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Publisher’s Picks: Our Favorite Stories Of 2012



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2012 was definitely an election year of epic proportions, a watershed moment in history that no one alive will soon forget. But 2012 was also a year filled with amazing, terrifying, fantastic, terrible, wonderful, heart-warming, and heart-breaking incredible stories.

As publisher of The New Civil Rights Movement, one of my greatest satisfactions is sharing beautifully told tales that help people see the world just a little differently.

Sadly, many of those stories often get upstaged by events that are more “exciting,” or more scandalous, or shorter, or just more appealing to the lowest common denominator — and thus get more reads.

I love a well-told tale, news-you-can-use that’s as well-written as it is informative, op-eds that are meaningful, masterful, and take your breath away.

We all have stories we meant to read, wanted to read, bookmarked to read, later, but forgot.

So, today I bring you some of my favorite 2012 stories from some of our amazing writers — favorite because they’re well-written, impassioned, important, under-reported, and, or, well, really deserve your attention. These aren’t news stories as much as they’re just good stories. I looked through all the opinion and op-ed pieces our team wrote this year, and culled not the most popular stories but the very best tales. The list was long, but I wanted to ensure we shared at least these with you again.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read them all, check out the authors’ other works, and share them with your friends, family, social media followers, co-workers, and neighbors.

And remember to read:

2012 In Review: Obama Coalition Enshrines Liberals As America’s New Moral Majority



Publisher’s Picks: Our Favorite Stories Of 2012


John Culhane

Law, Unwrapped: Gay Marriage – Why Chris Christie Is Wrong On All Counts: NJ Governor Chris Christie’s desire to put marriage equality to a vote of the people is wrong. Civil unions are not equality. Only marriage can offer equality.


Tanya Domi

The GOP War On Women Demands A New Women’s Rights Agenda for America: “Feminism” with a capital “F” is making a roaring comeback, thanks to the GOP War On Women: misogyny on steroids. It’s time we demand a new women’s rights agenda.


Jean Ann Esselink

On Our Radar – The Straight Spouse Network: The Straight Spouse Network helps you when your wife tells you over breakfast that she is in love with another woman, and she is moving her in and you out.

Mother’s Day On Our Radar – Lesbian Supermoms Take On Family Equality: If their names were Ward & June, every right-wing “pro-family” group would be holding them up as an icon of family values. But their names are Jayne and April.

On Our Radar – Everyday People Fighting Everyday Bullies: Despite “Don’t Say Gay” bills or schools refusing Gay-Straight Alliances, across the US hopeful things are happening –everyday people are fighting everyday bullies. (With video)

On Our Radar – The Oxymorons Of The North Carolina Republican Party: The North Carolina Republican Party introduced a noteworthy new phrase into the Tea Party lexicon. “Sexual orientation is not an appropriate category.”

Father’s Day On Our Radar – Two Dads Say Thank You For The Gift Of Sons: A young unmarried mother in Vietnam gave Bob Page and Dale Frederiksen a chance to be fathers. Nine years later they gave her a new life in return. This Fathers Day, the generosity of the human heart is On Our Radar.

On Our Radar – The Romney Millions And The Damage They Have Done: Mitt and Ann Romney have decided they deserve adulation for giving ten percent of their wealth to the Mormon Church – one of the major funders of Prop 8. Today, the LGBT discrimination enabled by the Romney money is On Our Radar.

On Our Radar – The Crucible of Chris Armstrong: This week, a jury awarded out, gay University of Michigan graduate Chris Armstrong 4.5 million dollars after Andrew Shirvell, a former Assistant Michigan Attorney General, stalked and tormented him. Today Chris Armstrong, who showed remarkable grace under pressure, is On Our Radar.

On Our Radar – The “Health Of The Mother” And The War On Women: The Romney campaign announced last week that Mitt was mistaken when he said he believed in a “health of the mother” abortion exception.” What “health of the mother” really means to women is On Our Radar.

On Our Radar – Abstinence Only Sex Education, The American Version Of The Taliban: In Pakistan, the Taliban tries to keep girls uneducated and sexually repressed with beatings and bullets. In America, congress does the same thing with money. Today, abstinence only sex education and the lives it destroys are On Our Radar.


Clinton Fein

Yes, It Is Time For That Conversation: This is the time for that conversation. Let’s try regulating guns with the same fervor we do women’s bodies and protect our children with the same ferocity we do fetuses.

Susan G. Komen and the Cancer Within: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, in the wake of its decision to defund Planned Parenthood ended up subjecting itself to harsh scrutiny from which it can’t run nor hide.


Max S. Gordon

Proud Americans, Be Who You Are: From Paul Ryan to Michelle Obama, and every American in between, it’s time for “us vs. them” to stop so we can be we. Equally.

An American Mourning: A Remembrance of Emmett Till, Rodney King And Trayvon Martin: Emmett Till, murdered fifty-seven years ago on this day, August 28th, in 1955. His death was a crucial turning point for the Civil Rights movement in America.

Whitney: Sister Can’t Fly On One Wing: Perhaps the drugs were Whitney Houston’s “black” scream, the expression of her rage at the dichotomy between the truth of her life and what we were watching onstage.


Zinnia Jones

Is This Really Just ‘Mainstream Christian Advocacy’?: Washington Post’s Dana Milbank describes the Family Research Council as “a mainstream conservative think tank,” “driven by deeply held religious beliefs.” Really?


Benjamin Phillips

Christian Pastors Partying Like It’s 538-332 BC: Every pastor preaching genocide must be met with 100 preaching love and acceptance. Christians must adapt their dogma for today, or fully embrace the Bible’s hatred.

God Hates Fags Is The Heart Of The Religious Right: From Tony Perkins to Bryan Fischer to Rick Santorum to Rick Perry to Stacey Campfield, “God hates fags” – the concept – is at the very heart and soul of the Religious Right.

Rick Santorum, The New President Of Jesus: Evangelical Christians have found the new president of Jesus, Rick Santorum, a man terrified of the future, who would destroy the very lives of LGBT Americans.

The Ballad Of John Edwards: If John Edwards were a character in a movie about the rise and fall of a politician from South Carolina the actor they would hire would look just like John Edwards.


Ian Rivers

Reflections On Romney: Why Being ‘A Bully’ Is No Laughing Matter: In the wake of revelations that Mitt Romney was a high school gay bashing bully, we learn that bullies are often viewed “as some of the coolest kids at school.”


Keph Senett

You’ve Probably Never Even Heard Of The Homeless World Cup — Here’s Why You Should: The 10th Annual Homeless World Cup, a soccer tournament played by homeless and socially-disadvantaged people, attracted over 50,000 spectators its opening weekend.


William Lucas Walker

Spilled Milk: Tea and Coco: I’m sure there are many people who’d rush to call me a bad parent for taking my daughter to tea with a drag queen. I’d say they’re wrong. I think every kid in America could benefit from an afternoon with Miss Coco Peru.

Spilled Milk: Strangers On A Train: Did you know September was Grandparents Month? Neither did I. God will smite you, as he does nonobservant Jews and sex fetish bloggers. Unless you do something about it, pronto.


Joseph Ward III

Can We Trust Christians? A Question For LGBT People And Straight Allies: Homophobic Christianity is rampant but there are over 5,000 congregations in the U.S. that have declared their unequivocal affirmation of LGBT equality.


Stuart Wilber

LGBT Images In Art: The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name Just Won’t Shut Up!: Four states have major exhibitions at notable museums which focus on works of art that are explicitly or implicitly depictions of LGBTQ subjects or iconography.


Images, top, by DonkeyHotey

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Lindsey Graham Admonished by Senate Ethics Committee



U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been formally admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol.

The bipartisan committee issued Graham a Public Letter of Admonition after the South Carolina Republican solicited donations for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker.

“Based upon all available information, the Committee concluded that on November 30, 2022, you conducted a media interview with Fox News in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and that your interview was slightly over nine minutes, with over four minutes devoted to a discussion of the 2022 senatorial run-off election in Georgia. The Committee further concluded that during your discussion of the senatorial run-off election, you directly solicited campaign contributions on behalf of Mr. Walker’s campaign committee,, five separate times.”

The letter notes that Sen. Graham had previously violated the same standards when he solicited campaign donations in a federal building in October of 2020, but said it was an “unplanned media interview.” When a reporter had asked him about fundraising, Graham “directly solicited campaign contributions” for his re-election campaign.

READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing

The Committee noted “mitigating” circumstances and did not cite him for that violation.

“The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity,” the letter concludes. “Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished.”

CNN’s Manu Raju posted the letter to social media.

You can read the letter below or at this link.

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Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing



U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.

“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”

“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.

After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”

READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation

Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”

Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.

“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.

ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”

“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.

READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs

On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.

“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.

According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.

Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”

And one called Fallon “feckless.”

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‘Repercussions’: Biden White House Warns Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Could Force US to Cancel $950 Million in Annual Aid



The Biden administration may cancel the $950 million in annual assistance the U.S. provides to Uganda if President Yoweri Museveni signs into law its latest “Kill the Gays” bill, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and between ten and 20 years in prison for other LGBTQ “acts.”

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Wednesday made clear if Uganda further criminalizes homosexuality and the LGBTQ community there could be “repercussions that we would have to take.”

“That would be really unfortunate because so much of the economic assistance that we provide Uganda is health assistance,” Admiral Kirby said at a White House press briefing.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also told reporters Wednesday the Biden administration has “grave concerns” over the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), and “increasing violence targeting LGBTQIA+ persons.”

READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case

“If the AHA is signed into law and enacted, it would impinge upon universal human rights, jeopardize progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, deter tourism and invest in Uganda and damage Uganda’s international reputation,” Jean-Pierre warned. “The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”

Kirby and Jean-Pierre’s remarks came on the same day as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” legislation, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

“The United States provides more than $950 million in aid to Uganda each year, according to the State Department. The money supports development and health care measures, such as combating HIV/AIDS,” Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “Uganda is already among 30 African countries that ban same-sex relations. The new proposal would broaden penalties and appears to be the first to outlaw identifying as LGBTQ+, according to Human Rights Watch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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