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Mailbag: “Same Gender Marriage” and “The New Civil Rights Movement”

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Today I’m responding to a few emails we’ve recently received. You’re always welcome to email me or leave a comment in the contact section. And please know that I do read all the comments you make on the blog!

Ken writes,

“Please consider using same gender marriage. This term helps outsiders with confusion of sexual orientation, transgender and gender identity. It humanizes us more thanks.”

Thanks, Ken, it’s a valid and interesting point.

Back in February, I explained my choice to stop using the term “gay marriage,” in most situations.

Ideally, I would just use “marriage,” but that has drawbacks, primarily because many people, especially those who arrive here via the Google, search for “gay marriage” a lot. It’s actually one of the top search terms for this site. (Some others the past few weeks? “god hates fags,” “westboro baptist church,” “doma,”fox news,” and “cpac.” Go figure.)

We rely on search engines, along with social media — like Facebook and Twitter — and your kind remembering to visit us a few times a day, to get our information and our message out, and to pick up a few bucks (and I mean a very, very few bucks!) along the way. So, the terms “gay marriage,” “same-sex marriage,” and even “marriage equality” have to take a front seat sometimes, or folks won’t know we’re here.

(While we’re on the topic, forgive me for asking, but I do want you to know that every time you share our work via Twitter and Facebook, it means a great deal to us here. Every re-tweet, every Facebook posting keeps us motivated and re-affirms our efforts. The more you share us with your friends and family and co-workers, the more motivated to keep bringing you our original content we become! And the more folks who join our Facebook page, the more our work gets into the right hands. You have no idea how powerful each of you are.)

I’ve tried to not use the term “gay marriage,” except in an occasional title, to remain as clear as possible. After all, we’re fighting for marriage, not something else.

As far as the term “same gender marriage,” I have no desire to use it any more than I have a desire to use “gay marriage,” or even “same-sex marriage.” While I understand and appreciate the desire to be as accurate and affirming as possible, I’d like to try to use just “marriage.”

But, since that’s not yet possible, I will add “same gender marriage,” to our lexicon, and use it interchangeably, but I won’t revert to it entirely, and I hope some day soon, to be able to stop using modifiers all together.

Thoughts?

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Richard writes a long, very kind email, (Many, many thanks for the kind words! Here’s just part of it,) but has an issue:

“I really love your blog.  It manages to be comprehensive and thorough, which takes a lot of energy and dedication.  So thanks for that.  The only thing that has bugged me since I’ve been reading this blog is the title.  I happen to be both Gay and African-American.  I’ve made it my business to be out, and to do more than my part to help achieve equality for my fellow queers.  I’ve even worked as an organizer on a local LGBT rights campaign…

“Getting to the point, the title of your blog bugs me because it makes me tense. It reminds me of the implicit division between the civil rights movement for LGBT people, and the civil rights movement(s) for people of color.  If one is considered new, then the others must be old, right?  Why do we need to differentiate these movements?  Why can’t we see these seemingly disparate efforts as part of a larger struggle for human rights?”

Well, Richard, here’s the thing.

First, I have a confession: I never really loved the title of the blog. When I started it, just days after Prop 8 passed, I “crowd-sourced” the name, and had my friends on Twitter vote. This was their favorite.

But it is a valid name, and here’s why.

After Prop 8, the term, “new civil rights movement” was everywhere. (So was the phrase, “Is gay the new black,” which I never liked either.)

And we are fighting a new civil rights battle. And we are a movement.

The battle for marriage equality has never really been fought like this before, by so many people before, and so successfully before.

Some members of the black or African-American community take issue with the term, and some claim we’ve co-opted it. I disagree. Here’s someone whose words should ring loud and clear. New Jersey Senator Nia Gill, who happens to be African-American, and who, in December of 2009, during New Jersey’s marriage equality debate, spoke so eloquently of marriage equality, saying,

“When we get to the issue of the constitution […] History shows you could never have contemplated that marriage is between a man and a woman. If you look at the constitution, at its intent, the constitution intended that African-Americans would never be full participants.

“The legislators – the female ones – would not be here, because the constitution never intended for a woman to have the right to vote. And if we looked further at what the constitution intended – as if it is a stagnant body – then we know that disabled people would have no rights, under the equal protection clause, that they have access to public buildings.

“It is a civil rights issue – not because African-Americans own the copyright to civil rights, it is a civil rights issue in the analysis of the equal protection of the fourteenth amendment in the constitution. And maybe some in my community want to hold on to it, because it’s ours. Because our blood has been shed for the right to vote, and we jealously guard that as a re-affirmation of being American. And so we hold it, because no one can do civil rights and have civil rights better than we do. That’s emotional, but it is certainly not an analysis of the constitutional imperatives that face us. It’s a civil rights issue.

“Each side has an emotional story to tell. So I am not involved in that. But I am involved in how does this strip people of the equality under the law. And as an African-American and as a woman who would jealously guard all the civil rights struggles, this is a civil rights struggle on the magnitude and importance for the people who have died for the right to vote, for the people who have died to allow women the right to vote. And if I took a different stand, which would be a more traditional stand, that the community that identifies with me wants me to take, then I will have breached the tradition and the trust of the elders and the ancestors. And so I vote for the equality of marriage because I believe in the constitution.”

(emphasis mine.)

But I want to stress that I do believe in building coalitions. I also want to point you to two pieces here that say just that. One, by Tanya Domi, titled, “Wisconsin Union Uprising: Why This Is The LGBT Community’s Moment,” and the other, which will be published tomorrow morning, by Jay Morris, titled, “Building Coalitions: Is the Enemy Of My Enemy My Friend?

I think the black or African-American community has so much to teach us, and I am sad there is often division between our communities. We should rally and fight together, not fight each other.

And I want to stress that the title of the blog was never meant to be about exclusion, it was meant to let people know, because far fewer people two and a half years ago did, that our quest for marriage equality and equality in general is a civil rights issue, and we have every intention of fighting for equality and our civil rights until we get them. Along the way, we all should be fighting for everyone’s civil rights. That’s why I don’t limit my work here to LGBTQ issues.

# # #

So, dear readers and writers, what say you? Please, keep the comments, thoughts, ideas, along with the retweets and Facebook messages coming!

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OPINION

‘By Design’: Johnson Falsely Claims Democrats Are Trying to Turn ‘Illegals’ Into Voters

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Embattled Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson traveled nearly 1000 miles on Friday afternoon to appear with Donald Trump in a live joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago to promote legislation banning non-U.S. citizens from voting, which has been a federal law, and a felony, since 1997.

But Johnson used the event to attack Democrats, falsely accusing them of a conspiracy to increase the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. for the direct and distinct purpose of pushing them to vote illegally in U.S. elections.

The Speaker offered no proof of the existence of this conspiracy.

“We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson said, standing next to Trump (video below), “but there are some Democrats who don’t want to do that. We believe that one of their designs, one of the reasons for this open border, which everybody asked all around the country, why would they do this? Why would they allow all this chaos? Why the violence? Because they want to turn these people into voters.”

READ MORE: ‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

Non-citizens voting in a U.S. election is punishable by deportation, massive fines, and/or numerous years in prison.

“Right now the administration is encouraging illegals to go to their local welfare office to sign up for benefits,” Johnson, one of the top election deniers in the country, claimed as he explained his conspiracy theory. He did not state how the Biden Administration is communicating with undocumented immigrants, nor did he offer proof of these communications.

He also did not state that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any government welfare program.

“Well, guess what? When you go to a welfare office, they also ask you if you would like to register to vote, and so many people, we think are going to do that.”

Again, Johnson offered no proof of undocumented immigrants doing that, and in fact, as the Brennan Center for Justice reported just this week, that is not happening.

“States have multiple systems in place to deter noncitizen voting. Those who violate the law face prison time and deportation,” the Brennan Center reported.

If you were undocumented, the Brennan Center asked, “Would you risk everything — your freedom, your life in the United States, your ability to be near your family — just to cast a single ballot?”

Johnson went on to state, “there’s so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in the election. That could turn an election.”

It could, but it isn’t happening.

RELATED: Johnson Moves for Trump Protection Against Greene With Mar-a-Lago Joint Press Conference

“President Biden has created a catastrophe and he did it by design,” Johnson alleged. “Why invite everybody from around the world to come here, including hardened criminals and dangerous persons?”

Neither President Biden nor his administration invited “everybody from around the world to come here,” but what if he did? Why shouldn’t he, if America is the greatest country on earth, why shouldn’t the President invite, urge people from other countries to lawfully come to America, the land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave, where immigrants have been called the “backbone” of the nation.

Federal laws can help keep “hardened criminals and dangerous persons” out, and federal border agents could do a better job if Donald Trump had allowed a vote on the Senate bipartisan border bill.

Johnson also claimed that immigration “has all sorts of terrible effects on the American people. We know that fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 49.”

Most of the fentanyl flooding the country is smuggled in by Americans, not “across the border” but through U.S. ports of entry. Nearly nine out of ten fentanyl smugglers are U.S. citizens, according to the right wing Cato Institute.

Watch a portion of Speaker Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Bless Those Who Persecute You’: Johnson Invokes Bible Amid Greene’s Ouster Threat

 

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OPINION

‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

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As Donald Trump continues to try to make inroads with Black voters, his allegedly spontaneous viral visit to an Atlanta Chick-fil-A on Wednesday came at just the right time for the indicted ex-president as the patrons and staff, mostly young Black women, appeared to gush over him.

Fox News went wild over the encounter, calling it a “surprise visit.

Video showed Trump casually declaring in the middle of the restaurant, with his arms opened wide, “Let me give you a hug,” and a young woman running over into his arms.

“Fox & Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones the next morning called it, “such an organic moment because you had all these people that obviously knew the president was there but were Trump supporters as well. Minorities.”

Jones then painted the stark “contrast” between President Joe Biden’s State Dinner with the Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday evening, and the ex-president who just happened to walk into a Chick-fil-A and ordered 30 milkshakes. Jones appeared agitated by the Biden State Dinner, saying, “You got the current president, the ‘smoozing,’ State Dinner, you got the Clinton – why does another former president have to do a State Dinner with the current president? I think that’s strange.”

But it had not taken long for some to say it seemed staged.

READ MORE: ‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

“The odds of Trump walking into a Chick-Fil-A in a big city like Atlanta, and every single customer in there just happening to be a supporter, are infinitesimally small. The whole thing was obviously staged to ensure that only his supporters were inside,” observed the social media account for The Palmer Report just hours after the Chick-fil-A visit took place.

MeidasTouch Network on Friday reports, “Trump’s Viral Hug At Chick-fil-A Was With a MAGA Operative,” and notes the woman Trump supposedly spontaneously hugged, Michaelah Montgomery “is a ‘political consultant’ and former Georgia GOP intern.”

Former CNN commentator Keith Boykin, the co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, wrote: “I knew it! Trump’s Chick-fil-A stop was a staged photo op with Black Republican supporters. Michaelah Montgomery, the Black woman who told Trump that ‘we support you,’ actually runs a conservative group and worked with Candace Owens’s Blexit Foundation.”

Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch, explained, “Just like his fake union rally & lie about calling Ruby Garcia’s family, the Trump excursion to Chick-fil-A was a staged op with a political consultant who has done work with the GOP, Charlie Kirk & Candace Owens’ orgs.” Linking to their report, Filipkowski, an attorney and former Republican calls it a “pattern of fraud.”

READ MORE: ‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

The liberal PAC PatriotTakes reposted a Trump campaign video, added screenshots, and wrote, “These Trump photo ops are pre-staged with supporters prior to his arrival.”

Despite all this evidence, Friday afternoon Fox News continued to hype the two-day old “viral” event, with host John Roberts telling viewers, “That was a true retail politics moment there. Biden goes in to get ice cream, he grabs himself a double scoop and walks out. Trump goes in and buys everyone lunch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump-Johnson Mar-a-Lago Meet to Push Ban on ‘Non-Citizen’ Voting – Which Is Already a Felony

 

 

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News

‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

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Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

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