New Pope In Rome, Same Old Anti-Gay Focus From The Catholic Church In America
Pope Francis gave hope to millions of progressives worldwide, including the LGBT community and our allies, that the Roman Catholic Church would change into the religious institution it is supposed to be: one focused on helping the poor, the needy, the sick, and the elderly, and spreading the message of God’s love across the world; in short, what America’s Catholics expect of their Church. But in reality, little has changed, at least here at home in the U.S.
The vast majority of America’s Catholics support same-sex marriage and the civil rights of LGBT people — even at a rate higher than the average American. They also do not see same-sex relations as sin.
YetÂ Cardinal Timothy Dolan (image, top,) who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Archbishop of New York — making him the highest-ranking Catholic in America — has worked to distance himself from the LGBT community, and made it clear how incredibly uncomfortable he is with LGBT people and embracing us as part of his flock.
Dolan yesterday appeared on his weekly Tuesday Sirius radio show, telling tales and stories, laughing, and joking with comedian Jim Gaffigan. It was certainly a heartwarming show.
But the Cardinal knew he had to say something about the dramatic increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes in New York City — his home — this month and this year.
Because he had said absolutely nothing, even after the hate crime murder of Mark Carson, a gay man shot to death literally for being gay.
The New Civil Rights Movement and other LGBT activists, including Scott Wooledge of Memeographs and Joseph Amodeo via the Huffington Post, have been asking why the nation’s number one Catholic had been uninterested in denouncing the violence against LGBT people.
So yesterday, at the very end of his radio show, Cardinal Dolan mustered the courage to make mention of the violence.
â€œYou look at even the violence in our own city with some homosexuals who have recently been beaten and killed,â€ Dolan said. â€œI mean thatâ€™s just awful, that flies in the face of divine justice. Every human life deserves dignity and respect, right? Anytime life is attacked we all suffer.â€
LOOK:Â Cardinal Dolan Spends A Few Seconds Mentioning Violence Against â€˜Some Homosexualsâ€™
Dolan said the very least he could have, just so he could be on the record as “denouncing” anti-gay violence given the nine incidents of anti-gay violence in NYC this month alone.
Hardly a denunciation. It took up all of 19 seconds.
And then the Cardinal launched into comments about Memorial Day.
Compare Cardinal Dolan’s “thatâ€™s just awful” that “some homosexuals…have recently been beaten and killed” comment with that of one of the nation’s leading anti-gay professionals.
â€œWe condemn in the strongest possible way the murder of a gay man in New York by a killer who apparently hurled anti-gay insults at him moments before the killing,â€ National Organization For Marriage president Brain Brownâ€™s statement last week reads, posted to NOMâ€™s blog days after the shooting-death murder of Mark Carson. Brown added:
This senseless act cannot be condoned in America or anywhere, and we urge that the perpetrator be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Our heart goes out to the family of the victim, and we hold them in our prayers. While this killing appears to have no connection to the current debate about redefining marriage, there is no room for violence toward any American â€” whether they support traditional marriage or not. No person should be subjected to violence because they are gay or lesbian or because they believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. There is no place for violence, period.
Last summer, when the Family Research Council was attacked by a lone gunman who put a bullet in the arm of the FRC’s security guard, within hours more than two dozen LGBT organizations rushed to condemn publicly, and in writing, the violence.
So, Cardinal Dolan’s tepid and offhand remarks, as much as they are appreciated as an important first step, and far from sufficient.
If Dolan truly wishes to condemn hate-motivated violence against the LGBT members of his church, and against all LGBT people, he will have to say more than “thatâ€™s just awful,” and he’ll have to stop issuing directives to his Bishops telling them to preach against same-sex marriage and LGBT relationships too.
LOOK:Â Cardinal Dolan Calls For Anti-LGBT Sermons In Shadow Of Violent Anti-Gay Hate Crime Wave
Earlier this month, Dolan through his USCCB issued a directive to be shared with all Catholics, calling the Prop 8 and DOMA same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court the â€œ’Roe v. Wade’ of marriage.”
And he called on all Catholics to “pray, fast, and sacrifice” so the Court would not grant civil rights to loving same-sex couples.
Dolan cares about the family, and families, but not those of same-sex couples. He is a supporter of immigration reform, but not of including protections for families headed by LGBT people.
In fact, in his directive, Dolan stated that “redefining marriage serves no oneâ€™s rights, least of all those of children.”
If there’s one thing most people can agree upon, it is that marriage strengthens families and provides safety and security for children — regardless of their parents’ gender(s).
Just a few weeks ago, Cardinal Dolan, or his representatives,Â used the NYPD to prohibit from Sunday worship services gay Catholics by barring their entry into NYCâ€™s St. Patrickâ€™s Cathedral, the iconic home of the Roman Catholic Church in New York.
Their hands were dirty.
Cardinal Dolan had written a blog post demanding LGBT Catholics wash their hands — presumably of our bad behaviors, like entering into loving same-sex relationships and marriages — and Dolan refused to allow a small group of LGBT Catholics and their allies entrance into St. pats with their “dirty hands,” unless they washed them first.
In March, Cardinal DolanÂ said the Catholic Church wants â€œhappinessâ€ for same-sex couples but same-sex married couples are entitled only to â€œfriendshipâ€ and not â€œsexual love.â€
Last year,Â Dolan attacked same-sex marriage equality and abortion in his closing prayer while an invited guest at the Democratic National Convention.
Cardinal Dolan has been actively engaged in opposing the civil rights of LGBT people. It’s time for him to see us as human beings, and God’s children first.
Michelangelo Signorile invited me to speak on his SiriusXM OutQ radio show this afternoon, and he wondered why with a change at the top — with Pope Francis focusing publicly on the more traditional role of the Church as a savior for the sick, the poor, the needy, the elderly — if Cardinal Dolan is “freelancing” and acting on his own.
Signorile, a veteran journalist who has served the LGBT community for years, wondered why Dolan issued the directive to “pray, fast, and sacrifice” in the hopes of a Supreme Court upholding Prop 8 and DOMA.
Who knows what the Catholic Church is thinking. But we do know what the vast majority of America’s Catholics are thinking, and it looks nothing like what Cardinal Dolan is.
Gay Catholic Leaders Weigh In On Use Of NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From St. Patâ€™s Cathedral
Cardinal Dolan Uses NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics From Sunday Worship In St. Patrickâ€™s Cathedral
Cardinal Dolan: Same-Sex Couples Entitled To â€˜Friendshipâ€™ But Not â€˜Sexual Loveâ€™ (Video)
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SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
It’s being called a “surprise decision,” a “landmark win,” and a “a major victory for the Voting Rights Act (VRA),” but some legal experts are warning that heralding the U.S. Supreme Court’s Thursday decision as anything except upholding the status quo is a mistake, and other experts suggest it means the Court’s earlier rulings wrongly threw control of the House of Representatives to Republicans. Some experts say a Democratic-majority House in 2024 is now more likely.
In short, in its 5-4 decision in Allen v. Milligan, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Alabama discriminated against Black voters, which make up a quarter of its population, by drawing congressional maps to exclude them.
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who writes about law and the courts, exclaimed, “WHOA!” as he explained: “The Supreme Court’s final decision of the day is a 5–4 ruling that AFFIRMS the Voting Rights Act’s protection against racial vote dilution! Roberts and Kavanaugh join the liberals. This is a HUGE surprise and a major voting rights victory.”
Democracy Docket, the website founded by Marc Elias, the voting rights attorney who won 63 of the 64 court cases Donald Trump and his allies filed to contest the 2020 presidential election, also served up a similar response on social media, calling it “a massive victory for voting rights.”
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On its website, Democracy Docket calls it “an overwhelming win for Alabamians, specifically Black voters, whose voting power was found to be diluted under the current congressional map. Importantly, the conservative Supreme Court did not make the drastic decision to strike down Section 2 of the VRA, leaving an important tool in voting rights litigation in place.”
It adds the Supreme Court’s decision in Allen v. Milligan “leaves Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) intact and, in a landmark win for voters, struck down the state’s congressional map. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, is joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson and joined in part by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
Democracy Docket also notes the decision “will have major positive implications for outstanding redistricting lawsuits.”
Stern agrees, writing: “It’s a boon to Democrats’ chances of retaking the House in 2024. The Supreme Court had blocked multiple lower court rulings striking down congressional maps that diluted Black voting power. At least some of those rulings should now be implemented.”
Democracy Docket adds: “The Court’s decision in Allen likely means that litigation challenging Louisiana’s congressional map can move forward and paves the way for a favorable outcome for Louisiana voters. Louisiana’s situation directly mirrors Alabama’s. In both states, voting rights advocates argued that a second majority-Black congressional district is needed to ensure compliance with the VRA. The Supreme Court paused Louisiana’s litigation pending a decision in Allen.”
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Dave Wasserman, U.S. House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report calls the decision “a major surprise,” and says: “This could reverberate to LA, SC and/or GA, forcing creation of 2-4 new Black majority districts and netting Dems 2-4 seats” in the House.
Wasserman, known for his keen knowledge of congressional districts and iconic “I’ve seen enough” early and accurate predictions of House election races, offered this view of how the Court’s decision could impact current districts:
“The Alabama Republicans in most jeopardy owing to the SCOTUS ruling: Reps. Jerry Carl (R) #AL01, Barry Moore (R) #AL02 and Mike Rogers (R) #AL03. Moore could be squeezed the most in any map reconfigured to feature a second Black majority seat.”
University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck, author of a book on the Supreme Court, “The Shadow Docket,” offers up a stinging reminder of how the Court has damaged voting rights and helped Republicans in the process:
“If you assume that additional majority-minority districts in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, & 1–2 other states would’ve been safe Democratic seats, then today’s #SCOTUS ruling strongly suggests that the Court’s 2022 shadow docket stays [decisions/rulings] wrongly gave Republicans control of the House.”
Professor of law Anthony Michael Kreis, pointing to Vladeck’s remarks, adds: “there’s a House majority built on discriminatory lawlessness.”
Also taking note of Thursday’s SCOTUS ruling: House Democrats. Axios’ Andrew Solender reports House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ office is “inviting Dem[ocratic] congressional staff to a Friday briefing on recent Supreme Court cases, including the Alabama congressional map case.”
Meanwhile, the well-known NYU professor of law, Melissa Murray, is stepping in to properly frame reactions to what she sees as the Court’s “weak sauce” decision on the Voting Rights Act.
“Some initial thoughts on Allen v. Milligan,” she writes on Twitter. “Media is trumpeting this as a ‘victory’ for the Voting Rights Act. And it is. And I don’t want to be a turd in the punchbowl… but this is pretty weak sauce from this Court.”
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Professor Murray says, “this doesn’t ‘strengthen’ the VRA. It preserves the status quo. And the status quo is that this Court has done an A+ job of hobbling the VRA over the last 10 years.”
Murray offers up some quick historical background.
“In 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder, it eviscerated the preclearance formula. The preclearance regime required states with a history of voting discrimination to first ‘preclear’ any changes to their voting rules and regs with the DOJ or a three-judge federal court panel.”
“The Court invalidated the preclearance formula on the ground that progress had been made and minorities were voting and blah blah blah,” she notes. “This progress narrative prompted RBG [the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg] to note in dissent that throwing out the preclearance formula was like throwing out your umbrella in a rainstorm because you weren’t getting wet. She was right.”
Murray also refers to a number of other cases along the way that weakened voting rights.
“So, yes,” she concludes, “today’s decision is a victory that maintains the status quo for Section 2 of the VRA. But it is cold comfort when one considers the way this Court through its decisions has actively distorted the electoral landscape and made true representative government more elusive.”
The Economist’s Supreme Court reporter Steven Mazie, calls Prof. Murray’s remarks, “Crucial zoomed-out context for today’s Voting Rights Act ruling. The 5-4 is a surprise, and it’s a victory—but after a long string of losses, today’s win amounts to…not losing YET MORE voting protections for people of color.”
The Nation’s justice correspondent, Elie Mystal, offers a bit of a more compact and down-to-earth response: “A way to understand what just happened with Roberts and Kav[anaugh] in the Voting Rights Case is that it’s not going to change much in terms of Alabama’s racist maps. This cost them little,” he says. “The *victory* is that these fools could have straight killed Section 2 of the VRA, but didn’t.”
'DISTURBING SURGE IN VIOLENT THREATS'
Biden Launches Major Initiative to Protect LGBTQ Community Ahead of Massive White House Pride Celebration
The Biden administration is launching a three-pronged plan to protect members of the LGBTQI+ community, including protecting their safety and civil rights, supporting LGBTQI+ children, and protecting students from book bans.
“Over a dozen states have enacted anti-LGBTQI+ laws that violate our most basic values and freedoms as Americans, and are cruel and callous to our kids, our neighbors, and those in our community,” the White House said in a statement Thursday. “The Biden-Harris administration stands with the LGBTQI+ community and has their backs in the face of these attacks.”
The initiative will be announced during President Joe Biden’s Thursday evening Pride event, which Reuters reports will be “the largest White House Pride Month celebration in history.” In a “a deliberate contrast to a cascade of Republican legislation and other attacks targeting LGBTQ+ people,” President Biden will host “thousands” on the White House South Lawn.
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“This year we’re seeing a disturbing surge in violent threats against LGBTQ community organizations,” Biden White House domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden told reporters. “In too many parts of our country, LGBTQ Americans are being targeted for who they are, and that, simply put, is discrimination.”
President Biden has directed three federal agencies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to “launch the LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership. The Partnership will work hand-in-hand with LGBTQI+ community organizations to provide critical safety resources to ensure these organizations can remain safe spaces for the community,” the White House says. “In acknowledgement of the mistreatment that LGBTQI+ communities have often faced in interactions with law enforcement, the Partnership will also work to build trust between LGBTQI+ organizations and federal law enforcement agencies.”
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Kristen Clarke, will chair regular meetings with the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s LGBTQI+ Working Group, focused on “issues related to discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community.”
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services on Thursday will “issue a Behavioral Health Care Advisory on Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth to provide evidence-based practices for mental health providers. HHS will also issue a guidance to states and communities on using federal funding to support mental health services for LGBTQI+ youth.”
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The administration points to the disproportionately large number of LGBTQI+ youth in the child welfare system, and notes that “far too often” they “experience trauma, including being exposed to so-called ‘conversion therapy,'” which Biden has spoken out against before. HHS says it “will issue a Behavioral Health Care Advisory on Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth to provide evidence-based practices for mental health providers. HHS will also issue a guidance to states and communities on using federal funding to support mental health services for LGBTQI+ youth.”
The White House also says it is working to “Shield LGBTQI+ kids and families from discrimination,” and “Address LGBTQI+ youth homelessness.” It also points to its efforts on “Protecting Americans from book banning,” and “Uplifting LGBTQI+ communities.”
In December, President Biden signed a law protecting same-sex and interracial marriages.
You can watch the video above or at this link, and read the entire White House announcement on its website.
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House Freedom Caucus Republican: Trump Is Spinning Out of Control
A right-wing GOP lawmaker who has backed Donald Trump through both of his impeachments is sounding the alarm that the former president is becoming increasingly erratic which could put the 2024 general election at risk for his party.
According to a report from Politico, the closer Donald Trump gets to becoming the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nominee the more some GOP lawmakers are growing worried that not only will they lose their shot at taking back the White House, but he’ll take down-ticket GOP candidates down with him.
The report also notes that the battle between Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis is starting to turn off conservative voters and some are hoping that an alternative will rise from the squabble.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was blunt about the GOP’s prospects as they stand today, telling reporters, “I’m worried about it,” and expressed fears that Trump will keep independent voters at a distance.
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With a wide array of candidates having just appeared over the past weekend in Iowa, Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA) claimed the infighting is turning voters — even Republicans — off.
“We’ll see if the two titans punching each other fires up the base, or if six months from now people are tired of both and ready for a third way,” Nunn explained before making tha blunt observation, “When you talk to Iowans, s–t-talking other candidates will not get you success. We don’t necessarily pick the winner, but we’re pretty good at smelling bulls–t.”
Kentucky Rep. Tom Massie (R), who has sided with DeSantis, is very worried about the possibility of Trump at the top of the ticket.
“I wish Trump were on Twitter. He’s in an echo chamber right now. And people don’t know how far he’s spun out from where he was,” he said in an interview. “The more visibility that we can help Trump get — when he attacks [his former White House press secretary] Kayleigh McEnany, for instance — the better.”
You can read more here.
Image via Shutterstock
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