Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel doubles down on implausible story against Macy's

As Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel continue milk the case of the former Macy's employee who was fired for harassing a transgender customer, one has to wonder are they reading their own press.

Yesterday, I pointed out how Staver and the employee, Natalie Johnson, conducted several interviews in which they tried to whitewash the fact that Johnson's actions violated Macy's policy and that concerns about "religious liberty" and "men in women's changing rooms" were a pitiful dodges.

I even hinted that the Liberty Counsel was "conjuring up" a story of an "anonymous" Macy's employee troubled by the policy.

But in an interview with the phony news service One News Now today, Staver seems to be sticking to that story and making up new ones:

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, now tells OneNewsNow that an employee of another store has told him she has persistent problems keeping men out of the women's fitting room.

However, that's not exactly what the Liberty Counsel said yesterday on its blog:

The employee said she constantly has to ask men to leave the women’s fitting rooms.

It may seem like an insignificant jump from "asking men to leave women's fitting rooms" to "having persistent problems keeping men out of women's fitting rooms," but this jump only elucidates the questions I asked yesterday.

Those questions were:

Were these transgender women, rather than men accompanying their loved ones? These are two totally different situations.

And if these were transgender women, what are the odds of this employee having the ability to violate company policy without losing her job? If this woman had been truly asking transgender women to leave the fitting rooms, we would be hearing about this before now.

If this anonymous employee has had  "persistent problems" with transgender customers, then that would mean there was in fact conflict between her and those customers. And if this is the case, I refuse to believe that several transgender women in different cases would allow themselves to be disrespected and not complain, especially when the store policy is in their favor.

How is this woman continuing to keep her job in light of this possibility? Or does this woman even exist?

Then Staver tries to make it seem that there is a groundswell of negative reactions to Macy's policy:

According to Liberty Counsel, the public is reacting.

"Consistently the people of America are saying that they will not shop at Macy's," explains Staver. "They're tearing up their Macy's credit cards, they're sending back their Macy's gift cards, they say that they will not shop at Macy's -- and this is a consistent response that we're seeing from the public around the country."

The Liberty Counsel founder says customers are "literally outraged and shocked" at Macy's policy.

Staver conveniently doesn't provide proof of this claim, just like neither he nor the Liberty Counsel has provided proof of the existence of the anonymous Macy's employee.

To reiterate, I smell a rat.

Email Macy's and send the company your support for standing up for our rights and dignity. And most of all, tell Macy's to not back down. 

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'Santorum picking on gays (again)' and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Santorum Blames Gays For Plummeting Marriage Rate - Santorum would blame the gay community if his cable went out.

Chaplains not forced; These fearful talking points, on the other hand… - And this, boys and girls, is how the religious right claims victory in a situation where there was no victory for them.

Gay Vietnam Vet Who Challenged Romney On Marriage Equality Speaks Out - Yes this has been seen and talked about ad naseum. But a Mitt Romney buttwhipping is something we can always enjoy over and over again.

It Happened to Me: I Told My Boyfriend I Was Born a Boy - An issue at the crux of all of the lies and fear tactics thrown at the transgender community. A necessary and powerful story.

Michigan Gay Men Allegedly Being Targeted In Police Stings For 'Soliciting And Accosting' - This story is not as clear cut as you think. The article alleges that officers are the ones making the first moves and are targeting gay men for behavior that would be acceptable for heterosexual couples.

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'Ex-gay' president changing statement in face of lawsuit?

Very few people are aware of the possible lawsuit that the organization Truth Wins Out may lodge against the ex-gay group PFOX.

The incident stems from an October 7 interview on NewsPlus with Mark Segraves (WDCW-TV). At the 10:38 mark of the show, PFOX President Greg Quinlan claimed that Wayne Besen, head of Truth Wins Out, said the following:

“Truth Wins Out if you look further, including Wayne Besen. He’s asked for people, you know, somebody needs to run Greg over. He needs to be hit with a bus. Somebody should inject him with AIDS. Those are the things that Wayne Besen and Truth Wins Out says about me. That’s pretty hateful rhetoric.”

Reportedly, Truth Wins Out sent PFOX a letter last week asking for an apology, claiming that Quinlan's claim was a lie.

Quinlan, however refused to apologize. In a letter sent out, he also tried to turn the incident around on Besen, claiming that Besen is a persistent harasser of the so-called peaceful ex-gay movement.

That's neither here nor there. The important piece is the claim by Quinlan that Besen has been calling for someone to harm him.

Quinlan, in his letter, claimed that Besen told these things to him in a private conversation:

First of all, Besen blatantly mischaracterized what I actually said on the program, claiming that I suggested he solicited my assassination. This is a bald-faced lie and Besen knows it. The truth is that Besen once said to me in a private conversation that someone should run me over with a bus or inject me with AIDS. Did I think he was serious? No. I knew it was just Wayne being Wayne; one part bluster, two parts hyperbole and three parts hot air.”

Besen has denied this conversation ever took place.

Here is the thing though which may hurt Quinlan's case. The claim he made about Besen calling for others to harm him is on video. And at no point does Quinlan indicate that it was a private conversation between him and Besen. In fact, Quinlan expressly said that Besen was telling people to harm him:

So while at the present time, Quinlan is showing all sorts of bravado (the end of his letter is a challenge to Truth Wins Out and Besen to go ahead and sue him), we will see if that bravado holds up in the face of what appears to be an incriminating video.

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