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So, Did Perez Hilton Steal My Work?

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The Message vs. The Messenger

Let’s be clear. My goal is to get the message out. The message is about the importance of gay rights and gay marriage, the message is about the successes we achieve and the hurdles we have to jump every day. And I like to stick to facts, as much as possible. There’s too much noise, and too much hatred and prejudice surrounding the gay community.

That’s why I do my best to avoid writing about Perez Hilton: he attracts hatred, he attracts prejudice, he makes the gay community look bad, and he has little credibility. Hell, even Perez Hilton doesn’t believe what Perez Hilton writes.

I’ve written about him only a few times, and only when it would have been negligent to not.

I mentioned Hilton on June 10, only as background to the Carrie Prejean getting fired story. Two weeks later, I felt compelled to write, “Perez Hilton Is Not My National Leader,” as commentary on Hilton’s calling will.i.am a “f*ggot.” I needed to denounce Hilton’s actions – not only about his interaction with The Black Eyed Peas, but also to show that Hilton has, time and again, harmed the gay community:

“It’s time the gay community starts to call it like it is. Equality also means treating those within our community equally. And that means not supporting those who do not support us, regardless of who they are. Perez Hilton does not help us. Perez Hilton does not support us. He is a selfish, crude, media whore. It’s time we started listening to someone who speaks for us, to us, about us, in a responsible and respectful way. In a way that helps our cause. Not hurts our dignity.”

I had hoped that would be the last time I needed to write about Perez Hilton. I was wrong.

Just a few days later, Michael Jackson died. And Hilton, right before we learned of Jackson’s passing, posted a photograph of Michael Jackson with these words scrawled at the top: “Heart attack or cold feet?” Like so many Americans, I was outraged. Outraged not only because, even had Jackson not died, it would have been a horrible thing to do, but outraged that people were still paying attention to Hilton. In “Perez Hilton: Posterboy Of Bad Choices,” I wrote,

“Now, yes, Michael Jackson has probably made some bad choices too, but one thing, as a journalist (which Perez Hilton is not, but he fills the role of a news gatherer), as a blogger (which Perez Hilton is), and, hell, as a human being, one thing you just don’t do is speculate publicly about whether someone who is reportedly on the way to the hospital after having a heart attack, is faking.”

“If you like Perez Hilton, do him a favor and stop supporting his habit: stop paying attention to him, at least until he proves he’s changed.

If you don’t like Perez Hilton, make sure you don’t support his habit by devoting any time to reading his blog, or doing anything that will feed his habit.

I will do my best to do the same.”

Again, I had hoped that would be the last time I needed to write about Perez Hilton. I was wrong.

Friday afternoon, I happened upon a message on Twitter:

ph

“@PerezHilton I Love Your “Does The U.S. Constitution Already Make Gay Marriage Legal?” – I Wish People Would Wake Up and Let Love Happen!”

I was a little surprised, since the day before, I published, “Does The U.S. Constitution Already Make Gay Marriage Legal?” I checked his site, and sure enough, he published my work, in full (sadly, with my typos! Darn Massachusetts! ) and did not directly credit me. There was a misleading link back to my site, but it looked to me, had I not written the piece, that he could be the author. And in reading the comments on his site, it appeared his readers assumed he wrote it.

As you can imagine, after writing very pointed pieces about Perez Hilton’s poor behavior and unfortunate impact on the LGBTQ community, I was appalled and incensed. I put a great deal of time and effort into most everything you see here. To have it scooped up, wholesale, and reposted on Perez Hilton’s blog was an affront to what I have tried to do with my work: educate and inform in a credible setting.

Yes, I struggled with having my words read by (possibly) millions more than would ordinarily read them, vs. having control and fewer readers. But at the end of my decision-making process lay the fact that the words, and my subsequent future credibility, would be devalued. And that was too high a price to pay.

My understanding of “fair use” and copyright law is that you can quote some of a piece, even all, if it’s necessary to making a point in your work. But, as I said, to wholesale reprint someone else’s copyrighted work is, in my opinion, unfair, and, to not deliver proper credit is worse. Adding insult to injury is putting that work into an undeserving environment that diminishes its, and the author’s, credibility.

Shortly thereafter, I emailed Perez Hilton a “cease and desist” message, asking him to remove my work from his site, print on his site that I was the author of the piece, and also print on his site an apology. I asked him to do that by the end of the day Friday. He did not.

Sunday, I posted this Twitter message to Perez Hilton:

remove

“@PerezHilton I asked you to remove my work from your site. I’ll now do it publicly. You’ve no right to this: http://is.gd/1w6G8”

No response. A few friends “retweeted” my request, and within minutes there was a buzz on Twitter, with retweets flying and many derogatory remarks directed toward Hilton. At last count there were well over a hundred posts on Twitter about Perez Hilton “publishing” my work. I can’t thank enough the dozens and dozens of people who stood up to Perez Hilton and supported me during this. And thanks to all my friends from Twitter who, privately, advised me. I am extremely grateful, and lucky to know you.

And you know what? Within a few hours, my work had been removed from Hilton’s site! Ah, the power of THE PEOPLE on Twitter!

(Click here to see what my work looked like on Perez Hilton’s site. It’s important to note that the only indication that the work is NOT Hilton’s is that the TITLE links back to my blog. Not the, “CLICK HERE to read the article accompanying this headline.” Nice.)

So, did Perez Hilton steal my work? I’m not a lawyer. I can’t say, legally, if Perez Hilton stole my work. I do know that I make no money from this endeavor, and Perez Hilton used the fruits of my labor, my “intellectual property” to help make himself money. I can say that I felt that he stole my work. I can say that many people I talked with think he was wrong to do what he did. I can say many people I talked with encouraged me to sue him. I’m not planning to, although I would if I knew it would make him change. But nothing can make Perez Hilton change. Except you: YOU can stop reading him, following him, talking about him, fueling his ego and his appetite for attention.

Most importantly, I hope you take a moment to read, “Does The U.S. Constitution Already Make Gay Marriage Legal?” It is, in my humble opinion, an interesting take on our Constitution and an avenue that deserves some exploration. If you do, I will have done my job.

(image: Current News Stories)


I hope you’ll also take a moment to read, “Bring Me the Head of Perez Hilton on a Platter!” by David Mailloux, better known as dymsum. And while you’re there, read as much of his work as you have time for. And then a little more.

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News

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

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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

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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

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

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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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