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2.9 Million Orphans, Happy Father’s Day

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States Offering Full Marriage Equality Have Lowest Rates Of Child

Homelessness

Editor’s note: This piece originally ran on Father’s Day, 2009.

There are 2.9 million children in America living with no parents – and 1.6 million American children are homeless. 2.9 million is almost 1 percent of the entire U.S. population – and that figure is five years old. Half a million U.S. children live with foster parents.

Those half a million foster kids? Only half will graduate high school, only 2% will earn a Bachelor’s degree. The day they turn 18, 30% will have no health insurance and will be on public assistance.

Last November, voters in Arkansas decided that unmarried couples – same-sex couples, obviously – should not be allowed to adopt children. Voters in Florida came up with the same result, but at least a Florida court later that month rightly deemed Florida’s 30 year-old ban on homosexuals adopting children unconstitutional.

Now for some more hard facts. Arkansas ranks third worst in child homelessness in America, and its state’s planning and policy on child homelessness, unsurprisingly, is deemed “inadequate” by The National Center on Family Homelessness. (Florida is not much better: 43rd out of 50.) There are a quarter of a million children living in poverty in Arkansas, and almost 19,000 homeless children, 8,000 of whom are under six years old. And if you think this is an issue that affects minorities the most, well, in Arkansas, 54% of those poverty-stricken children are white.

Yet, despite all these statistics, and the pain, suffering, and severe emotional distress associated with child homelessness, Arkansas would rather let its children suffer than allow gay and lesbian couples – married or not – adopt. In addition to Arkansas (which, you’ll remember, ranks #48), Michigan (#29), Mississippi (#41), and Utah (#37) all prohibit same-sex couples to jointly petition for adoption. Nebraska (#34), according to The National Gay And Lesbian Task Force, “prohibits adoption by individuals ‘who are known by the agency to be homosexual or who are unmarried and living with another adult.'”

While there might be no direct correlation, right now, the states that offer full marriage equality are also among the states that rank lowest in child homelessness. Connecticut (#1), New Hampshire (#2), Massachusetts (#8), Maine (#9), Vermont (#10), and Iowa (#11). Hawaii, with a long-standing domestic partnership history, ranks #3. Utah, by comparison, which ranks #38, prohibits adoption by “a person who is cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage.” Coincidence?

Is it possible that the states that truly care about children and families are the states that care about all children and all families?

Given the current economic crisis, there can be no doubt these numbers will dramatically worsen this year.

And speaking of all children, it is estimated that 40% of all homeless children are LGBTQ youth. These children – and they most certainly are children – are more likely, according to the Task Force, “to use drugs, participate in sex work, and attempt suicide.” What a shame that there are so many same-sex couples who would be thrilled to adopt children. What a shame they often are prohibited from doing so. What a shame that those same-sex couples who have adopted children are prohibited from marrying, further alienating the children from society.

In America, most gay and lesbian couples are not allowed to marry. In the six states that now support full marriage equality, these couples can marry but are still deprived the 1138 federal benefits their heterosexual married peers enjoy. In America, many gay and lesbian couples are not allowed to adopt as a family. One member often, although in some states not at all, may adopt, the other member, essentially, is forced to “pretend.” These couples face the additional burden of fear should a family member go to the hospital, and the additional burden of greater taxes than their heterosexual peers. Given all same-sex families have to do to ensure their relationships are recognized legally and socially, it’s a crime the government, which claims to have an interest in supporting the family, does not see an interest in supporting same-sex families.

Families in America, many families, are in crisis. Throughout America, there are groups chartered with the claimed mission of “protecting the family.” They work to do anything but. Take the National Organization For Marriage, for instance. Maggie Gallagher, its founder, reportedly takes an average one-third of all money her organization collects. On top of that, they claim they spent $1.5 million to produce and air a commercial which was designed to drum up fear and hatred of homosexuals and gay marriage. That means that people around the country donated more than two and a quarter million dollars to “protect the family,” and got for it a TV ad and a hefty salary for Mrs. Gallagher. $2.25 million dollars could have gone a long way in helping families learn to cope with the challenges this new economy is forcing them to face. Heck, $2.25 million dollars could have gone a long way to help those quarter of a million kids living in poverty in Arkansas.

What are we saying as a country that claims moral leadership of the free world, a country that claims to celebrate the family, and yet denies the very right to create and maintain a family to millions of its citizens? What are we saying to the half a million children in foster care who aren’t being adopted, when we deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry or the right to adopt children as a family? What are we saying to the children of America when we celebrate holidays like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day and Christmas, spending billions of dollars to promote a fantasy, while their fantasy is merely to have two adults take care of them, feed them, clothe them, school them, protect them, spend time with them, love them? And what are we saying to the millions of homeless and orphaned children who hear ads on TV that say, “This Father’s Day, be sure to give Dad the very best”? Why don’t we have a Children’s Day, so we could remember our obligation to give children our very best, including homes with parents who love them.

To the hundreds of thousands of single gays and lesbians raising children, biologically yours or not, and to the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples raising children, biologically one of yours or not, I say, thank you.

To the millions of people who ever voted to ban same-sex couples from adopting children, to the millions more who have voted against marriage equality or gay adoption, I say, shame on you. And to the millions of orphaned and homeless children, I say, there is hope.

(image: Pink Sherbet Photography)


See Also:

Out And Alone: Gay Homeless Youth (The New York Times Multimedia)

Young. Gay. Homeless. (YouTube video)

The National Center on Family Homelessness

Child Welfare Information Gateway

The Trevor Project

1-800-RUNAWAY

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OPINION

‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was strongly criticized by two Democratic Congressmen after the Georgia Republican’s remarks about “Ukrainian Nazis” and her attempts to paint Ukrainians as Nazis.

“Stop bringing up Nazis and Hitler,” U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) urged, after Greene’s remarks suggesting there is a large Nazi problem in Ukraine, during a House Oversight Committee hearing. “The only people who know about Nazis and Hitler are the 10 million people and their families who lost their loved ones, generations of people who were wiped out. It is enough of this disgusting behavior, using Nazis as propaganda. You want to talk about Nazis, get yourself over to the Holocaust Museum. You go see what Nazis did. It’s despicable that we use that and we allow it and we sit here like somehow it’s regular.”

Moskowitz began by telling the Committee his “grandparents escaped the Holocaust.”

“So my grandmother was part of the Kindertransport out of Germany. Her parents were killed in Auschwitz. My grandfather, her husband escaped Poland, from the pogroms,” he continued.

READ MORE: ‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

“There are no concentration camps in Ukraine. They’re not taking babies and shooting them in the air ’cause they’re Jewish. There’s no gas chambers. There’s no ovens. They’re not railing people in, they’re not ripping gold out of people’s mouth. They’re not taking stuff out of their home. They’re not trying to erase a people. They’re Ukrainians.”

Greene’s remarks over the weekend had caused anger.

“It’s antisemitic to make Israeli aid contingent on funding Ukrainian Nazis,” Congresswoman Greene declared Sunday from her official government social media account, as legislation to support Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan moved to the top of Speaker Mike Johnson’s priority list in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel. Her implication appeared to be Ukrainians are Nazis – a Putin talking point.

Greene on Wednesday spent several minutes again implying there are many Nazis in Ukraine, as she was refuted by a top scholar, Yale professor of history Timothy Snyder. Dr. Snyder is the author of a dozen books, including two on Nazis and the Holocaust, and is an expert on the Holocaust, Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.

Responding to Greene’s remarks, Snyder told the lawmakers, “no far-right party has ever crossed three percent” in a Ukrainian election.

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Greene was also criticized by U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), who called her out for her “hypocrisy” and reminded her that in 2022 she “spoke at event led by white supremacists.”

That event was hosted by white supremacist Nick Fuentes:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

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After Democratic House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin blasted Republican Chairman Jim Comer, declaring “somebody needs therapy here” during a heated verbal brawl Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) mockingly urged committee members to come together to “begin Comer’s therapy session.”

In a viral three-minute walkthrough of the discredited far-right wing chairman’s efforts, including making false claims and use, as Moskowitz noted, Russian disinformation to try to build a case against President Joe Biden, the Florida Democrat appeared to put the final nail in the impeachment coffin.

Moskowitz told the committee members Chairman Comer has to “face the fact that he was taken by the Russians,” and “was used by the Russians.” He also noted the committee has “already lost” Comer “to Russian propaganda.”

“I mean, we got to build a forcefield around the Chairman to make sure we don’t lose him to Chinese propaganda as well.”

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

Moskowitz made clear, through his well-known wit, that Comer “no longer has impeachment” as an option to use against President Biden.

The video has gone viral, with over 175,000 views in just over one hour.

Read the transcript of Moskowitz’s remarks and watch the video below or at this link.

“Let me start by saying, obviously Chairman Comer’s not here, but I think in light of what we witnessed earlier, I think it’s important that together as a committee that we begin, Chairman Comer’s therapy session, right. You know, a member of the other side wanted to confirm what the title of the hearing was, right, Chinese propaganda. Well, we know the title of the hearing certainly isn’t about impeachment anymore. And Chairman Comer has suffered tremendous loss, and we all know in our life, what it’s like to suffer tremendous loss. There’s all sorts of different stages of grief and that’s the loss obviously, of his of his impeachment hearing. And everyone deals with that in different ways and sometimes it takes time to grieve and struggle and and fill that hole that void that now exists now that he no longer has impeachment.”

“The only way we as a committee are going to help Chairman Comer get better is we have to get to the root cause. Right? So for today’s therapy session, okay, I want to talk about denial. Right? The denial that the impeachment hearings are over, and the denial, obviously, that he started with the 1023 form, which was Russian disinformation. And so, you know, Chairman Comer’s psychology teaches us that, you know, someone might be like him, using denial as a defense mechanism. And signs include that you refuse to talk about the problem. You find ways to justify your behavior, you blame other people or outside forces for causing the problem. You persist in your behavior by consequences. You promise to address the problem, maybe in the future, or you avoid thinking about the problem. And so in addition to these signs that Chairman comer has been displaying, as we saw at the beginning, he also might be feeling hopeless or helpless.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

“I just want the chairman to know that we’re pulling for him. We really we really are. I know, I know. It’s been hard to become someone who was used by the Russians. But the good news is, is that he’s this hearing today on Chinese propaganda, because we’ve already lost him to Russian propaganda. I mean, we got to build a forcefield around the chairman to make sure we don’t lose him to Chinese propaganda, as well.”

“In fact, you can see behind me, these are quotes from the chairman, Chairman Comer. Every single solitary time and there are hundreds more that he went on TV in interviews and talked about this 1023 form, which was all Russian disinformation. But we gotta make the Chairman understand that it’s going to be okay. We will get him through this, but he’s got to recognize, gotta recognize that denial is not just a river in Egypt. He’s gonna have to face the fact that he was taken by the Russians.”

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OPINION

‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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The media’s ability to shape public opinion is well-documented, and by the end of the second day of the first criminal trial in history of a former U.S. president critics are slamming the content, framing, and focus of mainstream media organizations. The biggest concerns: refusing to cover the former president’s apparent inability to stay awake in court, too much identifying information of potential and chosen jurors, and even subtle descriptions that can be used to feed into false perceptions the trial is “unfair” or, as the ex-president likes to say, a “scam.”

Overnight, CNN’s Oliver Darcy’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter blasted mainstream media outlets that “strangely show little interest in reporting on Donald Trump’s courtroom naps.”

“Imagine, for a moment, if President Joe Biden were to be caught openly sleeping at an important hearing,” Darcy posits. Trump was caught “nodding” off repeatedly several times over the first two days of trial (there is not trial Wednesdays). “Then imagine it were to occur at another important hearing the next day. Not only would right-wing media outlets like Fox News run wild with coverage questioning his fitness for office, mainstream news organizations would no doubt also treat the snooze fest as a serious news story. But, for some unknown reason, Donald Trump falling asleep at his historic criminal trial in New York (as he apparently did, again, on Tuesday) has been met with a rather muted response.”

READ MORE: SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

Noting, “It’s important,” Darcy asks, “why has much of the press fallen asleep at the wheel?” and serves up some examples – or lack thereof.

“ABC News and NBC News didn’t even bother mentioning it on their evening newscasts and many major outlets haven’t even filed straight stories on it. To be frank, if not for The NYT’s Maggie Haberman reporting on the matter Tuesday, it’s unclear whether the public — which is relying on news organizations to be its eyes and ears in the courtroom, given cameras are barred — would know about it.”

“It’s all the more bizarre given that Trump has made attacking ‘sleepy Joe’ a central tenet of his campaign, framing the president as lacking the stamina to serve in the nation’s highest office. Which is to say, the fact that Trump is the one apparently unable to stay awake in his own criminal trial isn’t a trivial story.”

Jennifer Schulze, a media critic who was a Chicago Sun-Times executive producer, WGN news director, and adjunct college professor of journalism, pointing to Darcy’s criticism, calls it “a big journalism fail.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

The ex-president is facing 34 felony counts for falsification of business records when he paid hush money to an adult film actress then allegedly tried to cover it up, which some say is election interference.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan is overseeing the Trump trial, and ordered the identities of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain anonymous. Trump has a proven track record of alleged attempts to intimidate witnesses, judges, prosecutors, and others involved in his trials.

Some are concerned the media went too far in posting and publishing some possibly identifying information internet sleuths could use to piece together their names.

“There is seriously far, far too much identifying information about prospective jurors, several of whom are now empaneled, coming out in the press,” warned attorney and author Luppe B. Luppen.

Here’s how Fox News host Jesse Watters used that information to target one empaneled juror, while attempting to discredit the trial.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity went after “Juror Number One,” who is the foreperson.

It is not just Fox News targeting jurors.

Even The New York Times’ coverage of jurors drew the ire of critics.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

Here’s how The Times’ Jonah Bromwich reported on the jury foreperson:

“The foreperson who was just selected — that’s juror one, the de facto leader of the group who will likely help steer deliberations — works in sales and enjoys the outdoors. He is originally from Ireland, but will help decide the former American president’s fate.”

University of Wisconsin—Madison professor of political science, who has a Ph.D. in Government, criticized the Times’ reporting.

“100% certain if the foreperson were native born, they would not have written this sentence and used the formulation of ‘former president’ subtly implying the foreperson from Ireland is somehow not a real American.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

 

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