Saturday, March 22, 2014

Virginia KKK Imperial Wizard: We’re a Christian Organization

A growing element in the Virginia GOP is comprised of those who make less and less of an effort to disguise the fact that they are racists and white supremacists.   And, if you follow many of the wrongly named "family values" groups, including The Family Foundation, they likewise support a white supremacist agenda.  Indeed, the only time they are concerned about blacks is when in comes to duping black pastors to do their bidding as if they were trained circus dogs.  Now, the Imperial Wizard of the Virginia KKK is claiming that the Klan is not a hate group, but rather a "non-violent Christian organization." According to this liar/nutcase, the Klan's bad image is all due to "a few Rogue klansmen."  The Raw Story has details:

The leader of a Ku Klux Klan group in Virginia says the notoriously racist “Hooded Order” is really just a non-violent Christian organization.

“We don’t hate people because of their race. I mean, we’re a Christian organization,” Frank Ancona, an Imperial Wizard of the Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, told WWBT on Thursday.

He insisted that the KKK had been unfairly maligned for its acts of violence against black people in the United States.

“Because of the acts of a few rogue Klansmen our Klansmen are supposed to be murderers and want to lynch black people, and we are supposed to be terrorists, and that is a complete falsehood.”

Ancona’s KKK group has been tossing racist fliers onto residents lawns in Chesterfield County in the middle of the night. The fliers include a phone number, an email address and information about two websites that claim the KKK is a non-violent group that is not the “enem[y] of the colored and mongrel races.”

Earlier this month, Ancona told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that “[t]he thing that really gets me is that [people are] saying we’re teaching our children to hate people just because of their race, creed and color, and that’s a complete lie and falsehood.”

He said the racist fliers were an effective recruitment tool. 

“In the last 6 years that I’ve been president of this organization I’ve seen the numbers probably triple,” Ancona told WWBT.

“We want to stay white. It’s not a hateful thing to want to maintain white supremacy,” he added.
 Personally, I would put the KKK and The Family Foundation in the same category.  Both are hate groups and both seek to maintain white supremacy.  TFF is simply more discrete in how it sends out it racist dog whistle signals.

Killing the Right Wing Fantasy that Private Charity Can Meet Public Need

Go to any right wing blog and you will find posts whining that the state and/or federal government has should have no role in supporting the poor and needy  Instead, these greed driven screeds claim that private charity should meet the needs of the sick, the poor, the unemployed, etc.  The reality, of course, is that private charity doesn't have the capacity to meet the need for assistance.  The other reality is that government has stepped in to fill these types of needs for many decades.  The so-called welfare state did not suddenly arise out of nowhere in the 1960's.  But, dealing with and accepting historical reality is not something that today's GOP and its Christofascist/Tea Party is exactly known for.  These folks live in a fantasy world.  A piece in Democracy Journal destroys the far rights favored talking points on taking the government out of providing a social safety net.  Here are excerpts:

Conservatives dream of returning to a world where private charity fulfilled all public needs. But that world never existed—and we’re better for it.

[C] conservatives tell themselves a story, a fairy tale really, about the past, about the way the world was and can be again under Republican policies. This story is about the way people were able to insure themselves against the risks inherent in modern life. Back before the Great Society, before the New Deal, and even before the Progressive Era, things were better. Before government took on the role of providing social insurance, individuals and private charity did everything needed to insure people against the hardships of life; given the chance, they could do it again. 

This vision has always been implicit in the conservative ascendancy.  . . . which argued that a purely private nineteenth-century system of charitable and voluntary organizations did a better job providing for the common good than the twentieth-century welfare state. This idea is also the basis of Paul Ryan’s budget, which seeks to devolve and shrink the federal government at a rapid pace, lest the safety net turn “into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.”

But this conservative vision of social insurance is wrong. It’s incorrect as a matter of history; it ignores the complex interaction between public and private social insurance that has always existed in the United States. It completely misses why the old system collapsed and why a new one was put in its place. It fails to understand how the Great Recession displayed the welfare state at its most necessary and that a voluntary system would have failed under the same circumstances. Most importantly, it points us in the wrong direction. The last 30 years have seen effort after effort to try and push the policy agenda away from the state’s capabilities and toward private mechanisms for mitigating the risks we face in the world. This effort is exhausted, and future endeavors will require a greater, not lesser, role for the public.

Beyond the need to deflate the imaginary landscape of the contemporary right, there’s also a need for liberals to reform their project. Liberals need to reclaim the public. Liberals need to be able to articulate that the welfare state succeeded in exactly the ways that the private insurance system failed in the Great Depression.

The state does many things, but this essay will focus specifically on its role in providing social insurance against the risks we face. Specifically, we’ll look at what the progressive economist and actuary I.M. Rubinow described in 1934 as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: “accident, illness, old age, loss of a job. These are the four horsemen that ride roughshod over lives and fortunes of millions of wage workers of every modern industrial community.” These were the same evils that Truman singled out in his speech. And these are the ills that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance, and our other public systems of social insurance set out to combat in the New Deal and Great Society.  

Over the past 30 years the public role in social insurance has taken a backseat to the idea that private institutions will expand to cover these risks. Yet our current system of workplace private insurance is rapidly falling apart. In its wake, we’ll need to make a choice between an expanded role for the state or a fantasy of voluntary protection instead. We need to understand why this voluntary system didn’t work in the first place to make the case for the state’s role in fighting the Four Horsemen.

As for social insurance specifically, the historian Michael Katz has documented that there has always been a mixed welfare state made up of private and public organizations throughout our country’s history. Outdoor relief, or cash assistance outside of institutions, was an early legal responsibility of American towns, counties, and parishes from colonial times through the early nineteenth century.  

But there were a few major problems with these [charity or welfare] societies. The first was that they were regionally segregated and isolated. These forms of insurance didn’t exist in places without dense cities, industry, or deep ethnic and immigrant communities. Even in states with large cities and thriving industries like California and New York, only 30 percent of workers had some sort of health-care coverage through fraternal methods. Moreover, the programs were fragmented and provided only partial insurance.

Thus, though they were pervasive throughout this time period, they never provided more than a sliver of actual, robust social insurance. As the Russell Sage Foundation concluded at the time, private societies stand “as a tangible expression of a keenly felt need, a feeble instrument for performing a duty beyond its own powers.”

That need was partly what gave rise to the Progressive movement. Private charity simply didn’t have the breadth and depth necessary to truly respond to the Four Horsemen in this industrializing era, and Progressives saw a greater role for government to address these ills.

There is more to the piece that deserves a full read.  Suffice it to say that the conservatives' fantasy about private charity meeting society's actual needs is a fictional as their claims that America was founded as a "Christian nation."  Conservatives' real goal is to slash social safety net spending so that they can amass more for themselves as the kick the poor, the sick and the unemployed to the curb. Ultimately, selfishness - along with racism and religious based bigotry - is the main motivation behind their quest. 

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

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The Roman Catholic Church - A Church in Crisis

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A piece in The Advocate sets out some statistics - see the images above which you can click to enlarge - that ought to be terrifying to the bitter old men in dresses at the Vatican and in bishoprics across America and making it plain to anyone sane that, without major change, the Roman Catholic Church is on a slow death spiral.  As the article notes:
An impulse to compassion may not be Pope Francis’s only reason for backing off the socially repressive and tone-deaf elements of Catholicism (including the anti-gay rhetoric) that disenchant parishioners; the shrinking church badly needs to invigorate the flock and raise some funds or risk going the way of the dodo. A new papal attitude might be the answer.
Yet, with far more critical things to be worried about - e.g., declining church attendance (only 25% of Catholics attend weekly mass), falling financial support from parishioners (donations are down 20%), continued payouts to sex abuse victims ($3 billion paid to date and new suits averaging $1 million a piece), new vocations to the priesthood almost non-existent - Bishop David Walkowiak of the Diocese of Grand Rapids instead is whining and condemning yesterday's ruling striking down Michigan's ban on same sex marriage.   It is symptomatic of why the Roman Catholic Church is dying in America and much of the western world. looks at Walkowiak's batshitery:
"Today’s federal district court ruling alters the fundamental meaning and structure of marriage that has existed from the beginning," said Walkowiak, who said the ruling advances a redefinition of marriage that is incompatible with Catholic beliefs and values.

"Persons with same-sex attractions should be respected not judged," Walkowiak said in his statement. "We strongly support those who are living faithfully according to Christian teaching while finding themselves with a same-sex attraction."
Walkowiak fails to say how his statement of "respect" toward gays can be reconciled with the Church's official position that gays are "inherently disordered" and "inclined toward evil."   Nor does he say how condemning a whole group of people to a life of loneliness and celibacy is a form of showing respect and not judging.  With nearly a third of the younger generations walking away from institutional religion, one can only hope that the Catholic Church in America suffers a much deserved death sooner as opposed to later.

Key Upcoming Cases in Pennsylvania Marrige Equality Fight

A reader recently asked about the status of the challenge to Pennsylvania's same sex marriage ban since this blog looks at the cases progressing in other states.  Based on the string of defeats suffered so far by states that have pandered to religious extremists and/or argued for mob majority rule, I suspect when the Pennsylvania ruling does come, it will follow the pattern we've seen in every other state at the U.S. District Court level save Nevada (which is almost guaranteed to be reversed by the 9th Circuit given its ruling in SmithKline in January).  But to answer the reader's question, the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the current status in Pennsylvania. Here are article highlights:

When U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin decides this year whether Pennsylvania must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, she'll do so from her perch above Independence Mall, where about 40 people staged an early gay rights protest in 1965.

For decades afterward, little changed on the gay marriage front. But the cultural and legal landscape has shifted rapidly since 2000, leaving Pennsylvania the last state in the region to ban gay marriage.
That could soon change as three high-profile lawsuits move through the courts.

In Philadelphia, McLaughlin is weighing the "marriage recognition" issue, which could reach the U.S. Supreme Court before the broader issue of marriage equality. Her case is set for oral arguments May 28.

"The laws have not caught up to where people actually are on this issue," said lead plaintiff Cara Palladino, 48, of Philadelphia, a Bryn Mawr University fundraiser who married Isabelle Barker, 42, in Massachusetts in 2005. "When you look around at all the challenges that we have, I think people are increasingly looking at gay marriage as ... a nonissue."

A Quinnipiac University poll last month showed that 57 percent of about 1,400 Pennsylvania voters surveyed approve of same-sex marriage, compared to 37 percent who are opposed.

Lawyers for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett believe the issue comes down to states' rights — and that neither Massachusetts, nor McLaughlin, should tell Pennsylvania how to define marriage.  "This court should ... leave to the individual state legislatures their traditional power, long recognized under the U.S. Constitution, to define the nature and character of the marital relationship within their boundaries," they wrote in a brief last month in the Palladino case.

It's not clear whether McLaughlin will rule right away. However, in June, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones is scheduled to hear a broader challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban during a two-week trial.

The American Civil Liberties Union represents 25 plaintiffs, including same-sex couples, their children, and a woman who lost her same-sex spouse. They say they have been denied financial and legal benefits that others enjoy. The ACLU plans expert testimony on such subjects as child rearing and the history of marriage, to build a record for the expected appeals.

"We think (they) will demolish any conceivable argument against marriage equality the other side could present," said Witold "Vic" Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

In a third key case pending in Commonwealth Court, Corbett's administration has asked a judge to void scores of marriage licenses issued to gay and lesbian couples last year by Democratic local officials in Montgomery County.   "Same-sex marriage is not deeply rooted in our nation's history ... (and) cannot be considered a fundamental right," attorneys for the state have argued in court papers.
Gov. Corbett is sadly on the wrong side of history and will likely be viewed by history - if not already - as a modern day version of George Wallace standing in the school house door blocking blacks from attending public schools with whites.  The tide of history in America is on the side of expanding equality despite GOP efforts to drag the nation back to the 1950's.

Paul Ryan, Culture and Poverty

While apologists for Paul Ryan endeavor to say that Ryan's recent dog whistle statements blaming blacks for their own misfortunes are no different that those made by Barack Obama to young blacks, the reality is that Ryan's statements come from a white male born to wealth and privilege who has no clue how the poor live, especially poor blacks, and who by his budget proposals shows total indifference for the plight of the less fortunate.   GOP efforts to disenfranchise blacks and other minorities only further underscores Ryan's hypocrisy.  A column in the New York Times takes Ryan - and similar GOP racist/hypocrites to task.  Here are column excerpts:

Paul Ryan continues to be flogged for disturbing comments he made last week about men “in our inner cities” and their “culture” of not working.

In a radio interview with Bill Bennett, Ryan said, “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with.”

Reactions to the comment were swift and brutal.

Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, said in a statement, “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black.’ ”  Ryan has agreed to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Lee’s a member and which found his remarks “highly offensive.”

[A]t at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Ryan was rebuked by one of his own constituents, a black man from Mount Pleasant, Wis., named Alfonso Gardner.  Gardner told Ryan, “The bottom line is this: Your statement was not true.” He continued, “That’s a code word for ‘black.’ ”

But instead of cushioning his comments, Ryan shot back, “There was nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all — it had nothing to do with race.”

That would have been more believable if Ryan hadn’t prefaced his original comments by citing Charles Murray, who has essentially argued that blacks are genetically inferior to whites and whom the Southern Poverty Law Center labels a “white nationalist.” (The center’s definition: “White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhites.”)

Whatever Ryan meant by men “in our inner cities” and their culture, the comment obscures the vast dimension of poverty in America and seeks an easy scapegoat for it.

By suggesting that laziness is more concentrated among the poor, inner city or not, we shift our moral obligation to deal forthrightly with poverty. When we insinuate that poverty is the outgrowth of stunted culture, that it is almost always invited and never inflicted, we avert the gaze from the structural features that help maintain and perpetuate poverty — discrimination, mass incarceration, low wages, educational inequities — while simultaneously degrading and dehumanizing those who find themselves trapped by it.

Work doesn’t always alleviate poverty, in part because some people are forced to work for less than a living wage, though work does bring dignity. 

But this is in part the problem, and danger, of people like Ryan: There is an ever-swirling mix of inspiration and insult, where the borders between the factual and the fudged are intentionally blurred and cover is given for corrosive ideas.

Ryan is “one of the good guys,” a prominent Republican operative explained to me last week. Maybe so, but even good people are capable of saying and believing bad things, and what Ryan said was horrific. 
Sadly, like far too many Republicans, Ryan cannot see the common humanity of blacks, gays, or other minorities.  To him, we are not really human and we do not matter.  In fact, he and his fellow angry white Republicans wish we would conveniently disappear.  To me, this is one of the worse aspects of today's orally bankrupt Republican Party.

Virginia Republican Party is Cash-Strapped - Insanity Carries a Price

Apparently the Republican Party of Virginia's embrace of ignorance, religious extremism and general insanity is catching up with it financially.  As the Party Central Committee meets in Richmond, the financial picture is bleak in the wake of a general election cycle in 2013 that saw the Virginia GOP lose every statewide office.  Perhaps the crazies of the Christofascist/Tea Party base at last year's state convention should have spent more time thinking about what the nomination of three extremists might have in the longer term.  Big business saw Cuccinelli as too extreme and now, with the GOP's efforts to block Medicaid expansion, chambers of commerce and the state's hospital associations now oppose the GOP's "party of no" posture.  The Virginian Pilot looks at the situation.  Here are excerpts:

When the Virginia Republican Party's governing body meets today in Richmond, many members for the first time could hear some unsettling news: Party finances are distressed.

The cash-strapped state GOP has shed staff and is scrambling to raise money amid internal strife after November's crushing elections left the GOP without any statewide officeholders. The party faces the loss of its executive director and finance director, who oversaw fundraising.

Varying reasons have been given for the upheaval - personal exhaustion and personality clashes are primary ones - but several party sources say money is part of the problem.

State records show that the GOP closed the year with less than $21,000 in the bank. Federal Election Commission records painted a similarly bleak picture: less than $17,000 available in its federal account.

At the same time, the Virginia Democratic Party had nearly $150,000 in its state account and about $92,000 in its federal coffers.

Republican Party officials publicly downplay the financial situation. They say it's merely a reflection of an elongated 2013 election season that stretched into this year because of the recount in the attorney general's race and several legislative special elections.

Pat Mullins revealed the financial trouble on a recent "emergency conference call" with select party elders, telling those on the call that the party is "a month behind" on its bills, according to sources who participated.

Several factors contribute to the party's money woes.

Losing all three statewide races has left the party without a standard-bearer, a "tent pole around which all the donor giving" can rally, noted Albemarle County Del. Rob Bell, the party's finance chairman.

Running insider conventions to nominate candidates rather than holding taxpayer-funded primary elections costs the party. That remains a divisive issue between warring factions: conservatives who took over in 2012 and the establishment wing trying to regain control.

Other inhibitors to party fundraising efforts include the rise of third-party political committees as competitors for campaign cash; donors can anonymously give to some groups.

Perhaps the biggest factor, though, is donor disillusionment. . . . "This is one of the consequences of the party being taken over by these extreme voices," said one longtime party official, adding that business donors will be scarce "until they believe leadership of the party... gets back to a more mainstream place."

Frankly, I see little chance of the Virginia GOP returning to a mainstream mindset any time soon.  Indeed, moderates continue to flee the GOP and the strangle hold of the Christofascists and Tea Party therefore continues to worsen.

Michigan Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down; Judge Eviserates Mark Regnerus

Yet another domino fell yesterday as a federal court in Michigan struck down that state's ban on same sex marriage.  Making the ruling even more wonderful was the fact that the court's ruling eviscerated Mark Regnerus' "expert" testimony and trashed his right wing funded "study."  As I have noted before, one has to wonder when the University of Texas is going to find a way to ditch Regnerus who is harming the university's reputation as a reputable institution of learning and integrity.  Meanwhile, three Michigan counties intend to marry same sex couples today! Here is a portion of the Court's decision that rips Regnerus to shreds:
Although Regnerus touted the NFSS as one of the few studies to use a large representative pool of participants drawn from a random population-based sample, other sociological and demographic experts, including Rosenfeld and Gates, heavily criticized the study on several grounds. First, it failed to measure the adult outcomes of children who were actually raised in same-sex households. This is because the participants’ household histories revealed that many parental same-sex romantic relationships lasted for only brief periods of time.  And many of the participants never lived in a same-sex household at all.

"The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 'study' was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it 'essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society' and which 'was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.'

While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged. Whatever Regnerus may have found in this 'study,' he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples. It is no wonder that the NFSS has been widely and severely criticized by other scholars, and that Regnerus’s own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS in particular and Dr. Regnerus’s views in general."
Ouch!!!   The Court when in to state that the religious beliefs and convictions of some citizens cannot deny other citizens of equal civil law rights.  I can already hear the Christofascists whining that they are being persecuted because they will no longer be allowed to persecute others. The Detroit Free Press has more details.  Here are highlights:
In a historic ruling that provided a huge morale boost to the gay-rights movement, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman Friday struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it the 18th state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to join in matrimony, just like their heterosexual counterparts.

Just hours later, Washtenaw, Muskegon and Oakland counties announced they’ll open their clerk’s offices to issue marriage licenses on Saturday.

“Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage,” Friedman wrote in his 31-page ruling. “Nonetheless, these views cannot strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law.”

Friedman, who declared Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, went a step further than other judges across the country who have made similar decisions.  Friedman did not stay his ruling.

That prompted Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to file an emergency stay request to prevent gay couples from marrying right away. That includes the two plaintiffs in the case: Hazel Park nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who fought for the right to marry and adopt each other’s special needs children.

“It’s just amazing,” said DeBoer, who wiped tears and hugged her partner after learning of Friedman’s ruling. “This is what we’ve wanted for our family and families like ours …we are just so happy ... We got our day in court and we won.”

In his 31-page ruling, Friedman heavily criticized the state’s position that the will of the voters should have been upheld, noting that just because voters approve something doesn’t make it right, especially when it violates the Constitution.

“In attempting to define this case as a challenge to ‘the will of the people,’ state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people.

“Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.”

Unlike most federal judges who have taken up the gay-marriage issue, Friedman opted last fall to hold a trial and give both sides the chance to present their arguments and scientific evidence.

The state’s experts said that their studies show that children of same-sex couples have poorer outcomes than kids raised by married moms and dads.  Friedman didn’t find the state’s experts credible, stating in his ruling that the testimony of one state witness was “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration.” He said the state’s four witnesses “clearly represent a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Morning Male Beauty

One Million Bitches (Moms) Target Nabisco

Increasingly, Christofascist deem anything that doesn't endorse their hate and fear based religious beliefs as a form of persecution.  Indeed, these sick individuals go out of their way looking for things to take offense over.  And this quest to find persecution where it doesn't exist now includes businesses that advertise and - gasp! - acknowledge that gays exist and that we have families.  A case in point?  The ongoing spittle flecked conniption fit by One Million Bitches Moms over Nabisco's ad for Honey Maid Graham Crackers that features a gay couple with a child.  The self-congratulatory modern day Pharisees at One Million Bitches Moms are shrieking that the ad is an effort to "normalize sin."  These women are sick and pathetic.  The New Civil Rights Movement looks at these shrews and their batshitery.  Here are highlights:

One Million Moms is at it again. Usually the low-budget activist arm of the American Family Association wants to tell Americans what not to watch, but now they also want to tell Americans what not to eat.

The far-less-than one million moms today posted an attack on Nabisco over the cracker-maker’s beautiful new ad promoting “wholesome” families, via its Honey Maid graham cracker brand.

USA Today explains this is a “brand new, multicolored, multisexual world of advertising,” and described the ad and the very real families in it:
In one 30-second Honey Maid ad, viewers will see everything from a same-sex couple bottle-feeding their son to an interracial couple and their three kids holding hands. The ad also features a Hispanic mother and an African-American father with their three mixed-race children. And there’s even a father covered in body tattoos. This is not some shockvertisement for Benetton. It’s an ad for one of America’s oldest and most familiar brands. The people in it are not actors, but real families. The message of the ad: These are wholesome families enjoying wholesome snacks.
Alas, the Christian group, which exists to annoy major corporations and to cull email addresses for its multi-million dollar parent — an anti-gay hate group — sees the ad a tad differently.

Claiming “One Million Moms stands up for Biblical truth which is very clear in Romans 1:26-27 about this particular type of sexual perversion,” they attack:
Nabisco should be ashamed of themselves for their latest Honey Maid and Teddy Graham cracker commercial where they attempt to normalize sin. Right away it shows two men with a baby, followed by other families, and ends with different families pictured including the one with two dads. This commercial not only promotes homosexuality, but then calls the scene in the advertisement wholesome. The ad states, “Everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family. This is wholesome.”
So, the far-less than one million moms are committing to boycotting:

100 Calorie Packs (Thinsations in Canada)
Better Cheddars
Captain Table
Chips Ahoy!
Chocolate Wafers
Dad’s Cookie (c. 1929 Canada)
Doo Dads
Honey Maid
Fudgee-O Cookies
Team Flakes
Wheat Squares
Bacon Dippers
In A Biskit
Lorna Doone
Orchard Crisps
Fig Newtons
Nutter Butter
Oreo Cakesters
Premium Saltines
Premium Plus
Teddy Grahams
Toasted Chips
Wheat Thins
Rice Thins
Nabisco Classics
Club Social
Kraker Bran
Oro Saiwa
Frollini de Oro Saiwa
Kool Stuf
Zu Zu Ginger Snaps

One would think that constantly looking for things to be outraged over would be exhausting.  However, since these folks make their living peddling hatred and shaking down the ignorant and gullible, this kind of batshitery isn't going to end any time soon.  It's truly enough to make one long for the day when conservative Christianity becomes a dead religion.

Lynchburg News Advance: Virginia Needs to Expand Medicare

At the moment Virginia finds itself in a deadlock over the expansion of Medicaid.  On one side are Gov. McAuliffe, the Virginia Senate and most of the business community not to mention the state's hospital associations.  On the other is the GOP controlled House of Delegates which in its quest to pander to the racists in the party base continues to say "No" to anything tied to America's first black president.  The estimated 400,000 Virginians who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, including many poor children, simply do not matter to these extremists in the Virginia GOP who are so stupid that they refuse to grasp that all of us are already paying for the uninsured but in the least cost effective manner possible.  A main editorial in Lynchburg's News Advance makes the case as to why Medicaid must be expanded.  Here are excerpts:

The Republican House of Delegates and Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Democratic Virginia Senate continue their standoff over the budget and Medicaid expansion. Stuck in the middle are thousands of state employees, local governments, public school systems, public colleges and universities and 8 million Virginians.

Ladies and gentlemen in Richmond, it’s time to negotiate, craft a compromise and get the commonwealth out of the Medicaid corner it’s been painted into.
When President Obama and Congress crafted the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, in 2009 and 2010, a key element was reform of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates for the nation’s hospitals. Gone was the old system of pay-for-services, replaced with incentives for the system to keep would-be patients healthy and out of the acute care system. As an industry, hospitals signed on to the changes because part of the bargain was that more people would be covered, especially through Medicaid, leaving hospitals harm-free in the final analysis.

Many states have taken advantage of the tax dollars Washington is directing back to them to expand Medicaid, but many others — primarily those controlled by Republicans — have not.

Virginia falls into the latter category, and thus the current stalemate we find ourselves in.

The Democratic Virginia Senate, working with Democratic Gov. McAuliffe, has approved a state budget that expands Medicaid but by working through private insurance providers. The Republican House simply says no to Medicaid expansion, period.

The money for Medicaid expansion is tax money Virginians are already sending to Washington ... if Virginia doesn’t accept it, it simply goes to states that already expanded Medicaid. In Virginia, we’re talking about $2 billion per year.

The federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs of expansion through 2016, slowly dropping over the next decade to no less than 90 percent of the costs.

It’s the hit to hospitals across Virginia that has people worried though. The University of Virginia Medical Center and the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center will see roughly $500 million sliced from their budgets. Here in Lynchburg, Centra officials estimate they’ll lose roughly $17.3 million. Smaller hospitals could simply be forced to close their doors.

Caught in the crosshairs in this budget/Medicaid fight are real people who could be harmed by the actions — or inactions — of ideologically driven politicians. They deserve better.

On their behalf, we repeat our original exhortation to our legislators: Negotiate, craft a compromise and get the commonwealth out of the corner you’ve painted it into.

Can Republicans Support Gay Marriage and Win?

Last night's HRBOR (see photo above) event was a huge success with a massive turnout.  Amazingly, HRBOR - the gay and gay friendly chamber of commerce I helped found - now counts as members the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (which covers Hampton, Newport News and York County) and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce (which covers the south side cities of Hampton Roads).  Also in attendance was a former GOP candidate who I invited since as a former Republican myself, he might find the experience of a HRBOR event educational.  Also in attendance were leaders of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with which HRBOR collaberates and of which I am a member.  As noted time and time again on this blog, in my view the GOP is engaged in a slow acting form of suicide as evidenced by its continued anti-gay and anti-Hispanic and anti-minority stances.  These bigoted positions may still play well with the angry white evangelical Christian crowd, but that demographic group is literally dying off.  As the Washington Post reports, a few Republicans have learned that they can support marriage equality and still win elections.  Here are some article highlights:

Three state House Republicans voted to legalize gay marriage in Illinois last year, breaking ranks with their party and giving Democrats just enough support to pass the legislation. All three are still standing Thursday despite an intense effort from social conservatives to defeat them in GOP primary voting.

"If you wanted the takeaway to be that voting for gay marriage for an Illinois Republican is the kiss of death, you can't make that case," said Kent Redfield, a University of Illinois at Springfield​ political scientist.

The campaign served as the latest front in the Republican Party's ongoing internal fight over gay rights. Same-sex marriage advocates in the GOP see what happened in Illinois as another sign the ground is shifting in their favor, while opponents cast it as evidence that Republicans who support gay marriage won't go unchecked.

Of Tuesday's winning trio, state Rep. Ron Sandack (R) was the most significant. Challenger Keith Matune conceded to Sandack Wednesday, a day after the incumbent squeaked out a narrow victory that for a time looked like it was headed to a recount. Sandack's vote for gay marriage became a central focus in his race, which was flooded with money and resources by outside forces on both sides.

Sandack received financial support from Paul Singer, the billionaire hedge fund manager protecting Republicans who support gay marriage with his pocketbook. Singer donated to Sandack's campaign and also gave thousands more to Illinois Unity PAC, which supported Sandack.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, state Rep. Ed Sullivan easily won his primary, in which his vote for gay marriage was less of an issue than it was in Sandack's. Still, it was on the radar, as Singer also gave him money. Sullivan was targeted by an Illinois Family Action mailer featuring two men kissing. "You can kiss the GOP goodbye with officials who vote like Democrats," it said. Sandack faced the same attack.

State Rep. Tom Cross was the only other Republican to vote for the gay marriage law that will go into effect in June. He comfortably won the Republican nomination for state treasurer.

Gay marriage advocates said the three won by campaigning on multifaceted platforms and refusing to allow the opposition to use the marriage debate as a divisive issue.

"I think for anyone ​considering using marriage equality as a wedge issue in 2014 or 2016, it should give those individuals pause," said Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group.

But gay marriage remains among the most sensitive topics in the Republican Party, even as more and more states are legalizing it, the public has shifted heavily in its favor and the GOP donor community has vouched for it.

The reality is that the Christofascists are increasingly viewed as toxic by the general public and rightfully so.  If the GOP is to survive long term, the Christofascists and their Tea Party first cousins need to be thrown permanently into the political wilderness.  One can only hope that members of the Virginia GOP will wake up and look to Illinois as a blue print of how to embrace equality and still win despite the spittle flecked attacks of the Christofascists.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

NOM's Maggie Gallagher Admits Defeat But Remains a Bitter, Lying Bitch

This blog has looked at Maggie Gallagher (pictured at right) and what I view as her bitter and warped mindset that seemingly tracks back to her unwed mother pregnancy in college - something that she has never overcome psychologically.  Adding to Gallagher's hypocrisy is her marriage to a Hindu, someone whom her Christofascist brethren say is doomed to go straight to Hell.  In a recent interview recounted in Huffington Post, Gallagher conceded that her anti-gay marriage jihad had likely failed and that same sex marriage would soon be a nation wide phenomenon in America.  Beyond that, however, Gallagher remains the same bigoted, mean spirited bitch woman and takes umbrage that her anti-gay bigotry and support for special rights fro evangelical Christians is at its core little different from the Jim Crow laws that once predominated across the South and elsewhere.  Here are some interview highlights:

She doesn't dispute that the tide has turned in the fight for gay rights since she entered it. But she isn’t completely dejected about the recent string of losses. "I have a lot more freedom now to figure out what I want to do with the next 20 years of my life," she wrote in an email on Thursday.
She weighed in on what's next for the social conservative movement and the growing number of religious Americans in favor of same-sex marriage, among a range of other issues, not excluding the recent St. Patrick's Day controversy.

At this point, what do you think is the most effective way to push the message of "traditional marriage" forward?

As I said last summer, it was clear to me from reading Windsor [the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor], gay marriage advocates now have five votes for inserting a right to gay marriage in our Constitution. We are now in the 'gay marriage in all 50 states' phase whether we like it or not. What's next? In my view people who believe in the traditional understanding of marriage, and believe that it matters, have to become a creative minority, finding way to both express these sexual views, culturally, artistically and intellectually and to engage with the newly dominant cultural view of marriage respectfully but not submissively.

Lots of thoughts packed into the latter sentence.  As for social conservatives as a political movement, even to retain religious liberty protections is going to require a new and more serious engagement with politics.

Do you support the religious exemption legislation that several southern states have been pressing?

I haven't read the legislation in question -- it was vetoed in Arizona practically before I became aware it existed, but assuming the religious liberty scholars (including Prof. Doug Laycock) who wrote about it were correct, yes I would support it. I do not think religion should be used to discriminate against gay people in everyday life and I also do not think whole professions should be closed to people who cannot affirm gay unions as marriages, because then, once in a while, a gay person will have to find another photographer.

The comparison of these efforts to "Jim Crow" is morally and intellectually bankrupt. Jim Crow was a system where powerful elites tried to crush the ability of black people to live their lives as part of ordinary society.
[R]right now what I see, as I suspect you do: powerful corporations, elite institutions are all lining up to protect and proclaim the dignity of gay people. Small numbers of unusually devoted Christians are just trying to feed their kids. I do not see who is benefited really by putting them out of business. 

Have you seen this recent survey showing a really dramatic shift in public opinion among religious groups, and what do you make of it?

Religious people do not exist in a vacuum and as opposition to gay marriage becomes defined in the public sphere as a bigoted and discriminatory impulse, many religious people want to get good with the newly dominant public morality. The new rule is: the only way to express concern and care for gay people is to be for gay marriage, so of course many religious people wanting to express concern and care for gay people generally and for the gay people in their lives will go that route.

Has this been a difficult time for you? Does it come up often in conversation with others who oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, and if so, how is it talked about?

No, it's really not been a difficult time for me personally. I went into this fight, in good conscience, because I believed it mattered and that I had something to contribute. I did not promise myself I would win. I promised myself I would do everything I could see, to do this good, to fight for marriage as a universal human institution with certain goods and goals. I feel a great deal of contentment about that.
The take away? Gallagher remains a self-centered bitch woman who, due to her own psychological issues/frailties, still would if allowed like to force her religious beliefs on all citizens.   The only positive is that she is not so delusional as to be incapable of realizing that her size has lost the battle.  As for her lack of regret, she made a huge amount of money peddling hate and bigotry and now can live comfortably.  She may be comfortable as to what she did, but I suspect the money means more to her than any true concern for the so-called "sanctity of marriage."  Bottom line, Gallagher is NOT what I consider a nice and decent person.

Fred Phelps, Founder of Anti-Gay Westboro Baptist Church, Has Died

It's nice to speak ill of the dead, but Fred Phelps, the founder of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, in my view deserves the same lack of respect that he heaped on others while living.  I would further add that, if there is indeed a Hell, Phelps is there now and is likely surrounded by many other "godly folk" that made religious based hate and bigotry a large part of their lives (e.g., Jerry Falwell).  If Phelps did anything while living, it was to help reveal the ugly face of fundamentalist Christianity. has news on Phelps' passing.  Here are excerpts:  

TOPEKA, Kansas - The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the fiery founder of a small Kansas church who drew international condemnation for outrageous and hate-filled protests that blamed almost everything, including the deaths of AIDS victims and U.S. soldiers, on America’s tolerance for gay people, has died. He was 84.

Daughter Margie Phelps told The Associated Press that Fred Phelps died shortly after midnight Thursday. She didn’t provide the cause of death or the condition that recently put him in hospice care.

Throughout his life, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation made up almost entirely of his extended family, tested the boundaries of free speech, violating accepted societal standards for decency in their unapologetic assault on gays and lesbians. In the process, some believe he even helped the cause of gay rights by serving as such a provocative symbol of intolerance.

Phelps believed any misfortune, most infamously the deaths of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was God’s punishment for society’s tolerance of homosexuality.  

[S]ome gay rights advocates believe all the attention Phelps generated served to advance their cause.  Sue Hyde, a staff member at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said plenty of churches and ministers preach a message that attacks gay people. But Phelps and his family had “taken this out on the streets,” forcing people to confront their own views and rousing a protective instinct in parents and friends of gays and lesbians.

He reserved special scorn for conservative ministers who preached that homosexuality was a sin but that God nevertheless loved gays and lesbians. When the Rev. Jerry Falwell died in 2007, Westboro members protested at his funeral with the same sorts of signs they held up outside services a decade earlier for Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was beaten to death in 1998.
“They’re all going to hell,” Phelps said in a 2005 interview of Christians who refuse to condemn gay people as he did.

It wasn’t just the message, but also the mocking tone that many found to be deliberately cruel. Led by Phelps, church members thanked God for roadside explosive devices and prayed for thousands more casualties, calling the deaths of military personnel killed in the Middle East a divine punishment for a nation it believed was doomed by its tolerance for gay people.

“The Westboro Baptist Church is probably the vilest hate group in the United the State of America,” Heidi Beirich, research director for the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Associated Press in July 2011. “No one is spared, and they find people at their worst, most terrible moments of grief, and they throw this hate in their faces. It’s so low.”
Among the many comments to the piece, one I liked suggested that Phelps be cremated and his ashes scattered along major gay pride parade routes. :)

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

How to Punish Putin

Like the tsars of old, Vladimir Putin needs two things to remain in power as a virtual dictator: (i) a continued ability to dupe the larger population and play upon their prejudices and insecurities and (ii) continued support from Russia's oligarchs who have become the equivalent of the nobility under the tsarist regime.  Once Nicholas II lost the support of key members of the nobility, his abdication was inevitable (indeed, the husband of Nicholas' niece even helped assassinate Rasputin).  An op-ed column in the New York Times makes the case that the west can best punish Putin by striking at the Russian oligarchs who, if pressed to choose between Putin and their own continued wealth and lavish lifestyle would likely throw Putin under the bus.  Here are some  column highlights:
AS I write this, I am under house arrest. I was detained at a rally in support of anti-Putin protesters who were jailed last month.

In September, I ran for mayor of Moscow as a pro-reform, pro-democracy opposition candidate and received almost a third of the vote despite having no access to state media. Today, my blog, which was until recently visited by over two million readers per month, has been blocked as “extremist” after I called for friendly ties with Ukraine and compliance with international law.

[O]n Feb. 28, Russia sent troops to Ukraine in precisely such a “little war.” I admit that I underestimated Mr. Putin’s talent for finding enemies, as well as his dedication to ruling as “president for life,” with powers on par with the czars’.

As a citizen and patriot, I cannot support actions against Russia that would worsen conditions for our people. Still, I recommend two options that, if successfully implemented, I believe would be welcomed by most Russians.

First, although Mr. Putin’s invasion has already prompted the European Union to impose sanctions on 21 officials, and the United States on seven, most of these government figures cannot be considered influential. They do not have major assets outside Russia and are irrelevant to Mr. Putin; sanctioning them will not change Russia’s policy. After all the tough talk from Western politicians, this action is mocked in Russia and even seen as a tacit encouragement to Mr. Putin and his entourage, who seem to possess some magical immunity.

Instead, Western nations could deliver a serious blow to the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by the Kremlin’s cronies who shuttle between Russia and the West. This means freezing the oligarchs’ financial assets and seizing their property.

Such sanctions should primarily target Mr. Putin’s inner circle, the Kremlin mafia who pillage the nation’s wealth, including Gennady N. Timchenko, head of the Volga Group; Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, influential businessmen and former judo sparring partners of Mr. Putin; Yuri V. Kovalchuk, a financier believed to be Mr. Putin’s banker; Vladimir I. Yakunin, president of Russian Railways; the oligarchs Roman A. Abramovich and Alisher B. Usmanov; and Igor I. Sechin and Aleksei B. Miller, the heads of Rosneft and Gazprom, respectively.

The sanctions must also hit the oligarchs whose media outlets parrot the regime lines, and target Mr. Putin’s entire “war cabinet”: the TV spin doctors, compliant Duma members and apparatchiks of Mr. Putin’s United Russia Party.

Second, Western authorities must investigate ill-gotten gains from Russia within their jurisdictions. The Anti-Corruption Foundation, which I established in 2011, has revealed dozens of major cases of graft. In 90 percent of those cases, Russian money was laundered in the West. Sadly, American, European Union and British law enforcement agencies have stymied our efforts to investigate such criminal plunder.
“Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people,” Mr. Putin claimed this week. But even among the most nationalist and pro-Soviet of our people, a longing to restore Crimea to Russian rule faded years ago.  Yet Mr. Putin has cynically raised nationalist fervor to a fever pitch; imperialist annexation is a strategic choice to bolster his regime’s survival. Mobilizing the masses by distracting them from real problems like corruption and economic stagnation can take place only beneath the banner of fighting external enemies.

It is true that the consensus in both Russia and Crimea is that the peninsula has historically been closer to Moscow than to Kiev. But the notion that this reunification should be achieved at the end of the barrel of a gun is supported only by Mr. Putin’s hard-core base. The opposition has spoken clearly. The antiwar protest held in Moscow over the weekend was the largest in two years, and it exceeded any counterdemonstration mustered by pro-Kremlin movements.

There is a common delusion among the international community that although Mr. Putin is corrupt, his leadership is necessary because his regime subdues the dark, nationalist forces that otherwise would seize power in Russia. The West should admit that it, too, has underestimated Mr. Putin’s malign intent. It is time to end the dangerous delusion that enables him.

HRBOR March 20th, 2014 Third Thursday Business Networking - Tysinger Motors Audi Dealership

Just a reminder to local readers that they need to attend tonight's HRBOR Third Thursday Business Networking at the Tysinger Motors Audi Dealership from 6:00 to 9:00PM.  This event is going to be over the top and will be HRBOR's signature event of 2014.  There are no guest fees, so simply register on the HRBOR website and come enjoy the food, beverages, desserts and networking.  HRBOR has a few surprises for those attending - including a one night only 25% discount of new and renewing membership fees - so please do not miss this event.  Here are details:

Host - Tysinger Mercedes-Benz Hyundai Audi - 2712 Magruder Blvd, Hampton VA 23666 - (757) 865-8000

Bar Sponsor - Malvin Riggins & Company PC, Certified Public Accountants, Newport News Headquarters 757-881-9600

Dessert Sponsor - Geneva N. Perry, Esquire, McDermott Ward, 2205 Executive Drive Hampton VA 23666 757-722-0611

Where: Tysinger Mercedes-Benz Hyundai Audi - 2712 Magruder Blvd, Hampton VA 23666 (757) 865-8000

When: Thursday March 20th 6:00 PM to 9:00PM
HRBOR is Virginia's only affiliate of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and our goal is to enhance the Hampton Roads business community, both gay and straight.  

Utah Files Anti-Gay Brief in Marriage Case Appeal

I guess that since the state involved is Utah it should be little surprise that the state's brief in support of Utah's ban on same sex marriage makes it pretty clear that the state's view is that gays are inferior and basically, therefore, not entitled to equal rights under the U.S. Constitution.  The brief is a little bit more diplomatic in how this argument is couched, but the bottom line take away is that straights are superior to gays and, thus entitled to rights that gays do not merit.  Hopefully, the 10th Circuit will see through this smoke screen and call Utah's argument out for what it really is: thinly veiled anti-gay animus.  One might almost think that the brief had been written by the National Organization for Marriage or Family Research Council.  Note the insane claim that same sex marriage will discourage straight men from marrying. A column in Think Progress looks at this basically bigoted argument.  Here are excerpts:

The new 120-page court brief that Utah officials have filed to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is rife with familiar arguments, and at least one novel legal argument that is particularly offensive. But hidden among all the claims about states’ rights and the well-being of children are statements that reveal an underlying assumption that heterosexuality and different-sex relations are simply superior to homosexuality, bisexuality, and any kind of same-sex relationship.
Here are a few examples from throughout the brief:

Don’t Be So Quick To Call Sexual Orientation A “Fundamental Identity”

In a footnote towards the end of the brief, Utah questions one of the conclusions drawn by the plaintiffs, the same-sex couples suing for the right to marry. They had referred to the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas, which in 2003 overturned laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activities (and anything else that might be considered “sodomy”). Utah took issue with their description:
Though not relevant to the issues presented, Plaintiffs characterize Lawrence as holding that “sexual orientation is a fundamental aspect of human identity that the state has no legitimate interest in punishing or attempting to change.” Lawrence doesn’t say that, and Plaintiffs have no page citation for such a holding. More important, Utah is not trying to punish nor attempting to change anyone’s sexual orientation.
It’s true that those exact words are not found in Lawrence, but the decision does acknowledge homosexuality as something more than just a sexual act: “When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice.”

The Marriage Ban Does Not Discriminate Based On Sexual Orientation, Anyway

In an interesting rhetorical trick, Utah’s lawyers use another footnote to claim that there’s no discrimination taking place because everybody is equally allowed to marry a person of the opposite sex. This argument is usually reserved for arguing that banning same-sex marriage doesn’t discriminate on the basis of sex, but here, they claim that it even proves that there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation:
As noted above, Utah law allows every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, to marry a person of the opposite sex. Thus, as a technical and logical matter, Utah law cannot be said to classify on the basis of gender or sexual orientation… Of course, for reasons discussed in the text, this Court need not decide whether man-woman marriage laws “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay People Can Just Marry The Opposite Sex

It’s one thing to claim that the law doesn’t discriminate because gay people can still marry someone they aren’t oriented toward, but another footnote actually suggests that they should do just that:
In fact, some gays and lesbians have chosen to exercise their fundamental right to marry a person of the opposite sex. E.g., Brief of Doug Mainwaring et al.; Brief of Parents And Friends Of Ex-Gays & Gays; see also voice(s) of hope, Obviously, that would be a very difficult choice for gays and lesbians who have already formed or wish to form an abiding, loving relationship with someone of the same sex. But it does highlight the difference between the man-woman marriage definition and a law prohibiting certain people to marry at all — such as a restriction on marriage by inmates serving life sentences.
Note the three citations: 1) Doug Mainwaring, a Tea Party activist who claims to be gay, but is married to a woman, has children, and campaigns against marriage equality; 2) PFOX, an organization that advocates for ex-gay therapy, and 3) Voices of Hope, a Mormon website featuring the testimonials of individuals who acknowledge that they’re gay (or possibly bi, under the umbrella of “same-gender attraction”) but have chosen to be chaste or to marry a person of the opposite sex.

Utah suggests that, even though it may be “very difficult,” people with a same-sex orientation could choose to live the heterosexual lifestyle. Also, if they’re bi, they probably should.

Banning Same-Sex Marriage Encourages Bi People To Go Straight

In another footnote, Utah blatantly promotes biphobia by suggesting that the ban on same-sex marriage helps encourage bi people to live a straight lifestyle. . . 

Utah Has ‘”A Powerful Interest In Parenting By Heterosexuals”

the language suggests that the ban on same-sex marriage law is designed to be pro-heterosexuality. Here’s how the brief claims that overturning the ban would discourage straight guys:

Similarly, Professors Hawkins and Carroll note that redefining marriage in genderless terms would signal to heterosexual men, especially, that they are optional, not central to the well-being of their children, and would thus tend to alienate some heterosexual men from the institution of marriage. Abandoning the gendered definition of marriage would thus likely result in fewer and shorter marriages of heterosexuals, less parenting by heterosexual fathers, more conception by heterosexuals outside of marriage, and less self-sacrificing by heterosexual fathers.
Denying protections to gay or bi fathers somehow ensures that straight fathers are less likely to abandon their families. The argument is nonsensical enough in the context of same-sex vs. different-sex parenting, but with sexual orientation labels it sounds even odder.

The heterosexism on display reveals the very animus that the lawyers are attempting to deny.


GOP Legislator Slams Republican Party Voter Disenfranchisement Laws

Realizing that the nation's demographics are changing against their favor and that their failed policies are less and less popular in elections, across America Republican controlled state legislatures have sought to disenfranchise voters who are likely to vote Democrat by imposing restrictive voter ID laws and by shortening the hours that polls are open for voting.  All of this is done under the smoke screen of fighting voter fraud even though studies have shown that cases of voter fraud are extremely rare.  The Virginia GOP has time and again used the voter fraud bogey man to mask its efforts to disenfranchise minorities and college student voters. To me, it is all part of the GOP's inability to see anyone who is not white, straight and preferably conservative Christian as even fully human.  A Wisconsin Republican has finally had the spine to call out his party's agenda for what it really is.  Here are excerpts from Think Progress:
As his own party pushed through the Wisconsin Senate the latest in a series of measures to make it harder to vote in the state, Sen. Dale Schultz (R) blasted the efforts as “trying to suppress the vote” last week. 

Schultz, who is not seeking re-election and was the lone Republican to oppose a bill last week to limit the hours of early voting in every jurisdiction in the state, was a guest on The Devil’s Advocates radio program on Madison’s 92.1 FM last Wednesday. Asked why his party pushed the bill, Schultz responded, “I am not willing to defend them anymore. I’m just not and I’m embarrassed by this.”

Schultz argued that this and dozens of similar bills before the Senate this were based on “mythology” that voter fraud is a serious concern: “I began this session thinking that there was some lack of faith in our voting process and we maybe needed to address it. But I have come to the conclusion that this is far less noble.”

Noting that Republican President Dwight Eisenhower championed the 1957 civil rights law, Schultz said that he could not “find any real reason” for his party’s effort to make it harder to vote:
SCHULTZ: It’s just, I think, sad when a political party — my political party — has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. And again, I’m a guy who understands and appreciates what we should be doing in order to make sure every vote counts, every vote is legitimate. But that fact is, it ought to be abundantly clear to everybody in this state that there is no massive voter fraud. The only thing that we do have in this state is we have long lines of people who want to vote. And it seems to me that we should be doing everything we can to make it easier, to help these people get their votes counted. And that we should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future, rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.
Schultz added that the suppression was “just plain wrong,” adding, “It is all predicated on some belief there is a massive fraud or irregularities, something my colleagues have been hot on the trail for three years and have failed miserably at demonstrating.” The GOP-controlled Assembly has already passed a similar bill.

A 2011 study by the non-partisan Brennan Center found just seven cases of voter fraud in Wisconsin’s 2004 election, out of three million votes cast — a fraud rate of just 0.0002 percent.