Tony Dungy against same-sex marriage

According to the Indianapolis Star:

Colts coach Tony Dungy said he knows some people would prefer him to steer clear of the gay marriage debate, but he used a speech Tuesday night to clearly stake out his position.

Dungy told more than 700 people at the Indiana Family Institute’s banquet that he agrees with that organization’s position supporting a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

“I appreciate the stance they’re taking, and I embrace that stance,” Dungy said.

Dungy’s comments came in the final three minutes of a wide-ranging, 20-minute speech that recounted stories from the Colts’ Super Bowl run, related his interest in prison ministry and described how he wondered whether his firing in Tampa was God’s signal for him to leave football and enter ministry. He also talked about his efforts to make the Colts more family-friendly by encouraging players to bring their kids to practice.

Local and national gay-rights organizations had criticized Dungy for accepting the invitation to appear at the banquet. The institute, affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been one of the leading supporters of the marriage amendment.

“IFI is saying what the Lord says,” Dungy said. “You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I’m on the Lord’s side.”

The coach said his comments shouldn’t be taken as gay bashing, but rather his views on the matter as he sees them from a perspective of faith.

“We’re not anti- anything else. We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way,” Dungy said.

Previous IFI banquets had drawn at most 440 guests, according to organizers. But the appearance of the Super Bowl-winning coach to receive the institute’s “Friend of the Family” award set a record.

Sorry, Tony – this is gay bashing. Basically the textbook definition of it. And even if you’re are claiming to only be concerned with the marriage issue – Indiana Family Institute is not just concerned with that. They say they are, but they have written and supported legislation in the past that went far beyond concerns about marriage. IFI was responsible for a draft of state legislation proposing to quarantine gay men and lesbians in camps to ‘protect against HIV and AIDS’ in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Note, they weren’t talking about rounding up just people who had AIDS (although that legislation DID get passed) – they wanted to pull in all groups they considered ‘at risk’ and they felt all gay men and lesbians fit that category. Yeah… logic escaped them. This draft of the bill was quickly suppressed, but not before a copy of it made its way to the gay community by alarmed folks who read it.

This is the group that Tony Dungy is raising money for.

No Colts
Continue ReadingTony Dungy against same-sex marriage

Why do straights hate gays?

By Larry Kramer
March 20, 2007
DEAR STRAIGHT PEOPLE,
Why do you hate gay people so much?
Gays are hated. Prove me wrong. Your top general just called us immoral. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country in Iraq. A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away with calling a straight presidential candidate a faggot. Even Garrison Keillor, of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column. This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful and dumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace’s bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us.

Continue ReadingWhy do straights hate gays?

SJR-7 and Eric Miller

Due to supervising all the work on my old house over the past few weeks, and the work on our current home (which is still ongoing. Sigh.), and a busy time at work, and preparation to go to SXSW, I’m guilty of quite a few “drive-by” posts: where I mention important things without enough context (or appropriate editing, grammar, spelling, etc.) or worse yet, fail to mention important things. Here’s a bit of a round-up of some Important issues I’ve been neglecting…

SJR-7 – the Marriage Discrimination Bill: got renamed for it’s entrance on the House side of the legislature: it’s now called House Joint Resolution 15 (HJR 15). It had it’s first reading, and will be assigned to a committee sometime soon – probably this week.

Now is an important time to contact your legislators – and to urge your friends and family to do so. Evangelical “Christian” Eric Miller has thousands of people writing to legislators in support of this bill, which will take away rights for all unmarried couples, not just gay ones.

On a side note – While Laura McPhee has written an excellent, must-read article for Nuvo on the very dangerous Eric Miller and how he’s pursuing taking away not just my rights but yours too on a whole host of issues, she fails to give credit to what is obviously one of her key sources on the issue – Gary Welsh from Advance Indiana, who’s published much of this information previously. We know how I feel about not citing sources. Tut, tut!

The Bias Crimes Bill (HB 1459) – got stalled because Jackie Walorski (R-Lakeville) inserted an amendment into the bill to make it a hate crime to have an abortion. Yeah. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Eric Miller got thousands to people to send in letters protesting it. Yes, that makes no sense if you know what the bill actually does – protects every single Hoosier from crime based on a perceived bias – but Miller was able to lie to his followers about the bill, claiming it gave special protection “homosexuals and cross-dressers.” Aside from the fact that this isn’t true, isn’t it a bit odd that Miller and his ilk are so emphatic/public about defending beating up gay and transgendered people? Makes me wonder what they do in their free time.

There are quite a few other things I missed writing about – Matthew Shepard’s mom came to town to speak at the University of Indianapolis on Tuesday night. I had the opportunity to go, but didn’t have time to attend. I’d really like to have seen her speak.

Continue ReadingSJR-7 and Eric Miller

Ann Coulter Calls Candidate John Edwards a Faggot

Reported in numerous places (see video), yesterday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (in front of a crowd that included 2008 Republican Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), former Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) as well as Vice President Dick Cheney), right-wing pundit Ann Coulter had this to say:

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”

One of these days, Ann. One of these fucking days.
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese:

“To interject this word into American political discourse is a vile and disgusting way to sink the debate to a new, all-time low,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Make no doubt about it, these remarks go directly against what our Founding Fathers intended and have no place on the schoolyard, much less our country’s political arena.”
“It is clear that some in the Republican Party plan to run in 2008 the same way they did in 2004, by using discrimination to divide the country and rally their base,” said Solmonese. “But, 2008 is not 2004, and this time the politics of fear and smear will not work. The American people are tired of those who would rather divide than unite.”
“We demand that every single Presidential candidate in attendance at this conference, along with Vice President Cheney stand up and publicly condemn this type of gutter-style politics,” continued Solmonese. “If not, then their silence will be deafening to the vast majority of Americans who believe this type of language belongs no where near the discussions about the future of our country.”

To say the least. This has been mentioned on dozens of sites I read every day, but I have yet to hear any reaction in the mainstream news about it. I can’t imagine how the New York Times could report on the conference and on Coulter’s speech specifically without mentioning the most imflammatory thing she said in it.
The fact that someone as vile and outside the mainstream as Ann Coulter could be introduced at an event like this in the first place is an outrage. And for her to say this and not have anyone immediately stand up after her commentary and distance the event from it says everything that needs to be said about the Republican Party – it needs to cease to exist.
UPDATE: at least it finally hits Andrew Sullivan. About fucking time, idiot. Jesus I’m sick of reading shit like this from right-wing apologists like Sully on everything – the war, the Republican party. As if they were carefully measuring their beliefs and weighing the issues and only now it’s right to come to the conclusion that the war was wrong, that the Republican party is toxic, etc. Some people knew this years ago, wanker. It’s not like people weren’t telling you and offering you proof back then. You were just busy being a contrarian because it got you attention.

Continue ReadingAnn Coulter Calls Candidate John Edwards a Faggot

Kill Batty Man – Scary Jamaican Blog

Joe.My.God points out this scary homophobic Jamaican site Kill Batty Man, hosted on google/blogger for over a year.

The site gleefully advocates violence towards gay people (often referred to as “batty men”) in the country of Jamaica (which has a long history of rabid homophobia, including some recent incidents I’ve noted here) saying while anti-gay violence will “hurt Jamaica” economically, it’s still a “good thing”.

Free speech issue surround this of course, but inciting people to violence isn’t protected free speech. You can flag the site as offensive and contact google to complain.

UPDATE: Google has placed a warning on the site, citing offensive content.

Continue ReadingKill Batty Man – Scary Jamaican Blog

Apparently, I’m Chopped Liver

Hmmmm – I guess my 20,000 visitors a day don’t rate a mention on Indiana Equality’s thank you letter for the Rally organizing…

Many, many other businesses, organizations and bloggers contributed greatly to Monday’s success by promoting participation in the rally. A big thanks to Advance Indiana; American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 62; American Values Alliance; bilerico.com; bloomingOUT; Blue Indiana; First Republicans Forum; Gay/Straight Alliance Indiana; GayIndy.Org; GLBT Resource Center of Michiana; Indiana Black Pride; Indiana Planned Parenthood Advocates; Indiana Progressives PAC; Jewish Community Relations Council; Masson’s Blog; Muncie PFLAG; OUT: Indiana University’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Peoples’ Student Union; Outword Bound Bookstore; Purdue Queer Student Union; Reality Magazine; Spectrum (Ball State University); stAllio!s way; The Word; and Taking Down Words.

Why doesn’t that surprise me?
UPDATE: I got a very nice note from Jon Keep about this:

Hi Steph,
I wanted to offer my apologies, on behalf of IE, for not including A Commonplace Book in the Post Rally email. It has been my experience that when anyone makes a list, you run the risk of omitting someone. That was the case here. Our aim was to recognize those organizations that helped make the rally a success. We very much appreciate the support and the publicity that you gave and in no way meant to exclude you.
Please know that your support, and on going support, is greatly appreciated. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Jon Keep
President
Indiana Equality

Clearly, I need to be stop being a baby about these sorts of things and not take stuff so personally.

Continue ReadingApparently, I’m Chopped Liver

Indiana Student Paper Censors Gay Tolerance

(via Advance Indiana) from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Woodlan editorial on gays ignites firestorm
Principal demands prior review, warns teacher
By Kelly Soderlund
The Journal Gazette
A student editorial in the Woodlan Junior-Senior High School newspaper calling for more tolerance for gays and lesbians sparked the principal to seek approval of each edition before it goes to print and issue a written warning against the journalism teacher.
About 10 students attended the East Allen County Schools board meeting Tuesday night to ask members whether the issue could be put on the next meeting’s agenda. Superintendent Kay Novotny denied their request and suggested they meet with Assistant Superintendent Andy Melin instead.
Sophomore Megan Chase wrote an opinion piece – her first for the newspaper – that appeared in the Jan. 19 issue of the Woodlan Tomahawk that questioned people who believe it’s wrong to be gay or lesbian. Chase said she wrote the piece after a friend disclosed to her he was gay.
“I can only imagine how hard it would be to come out as homosexual in today’s society,” Chase wrote. “I think it is so wrong to look down on those people, or to make fun of them, just because they have a different sexuality than you. There is nothing wrong with them or their brain; they’re just different than you.”
Principal Edwin Yoder wrote a letter to the newspaper staff and journalism teacher Amy Sorrell insisting he sign off on every issue. Sorrell and the students contacted the Student Press Law Center, an advocacy group for student newspapers, which advised them to appeal the decision.
Last week, Yoder issued Sorrell a written warning for insubordination and not carrying out her responsibilities as a teacher. He accused her of exposing Woodlan students, who are in grades seven through 12, to inappropriate material and said if she did not comply with his orders she could be fired.
Yoder would not comment for this story, but Melin, who said he hasn’t read the editorial, said school officials do not have an issue with the topic but with the lack of balance and thoroughness in the opinion piece. Sorrell also should have consulted with Yoder before the article was printed, Melin said.
Melin would not comment on any disciplinary actions taken against Sorrell.
The students also asked the EACS board to clarify its policy on tolerance of gays and lesbians, which it did not address. Melin said there is no policy and didn’t think the board should have to go as far as to write one. Melin said EACS has had a policy since 2003 that states principals have the authority to review each issue of a student publication before it goes to print. It’s up to the individual principal how he or she wants to enforce it, Melin said.
According to its Web site, the Journalism Education Association strongly opposes prior review.
Prior to the editorial being published, Melin said Yoder asked Sorrell to bring to him any stories she thought would be controversial. In fact, Sorrell brought Yoder a piece on teen pregnancy that appeared in the same edition.
“I didn’t think it was going to be an issue at all. I didn’t think anybody would be upset about it,” Sorrell said of the editorial on gays and lesbians. She wrote a rebuttal to Yoder’s warning and sent it to him and Novotny.
Melin cited the 1988 Supreme Court case, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, which ruled St. Louis school officials had the authority to censor stories about teen pregnancy and divorce in its high school newspaper.
Adam Goldstein, attorney at the Student Press Law Center, said the Woodlan situation does not fall under the Supreme Court precedent, which permits a school to interfere with student expression only when it can provide a legitimate educational basis for doing so.
In the Hazelwood case, school officials were able to prove the articles went against what was being taught in the classroom.
“If students are not being taught tolerance in the classroom, their problem is much larger than this particular incident,” Goldstein said.
Yoder is practicing an illegal form of censorship, Goldstein said, and the Student Press Law Center has available attorneys who are willing to donate their time if the Woodlan students take the case to court.

Unbelievable — suggesting that gay and lesbian students shouldn’t be bullied and harassed is unacceptable in school? So that logically means the School Administration is in favor of gay and lesbian students being bullied and harassed?

Continue ReadingIndiana Student Paper Censors Gay Tolerance

Right-wing lies about SJR-7

On the opinion page of today’s Indy Star, Sheila Suess Kennedy, associate professor of law and public policy at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Indianapolis, (and one of my neighbors – she and her husband live a couple blocks away) comments on SJR-7, the amendment to ban equal marriage rights:

It isn’t just the hatefulness. It’s the hypocrisy.
By now, Indiana citizens have heard all of the justifications for SJ 7, the Indiana constitutional amendment to “defend marriage” against the assault of all those gay terrorists who just want to participate in it. And we’ve heard all of the pious assurances that the language in “part B,” (forbidding any court from interpreting any law in any way that might confer the “incidents of marriage” on unmarried couples) isn’t meant to deprive gays of health benefits or hospital visitation rights. It’s just an effort to “clarify” that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Really?

Then why have courts in other states, when construing similar language, all held otherwise? In the most recent ruling, just this month, a Michigan court stated: “The marriage amendment’s plain language prohibits public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose.”

Those who were challenging that interpretation of the Michigan amendment pointed to all the statements by Michigan legislators that the language absolutely didn’t mean what it obviously said, but the court dismissed that as political posturing and instead gave effect to the “plain language” of the amendment. Darn those activist judges!

If anyone harbors a lingering doubt about the real motives of the legislators who support SJ 7 and similar measures, I suggest they log on to the Web sites of the right-wing organizations supporting them. One such organization, the Alliance Defense Fund, has absolutely denied suggestions that Part B-type language in these amendments would interfere with the rights of universities and private employers to extend benefits to their employees’ partners. According to the ADF Web site, “Preying on these and similar fears, advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ argue that proposed state marriage amendments will undermine the ability of government and even private entities to grant benefits to unmarried people. This false argument is being used to confuse many people . . . ”

And what did that same organization have to say about the Michigan ruling? Under the heading “Michigan Court Does the Right Thing,” they wrote “The benefits plans violated the Michigan marriage amendment, the Court of Appeals rightly reasoned, because the government plans at issue extended health insurance benefits to the same-sex partner of an employee . . . Whether the benefit is health insurance or season tickets to the U. of Michigan men’s’ water polo team, governmental units in Michigan may not condition receipt of the benefit on being in a relationship that tracks with the state statutory requirements for marriage.”

Let’s be clear about this: The people pushing for SJ 7 want to make life as difficult as possible for Indiana’s gay citizens. They know same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, and that Indiana courts have upheld the current law. There is no reason to pass this amendment except to void those few benefits that gay couples now enjoy.
They may get SJ 7 passed, but no one who believes in equal rights should let them get away with pretending that they don’t mean what they say.

Continue ReadingRight-wing lies about SJR-7

National Freedom to Marry Week – Feb 11-17th

National Freedom to Marry Week
10th Annual Observance
February 11-17, 2007
10 years of work
10 years of change
10 years closer to equality
All across the country, from Hawaii to Massachusetts, from California to New Jersey, we have worked together to make significant gains for same sex couples and their families. Our journey is not yet complete, but so far, we’ve come a mighty long way. Now, all we need is you. Get active. Get engaged.
Every year, right around Pres. Lincoln’s Birthday and Valentine’s Day, gay and non-gay people around the country gather in living rooms, rectories, parks and civic halls to celebrate our lives, our loves, our families and the victories of our movement from the year before. Freedom to Marry Day, Sunday, February 11th, is a day to celebrate and share our stories, reflect on the values of equality and love, while also engaging our neighbors in the movement for equality and fairness.
For the many thousands of you across the country looking for a way to get engaged locally in the fight to end discrimination in marriage, the 10th Annual Freedom to Marry Week (co-sponsored by Don’t Amend) offers the perfect opportunity.

Continue ReadingNational Freedom to Marry Week – Feb 11-17th

The importance of contacting your elected officials yourself

I’m going to emphasize my point at the very beginning of this post, rather than toward the end: If you don’t want people to speak on your behalf — to potentially agree to things you don’t agree with, or to make decisions for you — then you have to speak up yourself. If you don’t do that, you bear at least a bit of the blame if someone does something in your name that you wouldn’t do.

The only way that you can get misrepresented is if you don’t represent your own views, from your own mouth.

Why am I saying this? Well, remember back in October, just before the election, I posted a message entitled “Oh my god, Did Bauer just throw us under the bus?” in which then Indiana Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, who is now Majority leader, said this about SJR-7:

“I just think that the only way for (Republicans) not to (continue to) demagogue it is to have a redundancy. It’s too bad it has to go in the constitution, but so be it,” Bauer said. “It’s not worth the time, the trouble, to point out that it’s not a problem (in Indiana), so it’s better just to have the vote and see how it goes.”
Under GOP leadership, both chambers of the General Assembly passed a same-sex marriage amendment last year. The measure must be approved by the newly elected Legislature next year or in 2008 before it could go on the statewide ballot for approval from voters.

At the time, the statement shocked the hell living shit out of the gay community, who had expected (and been assured) that Democrats were going to continue to fight like hell against SJR-7, including not letting it get heard at all. No one could figure out why Bauer had suddenly thrown in the towel, or suggested that it was okay that gay people aren’t allowed to get married.

Lately some of the speculation about that has come out into the open in the gay community. First Ted Fleischaker, publisher of The Word, printed an editorial in this issue of his paper (PDF download), generalizing that Bauer changed his public stance on SJR-7 because some unnamed “community leaders” told him that the gay community would be okay with SJR-7 succeeding if it helped him get leverage on other issues with Republicans.
Then Gary Welsh took the issue a bit further in a recent blog post by naming the “community leader(s)” who supposedly sold us all down the river – He says it was Mark St. John – so that Bauer could throw us under a bus.

Whether or not that occurred – this much is true: the vast majority of LGBT Hoosiers not only want gay marriage, but they want SJR-7 defeated, as swiftly as possible. The idea that they’d be okay with it passing – universally and patently false.

I myself want to get married more than anything in the world, and if I had a magic wand, I would consign SJR-7 to the lowest depths of hell, along with any person who even thought for a second about supporting it.

So if this did actually happen – the gay community would indeed be justified in raining hellfire and brimstone on the heads of gay “community leaders” who agreed to such a thing. (Not that we have the time to waste energy on doing that now, since first things first – we have to defeat SJR-7.)

HOWEVER – if more people from the gay community communicated with their legislators about what they actually want, no one could get away with saying something like this, if it occurred.

To quote my mother’s favorite Longfellow poem, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” We can’t let other people do this for us. Every single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered person needs to step up, for our own sakes, and that of future generations.

Continue ReadingThe importance of contacting your elected officials yourself