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“Values” vs. Science: America’s Right-Wing’s Ridiculous Anti-Marriage Equality Arguments



“Values” vs. Science is part two in our week-long series, “America’s Right-Wing’s Ridiculous Anti-Marriage Equality Arguments.” Read part one, The Conservative Mind, then come back tomorrow for part three, Gays And Parenting.

Part Two: “Values” vs. Science. Actual Science.

America’s Right Wing has steeped itself in a vessel of religion, history, and its own bigotry. It refuses to look at any new information or science, and certainly none that would shed a different light than what it needs Americans to believe to further its stranglehold on the intangibility of “morality” — and against America’s LGBT community.

Conservatives are not fond of things like science. Or, “peer-reviewed studies.” Why use knowledge and science when we have our “moral values” and our “beliefs?” (Not to mention that their entire business model is dependent upon Americans believing that America’s Right Wing holds the key to their salvation.)

For proof, all you need to do is look at America’s Right Wing’s fierce resistance to the science of climate change (which they call “Climategate,”) or their current attack on the positive economics of deficit spending, or even the ludicrous theme espoused by the GOP leadership recently, that government regulation is to blame for the BP oil spill.)

But back to marriage equality. Let’s start with David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, and the only witness against marriage equality in the Prop 8 trial that ended earlier this month. Blankenhorn essentially “flip-flopped” by the end of the trial. In fact, at the end of the trial, Ted Olsen, the pro-marriage equality lead counsel, used Blankenhorn’s own quote at the end of his closing argument, stating, “we will be more American [the day we permit gay marriage.]”

To be fair, Blankenhorn has been a bit maligned, first by the Left, and now by both sides of the marriage equality argument. While he does not support same-sex marriage, he does support same-sex relationships. In an odd way. Last year, he, along with Jonathan Rauch, an esteemed author and same-sex marriage supporter, wrote a misguided op-ed for the New York Times, titled, “A Reconciliation On Gay Marriage.” It was not a “reconciliation.” It was a call to encode second-class citizenship upon same-sex couples. In, “An Embarrassing Reconciliation On Gay Marriage,” I called their ideas “sectarian mischief,” ensconced in “separate but equal” arguments, and all “in service to the church.”

Which is how America’s Right Wing likes to maintain their segregation of America’s LGBT community.

Blankenhorn recently wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times (which refused it,) challenging “Weddings For Everybody,” a piece op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd had written. In his letter, Blankenhorn writes, “Maureen Down incorrectly reports that, in the California Prop 8 trial on gay marriage, I stated on the witness stand that ‘adoptive parents are as good as natural parents.’ I respect adoptive parents and value adoption as an institution, but numerous studies suggests [sic] that outcomes for adopted children often are not ‘as good as’ outcomes for children raised by natural parents.”

Hogwash. Times two.

First, the “numerous studies suggests” part. Blankenhorn doesn’t quote which studies, but I can all but guarantee the name Paul Cameron, or the Family Research Institute, have some involvement with them. (Cameron founded FRI and was discredited and expelled from the American Psychological Association.)

More importantly, two long-term studies recently published found just the opposite. In fact, one of them, a twenty-five year-long and vigorously peer-reviewed study published in the journal Pediatrics, found that adopted children raised by lesbian parents are better-adjusted and do better in school than their opposite-parented peers.

But relying on science won’t help conservatives make their case, so they have to make up “science,” or rely on outdated concepts, to try to give their fears credibility. Or, they have to turn to decades, or centuries-old “research” to try to prove their bigotry.

A new breed of conservative politicians, those of the “Tea Party,” have brought a special mix of virulent anti-science, “moral values,” and homophobia to the fore. Take Sharon Angle, now running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.

Talking Points Memo, run by the award-winning journalist Joshua Micah Marshall, just last week posted “Sharron Angle’s Fringe Third Party Sponsored Virulently Anti-Gay Flier In ’90s,” writing,

The ad insert, which approvingly cites an 1814 legal treatise titled “Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation,” is a digest of articles that refer to LGBT people alternately as “homosexuals,” “sodomites,” and “brazen perverts.” The insert includes virtually every homophobic myth ever conceived.

Sample headlines include: “Homosexual Curriculum In The First Grade” … “Flawed Science Nurtures Genetic Origin For Homosexuality” … “No Constitutional Right To Be A Sodomite.” Here’s a passage from an item headlined “True Homosexual Character Revealed”:

Homosexuals argue that they are a peaceful and gay people. Yet … Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Report writes “the top six U.S. male killers were all homosexuals.”

(By the way, Cameron — remember Cameron from the Family Research Institute? — is flat-out wrong by saying “the top six U.S. male killers were all homosexuals.”)

Unsurprisingly, not much has changed with America’s Right Wing’s hatred and fear of America’s LGBT community. They are working hard to not only maintain our second-class citizen status, but are trying to use corrupt “science,” along with religion, to further erode our status.

The once-and-future GOP presidential candidate and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee is never too far away from the anti-gay culture war. Just days ago, Huckabee shared this bit of personal ignorant homophobia:

“I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes. Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same.”

That alone should be worth a fair amount of cash for his Huck PAC.

America’s Right Wing believes by abusing science and morality to demean and disenfranchise America’s LGBT community, they will have won the culture wars. They believe that America’s gay and lesbian citizens should remain second-class citizens, with little to no rights — certainly not the right to serve in the military, be safe from being fired for being gay, marry, or parent children.

And they couldn’t be more wrong.

“Values” vs. Science is part two in our week-long series, “America’s Right-Wing’s Ridiculous Anti-Marriage Equality Arguments.” Read part one, The Conservative Mind, then come back tomorrow for part three, Gays And Parenting.

(image: kevindooley)

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‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting



First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, speaking Monday afternoon at a National League of Cities conference, told attendees, “Our children deserve better,” as she broke the news of the Nashville school mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian School where three children and three adults were shot dead.

“You know,” Dr. Biden, herself an educator and clearly pained by the news, began her remarks by saying, “I hate to say what I’m gonna say next because you know you’re so enthusiastic and with so much energy and hope and I feel it.”

“But while you’ve been in this room, I don’t know whether you’ve been on your phones but we just learned about another shooting in Tennessee, a school shooting and I am truly without words and our children deserve better, and we stand – all of us – we stand with Nashville in prayer.”

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

The First Lady, a former public high school English teacher and currently a professor of English at a community college, was speaking at the organization’s Congressional City Conference.

Watch Dr. Biden below or at this link.

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Death Toll Rises to Six as Three Children and Three Adults Declared Dead In Covenant School Mass Shooting (Streaming Video)



Six people have now died after a shooter shot and killed three young children and three adults at The Covenant Presbyterian School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee. Police say the shooter was a 28-year old woman who had two assault rifles and a handgun.

WSMV announced the rise in deaths on-air, noting that the shooter is also dead. A police spokesperson later increased the announced death toll from five to six. Including the shooter the death toll is seven.

Live streaming video via CBS News below.

This article has been updated with additional video.

1:56 PM ET: Updated to change age of shooter based on new reporting from WSMV.

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New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies



“Florida is where woke goes to die,” according to the Sunshine State’s governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, who has based much of his expected 2024 presidential campaign on being “anti-woke.”

But a new poll from Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is devastating to many of the policies being promoted and enacted by Governor DeSantis in his “free state of Florida,” calling into question how he and other Republicans who embrace his ideas will fare on the national stage.

“Patriotism, religious faith, having children and other priorities that helped define the national character for generations are receding in importance to Americans,” warns the WSJ, with some on social media pointing to a graphic that purports to capture how much America has changed in the past 25 years.

READ MORE: Trump Team’s Efforts to Rein Him ‘Wilted’ in Waco as He Invoked ‘Retribution and Violence’: Report

The importance of issues of patriotism, religion, having children, and community involvement have dropped dramatically across America. The one that has increased? Money.

One Democratic strategist calls it “eye-popping.”

Money is also the only issue on which Democrats and Republicans both agree.

But the real siren for Republicans comes in answers to so-called “culture war” questions.

The gap between Democrats and Republicans, expectedly, is huge, but DeSantis – should he launch a presidential run – will confront conservative and independent voters (not to mention, of course, Democrats) who aren’t as keen on, say, banning books, as he might like.

Asked, “Which of these concerns you more about schools today?,” a whopping 61% chose “some schools may ban books and censor topics that are educationally important.” Just 36% opted for “some schools may teach books and topics that some students or their parents feel are inappropriate or offensive.”

And more than half the country (56%) say they have some or a great deal of confidence in public schools. Just one-third (33%) said very little or none.

READ MORE: ‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’

DeSantis’ attempts to radically reshape the concept of public education in Florida made another dramatic move last week, when the Republican-majority legislature passed a bill the expands the school voucher program to every student. It could decimate enrollment in public schools, which would also reduce the amount of federal funding public schools in the Sunshine State get. Expected to cost billions, it could also lead to expansions of private and faith-based schools.

Monday morning, surrounded by school children, DeSantis signed it into law.

And yet nationally, according to the WSJ poll, a plurality of Americans oppose school vouchers.

“Do you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose states giving parents tax-funded vouchers they can use to help pay for tuition for their children to attend private or religious schools of their choice instead of public schools?”

37% oppose the vouchers.
34% support them.

Democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton campaign national spokesperson Josh Schwerin lists a “few findings from the new WSJ poll that should scare Republicans relying on ‘woke’ attacks”: “1) Tolerance is as important as money 2) Book banning is far worse than offensive content 3) Majorities think society has been about right or not gone far enough on range of DEI issues.”

For those who look at Trump rallies, watch right-wing news, or listen to GOP politicians or influencers, the idea that another “red wave” is coming next year may seem real, but even the right-wing Wall Street Journal found that a plurality of voters (44%) identify as Democrats – and just 38% identify as Republicans. 18% call themselves independents without leaning one way or another.

Nearly half the country (47%) identifies as moderate.

One issue from the poll DeSantis and the GOP do seem to have support on is diminishing the rights of transgender Americans, who are under attack every day.

Despite increased anti-trans hate crimes, despite the 430 anti-LGBTQ bills filed this year alone (according to the ACLU,) a plurality of Americans (43%) say society has “gone too far” in accepting transgender people. Just one-third say society hasn’t gone far enough.

But on other issues of equality, as Schwerin mentioned, nearly half the country (48%) say society has not gone far enough in promoting equality between men and women. And pluralities also say society has not gone far enough in accepting people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual (37%), and businesses taking steps to promote racial and ethnic diversity (39%).

There’s another statistic that also flies directly in the face of DeSantis and his “where woke goes to die” motto.

Two-thirds of the country say society has either not gone far enough has been “about right” on “Schools and universities taking steps to promote racial and ethnic diversity.”

Just three in ten Americans (30%) say society has gone too far.

See the video and graphics above or at this link.

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