What’s Brewing: Key Prop 8 decision coming; marriage ban advances in Ind.; Gaga hatefest

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The California Supreme Court is set to consider today whether it believes Prop 8 supporters have legal standing to defend the same-sex marriage ban in federal court, after state officials refused to do so. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is currently reviewing the case, has asked the California Supreme Court for an opinion on the matter. And the decision about standing could determine whether the Prop 8 case applies only to California or affects same-sex marriage throughout the country. In other words, this is kinda big.

2. If and when same-sex marriage bans are ultimately declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, Indiana apparently wants to be one of the states that was on the wrong side of history. Indiana’s newly Republican-dominated House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would ban not only same-sex marriage, but also civil unions and domestic partnerships. The good news is the amendment can’t actually appear on the ballot until 2014 because it must first be approved by two separately elected legislatures. But in case it hadn’t dawned on you yet, those tea party nuts were lying to your face when they said they only care about fiscal issues.

3. Some gays are turning against Lady Gaga and rejecting their own so-called anthem, “Born This Way,” according to various media reports including this one. But the most amusing critique we’ve seen thus far comes from the Zeitgeisty Report, which suggests that Gaga HATES gay people: “Take for instance the very first part of the song where Gaga comes right out and accuses gay people of having paws instead of hands or feet. Yep, Lady Gaga officially thinks gay people are animals.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Michele Bachmann; George Michael; homophobic Arkansas grocery store

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Whatever GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said during her tea party response to the State of the Union was completely overshadowed by the fact that she was looking at the wrong camera the entire time, as well as her gross mispronunciation of Iwo Jima, which she referred to as “Ewa Jamma.” At this point, can you imagine anything more entertaining (and tragic) than a Sarah Palin-Bachmann ticket in 2012?

2. The Australian press is obsessed with George Michael’s use — or non-use — of gay hookup apps. The Daily Telegraph reports — under the headline “George Michael on the prowl for man action in Australia” — that the pop singer has switched from Grindr to Scruff. However, Perth Now reports that the Scruff profile (right) appearing to be Michael is actually the work of an impostor. With this kind of media attention paid to his app usage, can you really blame Michael for getting wasted? Next time Michael is in Dallas, we’ve assigned DV staffer Rich Lopez to cruise Scruff 24/7 in search of him — which won’t be much of a change for Lopez.

3. Harps grocery store in Mountain Home, Ark., is obscuring the cover of US Weekly because it contains a photo of gay parents (Elton John, his partner and their baby), according to a Twitter user who posted the pic below. Gay bloggers who’ve picked up the story list the number for Harps as 870-425-6556. If you decide to call, tell them to check this study, which showed that gay parenting is quite common in places like Arkansas.

—  John Wright

Who is really guilty?

It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for helping create a climate of violence and hate

HARDY HABERMAN | Flagging Left

I am guilty — guilty of seeing a connection between the rabble-rousing rhetoric of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and others as a catalyst for the actions of a twisted Arizona man.

Guilty of sensing the tragic and outrageous events in Tucson as some kind of clarion call.

Guilty of hoping the tone of political discussion in this country might in some way be softened by the senseless murders and injuries caused by a man with a gun.

Guilty of thinking to myself these words, “See, now look at what you have done!”

Yet my confession does nothing to ease the pain and suffering of those in Arizona. The families of the murdered political aide, the innocent girl, the elderly couples will still grieve, and the husbands, wives and lovers of the injured will still worry and spend sleepless nights at hospital bedsides.

Like so many others, I long to make sense of the events in Arizona by casting about for someone to blame and until the man who committed the murders confesses, I will have no proof. The reason is locked in his mind, and all the pundits and psychologists and TV talking heads cannot know the real answer.

I am guilty of trying to figure that out as well.

It’s natural to look for reasons for unreasonable acts. It is what makes us human, our desire to somehow connect the dots and make sense of what happens around us and to us.

Unfortunately, doing that can lead to wrong conclusions. Less fortunate still is the desire to use inexplicable events as an excuse to further our personal agenda.

I could easily point to Sarah Palin’s website with the now infamous “bull’s-eye map” and ask, “How is that not a direct call to action for every mentally unstable person with a firearm?”

I could point to the Tea Party and their signs reading “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy,” and ask, “How is that kind of jingoism not a call to violence?”

I could point to the YouTube videos of the accused shooter who ranted about “There’s no flag in the constitution. Therefore, the flag in the film is unknown. Burn every new and old flag that you see.”

I could point to those videos and ask how could he not be a deranged anti-government mad man?

I could point to the pundits and commentators and politicians who have jumped to conclusions they fear are the truth.
More telling about this whole event is the number and direction of the finger-pointing — not just by me, but by people on both the right and the left.

Most of those fingers point to the vehemence of the rhetoric and what passes for political discourse. When the Pima County Sheriff spoke of Tucson being Tombstone, the metaphor was not lost on many.

The fact that Sarah Palin’s staff removed the “bull’s-eye map” only minutes after the shootings, the fact that politicians told their staffs to be more vigilant and aware of possible threats, the fact that commentators on both sides jumped to the conclusions about the “tone of the discussion” may hold an answer.

Whatever the reason Jared Lee Loughner may have had for opening fire at point-blank range on Congresswoman Giffords, the act gave substance to what so many have feared.

All the talk and ranting and chanting could erupt into violence, that is the biggest fear, even of those using the harsh language.

It makes for great visuals to whip a crowd into a frenzy, but beyond the visuals, it creates a force that can take on a life of its own — the “mob.”

And though it might not operate en-masse, mob mentality can still push individuals to violent acts.

That’s why everyone from John McCain to President Obama are urging calm. That’s why it’s time to do a bit of soul searching. That’s why it’s time to retract those pointing fingers and start examining our own actions.

Sadly, not everyone will heed the call. Already, irresponsible voices are screaming on radio and TV, looking to exploit the still-fluid situation and the fog of facts.

Already, the sad cult led by Fred Phelps is heading to Tucson to wave inflammatory signs lauding God’s vengeance for the murders and blaming America’s acceptance of homosexuals for the crimes.

And once again I find myself guilty of trying to find someone or something to be the target of my anger and grief.

I only hope that my sincere belief in the power of peace will be greater than my baser instincts. My desire to hope is stronger than my surrender to despair. My passing reaction to hate will not succumb to my instinct to love.

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

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 14, 2011.

—  John Wright

SREC member wants to oust Speaker Joe Straus because he’s Jewish, doesn’t hate gays enough

Speaker Joe Straus

We’ve already told you about the anti-gay forces that have undoubtedly been working behind the scenes in the race for speaker of the Texas House, but now it looks like they may be starting to emerge publicly. The Texas Observer posted a story Friday in which John Cook, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, explained his opposition to Speaker Joe Straus. Cook’s biggest problem with Straus, apparently, is that he’s Jewish: “I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office,” Cook says. But Cook also accuses Straus of being pro-choice and pro-gay rights:

His opposition to Straus, he said, was rooted largely in his belief that the current Speaker is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. “He’s a pro choice person basically,” Cook said. (Earlier in his career, Straus did vote against banning gay couples from serving as foster parents and against a ban on late-term abortions, but Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life, has been one of his biggest supporters.) Cook called the Republicans who worked with Democrats to elect Straus “turncoat RINOs.” (Republicans in Name Only.)

As the legislative session draws closer, it’ll be interesting to see whether the so-called tea party folks who oppose Straus start to escalate their attacks based on his 2005 vote against the gay foster parenting ban. Particularly since Straus has said he voted against the ban because it would have cost the state a lot of money and gone against his libertarian principles. From a January 2009 interview in which Texas Monthly asked Straus about the vote:

STRAUS: …  I’m not supportive of adoption by homosexual couples, but the whole issue of government with a fiscal note attached and government employees investigating people’s private lives caused me a great deal of heartburn. I remember looking at the expenditure of taxpayer money for that and it was a lot. And it required what? Going into people’s homes? Watching the way people dress or the way they talk? I have some pretty strong libertarian leanings, and sometimes that causes a conflict. What gave me confidence to hit the button I hit was that I was very certain that Barry Goldwater would have done the same thing.

—  John Wright

Texas hops on the Crazy Train again

Leo Berman

Hardy Haberman |  Dungeon Diary

Just when you think sanity might have been restored, the delightful Texas State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, has introduced a “birther” bill in the Texas Legislature. Berman is the same representative who was famously quoted as saying, “Barack Obama is God’s punishment on us.”

Now easy as it would be to just paint this guy with the broad brush and call him “frigging nuts,” he represents a real problem in this state and pretty much most of the U.S. For a long time the Democratic Party has believed that reason and facts would win the day. If there were ever an argument against that, the last election cycle would be it. That little debacle for the Dems was won not by reason but by emotion. Mostly it was fear and bigotry. Fear stoked by the economic situation many American’s find themselves in and bigotry disguised as the “Tea Party.” The whole “take America back” thing is about having a black man in the White House. Every other argument is predicated on that unspoken premise and a closer examination of their rhetoric will reveal it.

So, meanwhile the Dems keep relying on reason. How has that worked so far? Not at all.

The whole birther thing is a racially charged non-issue anyway, but don’t let reason get in the way of some good old fashioned fear. Even though the Obama birth certificate has been widely circulated and there is more than ample proof of his citizenship, the birthers persist. Why, because it is a good excuse to scare people and to tap into that old bigorty thing again.

So while I could just call Rep. Berman wacko, I will instead call him what he is, a politician who knows how to whip up his constituents with the most powerful tools in the GOP arsenal.

—  admin

Gay Congressman Barney Frank re-elected

Barney Frank

More good news from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., has been re-elected despite a strong challenge from Tea Party-backed Republican Sean Bielat.

“Barney Frank is nothing if not a fighter, and we’re very happy he will return to the House and continue to fight for the people of Massachusetts and for all LGBT Americans. Nobody has worked harder or longer in the U.S. Congress for fairness and equality for the LGBT community,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Frank has served in the House since 1981 and came out as gay in 1987.

Again, to keep track of how gay candidates are faring across the country, go here.

—  John Wright

Gay man allegedly assaulted by Tea Party activist for waving Bill White sign near poll in Houston

This came across early Friday morning from the Houston GLBT Political Caucus:

—  John Wright

Eddie Bernice Johnson at Stonewall Democrats, and The DMN’s big Stephen Broden cover-up

We’ve had some difficulty posting the above clip of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson speaking at Stonewall Democrats of Dallas on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Then again, if we had posted it last week as originally intended, we wouldn’t have been able to talk about Republican challenger Stephen Broden’s comments two days later saying that a violent overthrow of the government is “on the table” if this year’s elections don’t produce a change in leadership in Washington. Broden, a member of the Tea Party, told WFAA-TV reporter Brad Watson that a violent overthrow is “not the first option,” but is “on the table.”

“We have a constitutional remedy,” Broden told Watson. “And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

Doesn’t Broden, who’s African-American, realize that if the Tea Party were to take over, racial minorities would be in serious danger? The sad thing is, many in the Tea Party likely agree with Broden. What’s also sad is that The Dallas Morning News had endorsed Broden.

Well, a day later Broden backed away from his comments, and The DMN retracted its endorsement. “In 2010, the only way to bring about change is through the ballot box,” Broden insisted.

The DMN went on to say that its editorial board had decided to withdraw its recommendation of Broden in the race against Johnson, and instead was making no endorsement. Do you mean to tell us that they just now discovered that Broden is a total nutjob? Check out this passage from The DMN’s story:

As Broden’s interview drew more attention, other details of his background emerged Friday.

He confirmed having been arrested in May 2009 outside the White House. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, he was praying in a restricted area and was cited for failing to obey a lawful order.

Broden said he was doing so on the National Day of Prayer to protest President Barack Obama’s decision not to mark the day with a public ceremony.

After a series of warnings, Broden and another pastor were arrested. They were released after paying a small fine – “less than $100,” he said.

Wait a second, do you mean to say that The DMN hadn’t been aware that a candidate for MAJOR office has an arrest record? The newspaper conducts backgrounds checks on all candidates, from Congress to school board, but they hadn’t discovered this? Give me a break. They’ve known about it for a long time, but they chose to withhold it from their readers because they supported Broden.

All you have to do is Google Broden’s name and you’ll come up with several stories about his arrest for praying outside the White House during the National Day of Prayer in 2009, in protest of President Barack Obama’s decision not to participate in the event. According to the stories we found about Broden’s arrest, he told the media that one of the reasons for the protest was his opposition to gay marriage:

“We prayed that God would either stay the hand of judgment or quicken the hearts of men and women of faith for them to recognize that they need to come to the streets, they need to come to the public square and make it clear that we are not in favor of same-sex marriage, we are not in favor of this scourge … [of abortion], we are not in favor of the kind of trickery and gamesmanships that are being played in the house of Congress and the house of the Senate. We are fed up, and we are tired of what this nation is doing and what our leaders are doing relative to their role and responsibility for protecting our freedoms.”

—  John Wright

Broden makes his position on LGBT issues clear

Stephen Broden is running for Congress against Eddie Bernice Johnson. He is the Republican even though his web site and campaign literature mention “Tea Party” but do not say “Republican Party.”

After we mentioned in a previous post that Broden’s literature uses anti-gay buzz words, John Charles McKee pointed us to the above clip of Broden on Glenn Beck’s show, where he was quite specific about what he thinks about equality for gays and lesbians. The 30th district includes a large LGBT population.

Broden states his opposition to hate crime legislation that includes the LGBT community and to employment non-discrimination. Here’s what he says toward the end of the above clip:

BRODEN: I just want to beg to differ with my colleagues there. I think the failure of pastors to take the lead in this issue — on these issues is the reason why we are seeing the kind of problems or melees that we’re seeing in our culture today.

In addition to that, I want to introduce my friend to the idea of hate crime legislation, introduce them to the idea of a 501(C)(3) that is used to knock Christians around and keep them silent, from speaking out in America today.

I want to introduce them to the idea of ENDA, which is Employment Non-Discrimination, which is bullying people and pushing Christians into hiring people that they should not hire.

McKee wrote to us, “It’s vital for both our community and decent people everywhere that Stephen Broden is not just dog whistling anti-gay policies, he has stated his desire for the gay community to be persecuted by Christians flat out.”

The Morning News endorsed Broden on Monday. The basis of the endorsement is their disenchantment with Johnson who funneled scholarship money to relatives. Broden’s hatred of the district’s huge LGBT community did not figure into their endorsement. They wrote:

He pastors a small mission church near Fair Park, whose goal is to transform the lives of pimps, prostitutes and addicts. Having seen the district’s needs from the ground up, he believes much more could be done to create jobs and stability.

Apparently The DMN believes those jobs for pimps should come from the LGBT community.

—  David Taffet

Broden’s campaign literature includes anti-gay buzz words but not his party affiliation

Pastor Stephen Broden with Karl Rove

This morning I had campaign literature for Pastor Stephen Broden hanging on my front door when I left the house. He’s running for Congress against incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson. (I include the title “Pastor” in his name because he does so in the literature.)

I assume Broden is running on the Republican ticket, because his yard signs are red and Johnson is a Democrat. But in his campaign literature he never mentions the R word. Understandable in the heavily Democratic Oak Cliff and Oak Lawn district. But on his website he does mention Tea Party.

On his website, among his list of supporters are a number of people marked “precinct chair.” None of them are listed as “Republican precinct chair,” however.

Broden uses anti-gay buzz phrases to boost his conservative cred. He’s “pro-family” as if he’s campaigning against someone who hates her family.

He’s for a “strong national defense.” Is he talking about keeping a gay translator like Lt. Dan Choi in the military or would that weaken defense? He can’t be talking about Johnson’s House vote for the huge defense appropriations bill that failed to make it through the Senate yesterday because of a Republican filibuster. Note to Broden: Waterboarding might make prisoners talk, but it doesn’t make them talk in English.

He’s for vouchers, so he can send his children to schools that won’t allow gays and lesbians to send their children to those schools. Funny, a few years ago, most Texas schools would have kept his kids out.

His No. 1 reason under “Why I’m running” is “Concern over the turn from founding principles & Judeo-Christian values to socialism.” But he never says which “Judeo-Christian” principles those would be. Probably not the Judeo ones that are quite Socialist. Like commandments about caring for the poor, the sick and treating others as you would be treated — you know, equality.

On issues, he’s pro-10th amendment. That’s the states’ rights amendment. The one that was used to justify slavery is some states since the federal government didn’t prohibit it. The one used to deny blacks the right to vote, since how to register voters was not enumerated in the Constitution and so it was left to the states. Interesting position for an African-American candidate to take.

But I found his omission of affiliation with his party the most interesting part of his door hanger and website. An Independent would actually have a better chance to win that district, but he is the Republican candidate in House District 30.

I’m glad Johnson has an opponent. I’ve lived in her district since she was my Oak Cliff state representative. But no one should be running unopposed. They should have to stand up and defend their record. But candidates should be honest and list their party. Using red ink on printed materials is a wink, wink.

More information you won’t find on his website. Yesterday, Sarah Palin endorsed Broden. On her Facebook page, Palin wrote:

It’s an honor to support Stephen Broden to represent Texas’ 30th Congressional District. As a teacher and pastor he has made it his life’s work to support the good people of the Fair Park and South Dallas areas in the beautiful Lone Star State.

I’m not sure what good a Palin endorsement will do someone in a district that was packed more than 80 percent Democratic in the last redistricting. A better question might be: Why was I reading Sarah Palin’s Facebook page?

—  David Taffet