One of the GOP candidates swept into office Tuesday in Colorado was a former Navy chaplain who believes gays are “unhuman” and once performed an on-air exorcism of President Barack Obama.
Gordon Klingenschmitt won just under 70 percent of the vote in the state’s 15th House district, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Republicans outnumber Democrats in that district by more than 2 to 1.
Klingenschmitt heads up the Pray in Jesus Name Project, which is designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The former chaplain hosts a daily “Pray in Jesus Name” program, where homosexuality is by far his favorite topic of discussion.
Right Wing Watch has a great round-up of Klingenschmitt’s most extreme statements. Here’s a sampling:
On gays: “They’re cooperating with the Devil and there is something unhuman inside of them.”
On “curing” a transgender teen: “The parents are encouraging that and really what the parents ought to do is take that boy to an exorcist, take that boy to a minister or at least discipline the boy, maybe give him a spanking…”
On exorcising Obama: “Father in Heaven, we pray against the domestic enemies of the Constitution, against the demon of tyranny who is using the White House occupant and that demonic spirit is oppressing us.”
Apparently, Klingenschmitt himself has realized that those extreme statements could prove problematic during his time as a legislator…”I would say it is time for people of good will on both sides of the political debate to come together to have reasonable discussions about these issues,”
Like most Republicans whose self-image is bound up in the constipated world view of the 14th Century – Klingenschmitt is a liar. Like most of his peers who ran for state and federal office in Colorado – he is a liar. Like most of his peers who ran for national office throughout the United States – he is a liar.
But, that’s OK with the folks who voted for him. They know he is a liar. They accept he is lying to the public in general to get elected and they are smug about being in on the lie. It’s all for a good cause in their tiny little brains – thoroughly absent the part that requires ethics and understands that a changing society offers a chance to learn more about the world and life.
Lying is good. Especially if it leads to Christian Sharia rule.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.
At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.
For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.
While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.
A Catholic nun has caused a firestorm after she allegedly told teens at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina last month that masturbation can turn boys gay, and gay men have up to 1,000 sexual partners.
Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, an assistant professor of theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, reportedly has a history of anti-gay rhetoric. In one of her online lectures, she called oral sex an abnormal act that’s “imported from the homosexual culture…”
In one of her online videos Laurel reiterates that “a man’s desire for instance, for his father’s love, his father’s affection, what happens to it? It can become sexualized. And he can begin to think he has a sexual desire for another man, when in fact, he doesn’t.” She adds that boys who have been sexual abused also use “homosexual acts” as revenge. When reached by phone, Laurel said she hadn’t seen all the reports yet, and could not immediately provide comment.
Aquinas College President Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith defended the school presentation in a statement to the Tennessean, maintaining that, “the presentation was given with the intention of showing that human sexuality is a great gift to be treasured and that this gift is given by God…”
RTFA for notes on this silliness compounded by ignorance. MoJo also maintains a list of stupid abstinence lecturers appearing around the country if you really want to make your brain bleed.
Utah tried civil rights for a week or two – and turned their backs on love
The Obama administration on Friday made the latest contribution to a fast moving legal battle over same-sex marriage rights, as the Justice Department said that the federal government would recognize as lawful the marriages of some 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah even though the state government is largely refusing to do so…
“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in an unusual video announcement on the Justice Department website. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds…”
On Wednesday, Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced that the ban, an amendment to the Utah Constitution, was back in legal force while the litigation continued, something that could take years. During that time, he said, the state would not recognize or confer new marital benefits to those same-sex couples who had married.
But with Friday’s announcement, same-sex couples in Utah who married will be able to file joint federal income tax returns and will be eligible for other spousal benefits, like health insurance for the families of federal employees and the ability to sponsor a noncitizen spouse for a family visa…
In Utah, gay couples and supporters of same-sex marriage cheered the federal government’s move. Many were disappointed and angered by the state’s decision not to recognize their new marriages, and have argued that, despite the continuing legal battle, their nuptials are just as valid as any other in Utah.
“It feels like a little victory after the last couple days with our governor,” said Austin Vance, who married his partner last month at the Salt Lake County clerk’s office, with hundreds of other gay couples. “It definitely raises spirits a little bit. It was disturbing that our governor would make those assertions that we wouldn’t be recognized.”
“We’re going to continue to file and act as if we’re married,” he added. “Some people have said that’s an act of civil disobedience. If it is, so be it…”
Sooner or later, Utah – like other backward states – will have to move into the 21st Century. They may not wish to recognize science trumping superstition, reality taking precedence over bigots and know-nothings. But, so far, our Constitution is still recognized as giving superior rule by law for our federal Union over States Rights and the hypocrites that invoke them whenever convenient to their need to have some Americans declared second-class citizens.
In one of their most dramatic choices in a century, local leaders of the Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to ease a divisive ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted into the nation’s leading youth organization.
Gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders.
Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal.
Casting ballots were about 1,400 voting members of BSA’s National Council who were attending their annual meeting at a conference center not far from BSA headquarters in suburban Dallas.
The vote will not end the wrenching debate over the Scouts’ membership policy, and it could trigger defections among those on the losing side…
Of course. Would you expect bigots to accept democracy – along with civil rights?
The BSA’s overall “traditional youth membership” – Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers – is now about 2.6 million, compared with more than 4 million in peak years of the past. It also has about 1 million adult leaders and volunteers.
Of the more than 100,000 Scouting units in the U.S., 70 percent are chartered by religious institutions.
Those include liberal churches opposed to any ban on gays, but some of the largest sponsors are relatively conservative denominations that have previously supported the broad ban – notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptist churches.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in April that it was satisfied with new proposal, and the National Catholic Committee on Scouting did not oppose it.
The frustration felt by those who oppose full civil rights for all Americans is nothing new. The nation listened to their whine and breast-beating over accepting non-whites, witnessed the transformation of local chapters of one or another organization or institution into something designed to maintain racial purity. Some of the same will take place over sexual orientation, now.
And, then, time and tide will continue to roll forward over the reactionaries who always think half-measures are all they can bear.
Senator Rob Portman became the most prominent Republican lawmaker to back gay rights when he reversed his opposition to same-sex marriage on Friday, two years after his son told him he was gay.
In a newspaper opinion piece on Friday, shortly before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments in two key cases on the issue, the Ohio senator said he now supports gay marriage.
“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in an op-ed piece in Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch.
“That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a Congressman, and more recently as a Senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then, something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.”
Portman’s 21-year-old son, Will, told the senator and his wife in February 2011 that he was gay and had been “since he could remember.”
It was the latest show of public support for gay rights. President Barack Obama announced last year that he approved of gay marriage, and in his inaugural speech in January, he equated gay rights with civil rights.
The Supreme Court hears oral arguments later this month in two cases related to gay marriage. One challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In a related case, the court will also hear arguments that question a California law, known as Proposition 8, banning gay marriage…
In his op-ed piece, Portman wrote of how he has “wrestled” with reconciling his Christian faith with the desire for his son to have the same opportunities as his siblings.
Which is why they’re called civil rights, folks.
It’s hard not to be critical of Portman waiting till he was personally affected by his son coming out – before examining all that he did afterwards. As someone in an elected position, someone charged with presenting informed leadership on issues affecting his constituents and the nation. OTOH, we can criticize damned near every one of the elected members of our government of paying overmuch heed to the needs of the lobbyists and check-writing punks that surround public office in this nation.
I’d say he’s different in that he did choose to get off his rusty-dusty and change a piece of his politics to match reality – instead of ideology. Not a common process in Congress even among the few folks I think worth supporting.
Tammy Baldwin elected as 1st openly gay senator
Voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex marriage on Tuesday, marking the first time marriage rights have been extended to same-sex couples by popular vote.
The vote was hailed as a watershed moment by gay rights activists. While same-sex unions have been legalized in six states and the District of Columbia by lawmakers or courts, voters had consistently rejected doing so. Voters in more than 30 states have approved constitutional bans on gay marriage.
“We made history and sent a powerful message that we have truly reached a tipping point on gay and lesbian civil rights in this country,” said Brian Ellner, head of the pro-gay marriage group The Four. “By winning for the first time on marriage at the ballot box, we made clear what national polls already show — that Americans support fairness and equality for all families.”
President Barack Obama this year became the first U.S. president to support gay marriage. His campaign endorsed the gay marriage measures in the three states…
Voters in Minnesota rejected a proposal that would have defined marriage solely as a heterosexual union. The constitutional amendment failed 48 percent to 52 percent…
The constitutionality of restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman is widely expected to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court soon.
That’s when we get to see if the Conservative’s Supreme Court remembers anything about civil rights applying to all Americans?
Brig. Gen. Tammy S. Smith and her wife, Tracey Hepner
An Army officer being promoted to brigadier general openly acknowledged her homosexuality on Friday by having her wife pin her star to her uniform, thus becoming the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the United States military.
The officer, Brig. Gen. Tammy S. Smith, 49, a 26-year veteran of the Army, was promoted in a ceremony at the women’s memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The star was affixed by Tracey Hepner, who was a co-founder last year of the Military Partners and Families Coalition, which “provides support, resources, education and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families,” according to its Web site.
The Army said that General Smith was not available for an interview on Sunday. However, she said in a statement that the Defense Department had made sexual orientation a private matter, but that “participating with family in traditional ceremonies such as the promotion is both common and expected of a leader.”
Sue Fulton, a spokeswoman for OutServe, a two-year-old organization of lesbians and gay men in the military, said Sunday that it was “highly unlikely” that General Smith was the only gay officer of her rank. She called General Smith’s public acknowledgment significant.
“I would say that it’s important to recognize ‘the first,’ because then the next person doesn’t have to be first,” said Ms. Fulton, a 1980 West Point graduate. “Once we get over each ‘first,’ each hurdle of ‘Well, that’s never been done before,’ it makes it a nonissue going forward.”
As a colonel, General Smith was deployed in Afghanistan from December 2010 to October 2011 as the chief of Army Reserve Affairs. She currently serves in Washington as the deputy chief of the Army Reserve.
Overdue – and Sláinte!
Salt Lake City — The congregants wore church clothes to the annual gay pride parade here in the heartland of Mormonism. Waving rainbow signs and urging love and acceptance, they marched at the front of the line, vanguards of a new movement of Mormons challenging their church’s staunch opposition to homosexuality.
In 2008, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints played a pivotal role in financing and supporting a ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in California. Now, as the legal battle over that ban, Proposition 8, heads toward the Supreme Court, gay and straight Mormons are making increasingly vocal calls for church leaders to reconsider their stance on gay marriage and welcome openly gay congregants back into the church…
This gentle and scattered dissent, percolating in Utah living rooms, online message boards and gay pride parades across the country, could mark the beginnings of a small earthquake in the socially conservative Mormon Church, coming at a moment when Mitt Romney’s presidential bid and President Obama’s support for gay marriage have focused national attention on both the Mormon Church and the politics of same-sex marriage.
This November, four states — Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington — will consider whether to expand marriage to include gay couples, or limit it to one man and one woman. The Mormon Church has not yet signaled whether it will intervene with the same flood of cash, volunteers and organizational support that helped tip the balance four years ago in California.
The church still opposes same-sex marriage, and advocates say Mormon bishops still regularly excommunicate openly gay members in some more conservative congregations. Church leaders say that being gay is not itself a sin, but it urges gay members to remain celibate. The church still considers “homosexual relations” a serious transgression that can lead to disciplinary action, along with offenses like heterosexual sex outside marriage, child abuse, abortion and rape…