Monday, July 14, 2008

David Benkof shows his ass

I am feeling frunky today (frunky - not funky. Frunkly is three steps below funky). It's probably because I hate Mondays.

Nothing can sway me out of this mood, not even the news that I have exceeded my goal of selling 100 copies of my book, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters.

One hundred copies doesn't seem like a lot, but remember this book was self-published and not promoted (at least not in the usual way). My initial goal as to sell at least 100 copies and I have reached that goal within a year of Holy Bullies's publishing.

Now it's time to work on an updated (and much better) version.

That is if I can get out of this mood.

But enough of that. The more cosmopolitan readers of this site probably already know that we have lost an enemy today in the marriage equality fight.

David Benkof, who markets himself as a gay man who believes in the "sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman" has closed the veil:

"I no longer feel comfortable being allied with the people running the Prop. 8 campaign, and the same-sex marriage movement in America in general, with a few exceptions - most notably Maggie Gallagher. I have made a tentative decision not to publicize the disturbing information that caused me to end my promotion of man-woman marriage in the United States. But there is very little that I know about those subjects that a journalist, blogger, or activist cannot find out through diligent googling and asking the right questions of the Prop. 8 campaign."
-- former proprietor of the disturbing blog "
Gays Defend Marriage," David Benkof to Truth Wins Out's Wayne Besen, July 14

Benkof was slowly getting attention for the paradox of being a gay man who didn't believe in gay marriage. However, there was a possible problem with how he would allegedly distort the words of people he interviewed. Box Turtle Bulletin wrote an excellent report on him.

Maybe it's just the Monday frunkies talking but other than the paradox, I never took Benkof seriously. He is a talented writer but he was clearly exploiting the idea of being a gay man who opposes gay marriage.

And while his concession is good, two things about it bothers me.

The first is the part about him still being allied with Maggie Gallagher. Gallagher is yet another one of those "experts" from the right-wing that seem pop up about lgbts issues. However, her expertise seems to lie in playing Joan of Arc being burned at the stake by so-called radical gay activists.

The argument, "gays and liberals believe that if you support traditional marriage then you are a bigot" seems to almost always turn up in her writings.

Then there is this very interesting deception that she is guilty of:

Gay marriage opponents frequently buttress their arguments with the assertion that children have better outcomes when they grow up with a married mother and father. The most articulate advocate of this point is Maggie Gallagher, founder of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, a "pro-marriage" think tank.

She summarized it best in an article in the August 2003 Weekly Standard: "As a Child Trends research brief summed up, 'Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. . . .'" She goes on to argue that because that parenting structure is best for kids, legalizing gay marriage means subjecting children to less-than-optimum outcomes: "[Gay marriage] would mean the law was neutral as to whether children had mothers and fathers. Motherless and fatherless families would be deemed just fine."

Child Trends, the organization that she cites, is a highly respected, nonpartisan research center. But Gallagher slyly misrepresents the conclusions of their research review, which does not discuss straight versus gay family structure, but various forms of straight family structure. Gallagher leaves out the key sentence that qualifies the statement she cites: "Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes than do children in intact families raised by two biological parents." There is no evidence here about how children raised by gay couples fare.

A right-wing expert distorting a legitimate study? It must be a usual day in the United States.

Also there is this comment Benkof left on Pam Spaulding's site:

Since you brought it up, I thought I'd clarify. I no longer feel comfortable being allied with most of the people who run the man-woman marriage movement in the United States (not counting Maggie Gallagher). I still feel, however, that Pam Spaulding is a nasty bitch.

Okay, that pissed me off. I am talking snatching off the earrings, kicking off the shoes, putting vaseline on the face, getting ready to get ghetto on someone type anger.

My first reaction was "Oh no that $&@^ didn't!"

But then I realized that I cannot behave in such a way.

So I will just say this:

Mr. Benkof, Pam Spaulding has more integrity in her fingernail than you have in your pseudo-intellectual body. The very fact that you said what you said only goes to prove how phony you are.

But don't think that Benkof's nonsense is the only thing going on today.

Our friend Peter LaBarbera has gotten into the AFA's boycott of McDonalds. His group Americans for Truth (in name only) will join the AFA at a press conference in front of McDonalds' headquarters in Illinois. They will be joined by women who will say why they won't take their children to McDonalds ever again.

Which is fine with me. I'm sure that there will be a lot of lgbt parents who will take their children to McDonalds.

And I plan to have a supersize meal tomorrow.

And speaking of lgbt parenting, John McCain continues to be on his "please support me James Dobson and company" tour. Today he came out against gay adoption.

I liked what PFLAG had to say about this development:

"In a country where more than 125,000 children are waiting for foster parents, Senator McCain would deny loving homes to children who desperately need them simply because of an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like," said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). "We are disappointed and saddened that a public leader who is himself an adoptive father would deny the children in America's foster care system the opportunity to thrive as part of a welcoming family. Love makes a family, but short-sighted positions like Senator McCain's can certainly tear families apart, too."

..."Senator McCain's position is out of synch with the research and science and out of step with what is in the best interests of children waiting for a home and a family," Huckaby said. "PFLAG knows the pain inflicted upon families due to misinformation about LGBT issues. We implore Senator McCain to take a serious look at the overwhelming evidence and listen to the stories of the countless children raised by loving lesbian and gay couples. The evidence is clear: children should not be denied access to the loving homes of gay couples."

UPDATE - As you all can see, David Benkof is channeling a little Joan of Arc himself via the comments page.

David, no one is lying on you. You did distort Ms. Kendall's comment just like you distorted a lot of others.

That is why your credibility is low. But I have to admire your shameless plugging of yourself.