Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hate group bragging about work to stop marriage equality

Brian Camenker
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Massachusetts group Mass Resistance is an anti-gay hate group for the following reasons:

MassResistance, “the leading pro-family grassroots activist group in Massachusetts,” began life in 1995 as the Parents’ Rights Coalition, became the Article 8 Alliance in 2003, and took on its current name in 2006. Its leader, Brian Camenker, is a programmer who was an official of the Article 8 Alliance and also headed the Newton, Mass., chapter of the National Taxpayers’ Association.

As president of yet another group, the Interfaith Coalition of Massachusetts, Camenker spearheaded the drafting of a bill that passed in 1996 and required that parents be notified of any sex education in their children’s schools. That same year, Camenker claimed that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth actually were “put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality.” Later, MassResistance charged that groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which support school anti-bullying programs, actually want to lure children into homosexuality and, very possibly, sadomasochism. At a 2006 religious right gathering in Washington, D.C., Camenker insisted that gays were trying to get legislation passed to allow sex with animals. "One bill in Massachusetts takes away all the penalties for bestiality," he claimed. "This is where this [homosexual] agenda is going." A little later, he added, "They [gays and lesbians] are pushing perversion on our kids."

In 2006-2007, Mass-Resistance pushed for an amendment of the 1996 statute that would have required that parents be notified of any discussion of gay or lesbian issues in the schools. The group proposed language that lumped sexual orientation (which includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality) in with criminal behaviors like bestiality and polygamy. During legislative testimony supporting the amendment, Camenker falsely claimed that no homosexuals died in the Holocaust and that the pink triangle the Nazis forced imprisoned gays to wear actually signified Catholic priests. The amendment did not pass.

Camenker, who has long focused on the purported “homosexual agenda” in the schools and frequently claimed gays are dangerous to kids, has repeatedly cited discredited claims from organizations like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality that link homosexuality and pedophilia. 

Allow me include that additionally, Camenker and a local parent David Parker orchestrated a two-year long moral panic by first falsely claiming that Parker was arrested for merely wanting his son to be opted out of classroom discussions of homosexuality and then claiming that his son was physically assaulted by the children of lgbt household for his father's stance.

In 2008, another person affiliated with the organization, Michael Olivio, was arrested after he was caught taking pictures of children at a local middle school school. He and Camenker claimed that he meant to take pictures of students at a high school because the state Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgendered Youth had held a meeting there (taking pictures of gay students is another sideline of Mass Resistance).

And last but not least, it was Mass Resistance behind repeated smears of Obama appointee Kevin Jennings, including the phony "fistgate" scandal.

One would think that an organization such as this wouldn't be consulted by those supposedly trying to save traditional marriage. However, if Camenker is accurate, Mass Resistance is being consulted.

RHODE ISLAND (1): Last week the House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on a terrible Domestic Partnership bill. MassResistance was at the Rhode Island State House to testify. We also worked with Rhode Island activists. We will have a full report, plus video, of that. The committee will be voting on it this week.

RHODE ISLAND (2): Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on their "transgender rights" bill. MassResistance has supplied activists with material for their testimony.
NEW YORK: This week the New York Senate is poised to vote on a "gay marriage" bill. Horribly, key Republican legislators have been caving in on this right and left. Even wealthy Republican donors, such as the publisher of the "conservative" Manhattan Institute, have jumped ship and are funding the "gay marriage" push.  Over the past week MassResistance has been working with Orthodox Rabbis (both in New York and as far away as Israel) on strategy and other help to mobilize people in key districts. (More may be announced soon.)
MINNESOTA: On the good news front, the Republican-controlled Minnesota House of Representatives is poised to vote this week on a state-wide referendum for an anti-gay marriage Constitutional Amendment. It has already passed the Minnesota Senate.  MassResistance got a call this past week from a key activist who wants us to get involved right away.

ILLINOIS: Pro-family citizens from across Illinois, led by Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, are gearing up for a state-wide non-binding referendum on state's recently passed Domestic Partner law. Brian Camenker of MassResistance recently led part of a conference call session of key statewide activists, and may come and do a pro-marriage tour across the state.

Fascinating. If marriage is such a holy and sacred sacrament, why does one need the help of devils to defend it?

To the folks using the "services" of Mass Resistance, God does not like ugly, even if it's done in his name. You may gain momentary victories by allowing this group to aid you, but you have already lost the war over integrity and values.

And soon, you will lose the war over marriage equality.

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Tennessee declares war on lgbt equality and other Tuesday midday news briefs

TN Governor signs anti-gay/trans hate bill, repeals civil rights protections, bans further civil rights laws in TN cities - We know that this is an opening salvo to some bull which will probably move itself into other states. Rather than wring our hands and call down thunder on those who pushed this law and our "allies," let's fight this madness. I still say it violates the Supreme Court ruling of Romer vs. Evans. Let's take this madness to court!

Hoft Revives Anti-Gay Smears On Jennings After News He Is Leaving Education Dept. - Poor Jim Hoft. He couldn't tell a lie successful enough to get Jennings fired so now he is making himself look like a fool.

Audio: Senior lobbyist for NY's anti-equality group: Bible is a weapon, churches are recruiting stations, Satan is the enemy - Is that what NOM is going to mean by a "respectful conversation?"

After Admitting Fight Over Marriage Equality Had Been Lost, Daly Pens Op-Ed Against Marriage Equality - I love it when those in the religious right try to backtrack from their own words.

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Did NOM plant the seeds for the eventual success of marriage equality?

It would seem that - for now - the National Organization for Marriage may have overreached in its push for a 2012 vote for gay marriage in Minnesota. Two things have happened which demonstrates may have unleashed a froth of ill will that not even flyers and commercials can quell.

According to the Minnesota Independent:

Sen. Scott Dibble told Minnesota Public Radio that 100,000 emails sent to legislators by gay marriage supporters were clogging the servers and that the Senate IT department was set to delete them Monday morning. The emails, sent through the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT rights group, chided Republicans and a handful of DFLers who voted Saturday night to put a constitutional ban on gay marriage on the ballot in 2012. Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman said the emails were being help in a spam filter and that his office was workign to get them back into the system.

“Hundreds of thousands of emails have come in the aftermath, so many so that the Republican caucus is deleting them before their members even get to see them,” Dibble told MPR.

Sen. Warren Limmer, the chief author of the anti-gay marriage amendment, said, “Not true. Not true. We aren’t wiping off comments of our constituents. That’s just simply not true.”

Sen. Dibble answered back, “That absolutely is true, and that’s exactly what the secretary of the Senate has told us.”

Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman tells the Minnesota Independent that the sheer volume of email coming into the system had caused it to crash on Sunday. By early Monday morning 230,000 emails had flooded in, he said, adding that he ordered the IT department to send a large number to a spam filter.

Polls have shown that the majority of people in Minnesota don't want this vote. But NOM pushed it  and the Minnesota legislature boggarted it through anyway via a nightly session in order to deflect attention. I think that some people resent that.

And then came something highly unprecedented. President Obama weighed in on the potential vote:

“The President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples or to take such rights away. While he believes this is an issue best addressed by the states, he also believes that committed gay couples should have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country.”

According to The Washington Blade:

The statement doesn’t explicitly mention the proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota, but states that the president “has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts” that would restrict rights for gay couples.

Additionally, the statement reaffirms Obama’s lack of support for same-sex marriage rights by saying the issue is “best addressed by the states.” Obama has said he’s “wrestling” with the marriage issue, but has yet to make an endorsement for marriage equality.

Don't be fooled, folks. We know how things work in Washington in terms of deliberately moving to embrace a position. I trust that this will not be the last time President Obama comments on the subject of marriage equality. My guess is that NOM's behavior will conveniently cause Obama to embrace the cause.

The question seems to be is it safe to assume that by going into a state not wishing to vote on gay marriage and pushing the legislature to make this vote a 2012 reality, has NOM overestimated its own power and set into place a chain of events that will see the end of its own relevance and the arguments against marriage equality?

Time will tell.

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Pathetic physician continues to stigmatize gay men for cancer risk

The American Family Association's phony news service, One News Now, recently had what can be called as a do-over.

A do-over is a recasting of a news story and it's apparently done in this case when the original news story is seen as sloppy.

Last week, One News Now published a crappy piece,  'Gay' lifestyle = higher cancer rates , which distorted a recent study which talk about the possible prevalence of cancer in gay men.

Not only did the article downplay the fact that the study's author blamed homophobic stigma for what she found, but it also - via one source, a "physician" by the name of Andre Van Mol - played up an out-of-date book (The Gay Report) as proof that the homosexual orientation is indicative of diseases, such as cancer.

It was piss poor article and I think that One News Now was aware of this fact, because it created a new article on the same subject:

According to a recent report, homosexual men are twice as likely to get cancer than heterosexual men -- findings that one California-based doctor says show the risks of alternate lifestyles.

Results published in the journal Cancer show that the high number of homosexual men affected by cancer may be linked to the high risk of anal cancer and HIV infection. Also, lesbian and bisexual women who have survived cancer were less healthy than heterosexual women who also survived the disease.

Dr. Andre Van Mol, a board-certified family physician of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, decides the report affirms the fact that alternate lifestyles are dangerous. He notes that the cancers are not only AIDS-related, although homosexual men have a higher risk in getting HIV.

"In 2010 at a national conference, the Centers for Disease Control reported that men having sex with men had 44-times the rate of AIDS diagnosis as did heterosexual men, and 40 times...worse than women," Van Mol reports. "So...we're talking an extraordinary risk here."

And here is where One News Now and Van Mol commits the same error as in the first article - i.e. the sin of omission. According to a press release about that 2010 conference:

Research shows that a range of complex factors contribute to the high rates of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men. These factors include high prevalence of HIV and other STDs among MSM, which increases the risk of disease exposure, and limited access to prevention services. Other factors are complacency about HIV risk, particularly among young gay and bisexual men; difficulty of consistently maintaining safe behaviors with every sexual encounter over the course of a lifetime; and lack of awareness of syphilis symptoms and how it can be transmitted (e.g., oral sex). Additionally, factors such as homophobia and stigma can prevent MSM from seeking prevention, testing, and treatment services.

So if One News Now and Van Mol tried to somehow repair the errors from the first article, both failed miserably.  And the lack of ethics and integrity in both parties are still on full display.

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