Saturday, June 02, 2012

Is Mitt Romney’s Mormonism Fair Game?

My answer to the Caption of this post is a resounding YES!  Romney has prostituted himself to the ugliest elements of the Christianist right and signed NOM's declaration of war of the rights to religious freedom of LGBT Americans and Americans who support marriage equality and to denominations like the the Conservative branch of American Judaism who have come out in support of religious same sex marriage.  And lets not forget Romney's under the table $10,000 contribution in support of Proposition 8.  Once you open the door to bringing religion into the civil laws as Romney has and is continuing seeking to do, then it is ALL on the table and open game for discussion and, if appropriate, condemnation.  And that doesn't mean that critics are necessarily anti-Mormon.  I only means that references to personal religious belief open the flood gate if those personal religious beliefs are detrimental to the civil rights of other citizens.  A column in the Washington Post looks at Romney's disingenuous attempt to pander to religion, but demand that the scope of the discussion be limited to his terms.  (Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, I grew up through high school in upstate New York not too far from where Joesph Smith purported to find the "golden tablets" and it is noteworthy that most locals still think that Smith was an utter nutcase).   Here are highlights:

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has developed a simple method to determine whether coverage of the candidate’s Mormonism has crossed a line.  “Our test to see if a similar story would be written about others’ religion is to substitute ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish,’ ” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in objection to a Washington Post article last fall about the candidate’s role as a church leader in Boston.

She pointed out a passage that explained a central tenet of Mormonism. It described the belief that Christ’s true church was restored after centuries of apostasy when the 19th-century prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates that he discovered in Upstate New York.
“Would you write this sentence in describing the Jewish faith?” Saul asked in a November e-mail, adding: “ ‘Jews believe their prophet Moses was delivered tablets on a mountain top directly from G-d after he appeared to him in a burning bush.’ Of course not, yet you reference a similar story in Mormonism.”
Jodi Kantor reported in the New York Times that Romney’s aides often ask reporters, “Would you have written this about a Jewish candidate?” The guilt trip may be motivated by political calculation, sincere concern about religious bigotry for a faith that has suffered its fair share or some combination of the two. Regardless of its impetus, the campaign’s response gets at a crucial challenge for the news media: to educate the public about an unfamiliar faith unusually central to a candidate’s formation without treating Mormonism as biographical exotica that could fuel prejudices.

Now that Romney has secured the necessary delegates to become the Republican nominee, that challenge is front and center. Obama strategist David Axelrod has suggested that Mormonism is off limits as political ammunition. Yet news outlets delve into Mormon apocrypha, and comedian and Democratic super PAC donor Bill Maher launches salvo after salvo against Romney’s faith.

Romney clearly prefers to talk about his religion on his own terms.  At an event in Wisconsin in April, a man began asking the candidate about some of the more controversial aspects of Mormonism, including its past ban on blacks in the priesthood.  “I’m sorry, we’re just not going to have a discussion about religion in my view, but if you have a question, I’ll be happy to answer your question,” Romney said.

Romney has declined to clarify whether he believed that the ban — which was still in effect as he entered the local church hierarchy in Boston — was divine doctrine or flawed teaching. He has refused to comment on the policy beyond expressing relief that it was lifted. 

But Romney has also demonstrated an aversion to talking about subjects most Mormons proudly discuss, including the religion’s founding story.  “Without the Joseph Smith story, you don’t have a Mormonism,” said Patrick Mason, a professor of Mormon studies and an expert on anti-Mormonism at Claremont Graduate University. “And there is no way, especially given Romney’s church positions, all that I can collect, that he is personally embarrassed by that story. I think what is going on is a political move.”
Mormonism does not enjoy the authenticating quality of antiquity. Because it came of age in a modern time, its theology and saintly visitations can strike people as stranger than those of older religions shrouded by centuries.   As for Romney, church officials said it is up to the candidate how much he divulges about his beliefs and his role within the church. “But it is a matter of public record that he served as a Mormon bishop and a stake president . . . .

Asked whether it was inappropriate to discuss Joseph Smith and the core beliefs of Mormonism in connection with Romney’s time as a leader in the church, Otterson [LDS head of worldwide public affairs]said: “We’re very excited about Joseph Smith; it is absolutely core to us. But how to do that in the context of this kind of reporting? . . . It would just seem to me that you would want to run a sidebar.”

[M]any Mormons are wary about the assault the religion might come under from the secular left. Maher, the HBO comedian — who has given $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC — has reinforced that fear by repeatedly calling Mormonism a “cult.”  It is understandable that the Romney campaign would be sensitive to such criticism. But its guard is likewise up against biographical descriptions of the candidate’s life in the church.

Frankly, in my opinion we need to get religion 100% out of politics and certainly out of impacting the civil rights of citizens.  At the same time, all Americans need to remember how Smith is remembered in upstate New York. Wikipedia has this excerpt on how Smith was viewed in upstate New York:

Smith continued traveling to western New York and Pennsylvania as a treasure seeker and a farmhand. In 1826, he was brought before a court in Chenango County, New York, for "glass-looking," or pretending to find lost treasure.    .   .   .   .  Smith had left his treasure hunting company, his former associates believed he had double-crossed them by taking for himself what they considered joint property. They ransacked places where a competing treasure-seer said the plates were hidden, the occurrence of which caused Smith to claim he could not accomplish the translation in Palmyra.

If Romeny wants to talk religion and pander to Chritianist extremists, then EVERYTHING is on the table about his Mormon religion is on the table for open discussion - including its founder who was viewed as a fraud and fortune hunter in upstate New York..

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

13 Year Old U.S. Olympic Team Diver Has Gay Dads

This is a sweet and amazing store.  Which, of course means that the Christofascists will be having fits and convulsions that a boy with two gay dads is thriving and well adjusted - contrary to the lies and untruths they regularly disseminate about gays as parents.  Adding to their hysteria will be the fact that the boy, Jordan Windle (pictured above with his dads, will be the grand marshal for the Circle City IN Pride Parade.  As a gay dad myself, I believe gays make exceptional parents and if their is any downside it stems from the lies, hate and bigotry that our children see thrown at us and at them as the children of gays.  Here are some highlights from the Indianapolis Star:

Jordan Pisey Windle is used to being the center of attention.  He has been the focus of his father's life since the day in 2000 when Jerry Windle retrieved him from a Cambodian orphanage.  He has been turning heads for the past five years as a diving phenom, the youngest ever to qualify for the U.S. Olympic diving trials.
And all eyes will be on him June 9 when he serves as grand marshal for the Circle City IN Pride Parade, an annual celebration of Central Indiana's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The young athlete's decision to accept the parade invitation -- and the fact that he has two fathers -- is sure to raise eyebrows. But what other people think isn't of concern to the 13-year-old. He views the world so unself-consciously that when asked if he ever gets tired of people questioning him about his origins and his family, he simply shrugged. "I've never actually thought about it."

Jerry Windle was raised in a Pentecostal family and enrolled in the Navy straight out of high school in 1983. He completed officer candidate training and was awarded a full scholarship to Oregon State University, where he studied education. He served with distinction -- without revealing his sexual identity -- for 11 years, achieving the rank of lieutenant. He later worked for a pharmaceutical company and owned a medical consulting firm, but for all of his professional success, one aspiration was left unfilled: "I'd wanted to be a dad for as long as I could remember," Windle said.

Then one day in 2001, Windle was flipping through a magazine and came across an article about a man who adopted a boy from Cambodia. The story never mentioned an adoptive mother, so Windle called the magazine to confirm his suspicion that the man adopted as a single parent. "I said, 'So a single man can adopt in Cambodia?' and the magazine said, 'Yeah,' " Windle recalled. "So I filled out an application, and five months later I was on my way to Cambodia to get Jordan."

After second grade, Windle enrolled Jordan in a summer camp at the Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale. It was there he caught the eye of diving coach Tim O'Brien.

O'Brien's father, Ron, had coached four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, and he saw parallels between the two. Louganis saw not only Jordan's physical ability but also the emotional and intellectual makeup of a future champion. "For an 8-year-old, he asked very insightful questions," Louganis said.

Shortly thereafter, Jordan transferred from a public school in Fort Lauderdale to a private academy, Pine Crest, that boasts one of the top swimming and diving programs in the country. He worked with noted diving coach Janet Gabriel at Pine Crest, but she and Louganis encouraged the Windles to relocate to Indianapolis and set up camp at USA Diving's National Training Center. By this time, the family of two had expanded to include Andrés Rodriguez, a soft-spoken sports lover whom Jordan was taken with immediately.

If Jordan's journey continues as expected, don't be surprised to turn on the television during the Rio de Janeiro games and see a tear-jerking vignette about the diver's adoption, his two dads and his day at the front of the Pride parade. Just don't expect Jordan to understand what all the fuss is about.

Its a long article, so read the whole thing.

Anti-Gay Richard Land Reprimanded and Show Cancelled After Racist Remarks

My experience has been that when harbors hate and one is a bigot towards one group, it's likely that the individual also harbors similar feelings towards other minority groups.  Richard Land, laughably the chief ethics official of the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC"), is a case in point.  Land is viciously anti-gay and would appear to be a racist as well.  In the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin Land shot off his big mouth with vitriolic and inflammatory remarks attacking Barack Obama and supporting racial profiling of blacks.  Apparently, this was too much from a PR perspective even for the SBC which came into being when southern Baptist churches broke from the American Baptist Association so that they could continue to support slavery.  Land has reportedly been reprimanded and has had his hate spouting radio show cancelled.  What the SBC should have done was flat out fired Land and given him his walking papers.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch has details.  Here are highlights:

The Southern Baptist Convention's ethics chief was reprimanded today and his radio show canceled after he made inflammatory comments about the Trayvon Martin case.

Among other things, Richard Land accused President Barack Obama and other black leaders of shamefully exploiting Martin's death for political gain. He also said racial profiling was understandable given the crime statistics for black men.

Land’s comments upset many black Southern Baptist leaders, one of whom called for Land's resignation. The controversy got more intense when a blogger revealed that Land's commentary was copied nearly verbatim from an editorial in The Washington Times, although Land did not credit the newspaper on the air.  After an investigation, the trustees board of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission reprimanded Land for the comments and the plagiarism. Land, who is the commission's president, has previously apologized for both.

The commission takes public stands on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. In his position at the commission’s head for nearly 24 years, the outspoken Land has become the Southern Baptist Convention’s most visible spokesman.

But his comments on Martin came as the nation’s largest Protestant denomination is attempting to distance itself from a past that includes support for slavery and segregation. Faced with declining membership, the Nashville-based SBC is trying to broaden its appeal beyond its traditional white, Southern base - a goal that Land supports.

The board’s statement, which was released in the Baptist Press, calls Land’s comments about Martin "hurtful, irresponsible, insensitive, and racially charged."  .   .   .   . 
"We must now redouble our efforts to regain lost ground, to heal re-opened wounds, and to realize the dream of a Southern Baptist Convention that is just as diverse as the population of our great Nation."  The statement also reprimands Land for his unattributed use of The Washington Times editorial, saying he unwisely accepted practices that occur in the radio industry.

"Finally," the statement reads, "we have carefully considered the content and purpose of the Richard Land Live! broadcast. We find that they are not congruent with the mission of the ERLC."  On the call-in show, Land discusses the news of the day, including politics. The board says the show will be cancelled as soon as possible within the bounds of their contract with the Salem Radio Network.

Tornado Hits Hampton, Virginia

It was a crazy evening last night as a tornado touched down here in Hampton, Virginia.  The photo above is a shot taken from Chesapeake Avenue (our street) of the water spout/tornado headed across Hampton Roads harbor towards Hampton.  The twister came ashore further to the east on Chesapeake Avenue in the Merrimac Shores neighborhood and proceeded from there through the area of the Hampton Yacht Club where it did extensive damage and then through a residential area called Little England (named after a colonial era estate) which has some of the most beautiful old homes in the city and then into downtown wreaking havoc on the pirate themed weekend festival that had kicked off yesterday afternoon.

Our home and the boyfriend's salon in downtown Hampton came through unscathed (a friend drove by the salon to check it out and said other than some debris in the parking lot it was OK) but some friends (who texted us to say they were safe) who live in the Little England area probably were not so lucky.  The owner of the women's apparel and home furnishings store called "Cricket" that leases the first floor of the salon building reported that her home on Park Place in Little England had lots of large tree limbs down and that a boat of unknown origin was sitting in her front yard.  She said a neighbors Mercedes had a tree on it. Reports are that several homes have been condemned due to damage.  The photo below shows the storm approaching downtown with the Virginia Air and Space Museum in the center of the photo in front of the approaching funnel cloud.  Behind that are the Hampton Yacht Club where a number of friends keep their boats and the Little England neighborhood. 

The first video below shows some of the damage at the Yacht Club.  The second is filmed in front of our friend's home in Little England.  I will post more as additional information is available.

Friday, June 01, 2012

How Marriage Inequality Fans Bullying and Homophobia

I have long argued that the far right and the Christofascists in particular eagerly support laws that discriminate against LGBT citizens because such laws allow them to point to the laws as proof that their religious based hate and bigotry is mainstream and correct.  Hence the Christianist struggle against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and opposition by "godly Christians" to every law that would ban anti-gay discrimination in the work place, in housing and accommodations, etc.   The more the laws discriminate against gays, the happier the Christofascists will be.  This same phenomenon carries over into the struggle for same sex marriage.  While the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") disingenuously claims it is trying to "protect marriage" the fact that NOM and its allies are increasingly pushing the "ex-gay" myth and the fraudulent work of Paul Cameron, the more clear it becomes that the agenda is something else far beyond "protecting marriage."  It's about fanning homophobia and setting an atmosphere where anti-gay bullying is seen as perfectly proper.  After all, if the law deems gays as inferior, then bullies can feel justified in their abuse of LGBT individuals.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at how this legalized discrimination creates support for rampant homophobia and the deadly bullying that goes hand in hand with it.  Here are some highlights which seem equally applicable in America:

On May 17 we marked the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). It reminded me of the president of Ireland's recent address, speaking at a youth conference in March. President Higgins spoke of the "appalling, destructive reality of homophobia."

President Higgins went on to state, "The idea that any young person could be driven, not just to lower self-esteem, exclusion, isolation, loneliness, but self-destruction itself, is an appalling blight on a society." His words are chilling. His words are true. The president was deservedly commended for his condemnation of the harsh actuality we face as a society. But we're missing something.

Bullying comes about through a lack of empathy inside, displayed outwardly as intolerance. Anti-gay bullying and the denial of marriage equality are not mutually exclusive in that sense. People are bullied because they're perceived as different. We blame the bully, possibly the parents. We want to hold someone accountable. But we need to look at the wider picture. We need to consider the fact that the law treats citizens differently. The law perceives some of us differently. The bullies aren't blind. Whose lead are they following?

The Constitution of Ireland sets out our bill of rights. Article 40.1 makes a guarantee that "[a]ll citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law." And therein lies the problem. The problem is the fact that where the issue of marriage equality is concerned, the emphasis is placed on our gender, on our sexual orientation, whereas marriage laws should be about us as human beings, as "human persons," in line with Article 40.1.

The law doesn't embrace who they are, not fully. Article 40.1 becomes conditionally operational and is precluded from being relied upon in certain circumstances. The family provision, Article 41, goes one step further and even operates to deny a right: the right of marriage. What message is this sending down the line? It's a very strong message. It comes from on high. It comes from the top. It comes from the very document our heroes of history fought to establish, for Ireland, for the people, for all of us.

We're a progressive country. We pride ourselves on embracing all types of people. Why, then, do we stop short of embracing all types of families? How can we teach these youngsters to accept themselves when we know they're going to grow up without full acceptance from society, from the law? The mainstream, and indeed the law, is not reflecting equality. It's not reflecting reality. It's excluding certain people, and it is having a damaging effect.

As I said, the enemies of the LGBT community understand the importance of the law treating us differently.  It sends a strong message in support of bigotry and discrimination.  All based ultimately on religion.  Something all of us are supposed to be able to practice as we wish.  Until anti-gay laws are eliminated and marriage equality is allowed nationwide, the promise of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution remains a farce and America is a fraud when it claims to champion freedom of religion.  It doesn't.  It champions a fear and hated based version of Christianity.

Virginia School Division Votes to Remove Ten Commandment Display

Facing a likely loss in federal court, the Giles County School Board voted unanimously yesterday to remove a display of the Ten Commandments that had been part of a display on American government and morality.  For readers not in the know, Giles County is in the far west of Virginia - a region of Virginia still in many ways akin to something out of the old movie "Deliverance" even though that movie was supposedly set in Georgia.  Its a part of the state that not surprisingly has difficulty attracting new and progressive business - a problem not helped by the local religious extremism and rejection of modernity.  I'm sure The Family Foundation's dominatrix like president will be raising Hell with the Virginia GOP about this example of the "persecution of Christians."  Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot:  

A copy of the Ten Commandments will soon be taken down from a hallway wall at Narrows High School, where it has hung during a year and a half of controversy and litigation.

The Giles County School Board voted unanimously Thursday to replace the commandments with a copy of a page from a history textbook that mentions the Ten Commandments in conjunction with American government and morality.

Giles County residents who have shown up en masse at earlier meetings in support of the commandments display were not in attendance for the vote, and it was unclear how it would play among that segment of the community.

The school board's 5-0 vote, taken with little discussion during a sparsely attended special meeting, comes less than a month after a federal judge raised pointed questions about whether the commandments display violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

A motion approved by the board read: "In light of the recent controversy, and legal proceedings, and the substitution of this Roots of Democracy document in the place of the text of the Ten Commandments, this board will not approve the posting of the text of the Ten Commandments in our schools unless and until the courts provide further clarification of the law in this area."

It was not clear how the vote might affect mediation sessions ordered last month by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski. Urbanski is presiding over a lawsuit in which a student at Narrows High School asked that the commandments be taken down, saying they amount to a governmental endorsement of religion.

The commandments were first placed in Giles County schools in April 1999 in response to the Columbine school shootings.  In December 2010, they were taken down after a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.  Facing heat from the community, the school board voted to put the display back up, then took it down again on legal advice.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that similar displays in Kentucky courthouses were unconstitutional, and that posting the Ten Commandments alone in a school violates the First Amendment's mandate that government not endorse religion.
Time and time again the far right in Virginia believes that it can ignore U.S. Supreme Court rulings.  Just maybe they are beginning to get the message that they are not above the law and the Constitution.

Republican Extremism and the Decline of American Politics

Seemingly across the country the biggest obstacle to addressing the nations problems (and here in Virginia, Virginia's many problems including transportation) is Republican intransigence and an effort to turn the clock back to some mythical 1950's version of America that never existed in fact.   In the GOP's mythical America, white males rule supreme, women, blacks and non-Christians all know their place, and gays are invisible if they know what's good for them.  The irony is that to the extent any form of the "Ozzie and Harriet" middle class world worshiped by the GOP actually existed, much of it stemmed from the financial security that unions had brought to many families - the exact security that the GOP seeks to destroy.  A column in The New Yorker looks at the threat the GOP poses to responsible government.  Here are excerpts:

At least since President Obama’s Inauguration, political observers have been taking note of the Republican Party’s trend toward the right, and away from compromise. “After 2010, it was impossible for a fair-minded person who knew what was going on in Washington and around the country to maintain the fiction that there was an equivalent extremism, and polarization, and ugliness on both sides,” George Packer says in this week’s Political Scene podcast. But there was an impulse among pundits and citizens alike to believe that Democrats, too, bear some of the blame for the country’s polarization, an impulse only now beginning to fade.

Packer traces the polarization back to Newt Gingrich. Starting with his Speakership, Packer says, Republicans have been exhibiting a “willingness—even an eagerness—to use every tactic short of law-breaking to demonize the opponent on the way to winning power.” And that, of course, includes this election.

“With Mitt Romney, there’s the extremism about taxes and about the Catholic Church and its conflict about contraception,” Davidson says. “And then there’s the ugliness as well in things like birtherism and in Mitt Romney’s flirtation with Donald Trump.” 

Packer believes President Obama—who, he notes, “has always been skeptical of hard ideological lines,”—will have trouble in the current landscape. His lack of ideological stance “means that he’s having to start from scratch in assembling a clear argument that opposes the extremism” of the G.O.P.

Beyond this election, even if Romney loses, Packer predicts that Republicans will not relent, but will continue to bog down government and prevent a return to respectable politics. He quotes Barney Frank’s idea for a Democratic Party-wide slogan: “We’re not perfect, but they’re nuts.”
I would add to the analysis of causes for the growing GOP extremism the rise of the Christofascists as the puppet masters of the party.  When those who utterly reject science and who seek to impose a far right Christian theocracy take charge, there is no compromise.   When hate filled people who claim to have God on their side steer the party, extremism is the only result that can be expected.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media remains afraid of exposing the true ugliness of conservative Christianity in this country.  This needs to change NOW.

North Carolina GOP Seeks to Ignore Climate Change

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse BEFORE it was moved 1800 feet to save it from erosion and rising sea levels
In yet another example of today's Republican Party is the party of ignorance and backward thinking, Republicans in the North Carolina legislature are pushing a bill that would have that state ignore the realities of climate change and rising sea levels even though the state's Outer Banks region and areas on Pamlico Sound is constantly beset with a battle against the rising ocean levels.  The GOP simply wants to pretend the problem doesn't exist.  Just like they want gays to cease to exist.  Fear of change - especially changing demographics - seems to trump any and every logical approach to a changing objective reality.  A piece in Talking Points Memo looks at this head in the sand approach.  Here are highlights:

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are circulating a bill which would limit their state agencies’ ability to calculate sea-rise levels, a proposal that one member of the state’s Coastal Resources Commission science panel has termed “bad science.”

The bill has not yet been introduced, but the language in the version being circulated would make the Division of Coastal Management the only state agency allowed to produce sea-level rise rates, and only at the request of the Coastal Resources Commission, and then only under the following conditions:
These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.
In other words, instead of taking into account global warming to predict higher seas, as expected by most scientists, the bill would have the state rely only on the historical record. 

Rob Young, a geology professor at Western Carolina University and a member of the CRC’s science panel, told the North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF), an environmental advocacy group, that the bill runs counter to the findings of the National Academy of Sciences and “every major science organization on the globe.”  .   .  .   .  Young pointed out that other states are planning on a sea-level rise of at least three feet. 

According to the NCCF, the CRC’s science panel drafted a report in 2010 that advised the state to prepare for a sea-level rise of up to 55 inches by 2100. The report said that a 39-inch rise was likely. Those findings were disputed by NC-20, an advocacy group that represents businesses and coastal counties. NCCF reports that, using the standard of the proposed bill, the state would be anticipating a 12-inch rise in sea level by 2100.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Click image to enlarge

U.S. Justice Department Demands GOP Stop Purging Voter Rolls in Florida

I noted recently who GOP Florida Governor Rick Scott and his GOP political have launched an effort to purge "unqualified voters" from the voting rolls in Florida.  By coincidence - wink and nod - those targeted for purging almost without exception seem to be Democrats and minorities.  Elderly whites and far right Bubbas have been unaffected.  Apparently, the GOP knows that its platform and policies cannot win a majority of voters, so it's necessary to knock opposition voters of the voting rolls.  All of this is done, of course, to protect against "rampant voter fraud."  The problem is the numbers from past elections demonstrate that there is no rampant voter fraud to be protected against.  The entire agenda is aimed at stifling anti-GOP votes so that the GOP can steal the election in Florida - a must win state for Mitt Romney.  Thankfully, the U. S. Justice Department has demanded that Florida cease the Scott?GOP directed voter purge.  One can only hope that charges will be filed against the state of Florida and ideally, Scott personally, to make sure this kind of outrage stops.  Here are highlights from Talking Points Memo:

The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned.

DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.

Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. Florida officials said they were trying to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, but a flawed process led to several U.S. citizens being asked to prove their citizenship status or be kicked off the rolls.

“To enable us to meet our responsibility to enforce federal law, please inform us by June 6 of the action that the State of Florida plans to take concerning the matters discussed in this letter,” Christian Herren, chief of the voting section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, wrote in the letter obtained by TPM. “Specifically, please advise whether the State intends to cease the practice discussed above, so that the Department can determine what further action, if any, is necessary.”

The DOJ letter can be seen here.

1st Circuit Rules Portion of Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

I have long maintained that the federal Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") serves no legitimate governmental purpose other than to illegally enshrine a particular homophobic set of religious beliefs in the nation's civil laws - something clearly in violation of the 1st Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom to ALL citizens.  While it declined to strike down DOMA on the basis that it violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, it did rightly find that DOMA is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause because it discriminates against same sex couples without furthering any legitimate governmental purpose.  Needless to say, the Christofascists are shrieking and spewing spittle as they rant about "activist judges"  while their boot licking puppets in the GOP are likewise whining and wringing their hands in feigned dismay.  The 1st Circuit's opinion can be found here.  Here are some highlights from the Washington Post

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term.

The decision by a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston was a big win for President Obama, who recently said he supported states allowing gay men and lesbians to marry.

The decision by a panel made up of judges nominated by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton did not address whether the Constitution provides gays and lesbians a fundamental right to marriage. It also did not address a part of DOMA that says states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Some gay rights activists have felt that the limited question in the DOMA case made it a more attractive and incremental issue for an increasingly conservative Supreme Court than asking the justices to recognize a fundamental right of gays to marry.

The case presents only “the question of how the federal government treats people once they are married in their states,” said Mary L. Bonauto, who argued the case for a group called the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD).   “We think this is a very solid decision to go before the Supreme Court.”

The decision by the Obama administration not to defend DOMA — a law that was signed but now disavowed by Clinton — promped an angry response from House Republican leaders. They hired Paul D. Clement, who was solicitor general in the administration of George W. Bush, to defend the law in court.

 While the congressional record on the act is “filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage,” the opinion states, Congress did not explain “how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage.”  And the Supreme Court has ruled, the panel said, that “moral disapproval” is not adequate to justify discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Boudin’s decision, which was joined by Chief Circuit Judge Sandra L. Lynch and Circuit Judge Juan R. Torruella, was the first time an appeals court has agreed with a challenge to DOMA.  But it is part of a string of legal decisions that gay-rights activists have won on same-sex marriage. Two U.S. District Court judges in California have found the same section of DOMA considered by the Boston court to be unconstitutional, and those cases will soon be considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

If the Christofascists cannot accept religious freedom for ALL citizens  as required by the Constitution, how about we ship them all to Iran where they can conduct a crusade against Islam. There, they will either prevail or end up being treated as they have willingly and maliciously treated others.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Cardinal Dolan Approved Pay Offs to Predator Priests

UPDATED:  Irish Central has yet more details on the unbelievable sleaziness of Cardinal Timothy "Porky Pig" Dolan.  It seems the minutes discovered in the bankruptcy filing papers revealed these additional tidbits:

During the meeting, Dolan and Milwaukee auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba discussed using the Church’s funds to pay off known pedophiles with $20,000 to leave the priesthood, setting up “restorative justice” to prevent victims receiving compensation, and moving millions of dollars from the archdiocese into a new “trust” before the Archdiocese declared bankruptcy.
The man truly ought to be facing criminal prosecution and possible perjury charges.

Cardinal Dolan of New York has been outspoken in parading around the myth that "religious liberty" is under attack particularly by the advancement of gay rights and the Obama administration.  I've long believed that in addition to demanding special rights for the Catholic Church (much as is going on in Canada at present) Dolan has been motivated by a desire to shift the topic of conversation from the cesspool nature of the Church hierarchy and the worldwide sex abuse scandal that shows no likelihood of abating any time soon.  Now, as the New York Times is reporting, information is coming out that while he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Dolan approved monetary pay offs to predator priests after it became untenable to continue protecting them and covering up their crimes against children and youth.  Note how Dolan lied about these payments in the past.  Dolan is a loud mouthed hypocrite and hopefully more on his moral bankruptcy will continue to be revealed.  Here are highlights from the New York Times:

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.
Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a “payoff” to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was “false, preposterous and unjust.” 

But a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll.  A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked. 

Cardinal Dolan, who is president of the national bishops’ conference and fast becoming the nation’s most high-profile Roman Catholic cleric, did not respond to several requests for comment. 

A victims advocacy group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, sent a letter of protest to the current archbishop of Milwaukee on Wednesday asking, “In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?” 

Experts in the Catholic Church’s response to sexual abuse say that payouts to dismissed priests are not uncommon. When a man becomes a priest, the church is expected to care for his needs for a lifetime.
The newly revealed document is the minutes of a meeting of the finance council of the Milwaukee archdiocese from March 7, 2003, which Cardinal Dolan attended. 

The minutes say that those at the meeting discussed a proposal to “offer $20,000 for laicization ($10,000 at the start and $10,000 at the completion the process).” Instead of salary, they would receive a $1,250 monthly pension benefit, and, until they found another job, health insurance. 

The first known payment in Milwaukee was to Franklyn Becker, a former priest with many victims.  .  .  .  .  According to church documents, Mr. Becker was accused of abusing at least 10 minors, and given a diagnosis of pedophilia in 1983.

Note that Becker was diagnosed as a pedophile in 1983 but it was 20 years later that he was finally being removed from the priesthood.  Yet again I ask, why does anyone listen to a word that comes out of Dolan's mouth?  The man is a sleaze bag at best.

Churches Across the Country Are Preaching Anti-Gay Violence

If nothing else Barack Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage appears to have pushed many conservative churches across the United States to show their true faces - faces of hatred and violence against others, not to mention an utter contempt for the freedom of religion promised to all citizens by the United States Constitution.  And what's equally troubling is that for the most part other churches and the GOP puppets of the Christofascists are not condemning the calls to violence and the murder of gays.  It is disgusting but to my mind it is the showing true face of Christianity in America.  And it is something very, very ugly.  Think Progress has a piece that gives a run down of the vicious vitriol that is being spewed in pulpits and which can only encourage bullying or worse against LGBT citizens.  Here are excerpts:

In churches across the country, bigoted pastors with political missions are preaching hate speech every Sunday.  .  .  .  . there are an unknown number of conservative congregation heads using their pulpits to push animosity and hate — aimed mostly at the political hot topics of the day.

In the fallout from President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality, video and audio has cropped up of several right-wing pastors in different states advocating physical violence toward gay people and generally disparaging the LGBT community. Here are some of the worst religious messages being shared at church:
North Carolina Pastor argues for a gay concentration camp. Charles Worley told his congregation, “Have that fence electrified so [the homosexuals] can’t get out. Feed ‘em, and– And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”
Kansas Pastor says gays should be put to death. Curtis Knapp tells his church, “Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them? No, I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.”

Indiana Pastor says gay marriage leads to abuse of children. “A decision to allow same-sex marriages today lays the foundation for the definition of marriage to become Silly Putty tomorrow capable of endless reshaping in the future,” says Pastor Paul Brewster. “That, in turn, is a recipe for children to be made victims of all sorts of abuse and the welfare of our society to receive a fatal blow.”

Maryland Pastor says his ‘flesh’ likes the idea of killing gays. Dennis Leatherman shouts, “Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea. But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture.”
Pastor advocates child abuse on gay children. Sean Harris says if a son shows what is perceived as effeminate behavior, a parent should “squash that like a cockroach,” and if they see their son “dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch.”

At church, a child sings “ain’t no homo gonna make it to heaven” — in the same town where a fifteen year old killed himself after being bullied for being perceived of as gay by his classmates. Pastor Jeff Sangl of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle cheers on.
[W]here this hatefulness goes unchecked, it discredits religious institutions as a whole and harms every neighborhood that it infiltrates.

The lack of widespread condemnation speaks volumes.  And to those who would argue that not all Christians are like these monsters, my response is that their silence and lack of loud public condemnation equates to a tacit endorsement of the evil being preached in these pulpit.  Evil happens when good people do nothing.   Silently sitting on one's hands is not an option. Either oppose such hatred and bigotry or you become part of the problem.

John Bolton: Bush and GOP Left Obama a Mess

As noted many times on this blog, to listen to Mitt Romney and those running attack ads against Barack Obama Democrats, one would think history began in January, 2009, and that everything had been sweetness and light prior to Obama's swearing in as president.  It's the only way that the Republican Party can escape responsibility for the financial markets melt down and the orgy of deficit spending that Bush/Cheney  left as their biggest legacies - not counting, of course, the thousands of needless deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and the billions of wasted dollars squandered in those countries.  Thus it is surprising that the always caustic John Bolton (with whom I nearly never agree) has called a spade a spade and admitted that Obama was left a disastrous mess by Chimperator Bush, Emperor Palpatine Cheney and the rubber stamp GOP controlled Congress of the Bush/Cheney years.  It's a truth that more Americans need to grasp, especially those who listen to Fox News as if it were a legitimate source of information.  Here are highlights from The Daily Telegraph on Bolton's all too true statements:

John Bolton, Mr Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, said it would not be helpful for the Republicans to more vigorously defend the former president's record, which Democrats have sharply criticised.
Mr Bolton urged Mitt Romney, the party's nominee to face Mr Obama in November, to focus on the future and resist arguing over whether their last president left behind "a big mess or a little mess".

 "I think people would agree with Obama that he was left with a mess," Mr Bolton told The Daily Telegraph. "They're not arguing about that, and that's why it doesn't pay for Romney to argue whether it was a big mess or a little mess. 

Of course, Bolton failed to go on and say that the proposals of the Romney campaign and the GOP are largely nothing more than a repackaged version of the idiocy that got America in trouble in the first place or that these policies would not benefit anyone but the very wealthy.  More tax cuts will only deepen the deficit and less regulation will only enable more recklessness on Wall Street.  And with Romney wanting to attack Iran, the military disasters would only increase.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

JCPenney Features Real Gay Couple In Fathers’ Day Ad - Christianist Heads Will Explode

While the ex-gay ministries have taken a body blow in the form of the updated Sptizer recantation and the move in California to outlaw reparative therapy, things aren't exactly sweetness and light for the Christofascists who want gays to return to an invisible status.  After already riling the "One Million Bitchs" with its ads featuring Ellen Degeneres, JC Penny has now launched a fathers' day ad that features a real life gay couple and their two children (see image above).  The Christianist heads will be definitely exploding even as the One Million Bitches have their panties in an unbelievable wad.  Personally, I love it and may need to see if there's anything at JC Penney I might want to purchase.  And if it drives the hate merchants crazy, so much the better.  Here are excerpts from Think Progress:

JCPenney has just launched a Fathers’ Day advertisement featuring a gay couple with their children, noting that the ad portrays “real-life dads Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their children, Claire and Mason.”
The copy reads:
First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two.
The ad builds on the department store’s recent decisions to stand with the LGBT community. In February, when JCPenney came under fire from the anti-gay group One Million Moms for bringing on the openly-gay comedian Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, the store stood behind its partnership with Ellen. JCPenney’s CEO said that “Ellen represents the values of our company” — and with this kind of pro-equality advertising, JCPenney is continuing to reinforce its progressive values.

In response to the earlier Christianist outrage, Ellen laid out her values which are the polar opposite of the values demonstrated by the behavior of the "godly Christian" set even though they are wholly consistent with the true Gospel message:

A Really Bad Day for "Ex-Gay" Frauds

One of the most insidious lies utilized by the gay haters of the Christian Right and their puppets within the Republican Party is the myth that sexual orientation is a "choice" and/or that it can be "changed" through witch doctor like reparative therapy.  Today that deliberate line of lying and disinformation took two significant hits.  The first was the release by Truth Wins Out of an interview with Dr. Robert Spitzer's whose dubious and thoroughly attacked 2001 study has been used by utterly dishonest elements of the so-called Christian Right - not that all of them aren't extremely dishonest to varying degrees - such as PFOX, NARTH and Family Research Council, etc., to lend credibility to their fraudulent "ex-gay" ministries and intimidation of politicians.  The second blow to these snake oil merchants was the vote today by the California Senate approving SB1172 which ban forms of so-called reparative therapy on anyone under the age of 18.  First these highlights from Truth Wins Out's interview with Dr. Spitzer followed by a video clip of the interview:

What do you have to say about the conclusions of your 2001 study?
“I was quite wrong in the conclusions that I made from this study. The study does not provide evidence, really, that gays can change. And that’s quite an admission on my part.”

What made you go public with your change of heart?
“If I really have all these doubts about the study, I had to face up to whether I had a responsibility to acknowledge that.”

Is there a message you would like to impart to the LGBT community?
“I’ve been thinking about the study for many years. I felt that I needed to say that, the study is not valid, but I thought I should also say to the gay community, I apologize for any harm I have done to them because of the study and my initial interpretation. And I certainly apologize to any gay person who because of this study entered into reparative therapy and wasted their time and energy doing that.”

It took you two years to find a mere 200 study subjects, even though NARTH’s Dr. Joseph Nicolosi was trying to influence the study by begging clients to participate. Why do you think it was so difficult for NARTH to provide you with “ex-gays”?
“He [Nicolosi] just didn’t have many patients who could really claim that they had changed.”

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) is still misusing your study and a video featuring you remains prominently placed on the group’s website. Would you like to address PFOX?
“I ask that PFOX stop showing this video. This is quite misleading. I had no way, really, of knowing when I examined any particular subject whether they really had changed or whether they were deceiving themselves or even outright lying when they claimed that they had changed. So, please don’t show this [video] to anyone.”

The retraction of your study must be very upsetting to anti-gay organizations.
“I’m curious as to whether they have said anything or how they live with the fact that the one study that they have always been citing has now been taken away from them. I would think that’s a pretty rough place to be in.”
Is the “Ex-Gay” Industry capable of unbiased research on homosexuality?
“The people who are pushing the ‘ex-gay’ idea are so full of hatred for homosexuality, really, that I don’t think they can respond in an ethical way.”

What are your thoughts on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE)?
“If people can recognize that being a homosexual is something that cannot be changed and that efforts to change are going to be disappointing and can be harmful, if that can be more widely known that would be very good. If somebody is troubled that they are homosexual, what they ought to do is face up to that and so something so they are more comfortable living with the way they are, because any attempt to change is misguided.”

Then there is this from The Advocate:

California moved one step closer today to outlawing any effort to change a minor's sexual orientation through therapy.

The state Senate approved a bill from Sen. Ted Lieu that would ban forms of so-called reparative therapy on anyone under the age of 18, according to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. It still must be approved by the state Assembly and then by Gov. Jerry Brown, and if it is, then California would become the first state to crack down on therapy that the American Psychological Association has warned is damaging to patients.

The ban would be in effect regardless of whether a parent wanted to allow the therapy for their son or daughter.
Hopefully, the day will come when all of the fraudulent "ministries" are outlawed and those who try to defraud the ignorant and gullible will be subject to civil suits and/or criminal prosecution for peddling these lies and fraudulent "cures."

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Vietnam Dodging Romney Whines About Shrinking Military Budget

One of the things this blog focuses on the most in terms of politics and religion is exposing hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy that seems the most plentiful among the "godly Christian" crowd and the Republican Party and its members.  Of the latter group, Mitt Romney is no exception.  A case in point is his whining about reductions in military spending as if Romney has a clue about military life.  Why do I say that?  Because during the Vietnam era Romney dodged military service by using a religious exemption and serving as a Mormon missionary in France.  America Blog looks at Romney's Vietnam service and his ridiculous claims that America's security will be threatened if the social safety net isn't slashed to fund the military.  Here are highlights:

Oh please, Mitt. As if it's not amusing enough that Romney replaced his military service during the Vietnam war with a few years living in the posh and flashy 16th arrondissement. (It's the new money, flashy part of Paris on the western edge of town.) Somehow service in the neighborhood of nannies and sports cars has made Romney certain that what the already bloated Pentagon needs is more money.

Maybe Romney math is different from real math, but US defense spending already dwarfs the rest of the world and it's not even close. One would need to add countries ranked second through fifteenth to slightly pass the annual US military spending so spare me the story about how damaging cuts would weaken the US.

What is weakening the US is too much war spending and not enough spending at home. But for the Romney class, spending on social programs that benefit the 99% is a waste of money. The real waste of money in the US these days is giving away tax cuts to people like Mitt Romney, who hasn't worked in years yet still makes millions each year thanks to GOP tax cuts.

Dear god, the man has all kinds of money but can't buy a clue.
Echoing portions of his stump speech in which he cites the threat of a resurgent Russia, a nuclear Iran and a rising China as obstacles to an "American Century," Romney closed his speech at this Memorial Day tribute to veterans with a political message about a choice between divergent military philosophies this November.

"We have two courses we can follow: One is to follow the pathway of Europe. To shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. And they of course rely on the strength of America and they hope for the best. Were we to follow that kind of course, there would be no one that could stand to protect us,"
Of course, Romney and his wealthy cronies don't want to pay a penny more to protect America.  No, they want to take the food from the mouths of poor children and out of the pockets of working class folks while they themselves spend more on yachts and fine living complete with garages with elevators for their many cars.

Another Look at the True Biblical Definition of Marriage

I've noted previously that the Christofascist claim that the Bible - that source of justification for so much hate and violence over the centuries -  defines marriage as "one man and one woman" is simply untrue.  Indeed, in the Old Testament, marriage is typically anything and everything but "one man and one woman."  But the Christofascists' aim their anti-gay diatribes at simple minded morons who seemingly have never actually bothered to read the Bible.  Or at least not beyond proof texting certain passages that they have been trained to rely upon like trained circus dogs.  Just last week, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis (pictured above left) spoke at the Family Research Council's "Watchmen on the Wall" conference where he again repeated the Christianist lie about marriage.  A piece in Right Wing Watch does a great take down of this repeated lie about the "Biblical definition of marriage."  In fact, it makes the case that to be true to the Bible's definition, one needs to engage in polygamy and/or incest. Here are some excerpts:

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis  .  .  .  warned that the failure to embrace a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis is undermining "the doctrine of marriage" and leading to things like gay marriage.

As luck would have it, just last week I bought a copy of "The One Year Chronological Bible" and had begun reading through it in conjunction with my copy of The ESV Study Bible. Ham's assertion that a literal interpretation was required in order to understand the true nature of biblical marriage was in the forefront of my mind as I began working my way through Genesis, especially once I realized how much polygamy and incest the book contained.

In fact, outside of Adam and Eve, and Noah and his wife, just about every major patriarch engaged in either polygamy or some form of incest, and often both.

According to Genesis 16, Abraham slept with and married his wife's Sarah's slave because Sarah was was unable to bear children. On top of that, according to Genesis 20, Sarah was also Abraham's half-sister and he later took at least one more wife.

Abraham's son Issac was married to Rebekah, who, according to Genesis 24, was the daughter of the son of Abraham’s brother, which would make Rebekah the daughter of Issac's cousin, or Issac's first cousin, once removed.

Rebekah then gave birth to Esau and Jacob. According to Genesis 26, Esau married two Hittite women and then later took a third wife while Jacob married the daughters of his mother's brother, his first cousins, named Leah and Rachel. Rachel was unable to bear children and so gave Jacob her servant to sleep with and take as a wife, to which Leah responded by likewise giving Jacob her servant for a wife.

In addition to these arrangements, Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah sleeping with and impregnating his daughter-in-law while Genesis 19 tells the story of God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah where only Lot and his two daughters were saved ... after which Lot's daughters got their father drunk and slept with him and became pregnant.

One of the arguments we hear most often from the Religious Right is that changing "the biblical definition of marriage" by allowing gay marriage will lead to things like polygamy and incest ... which is odd considering that, according to the Book of Genesis, polygamy and incest were predominant forms of marriage.

As I've said before, whenever a "godly Christian" is making pronouncements, the safest course of action is to assume that they are lying.  Rarely will such not be the case.

Bob McDonnell Lies and Claims Never to Have Opposed Gay Judges

In his apparent quest to be Mitt Romney's VP nominee, Bob "Governor Ultrasound" McDonnell is trying to rewrite history and conveniently forget his past statements and video taped interviews.  McDonnell's claim is that he has never opposed the appointment of gays to the judiciary.  Having followed McDonnell's role in the lynch mob like crucifixion of former Circuit Court Judge Verbena Askew, there's only one word that describes McDonnell who earned the nickname "Taliban Bob" during the obscene treatment of Askew: LIAR.  McDonnell's claims are diametrically opposed to what actually happened and what is recorded in numerous local media accounts.  Here are highlights from a Washington Post story where McDonnell fabricates a new version of history:

Bob McDonnell would like you to know that he has not, in fact, evolved on gay judges.  Earlier this month, just before Virginia’s General Assembly rejected a gay judicial nominee, the Republican governor said that homosexuality should not disqualify someone from serving as a judge. He reiterated that stance on a radio program Tuesday and said that’s always been his position.

What about in 2003, host Mark Segraves asked. Back then, while leading a successful effort to unseat a lesbian Circuit Court judge, then-delegate McDonnell questioned whether someone who had engaged in oral or anal sex could serve as a judge because that behavior would violate the state’s anti-sodomy statute.

“It certainly raises some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge,” he told the Daily Press of Newport News at the time. Segraves quoted that line back to McDonnell.

McDonnell: “No, I think you got that out of context.”  Segraves: “What is context for it?”  McDonnell: “What I said was someone, at the time, actually there were certain acts that would be a crime —”

Segraves: “It’s 2003. Anti-sodomy laws.” McDonnell: “Right. If someone had [committed] a crime, honestly that would call into question their ability to be a judge. But I was very clear in other statements of the time that those factors should not be an element of the decision making.”

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws later in 2003. Segraves asked if the now-invalidated law could still be used to disqualify gay judicial nominees — at least those who were sexually active in Virginia before the Supreme Court ruling. The question appeared to catch McDonnell off guard.

Segraves: “If a judge came before the General Assembly for confirmation now who is openly gay, admitted was openly gay in 2002, and having sexual relationships, and anal sex, which was against the law back then, would that disqualify them from serving as a judge now?”

Once he’d gathered his thoughts, the governor went on to say that he would not object to a gay nominee “if they are otherwise qualified to be on the bench based on merit, ability, judicial temperament and ability to follow the law regardless of what their political beliefs are.”

It should be noted that even though Lawrence v. Texas invalidated Virginia's sodomy statute, Bob McDonnell and his Virginia GOP cronies have blocked every attempt to have that statute repealed and  removed from the Code of Virginia.  Actions do speak louder than words.