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Apparently some legislators in South Carolina got a real bee in their bonnet about losing the marriage equality fight.

And they are going to take it out on government employees who would recognized these marriages. On December 11, SC Reps Gary Smith and Bill Chumley filed House Bill (H.3022) which in part states:

TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 20-1-235 SO AS TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS AND PAYMENT OF GOVERNMENT SALARIES AND BENEFITS FOR ACTIVITIES RELATED TO THE LICENSING AND SUPPORT OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, TO PROHIBIT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FROM RECOGNIZING, GRANTING, OR ENFORCING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LICENSES, TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF TAXES OR OTHER PUBLIC FUNDS TO ENFORCE A COURT ORDER TO ISSUE A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LICENSE, TO REQUIRE COURTS TO DISMISS CERTAIN LEGAL ACTIONS RELATED TO THE LICENSING AND RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND TO AWARD ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS IN THOSE ACTIONS, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE STATE FROM LIABILITY FOR CERTAIN CONDUCT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Article 3, Chapter 1, Title 20 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 20-1-235.    (A)    No state or local taxpayer funds or governmental salaries may be paid for an activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.

(B)    No state or local governmental employee officially shall recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license. If an employee violates this subsection, the employee must not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of the taxpayers of this State.

(C)    No taxes or public funds may be utilized to enforce a court order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license.

(D)    A court of this State shall dismiss a legal action challenging a provision of this section and shall award costs and attorney's fees to a person or entity named as a defendant in the legal action.

 (E)    No person employed by this State or a local governmental entity who violates or interferes with the implementation of this section may continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.

 (F)    The State is not subject to suit in law or equity pursuant to the eleventh amendment of the United States Constitution for complying with the provisions of this section, regardless of a contrary federal court ruling.

(G)    If a judicial officer violates this section, that judicial officer is disqualified from office pursuant to Section 19, Article V of the South Carolina Constitution, 1895."

Here is something interesting which should be known. In Texas, legislators are proposing pretty much exactly the same bill, albeit with different text:
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In spite of the Family Research Council being declared an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its long history of attacking the lgbt community via lies, bad science, and unsubstantiated charges, according to Equality Matters, (FRC president) “Tony Perkins has appeared on Megyn Kelly’s shows more than all other Fox News programs combined over the past two years.”

In addition, Kelly has done her level best to “whitewash” FRC’s and Perkins’s attacks on the lgbt community, presenting FRC as “a group whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and culture from a Christian worldview.”

What Kelly is doing is the ethical equivalent of using racist leader David Duke as a commentating authority on racial issues.

Related post16 Reasons Why the Family Research Council is a Hate Group

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Former Congressman Barney Frank has his copy of 'How They See Us.'  Get your free copy now.
As we begin another week in the midst of all this drama regarding the so-called culture war, I thought I would talk about something near and dear to my heart.

For over a year, I have driven you all crazy and I appreciate your patience and support but now we are almost at the end of one part of a journey.

My online booklet, How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America is less than 4,000 hits from reaching 1,000,000. It’s a remarkable achievement fueled by all of the support I received from the netroots. And it’s very timely. Things have changed tremendously since January of last year when I published this booklet. Thanks to the recent Hobby Lobby decision, the anti-gay religious right is gaining traction with their bogus “religious freedom” argument.

Granted, we can still count on them to accuse lgbts of attempting to “recruit children” or being “oversexed all-around public health menaces. However,  just like the Klan tried to retool its reputation by claiming they are not “anti-black,” just “pro-white,” the anti-gay religious right is cleverly retooling their arguments by saying they aren’t anti-gay, just “pro-traditional marriage.” They also claim that they are unfairly being targeted for not “celebrating” the so-called “gay lifestyle.”

Of course we know the truth.

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Mat Staver of the right-wing Liberty University has been testifying this week on Capitol Hill on the supposed state of "religious liberty" in America and thus far it has been a huge embarrassment to folks on his side of the spectrum. And it has gotten worse. The online publication Raw Story is now asking did he tell the Congressional committee a lie:
On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing on “The State of Religious Liberty in the United States” to study the rise of “religious freedom” laws in some U.S. states, under which people of faith cannot be compelled to perform their jobs or provide goods and services if to do so would conflict with their personal beliefs.

Critics of these laws argue that they mimic the crop of antigay laws that have been passed in countries like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria, laws that criminalize same-sex relationships and outlaw the positive portrayal of anything other than heterosexual, monogamous relationships.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) asked Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, “There are certain antigay laws they have in Russia. You, I believe, have advocated for something similar to that, have you not? Do you support the Russian antigay laws?”

Staver replied, ”What I am concerned about is having people of Christian, uh, Judeo-Christian beliefs be forced to participate in a ceremony or an event that celebrates something that is contrary to their religious beliefs.”

“Okay,” said Cohen, “so you’re not in favor of the Russian antigay laws and what I read was wrong?”

 “I don’t know what you read,” Staver said. “I haven’t spoken on the Russian laws.”

However, Right Wing Watch reported in January that Staver and the Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber both voiced their support for anti-LGBT laws like those in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria during an edition of their “Faith and Freedom” radio show.

The transcript of this particular show is as follows:
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It's like I said before, in lieu of providing proof of their arguments in court cases (such as the recent marriage equality victories in Pennsylvania and Oregon), anti-gay organization leaders such as Family Research Council president Tony Perkins are whining about "activists judges."

What I didn't count on is how folks like Perkins would take the visage of dotty old men shaking their fists at the sun while talking about open rebellion against the courts:

Like a dozen black-robed activists before him, Judge Michael McShane argued, "Because Oregon's marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." The state's failure to defend its own constitution, and the failure of an openly homosexual judge to recuse himself, demonstrate what an overreach this decision was. The deluge of rulings hit Pennsylvania next, where Judge John Jones wrote one of the harshest opinions yet, insisting that laws affirming natural marriage should be discarded "into the ash heap of history."

While both judges cited the Supreme Court's June decisions as a rational basis to destroy marriage, the high court said nothing that would give a federal judge the right to redefine marriage. In an interesting twist, both rulings came down within hours of Politico's new polling -- which showed that a clear majority of likely voters in swing states (52-48%) are digging in on their support of natural marriage.

Obviously, the Left's strategy of forcing this agenda through the courts is backfiring -- and it's only a matter of time before the country begins to discard the opinions of unelected judges on the same ash heap where Jones tried to send marriage. Just as the country has never accepted the Supreme Court's declaration of a "right" to destroy unborn human life in Roe v. Wade, we will never accept the Court's assertion of a "right" to change the definition of our most fundamental social institution. The courts can ignore natural law, or even suppress it, but they will never succeed in subduing it.

So according to Perkins, based on a poll which has nothing to do with marriage equality, court rulings are backfiring. In addition,  states should ignore the opinions of judges because they aren't elected anyway.
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In case you have been living in a cave under a rock with your fingers in your ears, you now know that Oregon became the 18th state to legalize marriage equality.

Mazel tov!

Now let's get serious for a bit. On election night less than two years ago, many Americans got caught by surprise when President Obama was reelected to a second term. Fox News, just about all of the conservative media and bloggers, and their gut had told them that Mitt Romney would either win in a close vote or a landslide.

As it turned out, what they probably felt in their gut was a brief case of happy gas.  However, when it came to all of the other prognosticators, it was genuinely agreed that these seers, these so-called correct predictors of the election day mood, was taking their audience for a ride. Prominent conservatives and republicans like David Frum and Joe Scarborough had it so correct when they read the riot act to folks like Fox News commentator Dick Morris and talking heads Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin for leading fellow conservatives down a primrose path of destruction fueled by a conservative bubble which shut all reality out of an assured Obama victory.

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crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

The anti-gay group Concerned Women for America is furious at the National Women’s History Museum Project. According to Right Wing Watch, the group is especially angry that there is no mention of religious right activists, particularly its founder, Beverly LaHaye.

On that score, I say that Concerned Women for America has a point. LaHaye should be mentioned. But not in the way the organization thinks she should. No doubt, CWA would like LaHaye to be mentioned as a champion of so-called “traditional values” and the family.

However, I have a much better item which perfectly captures LaHaye’s contribution to American society:

This vile piece of work is the 1980s comic book by Dick Hafer which sought to tell the so-called truth about homosexuality.
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A situation involving South Carolina legislators’ attack on two state colleges over lgbt issues has just gone nationwide.

And it doesn’t bode well for the state.

Originally, the controversy was about the SC State House taking away $70,000 collectively from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate. The amount adds up to the how much the two colleges spent on the gay-themed books which they assigned students. The legislators claimed that the books, Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio doesn’t represent SC community value and were pornographic.

But now the situation is centering around a now canceled lecture at the University of South Carolina Upstate.  The lecture titled, “How to be a lesbian in 10 days or less” is a satirical and comedic one-woman show by Leigh Hendrix which dealt with coming out.

However, lawmakers raised a fuss about the lecture, claiming that it was “recruiting” students to be gay.  One lawmaker in particular, Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, had this to say:

“That’s not an explanation of ‘I was born this way.’  It’s recruiting.”
So now, thanks to Sen. Fair, various nationwide media have picked up the story and few, including The Huffington Post, are tongue-in-cheek with their coverage. The majority of them are focusing on the ridiculous notion that a lecture could actually make someone gay.

And Sen. Fair, not unlike the main character in the fable The Mischievous Dog, continues to publicly comment about the lecture and homosexuality, totally oblivious as to how ridiculous South Carolina looks every time he opens his mouth.

Recently, he was interviewed by a local independent newspaper, The Free Times. During the interview, Sen. Fair had some very interesting things to say about lgbt South Carolinians:

Fair — a staunch religious conservative who believes homosexuality is morally wrong — says that while Americans have inalienable rights, glorifying homosexuality at taxpayers’ expense is not one of them. When Free Times pointed out that homosexuals pay taxes, too, as do the families of gay college students, Fair suggested they are also lawbreakers. He pointed to an antiquated state law against “the abominable act of buggery.” While the law is not enforced and homosexuality is not exactly illegal, Fair admits, he says it is still immoral and unhealthy.
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Disclosure alert - one of the books, Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, has a piece I wrote on the deceptions and propaganda of the religious right. How very appropriate:

From WIS-TV:

South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen. The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

 Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, "Fun Home," to incoming freshmen. Bechdel's book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.

USC Upstate assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," referring to South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges' selections.

    The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs. Rep. Garry Smith said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else. Making a point requires impacting colleges' wallets, he said.

"I understand diversity and academic freedom," said Smith, R-Simpsonville. "This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate." He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course, rather than a campus-wide requirement.

 . . .  Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges. Such censorship can set a troubling precedent, she said. She warned Republicans who voted against Skelton's amendment that the punishment could negatively affect the state's image and job recruitment efforts.

Since when does a legislator butt in class curriculum? Since when should a legislator use the power of a budget as if he or she is a dictator to demand what teachers should assign students to read based on some false argument of  "academic freedom" and "debate"   which is no doubt defined by said legislator?

And please don't lay that junk on me about "taxpayers' money." The last time I checked, lgbt South Carolinians also pay taxes. Make no mistake about it. This issue has NOTHING to do with forcing students to accept a lifestyle.That phrase is just made up junk propagated to make homophobia sound more palpable.   Nor does this issue have to do with "debate" or "academic freedom."

This issue is about a legislator misusing the power of his office. This issue is about yet another attempt to symbolically emblazon a symbolic scarlet S (as in "sinner") on the persons of lgbts. This issue is about yet another attempt to communicate to lgbts that  no matter who we are or how far we go in life, the self-worth of ourselves and our families (even if our families include children) should be reduced  to the false white-hot fevered, fumbling imaginations of sexual intercourse and misappropriated Biblical verses disguised as legitimate moral concerns.

It's all a bunch of bull.

Way to go, Rep. Smith for allowing the Palmetto State to be embarrassed again!

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The news that top NFL prospect Michael Sam, defensive lineman of the Missouri Tigers, came out of the closet and expressed his desire to be the first openly gay NFL player has elicited many responses.

Of course not all of them are positive and unfortunately, some came from the lgbt community.

On Monday, I read (and subsequently posted a link to) a Huffington Post article about the 18 worst reactions to the coming out of Missouri College football player Michael Sam.

I posted a comment in answer to someone who took it upon themselves to use the situation to play armchair psychologist and proclaim the African-American community intrinsically homophobic. My response got some people not exactly happy at me. I rolled eyes when reading their responses while thinking “here we go again.”

I hardly talk about how some lgbts take situations like Sam’s coming out and combine anecdotal evidence (in this case the number of ugly tweets coming from African-Americans) to suddenly declare black people to be the standard of community homophobia. I find these individuals’ lack of common sense to be annoying and their immediate reaction to be indicative of how unfortunately some in the lgbt community are always so ready to react rather than think things through. And you know how it is when some of us lgbts get into that mode of “righteous indignation.” Even Jesus can’t calm us down.

One would think that folks would refrain from making rash generalizations in lieu of the aftermath of the 2008 Prop 8 vote in California. Back then, the false story that black folks led the way in passing that awful law led to an awful community clash and by the time the truth came out, both communities were nursing hurt feelings coming from the exchange of ugly words. And why shouldn’t they?  Being called a “ni – - -ger” by an lgbt hurts as equally as being called a “fa—ot” by an African-American

I asked myself why were some folks so quick to attack the black community today over the words of a few ignorant tweets. I think it’s all about a matter of mindsets and priorities. Some lgbts who are quick to call the black community homophobic will easily point to the times in which the anti-gay right is able to corral the black community to oppose marriage equality and other issues of lgbt equality.

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Lopez
Robert Oscar Lopez is an ally of the National Organization for Marriage. He claims that he was raised in a lesbian household and is now an ex-gay who travels the country giving speeches on how dangerous it is for children to be raised in same-sex households.  According to GLAAD, in the past he has equated gay parents with slaveholders, same-sex adoption with cultural genocide, and encouraged neighbors to intervene in lesbian households. Just last week, he spoke at a NOM rally against marriage equality in Utah.

And there is one other thing. According to the watchdog group Equality Matters:

In March of 2013,  . . . Lopez began self-publishing a series of gay fiction novels titled “Mean Gays.” According to Lopez, the series is meant to encourage gay people to examine their interactions and stop being mean to each other. He even developed a website, Twitter handle, and UStream account to promote the series.

The first book in the series, Johnson Park, is a story about “five gay boys” in New York caught in a ridiculous web of sexual drama and violence. The novel depicted gay men as lonely, depressed, deceptive, and, of course, pedophilic.

Following an Equality Matters’ write-up of his first book, Lopez took a short hiatus in August to improve his writing and “take into the account the critiques I’ve gotten from literary experts.” He also took down the blog he was using to promote his books.

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According to the Huffington Post:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's marriage equality anthem "Same Love" may have rocked the Grammy Awards, but one Texas-based Christian rapper has condemned the track in a very disturbing way.

As The Houston Chronicle is reporting, Bizzle refutes the popular comparisons of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights movement to the civil rights struggles of the African-American community.

At first I was going to ignore this monstrosity but after reading Bizzle's lyrics, I felt that a gauntlet had been thrown down and it's my duty as an lgbt of color to pick it up. These lyrics in general:
"You'd rather fight God than fight sin," Bizzle rhymes on the track. "The Bible is alright until it calls what you like sin/And I feel so disrespected that you were so desperate/You would compare your sexual habits to my skin."

 He then adds, "You can play straight, we can never play white ...

So apparently Bizzle belongs to the contingent of African-Americans who proclaim the lgbt civil rights movement isn't the same as the African-American civil rights movement. I'm familiar with that bunch, especially of the fact that they scream so loud that no one else with a differing opinion can get a word edgewise in the conversation.
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