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How Gay Groups Failed the Community on Justice Alito’s Confirmation

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:46 pm - February 3, 2006.
Filed under: Gay Politics,Supreme Court

Last month, in a plea against the confirmation of Samuel A. Alito to the Supreme Court, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Joe Solmonese claimed that a glance at then-Judge’s “resume reads like an anti-gay textbook.” Actually, a glance at his resume reveals anything but. Solmonese had acknowledged as much in a November 2, 2005 press release (currently not accessible on HRC’s web-site) when he called it a “hopeful sign” that, according to the Boston Globe, the man who now sits on the Supreme Court, in 1971, “chaired a task force that recommended decriminalizing sodomy and saying discrimination against gays in hiring ‘should be forbidden.'” In November, Solmonese wisely noted that there “were very few people standing up for gay Americans 34 years ago.”

Yet, despite Alito’s early advocacy for gay rights, Solmonese twisted what The Malcontent‘s Robbie described as Alito’s “mixed record on gay rights” into a textbook portrait of an anti-gay bigot. And he wasn’t the only gay leader to do so. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Executive Director Matt Foreman called Alito’s appointment “dangerous” as his confirmation represented “a devastating blow to individual rights, civil liberties and equal justice under law in America.” Like HRC, NGLTF seems concerned that Alito’s appointment threatens the future of Roe v. Wade, the “landmark” 1973 U.S. Supreme Court preventing states from outlawing abortion which seems to be a sacred text to those on the left, including gay organizations. Indeed, the first issue the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) mentioned in its last-minute plea to block Alito’s confirmation was their claim that this good man “opposes reproductive freedom and will use his position on the court to undermine this fundamental right.

While based on his confirmation hearings, it’s fair to draw the conclusion that now as a Supreme Court Justice, Alito would vote to overturn that sacred liberal decision, the gay groups twisted his decisions on issues affecting gays out of context so they could claim he’s anti-gay. As The Malcontent‘s Robbie put it:

There is no substantial, objective basis for gay rights groups and others to charge Justice Alito with homophobia or any other anti-gay attitudes. Instead, they must resort to cherry-picking cases in order to provide cover for their blatant Democratic partisanship.

Exactly. Gay groups opposing Alito have shown themselves more interested in carrying water for the Democrats than in serving the gay community. Since gay groups first announced their opposition to Alito’s confirmation, they have behaved as “the gay and lesbian adjuncts of a much broader left-wing movement

Standing united with other left-wing groups in opposing this good man, they presented a dishonest portrait of the newest Justice, particularly related to his positions on gay issues. And in failing to tell the truth about this good man, they have failed the gay community. Many gay men and lesbians look up to these groups for information and advocacy on issues of concern to gay people. Instead of defining Alito as a man with, at worst, a mixed record on gay issues — and no identifiable anti-gay animus — they call him a textbook case of bigotry.

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NGLTF–Blaming Religious Conservatives for All Social Ills, even Gay-Bashing

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:08 pm - February 3, 2006.
Filed under: Gay America,Gays & religion

Although police have found “‘Nazi regalia’ and anti-Semitic writings on the wall” of the bedroom of Jacob D. Robida, the man accused of the vicious attack in the New Bedford gay bar earlier this week, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Executive Director Matt Foreman sees the attack as another excuse to blame the religious right. In a statement yesterday, Foreman said:

The hatred and loathing fueling this morning’s vicious attack on gay men in New Bedford is not innate, it is learned. And who is teaching it? Leaders of the so-called Christian right, that’s who. Individuals like James Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the Rev. Pat Robertson and their ilk are obsessed with homosexuality. They use their vast resources, media networks and affiliated pulpits to blame lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for all the ills of society.

Actually, it seems that NGLTF is always blaming social conservatives and Republicans for all the ills of society.

Despite NGLTF’s angry accusations, authorities have only found no evidence that this creep was familiar with the rhetoric of the Christian right. In addition to his Nazi regalia, he also “displayed a Nazi symbol” on his Internet profile where “he wrote, ‘I’m interested in death, destruction, chaos, filth and greed.’” Doesn’t sound like the rhetoric of the Christian right to me. It’s one thing (and a good one) to fault anti-gay social conservatives for their narrow reading of Scripture, it’s another to accuse them of teaching “hatred and loathing” which fuels a brutal attack on gay people.

Foreman is not the first person to level such an unfounded accusation. In an Op-Ed in the New York Times in 1998, Frank Rich accused Gary Bauer and his Family Research Council for being indirectly responsible for the beating and murder of Matthew Shepard. Now, I have little stomach for the anti-gay rhetoric of Gary Bauer or the other individuals Foreman listed in his statement. They twist Scripture and misunderstand gay and lesbian Americans, defining our community by its most sexually-obsessed and drug-addicted members.

That said, wrong as those social conservatives are on homosexuality, they don’t countenance violence, so it would be equally wrong to suggest that they are, in some way, responsible for what happened in New Bedford. It’s unfortunate when gay leaders, like Foreman, engage in the same kind of rhetoric for which they fault anti-gay social conservatives. The thug who attacked the patrons of that gay bar is a low-life who reads neo-Nazi screeds not a Christian martyr eager to serve his Savior.

He doesn’t seem to be influenced by any Christian theology, not even the crackpot theology of those who would steer their flock away from an evangelical movie featuring an openly gay actor. It seems that NGLTF is always looking for an excuse to lambaste social conservatives, blaming them even for crimes for which they are clearly not responsible. It’s unfortunate that this gay group seems unable to distinguish between neo-Nazi ideology and social conservative Christian theology.

In his documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, filmmaker Errol Morris faults McNamara, a Defense Secretary during the Vietnam War, for failing to understand the enemy our nation was fighting. Yesterday’s release shows that Matt Foreman doesn’t understand social conservatives, the enemy his group appears to be fighting. The more eager he and other gay activists are to attack social conservatives for any number of evils in our society, the harder it’s going to be for gay and lesbian Americans to find common ground with our social conservative straight fellows in the heartland, particularly broad-minded churchgoing Republicans in the “red” states.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

ADDENDUM: I hope to write on the Hate Crimes issue and this brutal attack, but, for now, let me just say this, the punishment I favor for Mr. Robida would certainly violate the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Gay Bar Rampage In Massachusetts

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 10:31 am - February 3, 2006.
Filed under: Gay America

I was saddened and shocked to hear about this story as I drove to and from Atlanta yesterday for work. I wanted to post on this so we all had a way to reflect on this tragedy.

Police investigate shooting as a hate crime – Advocate.com

A teenager armed with a hatchet and handgun opened fire inside a New Bedford, Mass., gay bar early Thursday, wounding at least three people in what police are investigating as a hate crime.

A bartender at Puzzles Lounge told the Associated Press that the young man, dressed all in black, ordered a drink and asked if Puzzles was a gay bar. He finished his drink shortly after midnight, ordered another, then started attacking people, the bartender said. Three were hospitalized Thursday.


18-year-old suspect Jacob D. Robida

So a couple of observations here. I’m certainly not condoning what happened, nor looking to blame the victims. But I”m having a hard time understanding why an 18-year old wasn’t carded by the bartender and either shown out or denied a drink. Now perhaps this “drink” was an iced tea….but using the term “drink” in a bar usually means alcohol. I just think this is an interesting detail that I’d like to learn more about.

**UPDATE: According to the Washington Blade story, the 18-year old neo-Nazi suspect “walked in around midnight and drank a rum on the rocks.”**

More importantly, this incident comes about a week after PatriotPartner and I were reflecting on our time already in Charlotte and how welcoming people around here have been to a gay couple that doesn’t go out of their way to hide it. No, we don’t wear skirts to Home Depot, but c’mon… people KNOW. PatriotPartner and I both agreed that when you hear of gay bashing stories, a majority (though not all) actually seem to come out of Liberal Blue State America. Granted, the urban centers automatically assume an increase in crime due to population density.

But Massachusetts?!?! I thought we were all supposed to go around like nymphs in the fairie meadows in Massachusetts celebrating our gayness. Frankly, I feel more comfortable in Charlotte being who I am then I ever did in Washington, DC or Northern Virginia.

Finally, what are your thoughts on this being a “hate crime.” Isn’t it simply a violent crime, period? I have mixed feelings about the importance and relevance of separate “hate crime” laws….. and wanted to open that up for discussion as well.

Anyway, I’m sorry to start the weekend off on a downer but felt this tragedy was important to cover today.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Log Cabin’s One-Way Street

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 10:12 am - February 3, 2006.
Filed under: Log Cabin Republicans

I’m being hit up again for money from an organization that I frequently criticize. Log Cabin (Republicans) has me on their mailing list… and I’m sure many of you are on it, too. So I received the expected “2006 Membership Drive” email this week. In the email, President Guerriero highlights the following:

Grassroots Growth—Log Cabin saw record membership growth with 8,000 new members and twenty new chapters.

Around the Nation—Log Cabin successfully mobilized nearly 10,000 fair-minded Americans to let members of Congress know they should overturn the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

My question is “says who??” Both Log Cabin and Human Rights Campaign are uber-secretive when it comes to disclosing who their funds are coming from and where they are going. Interesting, since both are Federally-registered lobbying organizations. One would think they would have at least an ethical, if not legal, responsibility to be transparent with their money inflow and outgo.

If Log Cabin is asking me to help them, they have to understand that this relationship with their members must be a two-way street.

The reason I am posting this is to solicit your feedback as readers. I am considering re-contributing to Log Cabin this year to become re-engaged with the organization. And I have two simple goals in mind: (1) As a contributing member, I can have more influence on the organization to “Put the Republican Back in Log Cabin” (TM) — that’s my catchy slogan for 2006! And (2), to formally press the organization as well has have a place of standing with the Federal Elections Commission and the IRS to demand accountability and fiscal transparency.

The downside to my evil plan? I’m a tightwad.

The Comments section is now open…..

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from GPW): I’m very suspicious of the 8,000 new members number. Political organizations tend to lose, rather than gain, members in non-election years. Not only that. I attended Log Cabin’s convention last year and it seemed exactly the same size as the previous Log Cabin convention I had attended — in 1998 when the group had a much smaller membership.

I agree with Focus on the Family?!?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:14 am - February 3, 2006.
Filed under: Gays & religion,Movies/Film & TV

Some evangelicals are upset with the casting of openly gay actor Chad Allen in End of the Spear, a new Christian-themed movie made by an evangelical film company. This flick is based on a true story of how families of missionaries killed by an indigenous tribe in Ecuador “converted the tribe to Christianity, and forgave and befriended the killers.” Although the film tells an inspiring tale of redemption and grace, the Reverend Jason Janz is spearheading an effort asking the “filmmakers to apologize for their choice.” Over 100 pastors have “signed a letter drafted by Mr. Janz . . . expressing their disappointment in the casting of Mr. Allen.

Some have even boycotted the film. Every Tribe Entertainment, the company which produced the film, has received threatening materials. Looks like some extreme social conservatives have been taking lessons from the far left. They fear that as the flick inspires people to become missionaries for their faith, it might also cause them to think differently about homosexuality. Will Hall, executive director of BPNEW.net, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, fears that when moviegoers realize a gay man played one of the film’s heroes, they might “get exposed to his views on homosexuality, and that would cause some of them to question Biblical views of homosexuality and every other sin.

Well, if these extreme evangelicals didn’t make an issue of Allen’s homosexuality, most viewers probably wouldn’t have known about it. The “parade of horribles” that he imagines wouldn’t have come to pass. While a number of people do obsess about the private lives of actors and Hollywood stars, most people are just content to enjoy their work. And don’t wonder much what they do on their own time.

Not all evangelicals are getting worked up by the casting of Chad Allen. Bob Waliszewski, head of the media review department at Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson’s group, hopes that the flick will inspire people to become missionaries as has story on which it’s based. Despite Focus on the Family’s strong stance against homosexuality, Waliszewski finds that the message of the movie is more important than the sins of its cast: “cut what is the message of the product? And do we at Focus feel compelled to check on the sexual history of everyone in a movie? Did they have a D.U.I.? Did they pay their taxes?

While I believe Focus on the Family is wrong on homosexuality, I do agree that the message of a movie matters more than personal life of the actors. It’s unfortunate that some social conservatives are so obsessed with homosexuality that they’ll use an actor’s sexual orientation to steer their flock away from a film based on a story which has inspired countless Christians.

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com

Watch Grizzly Man Tonight on Discovery @ 8PM (EST & PST)!

This may well be the first time I encourage our readers to watch something on TV. But, as I was checking a link for this post on The Internet Movie Database, I saw an ad for the “World Television Premiere of Grizzly Man today, Friday, February 3, 2006, at 8PM Eastern and Pacific on the Discovery Channel. Given that I had thought of blogging on the film, it seemed a sign that I should first encourage readers to watch it.

I saw the flick Wednesday night at a special screening for members of Film Independent and it blew me away. When I ran into some friends afterwards, we couldn’t stop talking about the film. And yesterday I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It is one of the most thought-provoking documentaries I have ever seen. The tale it tells is almost mythic. I don’t want to say anything more about it as that must compromise your experience of this cinematic masterpiece. So, just WATCH THIS MOVIE, tonight on the Discovery Channel at 8PM (Eastern and Pacific).

-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com