What’s Brewing: Hearing today in suit over Perry’s day of prayer; parole fought for gay man’s killer

Several elected officials have joined the fight to keep Jon Buice behind bars for the 1991 hate crime murder of gay banker Paul Broussard, pictured.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A federal judge will hear arguments today in a lawsuit that seeks to bar Texas Gov. Rick Perry from promoting or participating in his anti-gay day of prayer on Aug. 6 in Houston. The lawsuit was filed earlier this month by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics that contends the governor’s involvement in the event violates the separation of church and state. Meanwhile, it’s still unclear what Perry’s role will be in the day of prayer or whether he’ll speak at the gathering.

2. In any case, Gov. Perry appears to be sticking to his position that issues like marriage equality and abortion should be left up to the states under the 10th amendment. Perry said Wednesday that if Roe. v. Wade were overturned, he’d support allowing states to legalize abortion. Last week Perry said he’s “fine” with New York’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage. Both stances have landed him in hot water with social conservatives. “You either have to believe in the 10th amendment or you don’t,” Perry said. “You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then something that doesn’t suit you, you say, ‘Well we really rather not have that state decide that.’”

3. Several elected officials from the Houston area have joined the fight to keep Jon Buice behind bars for the 1991 hate crime murder of gay banker Paul Broussard, The Houston Chronicle reports. Buice, who’s served 20 years of his 45-year sentence, was granted parole earlier this month and is set to be released sometime in October. But elected officials have joined Broussard’s mother, LGBT advocates and others in calling on parole commissioners to revisit their decision to release Buice. Those who’ve written letters to the the state parole board include Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos, state Sens. John Whitmire and Rodney Ellis, and state Reps. Jessica Farrar and Garnet Coleman. To submit your own letter opposing Buice’s release, go here.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Rick Perry’s day of prayer web site no longer includes link to whacko ‘Endorsers’

The website for Rick Perry’s day of prayer originally had a link to endorsers at the top, as shown above. The link has since been removed, as shown below. (via Right Wing Watch)

The other day Right Wing Watch noted that the link to a list of endorsers — from the guy who believes the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol, to the guy who thinks Oprah is the Antichrist — had been removed from the top of the main page of the website for Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 day of prayer, The Response. You can still get to the list of endorsers, but only by going directly to the URL or by clicking on FAQ, then scrolling down past information about parking, lodging, handicap accessibility, etc. In other words, the endorsers have been buried, and on Wednesday night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow wondered why. Maddow asked Wayne Slater, a senior political reporter for The Dallas Morning News, whether he thinks the removal of the link has “political implications.”

“Yes, it has political implications,” Slater said. “Clearly the exotic ideas and news and reports on your show and elsewhere about how exotic and unorthodox some of these religious views are, has caused heartburn inside the Perry camp, and has really threatened to distract from what they wanted to do, which is say, ‘Look we’re just having a prayer rally, people are going to show up, they’re going to pray, they’re going to sing.’ And then when you have the guy who has sex with the sun goddess as part of the story, it’s not helpful.”

Watch the full segment below:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Gov. Perry may not speak at day of prayer; trans widow Nikki Araguz files appeal

Nikki Araguz

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. CNN reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry may not even speak at his own day of prayer on Aug. 6 in Houston. Eric Bearse, a spokesman for the American Family Association, the anti-gay hate group that is funding Perry’s day of prayer, told CNN: “There will be a handful of speakers, in addition to a number of folks leading prayer, plus some time for praise and worship music. … Whether the governor will speak has not yet been decided at this point.” Seems like this could be another example of Perry trying to tone down the religious rhetoric and distance himself from the whackos who’ve endorsed the event.

2. Texas transgender widow Nikki Araguz has appealed a district judge’s ruling denying her death benefits to the 13th Circuit Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi. Araguz also announced that if she wins the case, she’ll deposit the death benefits into a trust fund for her deceased husband’s two children. “I am pursuing this appeal to defend my marriage, not to obtain any financial benefit,” said Araguz. Read the full press release here.

3. A group led by anti-gay El Paso pastor Tom Brown this week filed notice of its intent to recall the mayor and two council members after they voted to reinstate domestic partner benefits for city employees. The group now has 60 days to collect enough signatures — 6,100 for the mayor and 650 each for the two council members — to trigger a recall election. If they are succesful, the recall election would cost the city $150,000, in addition to the cost of holding another election to replace the three if they are recalled.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Senate DOMA hearing; Gov. Perry’s Religious Right trifecta; NY marriage

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has been named a chairman of Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 day of prayer.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning will conduct the first-ever hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. The DOMA repeal legislation was endorsed Tuesday by President Barack Obama. Today’s historic hearing begins at 9 a.m. Central time. You can watch live on the committee’s website by going here.

2. We’ve long known that Gov. Rick Perry’s Aug. 6 Day of Prayer is being funded by the American Family Association, but now it looks like Perry has achieved the trifecta of Religious Right involvement. The AFA announced Tuesday that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America have been named co-chairmen of the event. From Right Wing Watch: “Even though Perry and the AFA are adamant that the prayer rally is apolitical, the fact that leaders of three of the most prominent Religious Right political groups in the country are hosting the event along side a potential presidential candidate makes us think otherwise.”

3. Fearing overwhelming demand this coming Sunday — the first day same-sex couples can marry — New York City officials have announced a lottery system that will guarantee 764 couples access to one of the city’s five clerks offices.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Gov. Rick Perry tries to distance himself from wingnut day of prayer partners

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Texas Gov. Rick Perry — perhaps fearing they could hurt him in the presidential election — appears to be trying to distance himself from the extreme views of groups and individuals with whom he’s partnering with for The Response, his day of prayer and fasting on Aug. 6 in Houston. “I’m sure that through my elections in the past that there have been some groups that have endorsed me publicly, that I appreciate their endorsements, but their endorsements of me doesn’t mean I endorse what they believe in or what they say,” Perry said Monday, according to The Dallas Morning News. “I appreciate anyone that’s going to endorse me, whether it’s on The Response or whether it’s on a potential run for the presidency of the United States. Just because you endorse me doesn’t mean I endorse everything that you say or do.” Sorry, governor, but nice try. Being endorsed by someone in a political race is a little different from partnering with them and selecting them to foot the bill for an event like this.

2. The U.S. Senate for the first time ever on Monday confirmed an openly gay man to serve as a federal district judge, The Washington Blade reports. J. Paul Oetken, nominated by President Barack Obama in January, was confirmed to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by a vote of 80-13 (Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was among those who voted against Oetken’s confirmation). Oetken is not the first openly LGBT person to be confirmed as a federal district judge, as this distinction belongs to U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts, an out lesbian appointed by President Bill Clinton. And of course he’s not the first non-openly gay man, as we’ve had Judge Vaughn Walker and undoubtedly others. But Oetken’s confirmation is still a pretty big deal: “It wasn’t even two decades ago that openly LGBT people had a hard time even being considered for a presidential appointment, and some who got nominated faced fierce opposition in the Senate,” said Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. “Today, more than 200 LGBT Americans have been appointed by President Obama, and more than 25 of those were nominated for Senate-confirmable positions.”

3. Towleroad has posted bios of those scheduled to testify during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing Wednesay on repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. The lack of diversity among witnesses has drawn criticism from the likes of Lt. Dan Choi and prompted an online petition calling for the Human Rights Campaign to “Wake up from white privilege and diversify!” But The Washington Blade reports that witnesses were actually selected by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in consultation with outside groups, and Immigration Equality, a group focused on DOMA-related immigration issues, isn’t concerned about the absence of binational same-sex couples from the witness list.

—  John Wright

Members of FW church heading to Houston to protest outside Perry’s prayer meeting

Fort Worth First Congregational Church, UCC

Another North Texas group has announced plans to travel to Houston next month to protest outside Gov. Rick Perry’s day-long prayerfest, and this time it’s a (not gay) church.

Members of Fort Worth First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ held a congregational meeting Sunday, July 10, and voted unanimously to endorse congregants’ plans to travel to Houston on Aug. 6 to protest outside Reliant Stadium where Perry and company will be holding “The Response.” Some 15 to 20 people from FW First Congregational Church are expected to go to Houston to protest, according to a press release from the church, along with “others from Christian churches throughout Texas.”

The press release says protesters will gather outside the stadium gates while folks are arriving for the prayer meeting, expressing their feelings about the event through posters, fliers and “silent witness.”

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last two months or so, you already know that Texas’ governor is teaming up with the decidedly anti-gay American Family Association, a right-wing conservative Christian organization that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to present “The Response.” The purpose, Perry says, is to pray for our nation in crisis. (Others have suggested that perhaps it’s just a play for publicity as Perry gets ready to kick off his 2012 presidential bid.)

The folks at FW First Congregational are like most people speaking out against the event: They have no issue with the idea of holding a prayer meeting. What bothers them is that the governor is teaming up with the American Family Association to do so, especially since AFA is footing the bill for the prayer party.

“We certainly respect the governor’s call to pray and fast for the welfare of our country, but we strongly object to doing that in collusion with a group that engages in hate speech and, therefore, misrepresents the gospel,” said FWCC deacon and protest organizer Marvin Vann.

—  admin

Trans activist Kelli Busey on Forward Blitz Radio tonight to talk about Perry’s ‘Response’

Kelli Busey

Local trans activist Kelli Busey is among those who are stepping up to respond to Gov. Rick Perry’s “The Response,” the day-long prayer meeting and fast Perry has scheduled for Aug. 6 in Houston. And Busey is taking to the Internet radio talk show Forward Blitz tonight to talk about Perry’s event, the people and organizations (like the anti-gay American Family Association) with whom he is partnering to present the event, what it means to the LGBT community, and how the community can respond.

From a posting about “The Response”on Busey’s blog, Dallas Transgender Advocates and Allies: “Now, we don’t care that a bunch of fundamentalists are getting together to pray for the country. That’s the freedom that makes us unique. What we DO care about is the fact that he has teamed up with the American Family Association and a bunch of bigoted hateful people who are anti-gay and anti-every other religion.”

She also includes this passage from an AFA email that, Busey points out, explicitly dis-invites everyone but Christians: “This is an explicitly Christian event because we are going to be praying to the one true God through His son, Jesus Christ. It would be idolatry of the worst sort for Christians to gather and invite false gods like Allah and Buddha and their false prophets to be with us at that time. Because we have religious liberty in this country, they are free to have events and pray to Buddha and Allah on their own. But this is time of prayer to the One True God, through His son Jesus Christ, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.”

Busey will be on Forward Blitz Blog Talk Radio tonight from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Listen here. You can call 424-675-8317 to join the conversation.

Busey has also pledged to organize a protest over The Response, although I haven’t seen any details on that yet.

—  admin

Gov. Perry may be the answer to some people’s prayers, but will it earn him a gay glitter-bomb?

Tom Schlueter (via Twitter)

Right Wing Watch reports that one of the groups that’s endorsed Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer believes Perry is actually an answer to its prayers. In an article defending the event funded by the American Family Association, an anti-gay hate group, the AFA’s own OneNewsNow quotes Tom Schlueter of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network:

“One of the things that we have been asking the Lord for many, many years has been a time when one of our political leaders will rise up and make this kind of a call to the state or to the nation,” Schlueter told OneNewsNow.

Right Wing Watch goes on to note that Schlueter, pastor of Prince of Peace Church in Arlington, once tied Hurricane Rita to the vote on Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. So you can add Schlueter to the long list of whackos who’ve endorsed Perry’s Day of Prayer. But here’s our question: Will Perry’s love for anti-gay bigots be enough to earn him a glitter-bomb?

In case you missed it, GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann became the latest victim of a gay-rights glitter-bomb at a right-wing convention in Minneapolis on Saturday. Bachmann joins Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty among members of the Republican presidential clown car who’ve fallen victim to the latest fad in activism. And although Perry hasn’t officially declared that he’s running for president, Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV raises the possibility that Perry could be next.

There’s been quite a bit of debate about the effectiveness of these glitter bombs — which are now apparently being coordinated by “glitteratti” from GetEQUAL — in advancing LGBT equality. We won’t wade into that debate here, but if someone does decide to glitter-bomb Perry, we just hope they do a better job than they did on Bachmann in the video below.

—  John Wright

Truth Wins Out, GetEQUAL Texas join list of LGBT groups condemning Perry’s Day of Prayer

Wayne Besen

Truth Wins Out, which fights anti-gay religious extremism, has joined the list of LGBT groups — which already includes the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Texas, the Houston GLBT Poltiical Caucus and National Stonewall Democrats  — that have issued statements condemning Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer funded by the American Family Association.

“This opportunistic and divisive publicity stunt unwisely marries politics and fundamentalism at the expense of our nation’s unity,”  Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen said in a press release today. “This offensive event should be immediately canceled. If not, we will consider organizing a counter action to mobilize the masses who believe in a free and diverse nation that celebrates pluralism.

“It is time the Republican Party is held accountable for its partnership with one of the most insidious groups in America,” Besen added. “The American Family Association’s inflammatory rhetoric is dangerous, and it is unconscionable that Perry and the GOP are embracing such a fringe organization. Is this what the modern GOP stands for?”

GetEQUAL Texas has launched a petition calling on Perry to exclude the AFA and other anti-gay hate groups from the Day of Prayer. Sign the petition by going here.

“Having the AFA host this event only tells LGBT persons of faith that they are not welcome at this event which is in direct conflict of our Governor’s duty to represent all Texans,” GetEQUAL Texas states. “By signing this petition, we are demanding that Governor Rick Perry do his duty by excluding the AFA and any other hate group from this event as these groups go against the very fiber of the American spirit and Texas values.”

TWO’s full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Gov. Perry’s Day of Prayer linked to Uganda bill calling for execution of gays

(From “Protest of Rick Perry’s Prayer Event” on Facebook.)

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Human Rights Campaign is calling on members to write letters to their governors asking them to decline Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s invitation to a Day of Prayer at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Aug. 6. The Day of Prayer, dubbed “The Response,” is being bankrolled by the American Family Association, designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, HRC notes that David Lane, who’s listed as fundraising director for the Response, played a major role in last year’s recall of three Iowa state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of major equality. HRC also says the Day of Prayer involves leaders associated with the International House of Prayer and Lou Engle’s TheCall, which “played an active role in supporting anti-gay sentiment in Uganda, where legislation under potential consideration would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death in some circumstances.” HRC’s full press release from Wednesday afternoon is after the jump. To take action, go here.

2. Also issuing a statement Wednesday about Gov. Perry’s Day of Prayer was Michael Mitchell, executive director of National Stonewall Democrats: “If there is a worse partner than the American Family Association for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s day of prayer event, I certainly can’t think of one,” Mitchell said. “As a certified hate group hell-bent on rolling back every bit of progress lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have made, this is certainly not going to be an uplifting event for LGBT Texans, especially those of faith. Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations seem to be getting the best of him. Rather than organize an event worthy of all Texans, he has chosen to ally himself with the deep pockets of the AFA. Let’s hope the 49 other governors he has invited turn down their invitations. We would urge all Texans who care about the rights of LGBT people to steer clear of this event.”

3. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, acknowledged in an interview with the Houston Chronicle that one of the purposes of the Response is to pray for an end to the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in American society:

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, rejected the label of “hate group” and characterized his organization’s position on homosexuality as representative “of a lot of people who have traditional values.”

“They want somebody to speak for them,” he said. “We try to do that. We are reaching the Christian community with the truth about what is going on in our country.”

He acknowledged that a stated purpose of the August prayer event initiated by Perry – to pray for an end to the “debasement of our culture” – refers to the increasing acceptance of homosexuality by American society.

—  John Wright