among the three co-equal branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial).  The purpose of this system of checks and balances is to prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much power, not to the protect “the will of the people”.

Apparently angling for any bottom-feeders on the Court, the FPCs actually mash these moldy old dough balls onto the hook.  From page 9:

Through the initiative process, the people of California have made their will known. In their state, they want marriage to remain as it has for thousands of years. They spoke twice in eight years, and their will should not be subverted by one judge of one branch of the federal government’s redefining core institutions like marriage to follow the whims of the elite.

The FPCs are hoping you’ll buy into the notion that “the people” of California have unlimited power in the state.  They don’t.  The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and while it establishes the federal judiciary as a co-equal arm of government, it makes no explicit provision for citizens’ initiatives.  If a majority of voters passes a state constitutional amendment that violates the U.S. Constitution as Prop 8 does, the fact that those voters were in the majority is irrelevant.  The FPCs don’t want you to consider the fact that a voting majority can act unconstitutionally, and that the federal judiciary has the power to strike down any unconstitutional measure they may pass.

Since when does the 52% of California voters who voted for Prop 8 represent “the people of California”?  Almost half, 48%, voted against the discriminatory measure.  As for marriage as it’s been “for thousands of years”, that would include plural marriage, concubinage and a prohibition on remarriage after divorce.  The FPCs not only want us to ignore the U.S. Constitution, they want to create a new math (52% = 100%) and whistle past their own “Judeo-Christian” history as set down in the Holy Bible.

There’s enough red herring here for a Friday dinner fry-up.  If you want seconds, there’s plenty more in the brief.
FYI here are the names of Family Policy Councils that signed onto the brief.  They’re represented by Liberty Institute of Plano, TX:

Association of Maryland Families,

California Family Council,

Center for Arizona Policy,

Citizens for Community Values,

Cornerstone Action,

Cornerstone Family Council,

Delaware Family Policy Council,

Family Action Council of Tennessee,

The Family Foundation,

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia,

Family Policy Institute of Washington,

Florida Family Policy Council,

Georgia Family Council,

Illinois Family Institute,

Independence Law Center,

Iowa Family Policy Center,

Louisiana Family Forum Action,

Massachusetts Family Institute,

Michigan Family Forum,

Minnesota Family Council,

Missouri Family Policy Council,

Montana Family Foundation,

New Jersey Family First,

New Jersey Family Policy Council,

North Carolina Family Policy Council,

Oklahoma Family Policy Council,

Oregon Family Council,

Palmetto Family Council,

Pennsylvania Family Institute,

Wisconsin Family Action, and

WyWatch Family Action
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—  John Wright