Connect with us

Anti-Gay Iowa Lawmaker Says He’s Sick Of Reading About How Anti-Gay He Is

Published

on

State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann Jokingly Denies Being In ‘Homosexual Relationship’ With Colleague

An anti-gay Iowa lawmaker is sick of reading about how anti-gay he is on “blogs.” 

As we reported last week, GOP state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann has launched an investigation into the annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, in response to allegations from Bob Vaander Plaats‘ anti-gay Family Leader group that the event included inappropriate content last year. 

In an apparent effort to ensure the investigation is biased, Kaufmann has appointed Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill, an outspoken critic of the conference, to a two-person committee charged with investigating the allegations. 

Supporters of the conference, put on by the nonprofit Iowa Safe Schools, have characterized the investigation as a witch hunt and political stunt. They note that because the conference isn’t funded by taxpayers, lawmakers don’t have the authority to regulate it. 

Nevertheless, a committee held its first hearing Wednesday, and Kaufmann lashed out at people who’ve criticized him for the investigation via email and on social media, including one who apparently accused him of being Heartsill’s lover, according to The Des Moines Register. 

“I am here to announce that Rep. Heartsill and I are not in a homosexual relationship,” Kaufmann said, apparently joking. “I am getting sick of reading all the crap that is on the blogs.”

Democratic state Rep. Mary Wolfe responded that putting up with criticism is part of being a legislator, and Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, took offense to the implication that being in a gay relationship would be a bad thing. 

“That was just really painful to hear because LGBTQ kids are made fun of constantly and I would expect more from our legislators,” Monson said.

Of course, if Kaufman is tired of reading about the investigation, the obvious solution would be for him to call it off, but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen. 

“I don’t care if 20 million people write us letters saying that this conference is the best thing since sliced bread, I am not going to say that this is OK,” Kaufmann said during Wednesday’s hearing.

On the other hand, a letter criticizing the conference has become Exhibit A in the investigation. 

Heartsill read the letter during the hearing from Jamie Ehlert, a teacher at West Des Moines Valley High School who attended the conference and claims to be an LGBT ally. 

“We take these allegations very seriously,” Heartsill said. “There is no reason to question the credibility and truthfulness of this statement.”

RELATED: Anti-Gay Iowa Republican Partners With Anti-Gay Christian Group To Bully Anti-Bullying LGBTQ Group

According to a copy of her letter provided to The New Civil Rights Movement by Monson, Ehlert wrote that her anti-bullying group won’t be attending the conference this year, due to “extremely vulgar language and X-rated material” at last year’s event. She specifically objected to two presentations featuring comedian and LGBT ally Sam Killermann, during which he answered questions related to sexual health that were submitted via social media.

Ehlert said Killermann gave information about finding “orgies” and porn on the Internet, as well as how to safely practice bondage. She also took issue with a closing presentation from drag queen Coco Peru, who allegedly sang about how “the bullies should be poisoned and fucking die.” 

In a letter responding to Ehlert’s concerns, Monson wrote that Iowa Safe Schools doesn’t intend to alter the content of the conference, now in its 11th year.  

“I am sorry to hear an anti-bully group is missing the purpose of this important event for LGBTQ students and their families,” Monson wrote, adding that an LGBTQ teen takes his or her life every five hours in the US. “This is due to isolation and discrimination they face on an ongoing basis. This Conference continues to serve as the one place these students can go to feel supported.” 

Killermann also responded to Ehlert’s concerns in an interview with KCCI-TV. 

“Anything sex education and providing information on sexual health, any answer can be twisted and turned into something salacious. That is what is happening here,” Killermann said. “What we were doing was responding to kids’ questions that they don’t get to ask people typically.”

Wolfe, the Democratic lawmaker, questioned the point of the investigation given that Kaufmann has said it’s not his intent to shut down the conference. 

“I don’t understand why we are doing this and I don’t understand what the end game is,” Wolfe said. “I’m also sure we can get hundreds, if not thousands, of letters from people who have attended this presentation, and it’s saved their lives it meant so much to them.” 

Monson told The Des Moines Register that the investigation has only served to exacerbate the underlying problem. 

“After this conference and after this investigation started, we received numerous emails very threatening and very intimidating, probably hundreds of them, that were very disgusting and very disturbing,” Monson said. “So our concern is safety of students and I hope that Rep. Kaufmann will understand that has just simply sensationalized this conference and is putting LGBTQ youth at risk.”

The committee reportedly plans to continue its investigation by calling Monson to testify in a few weeks. 

Meanwhile, Iowa GOP Gov. Terry Branstad has left out funds for a bullying prevention office in his budget recommendations for the coming year. 

 

EARLIER:

Anti-Gay Lawmakers Revive ‘Witch Hunt’ Against LGBTQ Youth Conference

Top Anti-Gay Activist Demands Schools Teach Gays They Can Never Have Sex

‘We’ve Always Been Married In Our Hearts’: Iowa Women Talk About Their 72 Years Together (Video)

 

This article has been updated to reflect Sam Killermann is an LGBT ally, not LGBT

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

‘Segregated?’: Republican Ridiculed for Call to Return to ‘Where America Was in the 1960s’

Published

on

A Republican U.S. Congressman is being criticized for his remarks calling for a return to the 1960’s, a direct attack on federal government social safety programs like welfare and food stamps.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who has spent a decade in the House often fighting against those programs, lamented that “every year of course, I am lobbied by people who want the government … to take up an even greater role in their children’s life, be it daycare, be it preschool, be it after school programs, whatever. They clearly want the children raised by the government. So I hope the press corps picks up on this, and I hope Republican and Democratic leadership put together some sort of plan for January in which we work our way back to where America was in the 1960s.”

RELATED: Republican Complaining It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ for Straight ‘White Guys’ to Get Appointed by Biden Has History of Bigotry

“We now have the TANF program which gives cash benefits to people,” Grothman continued. “Indeed there are over 70 government programs in which your benefits are based on percent of poverty, which is to say, you get benefits if either you if you are not working hard or and if you are not married to a spouse who is working hard because as soon as you have one person who’s working kind of hard, they’re going to make enough money. They’re not eligible for all these programs. So, when you consider the powerful forces who wanted to get rid of the family, perhaps this is not a coincidence.”

This is not the first time Rep. Grothman has attacked critical social safety net programs.

Last month, in an interview littered with racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic remarks, claiming progressives, social justice movements, and the government for decades have wanted to destroy the family unit, he blamed the federal government for “bribing” low-income women with welfare to prevent them from marrying.

The 1960’s were plagued by racial segregation, discrimination, inequality, police brutality, the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, resistance to the draft, pollution, civil unrest, and political assassinations.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

Critics slammed Grothman Thursday. One, national security attorney Brad Moss, responding to the Republican’s desire to return to the 1960s, asking: “Segregated? Watching presidents and major political figures be assassinated?”

Others mentioned Project 2025, suggesting it is the vehicle Republicans plan on using to reach Grothman’s desired goal.

Watch the clips below or at this link.

Continue Reading

News

‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

Published

on

President Joe Biden this week has been hosting the leaders of the 32 nations that form the 75-year old alliance known as NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and at 6:30 PM ET the leader of the free world will hold an unscripted, “high stakes” press conference with reporters to detail their progress (video below). Also Thursday evening, ex-president Donald Trump, the convicted felon who remains out on bail and is still facing 54 criminal counts, will reportedly host the authoritarian Christian nationalist prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, at Mar-a-Lago.

President Biden’s remarks will be televised nationwide. Donald Trump’s meeting will not.

Trump’s meeting with Orbán comes just one week after the far-right autocrat, branded a “neo-fascist dictator” back in 2014 by the late Republican U.S. Senator John McCain, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and just days after Orbán met with China’s President Xi Jinping, reportedly on a “peace mission” for the Russian war against Ukraine.

Thursday will be Trump’s second meeting this year with Orbán.

Critics have been sound alarms.

“Fresh from visiting Xi in China and Putin in Moscow, Viktor Orban will apparently complete his pilgrimage by showing up at Mar-a-Lago today,” observed The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol.

“Trump meeting Orban opposite NATO Summit immediately following Orban mtg w Putin and Xi is the sort of betrayal of the US that would’ve led to Congressional investigations or worse in the past,” observed noted foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author David Rothkopf.

Russian propagandists have been claiming Orban is acting as an intermediary, delivering messages from Putin to Trump and vice versa,” wrote Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, creator of the Russian Media Monitor.

“U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman lashed out at Orbán recently, saying that no other U.S. ally has so ‘overtly and tirelessly’ campaigned for the Republican candidate,” Politico reports. “This week, Orbán praised Trump in an interview with Axel Springer media outlets, which owns POLITICO, as ‘the man of peace,’ and he predicted there is a ‘very, very high chance’ Biden will not win the U.S. election.”

READ MORE: ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Unfit’: NY Times Calls on Republicans to Reject Trump Ahead of Convention

Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe expert Olga Lautman, a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) also issued a warning:

“As NATO holds its summit Russian media reports that Russian puppet Orban may share info he collected from Russia & China of terrorist Russia’s nonstarter plan for Ukraine w Trump. Pay attention to Orban’s moves while he is in U.S. especially with Heritage Foundation and Trump’s people.”

The Heritage Foundation is the major entity behind the multi-million dollar Project 2025.

Lautman also pointed to a March post she wrote: “Newly emerged evidence shows how Hungary and Russia worked together during the 2020 Slovak elections to help the Slovak government stay in power, Orban acted as a middleman. Take note America,” she warned.

Also issuing warnings is former CIA analyst Gail Helt.

Responding to another Politico report that “Donald Trump is considering a reduction in intelligence sharing with members of NATO, which depends on the U.S. for the type of information that has helped Ukraine fend off Russia,” Helt wrote: “Oh dear God.”

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“I walk my students through some ‘what if’ exercises in my intro to Intel analysis class,” she wrote Wednesday night, “this will make a great case study: what if an American president wanted to ally with Russia without the American people knowing? What would that look like? What would we see? What could he do?”

“This,” she continued. “He could do this. Curtailing Intel sharing with NATO hands the continent to Russia. He’s not trying to make America great. He’s will make Russia great and erode US standing in the world. We have to ask why. Don’t let him do it.”

You can watch Biden’s 6:30 PM ET press conference live below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

 

Continue Reading

News

‘Dangerous’ and ‘Unfit’: NY Times Calls on Republicans to Reject Trump Ahead of Convention

Published

on

In a massive 4300 word editorial The New York Times Editorial Board calls Donald Trump “dangerous” and “unfit to lead,” just days ahead of the Republican National Committee’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the convicted ex-president is slated to officially become the GOP nominee for president.

“A once great political party now serves the interests of one man, a man as demonstrably unsuited for the office of president as any to run in the long history of the Republic, a man whose values, temperament, ideas and language are directly opposed to so much of what has made this country great,” the Editorial Board writes.

Editorial Board member Mara Gay told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday (video below) that this extensive project had been in the works for “months,” and said it had nothing to do with the Editorial Board twice declaring President Joe Biden should exit the race after his debate performance two weeks ago.

“This election is not a policy disagreement,” Gay explained. “This is about two vastly different visions for America, one that is committed to multiracial democracy, and to pluralism, to human rights, to well-being and reproductive freedom and things that most Americans say consistently that they want and are committed to, and the other vision for America, which is about retribution, and about authoritarianism, and is hateful, racist, and extremely close-minded.”

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“We don’t believe that that’s the direction that most Americans want to go in. And so we are really urging American voters to listen to Donald Trump’s words, and to take him seriously. And to understand that this second presidency could be even more dangerous than the last. Of course, we lost a million Americans to the COVID virus, and a lot of other horrific events took place under Donald Trump’s presidency. His calling folks at Charlottesville who were Nazis, ‘fine people.’ The list goes on. We make the case. I would urge people to read the editorial. This is this is a moment of alarm not just for people who are progressives or Democrats, but for anyone who still wants to see this country remain a democracy.”

The multi-media interactive editorial begins in all-caps:

“HE IS DANGEROUS IN WORD, DEED AND ACTION”
“HE PUTS SELF OVER COUNTRY”
“HE LOATHES THE LAWS WE LIVE BY”

“Mr. Trump has shown a character unworthy of the responsibilities of the presidency,” the editorial states. “He has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the Constitution, the rule of law and the American people. Instead of a cogent vision for the country’s future, Mr. Trump is animated by a thirst for political power: to use the levers of government to advance his interests, satisfy his impulses and exact retribution against those who he thinks have wronged him.”

“He is, quite simply, unfit to lead.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

It also warns: “The Supreme Court, with its ruling on July 1 granting presidents ‘absolute immunity’ for official acts, has removed an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s worst impulses: the threat of legal consequences. What remains is his own sense of right and wrong. Our country’s future is too precious to rely on such a broken moral compass.”

The Editorial Board adds, “with his nomination by his party all but assured, Mr. Trump has become even more reckless in employing extreme and violent speech, such as his references to executing generals who raise questions about his actions. He has argued, before the Supreme Court, that he should have the right to assassinate a political rival and face no consequences.”

What the Editorial Board does not do is call for Donald Trump to exit the race, as it has done for President Biden, twice, over one debate performance.

Read the entire New York Times editorial here, and watch the video below or at this link:

READ MORE: Josh Hawley: ‘I’m Advocating Christian Nationalism’

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.