Monday, March 28, 2016

Fox News' Todd Starnes tells a sad lie about vetoed GA anti-gay bill

Todd Starnes can't stop lying.

There is a seriously disturbing trend regarding the recent spate of anti-lgbt laws. It would be a serious error on the part of our community to not raise hell about this trend.

The so-called "Christian" groups and spokespeople who support these anti-lgbt "religious liberty" laws have been deliberately lying and/or deliberating obfuscating the negative impact these laws will have on the rights of lgbt Americans.

Last week, I pointed out  how the Family Research Council tried to falsely paint North Carolina's recently passed anti-gay law as one of public safety for women and girls while omitting how it also prevents counties and cities in the state from protecting lgbts from any form of discrimination.

Today, Fox News personality Todd Starnes rang the alarm about GA Governor Nathan Deal's veto of a legislative passed anti-gay law masquerading as a "religious liberty" bill. Starnes, who already has a shady history of painting false stories of anti-Christian persecution, put on his best hand wringing performance in defending the vetoed bill:

Georgia’s Republican governor stunned the state’s religious community Monday by vetoing legislation that would have protected preachers who refuse to perform LGBT marriages.

“It’s open season on people of faith in our state,” said State Sen. Josh McKoon, the author of the 2014 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “It’s a slap in the face to conservatives, to evangelicals and to the broader faith community,” he told me.

 . . .Simply put – the bill would have protected pastors from having to perform same-sex marriages. Faith-based organizations, like Christian schools, would also have been extended protection from renting its facilities to any organization that was contrary to its beliefs.

However, gay rights groups alleged the legislation would have essentially legalized discrimination.

“Discrimination and intolerance have no place in the 21st century, and any town, city or state that enshrines it into law will not be judged kindly by history or by the American public,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a prepared statement.

Starnes' column is can be considered the top example in Obfuscation 101. His column omits the following details, via The Huffington Post:

 The bill would have prevented the government from taking action against organizations or people with “a sincerely held religious belief regarding lawful marriage between... a man and a woman.” It would have opened the door to all kinds of discrimination against same-sex couples. A state-contracted counselor, for example, could refuse to provide services to people in a same-sex marriage. Taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies could refuse to place children in their homes. Government employees, a la Kim Davis, could refuse to file official forms for same-sex couples.

It's not accidental that Starnes chose to omit a crucial part about GA's anti-gay bill just as it was not accidental that the Family Research Council is distorting NC's new anti-lgbt law.  What's truly sad about all of this are not just the distortions and lies or that FRC and Starnes are blatantly pushing these distortions.

The truly sad thing is that the lgbt community has probably gotten so desensitized to these day-to-day falsehoods about every level of our lives that a lot of us wave them off instead educating the world about them; the very thing we SHOULD be doing.

'Enemies of lgbt equality get wrecked in NC & GA, also get called out nationally' & other Mon midday news briefs

GA anti-gay bill gets vetoed.

Editor's note - Disadvantages of having a part-time blog is always coming to the party late. But hey, I always manage to still make it before the party is over.

Georgia Governor Announces Veto Of Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill - Good for Gov. Deal! Now hopefully there can be no override. 

  North Carolina Sued Over Anti-LGBT Law - Don't act shocked, Gov. Pat McCrory or the North Carolinians who supported that awful mess. You knew it was coming. And you knew it was going to be swift.

 The Religious Right 'Liberty' Icons Behind North Carolina's Appalling Anti-LGBT Law - NC is going to find out the hard way about following up the religious right. 

 Hypocrite Ted Cruz Attacks My Family While Declaring His Family Off-limits - Hypocrite because he attacks same-sex families. I totally agree!  

A Sexual Assault Survivor Explains The Hypocrisy Behind Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Bill" Proponents - Of all the news briefs today, this is the most important and the one we must take to heart and make the public aware of. Particularly THIS part: 

More importantly, perhaps, is the list of what the Heritage Foundation and other politicians who are using sexual assault survivors are NOT doing: 

They are not leading the effort to support the growth and funding of programs working on the prevention of sexual assault, such as the Violence Against Women Act. The Heritage Foundation in fact opposed the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act). 

They are not acknowledging that both men and women can be survivors, and that both men and women can be perpetrators. Instead, they are picking out just the one type of sexual assault that meets their needs and enforcing silence about all the others. How would they protect boys who shower or toilet with men? Is anyone talking about the needs of women and men whose female relative or babysitter molested them? 

They are not visibly demanding follow-up of the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that are gathering dust in evidence rooms nationwide. 

They are not conducting public education campaigns to tell people the facts of who abusers are and how they behave, so that people can start identifying and addressing actual dangerous situations. 

They are not proposing legislation to change statutes of limitations so that adults can prosecute the people who molested them as children, or backing other reforms that might change the fact that 98 percent of rapists never serve a day in jail. 

They are not funding or advertising quality trauma-treatment programs that can help survivors re-integrate into the world without carrying a debilitating fear of half of its inhabitants.

Will North Carolina's homophobia cause history to repeat itself?

Will North Carolina's law force a repeat of 1996's Romer vs. Evans?

Over the weekend, a lot of my friends and Facebook pals noted that the anti-gay law the NC legislature passed looked very familiar. And I think, to a point, they are right.

In 1992 via the same fear tactics that they exploited to pass state laws against marriage equality in the future (i.e. lgbts are boogeymen who want to corrupt society and recruit children) religious right groups convinced Colorado to pass a law similar to that in NC. At that time, it was an amendment to the state's constitution. Amendment 2 prevented any city, town, or county to pass any laws which would protect lgbts from discrimination. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court and in 1996, Amendment 2 was struck down by a vote of 6-3.

According to Lambda Legal:

In declaring Amendment 2 unconstitutional, the Court made clear that antigay sentiment does not justify governmental discrimination and shattered the “special rights” rhetoric of those who oppose equal treatment for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
 . . . This landmark victory was the single most positive Supreme Court ruling in the history of the gay rights movement when it was decided. The Court’s ruling made clear that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have the same right to seek government protection against discrimination in the United States as any other group of people. The decision also marked a new level of legal respect for LGBT people and rejected the notion that it is legitimate for the government to discriminate against gay people based on moral objections to homosexuality.

Here is something else interesting about the case - The opinion of the court striking down Amendment 2 was written by Justice Kennedy while the dissent was written by . .. the now late Justice Scalia.

So how does North Carolina's HB2 differ from Colorado's Amendment 2 or does it even differ at all? That's for law experts to say and I personally have never studied law. Any legal experts reading this blog is welcomed to weigh in.

This is not to say that we should take for granted the possibility that NC's law will be struck down. Nothing is for sure ever in this world. The lgbt community should keep up the fight against NC's awful anti-gay law. It just worth noting that we've had this particular fight before. And it's also worth noting the sad obsession some folks have with depriving lgbts our equality in that they dig a rotten, unsuccessful idea from the past and go with it without even considering that folks would call them out on it.