January 13, 2014
January 04, 2014
December 30, 2013
Not sure if it is 'hillbilly chic' and it makes liberals want give to the clench fist on behalf of the perceived 'working class' or if liberal are embracing the 'freedom of speech' mantra without really thinking it through..
What I do know when Paula Deen got hit hard for her totally inappropriate remarks and none of these liberals who are preaching to me about 'freedom of speech' spoke up for her right to speech.
Deen was kicked off the entire Food Network without a peek coming from those advocating Phil Robertson's freedom of speech The silence was deafening. By the way, she is still on the outside and blacklisted.
However, with good old fashion bigot Phil Robertson, progressives are defending him with a passion. Over the last weeks, I have had a number of entertainment industry people insist to me that this was a freedom of speech issue. Really? Do they really believe this stuff should be validated by the entertainment industry? Really?
While Robertson has said some anti-African American statements and advocated sex with underage girls so you can train them early, let's face the truth of the matter. There are simply two points that really count.
1. Homophobia is still acceptable if the dollars are right in the entertainment industry.
2. The reason he is back on the air is because of those dollars.
Never mind that tens of thousands of our young gay children will be watching the show and be devastated by the comments. In addition, they will see that there are absolutely no consequences to his comments.
In fact, A & E is on the verge of creating a monster that will come back and bite them in the ass. This man is going to feel like he is the new messiah of hate and far from backing down we will soon hear eeven worse statements from his mouth.
Ever time a person like that whips up the masses with his unquestionable hatred, others feel they have permission to beat up LGBT Americans or even shoot them. Hell, if Phil Robertson with his craziness, guns and homophobia is praised and protected then it must be right.
These reality shows were originally created to break the Writer's strike in Hollywood. The original participants in these shows were scabs. They are shows are cheap to produce and they became extremely popular with the masses. The very concept of these reality shows is that they are really not confined to the 'screen' and that characters act out in public their television personas. It is impossible to define when the show begins and when their personal lives take over.
No one has taken Phil Robertson's Freedom of Speech away. He is able to go any place in this country and spew his hatred. Even Fox News can highlight him since that is a place of opinion. However, no where in the Constitutional does the concept of Freedom of Speech guarantee a television show or a job.
If I was working for a company and said outside the work place that the boss was a pig and that the executives were all money grabbing whores, no one would yell free speech and demand that I shouldn't be fired. Nope. They were just say I was one 'stupid f**k and should have known better.
The same can be said of Phil Robertson. This wasn't free speech. This was harmful and hateful speech that will hurt a lot of people.
Shame on A & E, shame on any who support Phil Robertson and shame on any community organization that thinks progress has been made in this despicable episode of hate.
December 26, 2013
That time of year has arrived for some personal lists and I am not immune from creating them! In fact, I love reviewing the year and measuring our enormous progress as a community.
1. The Supreme Court DOMA Decision
Without question one of the most historical moment in the history of the American LGBT community. Because of this decision, we have seen cases being filed all over America. Even more amazingly the courts are becoming activists in granting LGBT Americans their Constitutional Rights. No were is that more clear then the recent decision legalizing marriage in the state of Utah.
Also this case sealed Edie Windsor as the Rosa Parks in LGBT history and as "Person of the Year'. We could not have asked for a better person to file the DOMA case.
2. The Supreme Court Proposition 8 Decision
Another powerful decision from the United State Supreme Court which granted marriage equality to the largest state in America. Californians flocked to get married. While we wish it could be broader, coupled with the DOMA decision it changed LGBT history.
3. Russian Oppression of Their LGBT Citizens
The persecution of Russian LGBT citizens by both the government and Putin's Punks brought the plight of LGBT citizens around the round to the attention of the media, activists and governments.
4. Severe Penalties Being Passed Against LGBT Africans
The horror facing LGBT Africans is among the worse in the world. While not getting the attention of what is happening in Russia, the passage of severe laws against homosexuality is appalling. Uganda has just passed life imprisonment. Africa's largest country Nigeria also has passed outrageous laws against their LGBT citizens.
5. Marriage Equality Passes in More States
Marriage Equality swept the nation this year and we saw Minnesota, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, New Mexico and now Utah all become marriage equality states.
6. Pope Francis Shifts From Social Issues
The impact Pope Francis shifting from social issues to economic issues can't be underestimated. His famous "Who am I to judge" statement was the beginning of the end of the persecution of LGBT citizens by the Catholic Church. We all have to pray for a long life for this Pope so his policies have time to take hold in the church and he is able to appoint lots of new Cardinals.
7. Prime Ministers Picked in Belgium and Luxembourg
Prime Minister Bettei with Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri
At one time to have an LGBT mayor was considered historical but now we have two Prime Ministers in Europe who are open. Iceland led the way but now it is simply no big deal.
8. Mayor Races Across The Country
Politically it was the race for Mayors that attracted the LGBT community's attention this year. We were successful in picking up a mayor in Seattle, re-electing one in Houston and being disappointed in New York.
9. President Obama Continued Advocacy and Appointments
The President has been relentless in advocating for freedom and justice for LGBT citizens not just in America but around the world. His appointments continue to amaze although we still are looking for that first LGBT Cabinet member! Nevertheless, appointments of Ambassadors to top tier nations like Australia, Denmark, Spain and the Dominican Republic is a real victory.
10. The Embrace Of The Democratic Party
LGBT Americans have been fully embraced by the Democratic Party especially after the DOMA decision. Only three Democratic United States Senators do not support marriage equality, the entire leadership of the Party is for it and the Democratic ticket in Virginia ran on it and defeated a hard line anti-LGBT ticket! Times have changed!
Runner-Up (Emerging Big Story for 2014): The Emergence Of LGBT Athletics and Allies
All over the sports worlds we have seen athletes come out of the closet. This was the year of Jason Collins and so many others. We still have yet to see an active player in football, basketball and baseball play in a game doing the regular season. Count on 2014 delivering on that milestone!
December 20, 2013
A brand new poll out today gives Ohio marriage equality advocates great hope of winning a potential ballot measure. As long as the voters realized that religious institutions are exempted, they overwhelmingly support marriage equality by 56% to 34%!
Ohio voted in 2004 for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality by 62%. This is almost a complete turn around on the issue in just less than a decade!
BuzzFeed.com in an article by Chris Geidner reports:
Ian James, through his organization, Freedom to Marry Ohio, is releasing polling today that shows the 62-38 passage of the amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying has nearly reversed in the past nine years.
The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling of 1,011 Ohio voters from Dec. 6-8, 2013, concluded that 52% of voters would vote in favor of an amendment that “would allow two consenting adults to be married, so long as they are not nearer of kin than second cousins, are not currently married to someone, and no religious institutions will be required to perform or recognize a marriage.” Thirty-eight percent would oppose the amendment, and nine percent were undecided.
Of the 38% who would vote against the amendment, however, PPP asked a follow-up question: “This constitutional amendment protects religious liberties by allowing any house of worship, such as a church or synagogue, to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. Knowing this, if the election were held today, would you vote in favor of this amendment to the Ohio Constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, or would you vote against it?”
More than 10% of those initially against the amendment said that information would change their vote to supporting the amendment, which brought the total support up to 56%. Five percent of those initially against the amendment moved into the undecided camp, bringing the total undecided to 10%. Eighty-four percent of those opposed did not change their position with that information, bringing the total opposition down to 34%.
Uganda and Nigeria Parliaments have passed new horribly anti-LGBT legislation. While the world is focused on Russia, the two nations have stepped up their campaign to imprison not only homosexuals but anyone who supports them.
In Uganda, while the death penalty has been removed from the new law, it requires life imprisonment for homosexuals who are 'repeat offenders'. The law also requires prison time for anyone supporting or advocating homosexuality in the nation.
In Nigeria, the legislation is waiting the signature of President Goodluck Jonathan.
As written it would sentence LGBT Africans to ten years in prison for just 'public displays' of affection. The legislation also outlaws any groups supporting rights for LGBT Africans and bans marriage equality. Anyone who attempts a same sex marriage would receive up to 14 years in prison and those who support such an attempt would be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
While Russia is important, these new laws make the Russians look like progressives.
A&E has joined the crowd in making money off people behaving badly. One network after another has given us these outrageous reality shows where people become famous by inappropriate behavior. So surely A&E couldn't be surprised that lead Duck Phil Robertson has gone on a anti-LGBT rant. Also lets us not forget his racism in the same article.
The situation with television is that it is increasingly impossible not to find some reality show on a dysfunctional family or stars doing their best to grasp there 15 minutes of fame by being more disgusting than any other of the cast members.
Now with the Ducks, we have a person who actively practices hate speech. Lets be clear about the remarks of Phil Robertson. It is indeed hate speech.
Mail Online has uncovered yet one more video (see it below) of his hateful conduct.
Astonishing video has emerged in which Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson attacks gay people as 'ruthless' and 'full of murder' - charging them as 'arrogant' and liable to 'invent ways of doing evil'.
Administering his deeply controversial views in the fervent manner of a preacher, the stark footage of Robertson, 67, sees him equate homosexuality with bestiality as he bellows that 'they bow down to birds animals and reptiles and each other and the first thing you see coming out of them is gross sexual immorality.'
Hectoring the friendly crowd of the Wild Game Supper at the Berean Bible Church in Pennslyvania, Robertson accuses gay people of dishonoring and degrading behavior asking the rhetorical question 'is this going on in America right now?'- answering with the statement, 'Look around...boy, is there some immorality going on around here!'
Does taking him off the show silence his ability to free speech?
Nope, it most certainly does not.
He is still allowed to go anywhere in the country and be this week's hero to those who hate gays, spout off his twisted beliefs and practice his religion. Hell, he can do it everyday of his life. No right to free speech has been taken from him. Robertson is a free man and most certainly has a right to his views.
However, television should be a hate free zone.
When a person engages in such obvious hate speech it is the obligation of the networks to ensure they are not giving this person a platform to lean credibility to his hateful words.
Millions of people including children think the Ducks are cute and funny. That is not for me to decide. What should not be the case is that the children watching the show think that someone can be so hateful and find public acceptance on our airwaves.
Finally, use my favorite test. If he had attacked Jewish Americans or African Americans in the same way, do you think we would be even having this debate?
Robertson does not belong on the air by a respectable network as a star with credibility. He is a hateful man.
December 18, 2013
History can be so daunting at times. For example, the historic dislike of Russia by right-wing conservatives is being wiped out by Putin's hatred for LGBT citizens. Loving the suppression of Russian LGBT citizens even former Russia hater Pat Buchanan is lining up with other religious right wingers to sing the Russian leaders praises.
In Townhall.com, Buchanan calls the Russian leader as 'one of us'. He writes:
Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?
In the culture war for mankind's future, is he one of us?
While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president's state of the nation address.
With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, "In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered."
"They're now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil."
Translation: While privacy and freedom of thought, religion and speech are cherished rights, to equate traditional marriage and same-sex marriage is to equate good with evil.
No moral confusion here, this is moral clarity, agree or disagree.
President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire "the focus of evil in the modern world." President Putin is implying that Barack Obama's America may deserve the title in the 21st century.
Nor is he without an argument when we reflect on America's embrace of abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values.
Our grandparents would not recognize the America in which we live.
Moreover, Putin asserts, the new immorality has been imposed undemocratically.
The "destruction of traditional values" in these countries, he said, comes "from the top" and is "inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people."
Does he not have a point?
Unelected justices declared abortion and homosexual acts to be constitutionally protected rights. Judges have been the driving force behind the imposition of same-sex marriage. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.
America was de-Christianized in the second half of the 20th century by court orders, over the vehement objections of a huge majority of a country that was overwhelmingly Christian.
And same-sex marriage is indeed an "abstract" idea unrooted in the history or tradition of the West. Where did it come from?
Peoples all over the world, claims Putin, are supporting Russia's "defense of traditional values" against a "so-called tolerance" that is "genderless and infertile."
While his stance as a defender of traditional values has drawn the mockery of Western media and cultural elites, Putin is not wrong in saying that he can speak for much of mankind.
Same-sex marriage is supported by America's young, but most states still resist it, with black pastors visible in the vanguard of the counterrevolution. In France, a million people took to the streets of Paris to denounce the Socialists' imposition of homosexual marriage.
Only 15 nations out of more than 190 have recognized it.
In India, the world's largest democracy, the Supreme Court has struck down a lower court ruling that made same-sex marriage a right. And the parliament in this socially conservative nation of more than a billion people is unlikely soon to reverse the high court.
In the four dozen nations that are predominantly Muslim, which make up a fourth of the U.N. General Assembly and a fifth of mankind, same-sex marriage is not even on the table. And Pope Francis has reaffirmed Catholic doctrine on the issue for over a billion Catholics.
While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm.
As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.
And though America's elite may be found at the epicenter of anti-conservatism and anti-traditionalism, the American people have never been more alienated or more divided culturally, socially and morally.
We are two countries now.
Putin says his mother had him secretly baptized as a baby and professes to be a Christian. And what he is talking about here is ambitious, even audacious.
He is seeking to redefine the "Us vs. Them" world conflict of the future as one in which conservatives, traditionalists and nationalists of all continents and countries stand up against the cultural and ideological imperialism of what he sees as a decadent west.
"We do not infringe on anyone's interests," said Putin, "or try to teach anyone how to live." The adversary he has identified is not the America we grew up in, but the America we live in, which Putin sees as pagan and wildly progressive.
Without naming any country, Putin attacked "attempts to enforce more progressive development models" on other nations, which have led to "decline, barbarity and big blood," a straight shot at the U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt.
In his speech, Putin cited Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev whom Solzhenitsyn had hailed for his courage in defying his Bolshevik inquisitors. Though no household word, Berdyaev is favorably known at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.
Which raises this question: Who is writing Putin's stuff?
December 14, 2013
The 2013 list of the worst homophobes of the year has been released by The Advocate. This year they got it all right. There is no question that President Putin and the Putin Punks deserve the award.
Here is a sampling of the list and you can see the entire list by clicking here.
PHOBIE OF THE YEAR: VLADIMIR PUTIN
To hold the president or Russia responsible for every antigay moment within his country's border might be unfair. But it's far less offensive than what's happening to LGBT Russians.
A Neo-Nazi group is posting video of gay men it captures and then tortures with humiliating and often violent means. Someone threw poison gas into a gay nightclub in Moscow in November, and that was the second time it had been attacked in a week. The first time men showed up with guns and shot at the front door indiscriminately.
Meanwhile, Putin is touting his Olympic games in Sochi, suggesting that maybe the series of antigay laws he signed won't be enforced. In 2013, Putin signed a law banning any foreigner from adopting a Russian child if they come from a country supportive of marriage equality. Now the standard is so strict that Russia's Children Rights Commissioner says only Italy is narrow-minded enough to meet the qualifications. And Putin famously signed the so-called "gay propaganda" ban this year. It's a law so vague that Olympians could be fined or jailed for kissing their partners. Putin told the International Olympic Committee that he will do "everything" to ensure guests are "comfortable" in Sochi. But he's also banned any protest of any kind there while the games go on. And photos of those daring to protest the law already show vicious beatings as a result. This is the sort of thing that Pride parades were invented to combat. But we're now one year into a 100-year ban of those in Moscow thanks to a law passed in 2012.
To be named Phobie of the Year seems like a slap on the wrist compared to what LGBT activists in the United States are actually worried about. When activist and Broadway producer Harvey Fierstein wrote his op-ed in the New York Times that drew so much attention from the mainstream to this problem, he invoked the specter of the 1936 Olympic games. "In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler's campaign against the Jews," he wrote. "Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance." What an ominous games 2014 may be. While the Olympic charter claims to promote "human dignity," and the event will draw the world's attention in February, the Russian parliament is on the verge of considering yet another law. This one would order children with gay or lesbian parents to be taken from their homes. That's because in twisted Russia it's LGBT people who are considered a danger, and not their government.
Additional Phobie Award Winners Include:
PHOBIE AWARD: SEN. MARCO RUBIO
This Republican golden boy helped broker a deal in the Senate on comprehensive immigration reform while simultaneously threatening to toss out his signature piece of legislation if Democrats added help for same-sex couples who were being split up by outdated immigration rules. "If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill, he said on conservative radio in June. "I'm gone, I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly."
PHOBIE AWARD: ANTONIN SCALIA
Justice Antonin Scalia has recently taken his homophobia on a speaking tour, arguing regularly that judges shouldn't make decisions on what he sees as moral issues, not constitutional ones. For his part, Scalia claimed repeatedly this year that "I haven't expressed my view about gay marriage." That seemed odd given his snarky dissent in the Supreme Court's landmark Defense of Marriage Act case, Windsor v. U.S. "As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms," he wrote, referring to his epic dissent in 2003's Lawrence v. Texas.
PHOBIE AWARD: THE GOP'S VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL TICKET
PHOBIE AWARD: DICTATOR ROBERT MUGABE
This isn't the president of Zimbabwe's first appearance on our list of homophobes. He actually made "The 45 Biggest Homophobes of Our 45 Years" list back in 2012. Mugabe's done everything from calling gays worse than pigs and dogs in 1995 to locking up a member of parliament in 2011 for publicly suggesting the aging dictator might be gay himself.
PHOBIE AWARD: TIMOTHY DOLAN
The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t have antigay doctrine; it just has a public relations problem, says the archbishop of New York, leader of one of the largest Catholic archdioceses in the nation. “I think maybe we’ve been out-marketed sometimes,” he said on Meet the Press recently. “We’ve been caricatured as being antigay.” Oh, never mind that Dolan was a prominent opponent of New York State’s marriage equality law, and that he thinks “redefinition” of marriage is akin to totalitarianism and will lead us on the slippery slope to polygamy.
PHOBIE AWARD: PAT ROBERTSON
If we gave out an award for the single worst thing anyone said all year, Pat Robertson would get that award. But it would be hard to pick which of his comments was 2013's most offensive. There was his conspiracy theory in August about gay death rings. Basically, Robertson suggested that men in San Francisco wear very sharp rings that could cut you during a handshake and spread HIV.
PHOBIE AWARD: LOUIE GOHMERT
Gohmert is a prime contender for the title of most homophobic member of Congress, and the Texas Republican is certainly one of the most outrageous and illogical. In his antigay rants this year, he hit the usual notes of linking marriage equality to bestiality and polygamy, gay Boy Scouts to pedophilia, and hate-crimes laws to the end of religious freedom.
December 12, 2013
While continuing to make progress in America, the international news for LGBT citizens continues to be disturbing. Two major 'high court' decisions this week made second class citizens of LGBT people in both India and Australia. Both should serve as a reminder to LGBT Americans that we are one court decision away from our rights being taken away.
In India, the high court actually made gay sex illegal. This wasn't just a marriage equality decision but a ruling by the highest court in India that its LGBT citizens are illegal and are breaking the law when they make love. Literally millions of Indian citizens were impacted by this ruling and the nation basically set up a system of apartheid for our community. The decision could not be more disturbing or dangerous.
Knowing personally Australians you keep thinking that the nation is progressive just because of their outgoing, fun-loving nature. Well, the high court in Australia overturned marriage equality in the land of Oz. Those couples that had been married in areas where it was legal saw their marriages thrown out by the court. In just one swift decision, the marriages were ruled invalid.
The message for LGBT Americans is loud and clear.
First, for those of you who think we are out of danger here in America, think again. Our job is not done. We are still facing a sharply divided Supreme Court that could turn on us with just one vote switching. Second, our oppressors are committed to seeing our rights taken away and have not stopped. Clearly we have had impressive victories but we are still vulnerable and have a long way to go.
Second, the situation internationally continues to get worse. The Sochi Olympics is a good place to focus the plight of Russian LGBT citizens but in many nations the situation is much worse. Even in Australia and India they took our rights away in a blink of an eye.
Celebrate our victories here at home but don't let your guard down or our enemies will seize that moment and LGBT Americans will end up fighting to regain lost ground. As for our brothers and sisters in India, they must know we are with them in the struggle and Americans will not rest until all LGBT global citizens are safe.