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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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Ten Commandments Governor Declares No Church-State Separation in Rough Fox News Interview



Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry appeared surprised in a Friday Fox News interview when asked to defend his newly-signed law requiring the Bible’s Ten Commandments to be posted in every public school classroom throughout the state, which critics say is unconstitutional.

Speaking about the First Amendment principle of separation of church and state, which the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed at least a half-dozen times, Landry declared: “I challenge anyone who says that to go find me those words in the First Amendment. They don’t exist.”

He went on to claim those who want to “extract” what he claims are America’s Judeo-Christian principles “out of the foundation of this country…really and truly want to create the chaos that ultimately is the demise of this nation.”

On Thursday in a signing ceremony Landry declared the Bible’s Moses is the “original lawgiver,” a claim some challenged as a cultural choice and not an accurate one, given there are others that date back earlier, to ancient Greece, Babylon,  and India.

READ MORE: ‘Ominous Opinion’: Same-Sex Marriage Targeted Again in Latest SCOTUS Ruling, Expert Warns

“You’ve heard the criticism, it seems to be pouring in. Was it still the right thing to do?” Governor Landry was asked Friday afternoon.

“I mean, I didn’t know that living the Ten Commandments is a bad way to live life,” Landry replied, not touching the obvious and likely unconstitutional nature of the legislation he proudly signed 24 hours earlier. “I didn’t know that it was so vile to obey the Ten Commandments. I think that that speaks volumes about how eroded this country has become. I mean, look, this country was, was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and every time we steer away from that we have problems in our nation. I mean, right now schools teach, basically treat kids like critters and get the Ten Commandments is something bad to put in schools? It just it’s amazing.”

The founders clearly intended to create a secular, not religious government and took great care, including in the First Amendment, to ensure no religion was favored and individuals had the right to observe any faith, multiple faiths, or none at all.

RELATED: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

“For those listening right now, they’re wondering, what’s the goal?” Fox News host Sandra Smith continued. “Because it’s not as if this is going to be taught in every school and classroom. This is just being displayed on the walls. So my question to you is, how is this going to improve the school environment and the performance of kids in those schools? When Governor, I pull up the report cards of these public schools and Louisiana is struggling, I mean, it is at the bottom of the country. The education system is failing these kids. I mean, Louisiana is 43, 44th in math and reading. So is this gonna help what is a very big problem in Louisiana?”

“Look, I think it’s part and parcel for helping kids anywhere around the country, if other states followed our suits, but at the same time that we signed that bill into law, we signed a string of others assign 20 bills, including this one, to reform Louisiana schools.”

Experts note that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in 1980.

Sandra Smith’s remarks about Louisiana failing are accurate. According to U.S. News and World Report, Louisiana ranks 47th in education, 50th in crime, 49th in the economy, 46th in health care, and overall, it ranks last, at number 50.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

RELATED: ‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms


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‘Ominous Opinion’: Same-Sex Marriage Targeted Again in Latest SCOTUS Ruling, Expert Warns



In a 6-3 decision along partisan lines the right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court once again targeted the landmark 2015 Obergefell same-sex marriage decision, leading liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor to sound “alarm bells” on marriage equality in her dissent a legal expert says, warning that they may try to “roll it back.”

The case involves Sandra Muñoz, a U.S. citizen who argued that the federal government’s denial of a visa for her husband, who lives in El Salvador, deprives her of her constitutionally protected right to liberty.

The right-wing majority in a decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled: “A citizen does not have a fundamental liberty interest in her noncitizen spouse being admitted to the country.”

Friday’s ruling “undermines same-sex marriage,” Bloomberg Law reports Justice Sotomayor’s dissent warns.

Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern has covered the courts since 2013, and is the author of a 2019 book on the Roberts Supreme Court.

“Justice Sotomayor, in dissent, accuses the conservative supermajority of cutting back the rights guaranteed in Obergefell—the same-sex marriage decision—and of repeating ‘the same fatal error’ it made in Dobbs,” Stern writes. “A very ominous opinion.”

READ MORE: ‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms

The “fatal error” in Dobbs was ignoring precedent.

“Justice Sotomayor says the burden of today’s decision will ‘fall most heavily’ on same-sex couples, many of whom cannot safely reside in the non-citizen’s home country,” Stern adds. “Her dissent is littered with alarm bells about Obergefell.”

He points to this from Sotomayor’s dissent, a citation from the Obergefell decision:

“A traveler to the United States two centuries ago reported that ‘‘[t]here is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America.’ ‘ ”

“Today,” Sotomayor continued, “the majority fails to live up to that centuries-old promise. Muñoz may be able to live with her husband in El Salvador, but it will mean raising her U. S.-citizen child outside the United States. Others will be less fortunate. The burden will fall most heavily on same-sex couples and others who lack the ability, for legal or financial reasons, to make a home in the noncitizen spouse’s country of origin.”

Again quoting Obergefell, she adds, “For those couples, this Court’s vision of marriage as the ‘assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other’ rings hollow.”

Stern warns: “I think Justice Sotomayor is clearly correct that the Supreme Court’s gratuitous attack on the constitutional rights of married couples in Muñoz—especially same-sex couples—suggests that the conservative justices hate Obergefell and may roll it back.”

Sotomayor began her dissent also with a quote from Obergefell: “The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition.”

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

She warns that the right-wing majority could have appropriately issued a narrow ruling but instead chose to hand down a broad decision:

“The majority could have resolved this case on narrow grounds under longstanding precedent,” she writes. “Instead, the majority today chooses a broad holding on marriage over a narrow one on procedure.”

Justice Sotomayor again points to same-sex marriage:

“Muñoz may be able to live in El Salvador alongside her husband or at least visit him there, but not everyone is sovereign lucky. The majority’s holding will also extend to those couples who, like the Lovings and the Obergefells, depend on American law for their marriages’ validity. Same-sex couples may be forced to relocate to countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage, or even those that criminalize homosexuality.”

She also noted, “The constitutional right to marriage has deep roots,” and “The constitutional right to marriage is not so flimsy,” while warning “the majority departs from longstanding precedent and gravely undervalues the right to marriage in the immigration context.”

Two years ago almost to the day, when the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade and stripping away the constitutional right to abortion, Stern warned the Court, especially Justice Thomas, would come for contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage:

Two years before Dobbs, Stern also warned Justice Thomas was targeting same-sex marriage, writing that “Thomas (joined by Alito) wrote a jaw-dropping rant taking direct aim at Obergefell and suggesting that SCOTUS must overturn the right to marriage equality in order to protect free exercise.”

READ MORE: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

Image via Shutterstock

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‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms



Jumping on Louisiana’s controversial and likely unconstitutional new law mandating posters of a specific version of the Bible’s Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom, Donald Trump overnight declared the nation “desperately” needs a religious “revival” and called for the religious text to be placed in classrooms across America.

Critics point out that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 found a similar law unconstitutional.

“The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose,” the Associated Press reports.

And while some lawmakers are insisting it is a historical document, remarks by Republican Governor Jeff Landry and the bill’s co-author, Republican state Rep. Lauren Ventrella, would appear to undermine that defense.

RELATED: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

“I love the Ten Commandments in public schools, private schools, and many other places, for that matter. Read it — how can we, as a nation, go wrong??? This may be, in fact, the first major step in the revival of religion, which is desperately needed, in our country. bring back TTC!!! MAGA2024” Trump wrote on Truth Social in his all-caps post.

Some critics have been noting Trump has violated many if not most of the Ten Commandments. Some have listed the Ten Commandments and what they say are Trump’s actions in comparison to them.

MSNBC‘s Steve Bennen observed, “Trump is touting the Ten Commandments, despite the fact that he’s broken most of them. No graven images? Check. Honoring the Sabbath? Check. No adultery? Check. No stealing? Check. No bearing false witness? Big ol’ check. No coveting a neighbor’s wife? Check.”

Retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Judge Bob Orr wrote: “The GOP and Trump want parents controlling the books that are in schools NOT educators…but their ok with educators being responsible for teaching children to follow the Ten Commandments – a responsibility that belongs at home with the parents and the church.”

Earlier this week, before Trump’s declaration, The Lincoln Project posted a video on Trump’s relationship to the religious document.

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn




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