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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

Jan. 6 Committee Releases Report Recommending Criminal Contempt of Congress Against Ex-Trump DOJ Official

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The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has just released a massive 22-page report against the former DOJ official who attempted to assist then-President Donald Trump in overturning the results of the November 2020 election. That report urges Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the full House to find Jeffrey Bossert Clark in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply.

“The Chairman of the Select Committee repeatedly advised Mr. Clark that his claims of privilege are not well-founded and did not absolve him of his obligation to produce documents and provide deposition testimony,” the report reads. “The Chairman repeatedly warned Mr. Clark that his continued non-compliance would put him in jeopardy of a vote to refer him to the House to consider a criminal contempt referral. Mr. Clark’s failure to testify or produce responsive documents in the face of this clear advisement and warning by the Chairman constitutes a willful failure to comply with the subpoena.”

If the full House votes to refer Clark to the Dept. of Justice he could be prosecuted for criminal contempt.

“According to documents and testimony gathered by the Select Committee, in the weeks leading up to the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Jeffrey Bossert Clark participated in efforts to delegitimize the results of the 2020 presidential election and delay or interrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the damning report adds. “As detailed in a report issued by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (hereinafter ‘‘Senate Report’’) and press accounts, after numerous courts throughout the United States had resoundingly rejected alleged voter fraud challenges to the election results by the Trump campaign, and after all states had certified their respective election results, Mr. Clark proposed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) send a letter to officials of the State of Georgia and other States suggesting that they call special legislative sessions to investigate allegations of voter fraud and consider appointing new slates of electors.”

In violation of DOJ policy and after a direct admonition from the Acting Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Clark also met with White House officials, including then-President Trump, to discuss efforts to delegitimize, disrupt, or overturn the election results. To further these efforts, President Trump considered installing Mr. Clark as the Acting Attorney General, a plan that was abandoned only after much of the DOJ leadership team and the White House Coun- sel threatened to resign if Mr. Clark was appointed.

DOJ is now prosecuting former Trump advisor Steve Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.

This is a breaking news and developing story.

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News

Jan. 6 Committee Just Interviewed Top Georgia Elections Official Trump Threatened When Urging to Find Him More Votes

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The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has just concluded more than four hours of interviewing Georgia’s top elections official, Brad Raffensperger. Then-President Donald Trump threatened the Republican Secretary of State in a telephone call, parts of which were released to the press, during which the desperate losing Trump infamously said, “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Speaking to Raffensperger indicates the House Committee is investigating the origins of the insurrection far beyond its D.C. roots.

“We talked about that and everything else leading into the election. That was their focus, because that was where the greatest disinformation was foisted upon our nation,” Raffensperger told The Atlanta Journal Constitution Tuesday.

Back in February Georgia prosecutors had reportedly opened up a criminal investigation into Trump’s demand Raffensperger find him 11,780 more votes. Despite the recorded audio evidence no charges are known to have been filed against Trump for what some say could be criminal solicitation to commit election fraud.

Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State nearly 20 times before the now-infamous call during which he threatened Raffensperger. On the 19th call Trump spoke to Raffensperger for nearly one hour. That call was recorded by Raffensperger’s staff.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

A Christian Anti-LGBT Hate Group Designed Mississippi Abortion Ban to ‘Eradicate’ Roe – SCOTUS Is About to Hear the Case

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In January 2018, Right Wing Watch broke the story that lawyers for religious-right legal giant Alliance Defending Freedom bragged at an anti-choice conference that the 15-week abortion ban that had been introduced in Mississippi was based on ADF’s model language. ADF lawyers said the law was the next step in the group’s strategic plan to “eradicate” Roe v. Wade through the courts.

Now, nearly four years later, legal challenges to the ​Mississippi law have made their way to the Supreme Court, which will hear Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Religious-right groups hope that the court’s right-wing justices will use the case to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to criminalize abortion outright. The ​Supreme Court could also make Roe “irrelevant” without formally reversing it.

ADF is using the hearing to raise money. In a fundraising Monday morning email, the group told supporters that ​the court could ​use Dobbs to overturn Roe. Last week, ADF sent a fundraising pitch that offered supporters a chance to download its “Generational Wins Prayer Guide” for the Dobbs case. (ADF also hopes to achieve a “generational win” that would overturn marriage equality for same-sex couples.)

On Thanksgiving, Intercessors for America, a network of right-wing pastors and religious-right activists, called Dobbs “the most crucial Supreme Court case in 45 years.” On Thursday and again on Friday, it urged its supporters to sign its “emergency pro-lie amicus brief” as a “citizen co-sponsor.” IFA wrote, “Let the Supreme Court know that while abortion may be the law of the land now, but with the power of prayer we can overcome!”

The Heritage Foundation​, a right-wing think tank, called the Dobbs case a “chance at redemption” for the court in a Monday email​.

ADF’s Monday email bragged about the record number of legal briefs that were filed in support of the Mississippi abortion ban. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the National Association of Evangelicals are among the many religious-right groups signing amicus briefs urging the Court to overturn Roe and allow states to criminalize abortion. Joining them is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Family Research Council hosted and streamed a two-hour event from a Jackson, Mississippi, church Sunday night that was emceed by FRC President Tony Perkins and featured an array of anti-choice religious and political leaders praying that the Court would overturn Roe. ADF President Mike Farris and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser joined the broadcast from the steps of the Supreme Court, where Farris prayed that the justices would not ask Mississippi’s lawyers any questions they had not prepared for. Anti-choice activist Tina Whittington prayed about the importance of young people “engaging with our government to see Heaven’s values on life rule in our land.”

Among the other speakers was California-based pastor Jack Hibbs, an associate of Christian nationalist political operative David Lane and an ardent Trump supporter. This summer, Hibbs preached that President Joe Biden should be court-martialed and removed from office; a month earlier he asked God to forgive Californians for electing “people with antichrist” worldviews “like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.” Hibbs said on Sunday night that Dobbs case “will define whether God remains in this nation or not.”

Also joining the FRC broadcast were anti-abortion extremist Flip Benham and his grandson, anti-choice activist Alveda King, and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, dean of the school of government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University and chair of FRC’s board of directors. Speaking of the Supreme Court, Bachmann said, “But Father, these men are but dust. One day these justices, men and women, their knees will bow, their tongues will confess that you are Lord.”

Some religious-right activists believe that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed by Senate Republicans just days before voters rejected Donald Trump, was anointed by God to lead the Supreme Court in overturning Roe. Among them was dominionist Lou Engle, who wrote this month that he believes that “God is looking for the Church to respond at this moment, standing with Him in the court of heaven to release a decision in favor of His saints. The ekklesia on earth must agree with the Divine Counsel of Heaven.”

Engle celebrated that the three justices nominated by Trump have created an anti-choice majority on the court, but he warned that those justices are coming under spiritual attack by “demonic forces.” Engle called on his supporters to wage spiritual warfare to “bind these five conservative judges into a coalition of conscience from which they cannot get free.”

Before joining the high court, Barrett was paid at least five times to speak at conferences for recipients of ADF’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship. Right Wing Watch noted in May, when the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs: 

During the Trump administration, religious-right leaders and activists repeatedly prayed for God to “remove” Supreme Court justices to give Trump the ability to name justices to the court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Last year, Frank Amedia, founder of the dominionist pro-Trump network POTUS Shieldcelebrated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death as a “move of God” that would allow Trump to fulfill prophecies that he would be given three Supreme Court nominations to fill.

When Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the 15-week ban, he said that he wanted his state to be the “safest place in America for an unborn child.”  In the Family Research Council broadcast Sunday night, current Gov. Tate Reeves echoed that sentiment, saying that when he was running for governor, he made a commitment to God “that I would do everything in my power to make our state the safest state in the nation for an unborn child.” And he told the audience, “We’re gonna fight together to make this nation the safest place in the world for an unborn child.”

As I noted at the time, when Bryant signed the law, Mississippi was by many measures the least safe state in America for women, infants, and children:

 

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

Image by Do512 via Flickr and a CC license

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