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In CPAC’s Conservative Circus, Are Gays The High-Wire Act?

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Last week was the perfect storm of Conservative carnival cacophony.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages….” should have been the rallying cry, starting on Valentine’s Day, when homophobe Tucker Carlson did a spot with Clayton Morris of “Fox And Friends,” discussing a new right-wing “study.” It went like this:

Carlson: “College students are more liberal… on certain social issues, gay marriage, abortion, capitalism… College students become more liberal after four years of college — we know that.”

Morris: “And so, what is the answer, how do we fix this, if degrees are making graduates more likely to support same-sex marriage, abortion… How do you fix this?”

How do you “fix” the fact that facts makes people smarter and less ignorant? I don’t know. How do you take back smart and install stupid?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

Then, on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. the Cato Institute, that self-described libertarian think-tank that is funded by billionaire Progressive (?) George Soros, yet boasts Fox’s Tucker Carlson as a Senior Fellow, hosted an event called, “Is There a Place for Gay People in Conservatism and Conservative Politics?” It featured a debate which pitted Andrew Sullivan against Maggie Gallagher (though, not long enough!) and a speech by gay British MP Nick Herbert (also not long enough.)

Herbert, a Conservative, actually shared that in British politics, gay has become OK, and boasted that their conservative party will have more openly-gay elected officials than their liberal party. (Anyone feel like moving?)

But the “really big shew,” the “big top” (although certainly not a “big tent,” as the Log Cabin Republicans thought was coming) was CPAC — the 37th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And boy, did they put on a show.

From homophobe Jason Mattera, who mocked the halls of liberal educational institutions, proclaiming a “feminist new black man” is “a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank,” to homophobe (and domestic-violence restraining order recipient) Ryan Sorba, the man who for years has been claiming to be writing a book titled after his lecture, the “Born Gay Hoax,” who denounced the entire conference for allowing a gay Republican group to co-sponsor the event (and was booed!) to homophobe Rep. Mike Pence’s call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, to homophobe Rep. Steve King, who has tried to repeal his state of Iowa’s same-sex marriage law, and who actually included not only (the expected) “Liberals and Progressives” as the “enemies of America,” but “Che Gueverians, Castroites, Socialists, Trotskyites, Maoists, Stalinists, Leninists,” and, wait for it… yes, Marxists too, the call rang out loud and clear: if you’re queer, get out of here.

But the promise of hate speech like that — unsurprising from the CPAC crowd — didn’t stop GOProud, Jimmy LaSalvia’s new gay Republican group, from showing up. Although months ago Liberty Counsel threatened to pull out if GOProud pulled into town, they stayed.

Gay blogger “Gay Patriot,” was at CPAC too. He claimed he was welcomed with open arms (Ryan Sorba, Mike Pence, Tucker Carlson, Jason Mattera, Steve King, Tom Tancredo, et al, not withstanding) by the CPAC conference.

Now, I’m sure GayPatriot thinks he was welcomed, just as I’m sure Jimmy LaSalvia thinks he was welcomed. And I’m sure the more libertarian attendees there did welcome them. But they’re not the CPAC base. This is the CPAC base. Tell me who among the list of co-sponsors or exhibitors would support us, support repeal of DOMA and DADT, support passage of ENDA? Pretty much nobody.

It’s clear the majority of America’s right-wing hates the LGBTQ community. So what do we do? I, for one, have been calling them out on their lies, hatred, and disgusting accusations full-time for well over a year now.

To be honest, I have a hard time with the idea of anyone in our community supporting that part of America — in this case, CPAC — that hates the LGBTQ community. And I’m very comfortable classifying their overall treatment of the LGBTQ community as “hate.” I’m also very comfortable classifying their treatment of the LGBTQ community as “oppression.”

(Let’s not forget, David Mixner calls the federal government’s treatment of the LGBTQ community “Gay Apartheid.”)

As a matter of fact, turns out, gays do think Republicans hate us. Just a few weeks ago in the wake of the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll which found, for instance, that 77% of Republicans think same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry, I took a poll. 47% of respondents believe “Republicans hate us,” while an additional 41% said, “hate is too strong a word, but essentially, yes.”

So, while the Democratic party hasn’t lived up to its obligation or promises, we certainly have more to gain selectively supporting Democratic politicians than Republican ones. (And let’s not forget the 39 steps the Obama administration and the DNC have taken against the LGBTQ community!)

But what do you do when “they” are actually “us?”

Many of us have been struggling with our relationship with gay Republicans for some time now. I’ve given it a lot of thought and have decided this.

First, there’s enough evidence to suggest that, just as people are born, not made, gay or straight or bi or trans, so are Republican and Democrats. Yes, biology plays a large role in which way we lean, from a political standpoint. So, it’s equally unfair to ridicule someone for being gay as it is for someone being Republican. And I suppose it could be very hard being a gay Republican.

On Twitter, I had a productive conversation with blogger and CPAC attendee GayPatriot. Here’s an excerpt:

davidbadash: .@GayPatriot How you can support the very organization that thinks who you are is a threat to the American family is beyond me.

GayPatriot: @davidbadash There is no one here at CPAC trying to write me out of the Constitution. They are being open, kind & friendly.

davidbadash: .@GayPatriot So, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is friendly?

GayPatriot: @davidbadash I’m getting a better reception at CPAC than I EVER have with my gay friends or at gay-centric events. TRUTH.

Perhaps. Though what some say to your face and then behind yor back can often be different, as Jimmy LaSalvia found with NOM.

But I believe it’s critical that the LGBTQ community does not take the wrong stance, or think that the tide has turned, and that CPAC, the GOP, the RNC, or Republicans or Conservatives in general support us.

Here’s what happens when we make that mistake.

Jimmy LaSalvia and his GOProud group strongly endorsed then-candidate for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. On February 5, just days after taking office, McDonnell slashed gays out of that state’s anti-discrimination policy.

So, did we gain anything by GOProud and GayPatriot (and other gay bloggers, like Chris Geidner) being at CPAC? Well, I don’t know.

Geidner, who blogs at Law Dork, and now writes for D.C.’s MetroWeekly, this week, in, “A Gay New Yorker in the CPAC Court,” quoted Craig Held, an openly-gay New York City college student who went to CPAC:

”…I think the reaction to GOProud has been good. I think the Republican Party is definitely going in a more open direction. I think they’ve realized they need to stop alienating people,” he said, ”Being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be a Republican. True conservatism is for individual rights; it has nothing to do with gay marriage – with not allowing gay marriage.

”I think that’s the direction the Party need to go in. And, I think it’s slowly getting there. Baby steps.”

Bruce Carroll writing at Bretibart calls this year’s CPAC a “Milestone Weekend for Gays,” and says,

“Last week at CPAC we saw the many years of work by dedicated conservative gays and lesbians standing up for their values and the principles of freedom and liberty finally pay off. There was a tipping point for gays in America last week at CPAC. It happened because they have been coming out to their parents, friends and relatives over time… as American conservatives who just happen to be gay.”

I’m not so sure. There’s too much hate there for me to agree. Maybe that’s starting to slowly change. Only 1% of CPAC straw poll voters chose “stopping gay marriage” as their top political issue. But those voters were mostly the 18-25 set, only 2395 of CPAC’s reported 10,000 attendees, and they’re also the ones who gave Ron Paul the landslide win as their choice to be the next Republican presidential nominee.

But here’s what I do know.

On the road to full equality, there are many vehicles. Maybe which ever arrives first is the right one, but we have no idea which will be the one that brings us into the future. Maybe, collectively, we need to ride them all. If gay Republicans want to hang out with other Republicans, maybe, just maybe, it will help us change hearts and minds a little. We can’t afford to eliminate anyone who might help us win equality. (Not sending them money until they start voting for us, however, is the right thing to do!)

There are many roads to reach our success. I will not fight anyone for trying. I will for not.


Note: This piece was first published in The Bilerico Project.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Charlie Kirk, Purveyor of ‘Rigged’ Election Lie, Complains GOP Lost ‘Because a Lot of People Do Not Trust the System’

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Far right wing activist Charlie Kirk complained on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show Tuesday that many Republicans in Arizona lost their elections earlier this month because they “do not trust” the election system. Kirk is a purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” and has repeatedly promoted the false claim that U.S. elections are “rigged.”

“400,000 people that showed up for Donald Trump or voted for Donald Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election,” Kirk told his audience. (NCRM has not verified these numbers and could find nothing to support the claim.)

“Now, I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system,” Kirk claimed.

Why does Charlie Kirk believe “a lot of people do not trust the system”?

Because he told them not to. Over and over and over again.

READ MORE: Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’

In January on his show Kirk hosted Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of The Federalist, a right wing website founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis. The Federalist has been a purveyor of false election claims, according to Reuters, which reports the claims “are presented inaccurately.” Twitter had to append a “cautionary label” to a Federalist tweet after The Federalist wrongly stated, “Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Michigan, Wisconsin, And Pennsylvania,” according to The Daily Beast.

Hemingway is also the author of the book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.”

The title of that episode of The Charlie Kirk Show? “Why Conservatives Can’t Turn Our Backs on Rigged Elections with Mollie Hemingway.”

(The Federalist was also cited by The New England Journal of Medicine for belong create a “superspreader” event of false information about the effectiveness of masks in the fight against COVID-19.)

In April Kirk hosted right wing activist David Bossie, president of the political lobbying group Citizens United, and a former Trump 2016 campaign official.

READ MORE: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

The title of that episode?

‘RIGGED’ — An In-Depth Examination of the 2020 Election with David Bossie

Kirk likes the word “rigged.” On Twitter he’s used it a lot to suggest that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”

“The same people who spent the last 4 years falsely saying Russians rigged our elections are now saying there’s no way an election could be rigged by illegal ballots and voter fraud. How does that work?” (Nov 6, 2020)

“BREAKING: A mail carrier was just charged with attempted election fraud after changing party affiliations on mail-in ballots Still think there aren’t any issues with rigged elections due to mail-in voting? RT so the media has to report on the DANGERS of mail-in voter FRAUD!” (Apr 16, 2020)

READ MORE: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“Democrats should be livid. This is a rigged game to protect the ruling class Thank goodness the GOP is a true grassroots party where ANY voice or person can win Democrats corruption will not allow fair or free elections” (Feb 4, 2020)

Or this tweet from 2019.

On November 9, this was the opening of a New York Times article.

“On the morning of Election Day, Charlie Kirk, the conservative talk show host from Arizona, shared a video on Twitter about broken voting machines in Maricopa County, followed by a series of posts suggesting that the problems were intentional,” The Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers wrote. “’This is manufactured chaos,’ he wrote, calling for those responsible to be arrested.”

“The video was shared nearly 20,000 times and liked by more than 30,000 users, including many prominent accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. The post and others like it on a dozen online platforms kindled a false narrative of widespread voting shenanigans among those predisposed to believe that the country’s elections are rigged.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

In addition to hosting his talk show, Kirk is also the founder of right wing student activist group Turning Point USA, and he is a member of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).

Fast forward to Tuesday.

Here’s Kirk complaining to Steve Bannon that Republicans didn’t vote in the November, 2022 election several weeks ago, “because a lot of people do not trust the system.”

Watch Kirk’s video above or at this link.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Marco Rubio Lashes Out Against Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Bill After His Attempt to Create Special Religious Rights Fails

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lashed out with a Bible verse Wednesday morning, after the Senate passed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, while rejecting his attempt to infuse special religious rights through an amendment that even some Republicans refused to support.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed in a 61-36 vote Tuesday evening, will return to the House for a final vote before heading to President Joe Biden, who promised to sign it into law. Not included in the bill the Senate passed is Senator Rubio’s amendment, which he claimed was necessary despite the clear religious protections included in the legislation.

The bill goes to great lengths to state it will have no impact on current religious liberty protections. Section 6 is actually titled, “No Impact on Religious Liberty and Conscience.”

READ MORE: Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate

It states: “Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.”

It goes even further.

“Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” it reads. “Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio Recorded an ‘Emergency Video’ After Pete Buttigieg Responded to His Anti-LGBTQ Attack. It Didn’t Go Well.

Senator Rubio has been actively opposed to the bill from the start. In July he called it a “stupid waste of time,” suggesting he does not think the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the 2015 Obergefell ruling that made same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional – despite actively calling for the court to do so.

In addition to the video above, Florida Democrats this summer tweeted a video of a local news report showing Rubio preaching to campaign supporters that same-sex marriage is “sinful.”

Last week in a press release Sen. Rubio called the bill “the insanity,” and falsely claimed the Respect for Marriage Act does not have religious protections.

“This bill does not protect religious liberty,” Rubio said in a statement last week. “Nuns running orphanages will find themselves in court if it becomes law. That’s outrageous. No faith-based organization will be immune from the insanity. Christian. Jewish. Muslim. Everyone. Removing this private right of action is the only way to truly protect people and organizations of faith.”

His amendment to create additional, special religious protections failed Tuesday evening, as did amendments from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

READ MORE: ‘Punditry, Not Leadership’: McConnell Slammed for Refusing to Say if He Would Support Trump in 2024

Sen. Rubio, a frequently vocal opponent of LGBTQ people and their civil rights, has attacked people who opposed Florida Governor DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation as “ridiculous.”

During his failed 2016 White House run Sen. Rubio repeatedly promised he would not run for re-election. He used the Pulse Massacre, one of the worst and deadliest anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, to declare that the LGBTQ community needed him and launched a re-election campaign on the back of those massacred LGBTQ people.

Rubio, who is known for posting passages from the Bible on many mornings, on Wednesday used Christian verse to lash out at the Respect for Marriage Act.

“The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,giving wisdom to the simple,” he tweeted.

His tweet did not go over well. While some responded with a simple, “Amen,” others explained to the Senator who took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” that the Christian Bible is not the law of the land.

“The ‘law of the lord’ was deliberately excluded from the US Constitution,” wrote one social media user. “There is only one law in the US and it’s not the law of the lord, it’s the law of the people.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

History professor and author Douglas M. Charles noted Rubio’s tweet had a small typo, and accused him of having a staffer do his work.

“More empty-suitness from the epitome of empty suit senators,” Charles wrote. “These copy-paste BS tweets of his always have a spacing typo, which is how you know a staffer copy-pasted it rather than his being serious about it.”

 

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News

Five Engines of Secret Service Rental Vehicles for the President’s Thanksgiving Break Catch Fire

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The Nantucket Current reported that five of the vehicles rented by the U.S. Secret Service caught fire at the local airport during President Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving break. Biden’s family has met in Nantucket for Thanksgiving for decades but this is the first time a cache of vehicles looked like their engines exploded.

The report identified that the five vehicles were all different types, a Chevy Suburban, Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX80, Ford Expedition and Jeep Gladiator. The Ford Expedition did have a recall on it for the connections to the battery, indicating that fires have been caused by the problem. The car had not been taken in for repairs, sources told the Current. It’s unclear if that single car caused the fire or if each of the cars simultaneously caught fire.

The front of the white Ford Expedition and the one across from it looks to be considerably more damaged than the other cars.

“At approximately 5:22 am Airport shift staff observed an active fire in the rental car overflow area through the Airport’s Closed Circuit Television System,” the airport said in a statement. “Staff activated the Alert system and responded to the fire in Airport-3, where they were met by responding units from Nantucket Fire Department and Nantucket Police Department. Combined fire resources responded and contained the fire. Several vehicles were damaged. The Airport is currently coordinating with rental car agencies and agency partners to ensure scene safety. There is no longer an active fire at this time: the Airport is open, and aeronautical operations are not affected.”

See the video from the Current below:

 

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